10.11.2006

A Charade of Peace

Where is he? The meeting is supposed to start soon, and there's no sight of him. Considering that Beggar's Haunt is probably the best known secret location, it won't take long before I'm spotted. The one couple I saw at the grove probably doesn't want to attract attention either, so they should leave me alone as well.

Ah, there he is. Melnerag should reconsider his wardrobe, though. Monk robes don't fit well with a Dreadsteed. My outfit is a bit flashier. Regal, yet not too intimidating. A show of power, but not overtly so. Still, I wanted them to think twice even if they decide to attack me, so I brought my staff along.

I could not understand what he was saying at first, and he didn't understand me either. Judging from his face, he had anticipated that this would happen. After he gave me a magical necklace to aid with the translation, he explained. An artifact that had been used to form the mental link had been shattered. The cultists that he was formerly affiliated with had called it the Dark Sphere. Apparently his master had returned and reclaimed his property. But the fate of some telepathy-inducing artifact was not why I was here. We started to ride west, avoiding the town of Darkshire. At this time, the road would be completely empty.

After some riding, we arrived to the keep. Melnerag assures me that the guards had been bribed to let me in, but I don't want to take any chances. Protected by a layer of translucent ice, I carefully stepped inside the keep and made my way to the dining hall.

Gathering

After waiting for a short while, a human female walks in. She is dressed in a light orangish robe. Melnerag introduces her as Gwealyn. I smell.. the faint stench of felfire. Apparently it is a fairly common practice among humans to dress nicely when not dabbling in damonic arts. I imagine it helps other sleep better at night. Out of sight, out of mind.

Syskae

I hear several people rising up the stairs and walking towards the dining hall. The first one to enter the room is Syskae in full armor, looking around nervously. He is certainly expecting trouble. He is followed by a few gnomes and a few humans. I recognise one of them. I think I.. yes. He was the paladin that confessed to serving a demon at the road to Hearthglen. I think they called him Maelmoor. The gnomes don't seem to be anything noteworthy, but one of the female humans wears a similar robe to Melnerag's own.

Arrivals

And then Seiken appears. This may yet turn out just like I predicted. The already tense atmosphere of the room is amplified by his arrival. He tried to capture me and Melnerag months ago, but failed miserably. However, this time.. I do not detect any of his "companions". He says something angrily, with perhaps.. a hint of disappointment in his voice. And then he leaves. Melnerag explains that he was indeed disappointed that the Council was meeting with an enemy. What enemy? While I did make some preparations, I'm hardly a threat. Unless they consider truth to be threatening, that is.

Distrust

From the seating around the meeting table, it was obvious that sides were being taken. The gnomish observers stayed at the side, but the rest moved opposite to me. However, I do not see any of the "moderates" Melnerag assured would be here. This whole charade would be pointless if nobody would witness the zealots in action. To top it off, Maelmoor positioned himself halfway, apparently taking the leader's role.

Accusations

As expected, the accusations started flying quickly. The woman in monk's outfit was clearly highly excitable and begins shouting something about me. She is clearly winding herself up for a nice rage before Melnerag can even translate his first sentences. Syskae is forced to step in to calm her. If my mere presence can agitate them so, what about my responses? A few well-placed words and her rants will echo all the way to Stormwind.

Dark Pact

Maelmoor steps in and changes the topic from whatever it was to something he refers to as "Dark Pact". Melnerag clarifies that he must mean Gul'Dan's betrayal. Finally, a good topic. I use easy words and simple concepts, but it soon becomes apparent that I'm not telling them what they want to hear. As I tell them about the deception and corruption perpetrated upon the orcs, their shouts become more and more vocal and angry. They had already made up their minds. They refuse to acknowledge anything that proves that the orcs weren't all rampaging demon-worshipping monsters.

Devil's Advocate

Knowing that they cannot refute the truth, they decide to ignore it. The topic is quickly shifted to the Forsaken and they try to put me on the defensive. They start off with a clumsy accusation about the Apotechary. Perfect. I effortlessly strike it back at them by reminding them of the torture chambers and orc bones in the Cathedral. Unwilling to argue the point further, they move into the topic of Forsaken offensives. I retort by reminding that northern parts belong to Lordaeron, not Stormwind. While the citizens of Lordaeron might not be alive, they are still there. If a dead human can decide via a will what happens to his land, why can't an undead human do the same?

Predictable Response

Seeing that the have yet another defeat in their hands, they move into more direct methods. Finally. A silent human priestess from the back row tried to throw something at me, but it was deflected by Gwealyn. The female monk is shouting something again, and I hear a pair of metal-plated boots on the stairs. A human in full plate runs in, hesitates for a moment and tries to smite me with his hammer. Amateur. Before his hammer can reach me, it is blocked by my barrier. A follower, doing whatever others want. So be it. A short incantation later and he is ready to be sheared. I allow the polymorphing spell to wear off, and he still tries to hit me. Slowed by the ice protecting me, I could dodge his blows in my sleep. He is not a problem. But if the others join in.. I have to take this outside. He swings at me once again, but this time his hammer smashes down on the wooden floor harmlessly. I am already out of the keep.

I hear the clumsy assassin's heavy steps echoing in the keep. He is coming after me. He runs out of the main gate, shouting profanities. I lure him to the edge of the forest. I glance around my shoulder at him. He has a victorious glee on his face. Perfect.

The glee turns into disbelief and he almost falls over. His boots are frozen into the ground, and his eyes meet mine. And there I see it. The one thing I love most about combat. It's that look of a man that just realizes that he's about to die. Right here, right now. Everything seems to slow down. He tries to look away from me, but cannot. His other hand is reaching towards his shield, but it is much too late. Poor fly, caught in a web. The winds seem to die down.

Together with a bolt of ice, freezing winds blow from my hands. Tiny shards of ice puncture the joints of his armor. The bolt hits him right in his chestplate. I hear him gasping for air. He falls backwards and tries to crawl away. His eyes are still locked into mine. I raise my right hand in front of my face to show him the flame that dances on my fingertips. And then..

I stop.

Takin' it outside

I allow him to crawl back up. Syskae runs out of the keep, sword in hand. I smile. There's no need for knights in shining armor here. We both got what we needed. I got my.. satisfaction and he got an important lesson in mortality. For the rest of his life, he knows that the only reason he lives is.. that I let him.

Excuses

The clumsy assassin heals himself, only to be confronted by Syskae. He makes some feeble excuses of me calling him fat, but we all know he is lying. He was sent here by someone. Someone that he would now have to go back to to explain his failure. Or run and be hunted down by someone more skilled than him. He leaves, and so must I. There is no point playing a charade if the intended audience is not present. Melnerag can use this incident as proof of his.. "prophecies", so at least someone got what they wanted from this. I grab my whistle from my pocket and use it. A few minutes later Windclaw runs out of the woods to greet me. I say farewell to Syskae and ride south.

2 comments:

Roald said...

Very nice!

~Syskae

Qwazi said...

Nice

Sadly the game mechanics didn't allow me to aid in the protection better and some people simply ignore the fact that someone is standing in the way (poor roleplay I guess). But atleast I got to deflect a dagger *smiles*

- Gwealyn