Strangers in the Capital

The Magisters' lessons had done wonders to Alanduin's health. Although he was never officially tutored in the art of magic, drawing power from his enemies seemed almost too simple. All it took was a bit of concentration. But he never would have thought of it himself, it took a Magister to figure it out for him. In his mind, it was simply making the most of prey. He had already grown accustomed to using the entrails of beasts in various ways, from sinews used as bowstrings, certain organs as food, the skin turned into furs and leather clothing. Drawing power was simply making good use of the beasts' spiritual energy as well. His skin had started to regain a healthy color, and strength once again filled his limbs. Once again, he could hold his head high in the capital. People greeted him again.

Ah, the capital. With newfound vigor in him, Alanduin could once again appreciate the majestic craftsmanship. It was amazing how quickly Silvermoon had recovered from the devastation. The Magisters had explained how the Prince had found new sources of power, and ways to store and use it. And the knowledge was indeed in much use. The new green crystals adorned many of the spires, including the royal Sunfury Spire. The rebuilt capital looked better than ever.

The rebuilding was not the only news that had contributed to Alanduin's good mood. At first, it was isolated reports that not all undead were either mindless or ravenous. He had travelled south to investigate these rumors. Not only were the rumors indeed true, but these.. Forsaken were actually helping in the eradication of the Scourge. It had taken a few days for Alanduin to gather enough courage to actually talk to one, but the tales he had heard were incredible. From what they told, the cursed human prince had actually attacked his own kingdom before marching into Quel'thalas. He had ended King Terenas' reign with his own hands. Not only that, the undead claimed that they were being led by the Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner, who had organized a resistance after she was slain and reanimated at the battle of the Sunwell. A ranger that had given more than her life in the defense of the High Home? It sounded a bit too good, but the ambassadors sent to Lordaeron did confirm it. Quel'thalas had allies. Unfortunately, so did the Forsaken.

Sometimes it's not a good idea to share. Vile orcs, trolls and bullmen from beyond the sea had travelled to the High Home. All elves, including Alanduin were decreed to extend their hospitality to these beasts as well. Years, even centuries of war and now we're just supposed to let them walk in our beloved city? But it was the word of the Regent, and it could not be questioned. But perhaps he could be convinced to reconsider. Since ages past the Rangers had always been the first to spot threats to the High Home. Now that the Blood Knights had assumed responsibility for day-to-day defense of the land, the Rangers could again assume their role as the eyes and ears of the elven nation. If he could just gather some evidence of the mongrels' treachery, the Regent would see the wisdom in rescinding his order.

The first few investigations were fruitless. Appearing friendly in the dubious company of the beasts was becoming his second nature, but he could maintain the facade for only a few minutes at a time. The savagery of the mongrels was apparent, but a simple breach of public peace was not enough to kick them out. Not all of them, anyway. It had to be something more.. tangible. He needed to catch them in the act.

A few weeks later Alanduin received his first solid lead. The weather controller had malfunctioned. It was officially blamed on the savage night elves caught sneaking around, but that explanation seemed too simple for him. It would take some time for the controller to be repaired, so Alanduin walked the empty streets of Silvermoon in the rain, thinking on how he could connect the mongrels to sabotage. Deep within his thoughts, he failed to notice an armored raptor approaching quickly.

"Hey! Are you blind?", he snapped as the raptor almost ran him over.

The rider, dressed in blue from head to toe, did not respond. Two blue ears, adorned with earrings peeked from the edges of the cowl. Obviously a troll.

"I am talking to you, troll!"

The blueish raptor snarled at him, but the rider did not move.

"Are those shriveled ears just for show?", Alanduin taunted while walking around the raptor to get a good look on the mongrel. The raptor tried to grab his arm between the powerful jaws, but he was safely out of reach.

The rider was also wearing a veil in addition to the cowl, and the wet clothes were pressing on his.. her body. The female troll slowly extended her right hand horizontally to her side, and he could hear the female whisper a few unrecognizable words. Water dripping from the hand slowed, and then froze. More rain kept falling and freezing along the rapidly-forming icicle hanging from her hand. A witch, and a powerful one at that. The icicle was already almost as tall as Alanduin, and the troll seemed to have no problems holding her arm straight. Her red eyes, the only visible part of her, gazed straight through him. Leaving the bow at the inn seemed like a really bad idea now.

The witch opened her fist, letting the icicle shatter on the cobblestones. By the time Alanduin regained his composure, she was already long gone. The evidence of the threat was already melting away. He looked around, but he didn't see anyone who would be useful as a witness. If only he knew where the witch was going..

"Damn trolls", he muttered as he headed back to the inn.

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