Thursday, May 26, 2022

Letters from Outland, Part 4

Dear Sis--

I'm writing this while I'm taking a break from the fighting. It seems that the Burning Legion has a never ending supply of infernals to drop on both the Alliance and Horde fortifications in the poorly named Shadowmoon Valley, and both factions are hard pressed to keep the supply lines open.

Here at Wildhammer Hold, I can only dream of the hellscape that greeted me when I first crossed the Dark Portal and think "Ah, for the good old days." I'm sure the contingent at Honor Hold would disagree, but when the sky is on fire you tend to have a different outlook on life. 

A pleasant land this ain't.

Any other name would have likely been a better one than Shadowmoon Valley, which sounds closer to something near Astranaar than Outland, although I'm told by an Orc whom I knew back in our Argent Dawn days that the Valley takes its name from the Shadowmoon Clan, who led the Orcs straight into the Legion's lap all those years ago.

Vindicator Aluumen has told me he feels that Illidan will strike more directly against our fortifications in the coming days, but he also thinks that Illidan is caught between a rock and a hard place. As hard as the Legion is hitting us, they're also preparing to strike against Illidan himself. I guess with a name like 'The Betrayer', Illidan has a certain reputation to uphold, and he appears to have double crossed the Burning Legion too. 

Every time I turn around, the uglier
Illidan's troops get. At least they all die.

Even if we overcome the odds and hold our ground, we need to break both of our enemies before we have a chance to bring a measure of peace to Outland.

Hmm... Since I name dropped the title "Vindicator", I guess I should explain a few things about Draenei society that I've learned over my time spent here. The Draenei have their equivalent of the Knights --the Vindicators-- and the Priests --The Anchorites-- but they also have their version of military commanders, the Exarchs. These roles used to be allowed to specific genders only, such as that up until recently had been the case with the Night Elves and Tauren, but the need for bodies has broken down their rigid conservativism.* The fact that my friend Zarlie is an Anchorite is now by choice rather than by societal expectations. She informs me that her sister is yet another classification, a Farseer, who follow the ways of the elements akin to the Shamanism of the Orcs, Tauren, and Trolls.

I've also heard whispers about the Draenei Keepers of the Dead, the Auchenai, but only from the Lower City. While apparently they do exist, the great City of the Dead, Auchindoun, was destroyed in a disaster only a few years before I crossed the Dark Portal, and the Auchenai who survived have, well, gone a bit crazy. I don't know if it's the "everybody died and I can't handle it" sort of crazy or not, but what I've heard is that the Auchenai have been experimenting with things that you'd find more out of the Cult of the Damned than any Draenei organization.

Draenei may have a distinctive outlook on life, but they are by no means a monolithic race. The only thing that truly unites them is their hatred for the Burning Legion. Well, not hatred per se, but probably closer to disappointment. Apparently many of their brethren were tempted by the "gifts" offered by the Legion and chose to join the Legion instead of rejecting them, and those fallen Draenei are now commanders and leaders among the Legion's forces. 

Uh.... I was in the crate.
"Please don't look... Please don't look..."

Despite all that, I've grown to like them during my time here. I now know how you feel being the "shorty" of the household, as I've discovered that when you're surrounded by Draenei even the Kaldorei can appear small. The Draenei may at first glance seem overly pious and sanctimonious, but once you get to know them they open up quite a bit and are quite capable of incredibly bawdy behavior. Like the Elven kindreds, they have an unconscious grace and strength that can be quite stunning. 

I'm not entirely convinced they're so
uptight that they won't drink, but it's
worth a try sometime.

Either way, the Draenei have decided that the Alliance is their future, and so we have to learn to live with them. They have suffered under a certain amount of suspicion by our troops because people know their brethren from the Legion, but it's also intimidating to meet someone who is smarter, stronger, faster, and more graceful than you, who is also more sanctimonious than High Priestess Laurena. (Don't tell her I said that!)

Now that I've been on assignment here in Shadowmoon Valley, I can say that despite first impressions the place has not been totally abandoned by people. I know of a few scattered farms here and there, particularly on the northern edges of the Valley, where some Orcs refuse to leave and instead eke out a living. I've become rather fond of one Oronok who has a ranch high up away from roaming elementals; I can tell he took up ranching late in life as he still makes some basic mistakes, but I've learned not to pry too much. Like many Orcs, he has demons in his past that he'd just as soon forget, and if keeping a watchful eye on his helboars helps, I'm not one to tell him otherwise.

Angry elementals are everywhere. An organization of Shamans called the Earthen Ring has been trying to placate them without much success, and given the response from our leadership --which is mostly "get out of here, I'm busy"-- I can see why. I've been helping to get them some answers from the elementals, but not much has come of it so far. 

...except for the case of heartburn
I've got right now. Another Fire Lord?

Nonetheless, we've also had our run-ins with more of those avian types. Apparently one of them turned traitor, which is good for us, because their companions were going to try to summon forth what looks like an Old God straight into Outland. Given how much trouble they gave us at Ahn'Qiraq, I was more than happy to take on that assignment and destroy their summoning attempt.

That certainly matches a description
I'm sure you're familiar with.

Good riddance.

One more thing. I realize that this will probably hurt Elsharin, but I've encountered many of her ex-brethren here in Shadowmoon Valley as well. The Sindorei who still follow Kael'Thas have a base here --originally they had two, but the Sindorei following the Na'aru took over one of them-- and I've had to kill more than my share of this Sunfury regiment. I've even had to go undercover for a while, and thank goodness that I got to know your teacher, or I'd never have been able to pull it off.

I actually look pretty good as a redhead
and wearing pointy ears. Don't ask
where the ears came from; I'm not proud of that.

It's all in the walk. And the attitude.

The more I've seen these Sunfury Elves in action, the more disgusted I am with them. Have they all been duped? Do they honestly feel that they are on the side of justice? Do they simply not care and just want power any way they can get it? If it's that last one, they're likely going to end up allying with someone who can claim they provide it, and I'm afraid I know who that is. 

Elves and Draenei. These two should have been allies from the start, but Illidan and the Legion --and truth be told, us Humans kind of messed up a bit too-- got in the way. I'm rambling at this point, so I ought to finish up and go to bed soon. I've a long patrol tomorrow that takes me near Illidan's stronghold, nicknamed The Black Temple.

Be well, and give everyone my love!


*Again, Mistress Evelyn's grammar lessons came in handy!

EtA: Corrected a grammar issue.


If you are reading this, you saw my hidden message and guessed how to bring this out. 

I am being stalked. 

I don't have any proof of it yet, but I have this uneasy feeling that my movements are being closely watched, and someone is waiting to strike. It is not simply paranoia at work out here, although at first I thought it was the case, but I know that someone is after me for my knowledge.

A short time ago, I discovered something that could potentially tip the balance of this whole campaign in our favor, and I've been keeping this secret ever since. About a week or two later, I started noticing small things around, like evidence that my bags had been sifted through or that my gear wasn't put back exactly the same way I usually do, and as a test I deliberately moved something in my pack to another location, and when I returned from patrol I found that thing in not the same place. 

As of now, I can't go to my commander without divulging the secret I'm sworn to keep. If you don't hear from me after 2 months, something likely has happened. I don't think whomever is tailing me will kill me, as they likely want to get information out of me. But if you don't hear from me, I need you. This is more important than me or my life; when I took the Oaths to become a Knight, I swore to uphold certain things, and this is one of them. I need you to do two things. First, contact a Broken in Shadowmoon Valley named Olum and tell him "The Light provides." He will know what to do. The other thing is to contact Zarlie; she will have knowledge of where I have been, and if Olum can't be found you should be able to piece things together with what she knows.

I believe in you, Sis. You can do this. So give Naxxramas the middle finger and get out here. There's a job that needs finishing, and a Songshine's word is always good.


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