Thursday, June 10, 2010

Into The Fire

A fiery blast of air hit Decedereful in the face as she stepped from the portal and onto Hellfire Peninsula. High stone walls surrounded the moisture starved land that made up the interior of Honor Hold. The keep itself sat atop a hill and loomed above her as she attempted to get her bearings.

Heavily armored alliance guardsmen milled around her, toiling in the hot sun.  Few gave her a second glance as she started up the path leading to the keep.  Had she possess functional sweat glands, she would already have been sweating profusely as she labored up the incline.  It didn't take too much exertion to elicit a bead in this perpetual heat, yet any evidence of moisture on the soldiers had been swiftly snatched away by the dry air that blew as if from a furnace.  It was not a pleasant station, yet it was one of the original footholds for the Alliance in the Outlands, so there was a certain pride to serving there that offset the misery.

"Your orders?" A footman guarding entry to the keep asked blandly.

Decedereful eyed the man curiously, wondering if her burning blue eyes might cause her trouble.  The man, however, stared back with a uninterested look.  Soldiers who had served a turn in the Outlands generally were a little more laid back than the Eastern Kingdoms fare.

"Lady Jaina has sent me and I have a message for Force Commander Danath," Decedereful intoned.  It was a harmless play on the truth.  After all, Lady Jaina did send her and she did have a message for Danath.  Let the man link the two if he wished.

The man hardly blinked, "Up the stairs at the back, then.  The Commander'll be at his desk."  He gave her a salute and returned to staring back down the hill at nothing.

The keep was largely utilitarian, with most of it's spaces given over to storerooms and equipment racks.  A stand of armor her, a box of goods there were the only decorations.  Dece hurriedly found the wooden stairs at the back, same as they were in every keep made by humans, and wound her way to the top. 

Couriers danced around each other in the hallway, providing a constant stream of activity in and out of the room that surely contained the Commander's desk.  Decedereful entered and surveyed the scene.  Only a handful of people stood around examining maps and other miscellanea, but her eyes quickly found a graying man who exuded the aura of authority seated behind a large wooden desk in the back of the room.

Danath Trollbane had white hair with a matching beard that flowed down to his chest.  His sun bleached uniform had seen better days, but his eyes were vibrant and busy as they scanned the piece of parchment in his hand.  Dece crossed the room and stood patiently before the desk, waiting for the Commander to acknowledge her presence.  As soon as he finished with the document, he placed it neatly on a stack in front of him and turned his piercing eyes to study her.

"Yes, Death Knight?" he said.  Mild irritation colored his voice, but his face otherwise remained impassive.

"Lady Jaina sent me.  I have a few questions about a Captain Brightrune," Decedereful posited.

The first name raised one eyebrow, the second sent its partner up to join the first high on Danath's brow.  "Strange questions from one such as yourself,"  Danath admitted, then glanced around the room.  "Leave us!" He bellowed.  The room emptied.

"If it were anyone but Jaina asking," he began, "I might question their motives.  However..." he trailed off.

"Sir?" Decedereful prodded.

Danath waved a callused hand through the air, "It's no matter.  Brightrune is a name I've not heard for some time.  Well before the Third War I should think." 

"Do you know where he is?" Dece asked hopefully.

"Dead I should think," he replied bluntly.  Then, with a considering look at Decedereful amended, "Perhaps that's one of the better fates for the loyal sons of Stromgarde.  No, I suppose I don't know at that.  Why do you ask?"

In response, Decedereful held up the necklace she had brought with her, "A friend was in possession of this and I've been tasked with finding out how she came about it."

"She, you say?" Danath asked incredulously.  "Could it be? Brightrune blood lives on?"

"What are you saying?" Decedereful asked.

Dece found her own eyebrows climbing skyward as Danath Trollbane recounted a somewhat preposterous piecemeal tale based mostly on hearsay.  Still, when he'd finished, Decedereful couldn't help but be anxious to leave.  With what she'd learned, she needed to return to her brother right away.  There was something he need to know about his young bride.

(Note: As promised, we'll get a dual episode this week with more to come tomorrow.  I had this done last Friday just never got a chance to post it, and purposely saved it for today so we can do back to back.  I suppose that makes some sense, right?  Besides, it's never too early to start celebrating Friday.)

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