Wednesday, May 26, 2010
It is at twilight that I begin this story. My story, a story about how I came to be in this frozen waste land; and my pursuit of the traitor who changed my life. I'll try not to make this as rambling as my travels have been these last few years. Although I shall try to include many of the fine people of this great land of Azeroth that I have meet on my journeys, through this land and strange lands where we have fought the taint of the shadow; in its many forms and guises. Who am I ? You may wonder if you are reading these words, I'm just a simple Paladin once of the Silver Hand and now of no group, save a few dedicated friends. My name is Graimerin, I'm not a lofty hero but a simple man trying to find the answers that have eluded me for many many season.
I was born into a lesser house of nobility in fair Lordaeron, the second son of a second son. My choices were limited to entering the clergy or hopefully getting accepted into the Knight of the Silver Hand. While I follow the light I'm not a overly pious man, I do follow the tenets of the light. So I applied and was accepted into the knighthood. During my novitiate I was taught martial skills, from the wielding of mighty two handed arms; too the ability of holding a enemy at bay until others could dispatch it. My instructors often told me I was stubborn as a rock and about as bright so I gravitated to shield work. Marking my spot on the ground with the power of the light in me and allowing my comrades to dispatch our foes. My training during this time was multi faceted and develed heavily into the arts of healing and sustaining my comrades through skirmish and battle.
Then came the glorious day when I was to be knighted, no longer a novice I would be sent out defend, protect and heal the citizens of Azeroth. It was at this time that a terrible plague descended upon my homeland. The dead rose and walked again as mindless slaves to the demon Mal'ganis. Hope sprang in our hearts because our Prince Arthas was on the field of battle. A fellow knight albeit of greater standing by birth and martial prowess would save us. I was fighting in what we now call the eastern plague lands when the story of horror came to my ears. We had been disbanded and named outlaw by our Prince, whom if tales carried on the wind were true then but my beloved city to the sword wantonly killing men, women and children; in his misguided attempt to save them.
I am ashamed to say that I ran. My order disbanded, a man whom I looked up to turned monster, my life turned into chaos in moments. Southward was my direction hoping to outrun the tales of horror that ran before me. In my shock I never removed the items that identified me as a knight, and I would get looks for the citizens wondering if I was another monster coming to destroy their homes and lives.
Rumors continued about a mission to the North where Arthas was to finally confront Mal'ganis. I didn't go as I had given up my allegiance to the silver hand by then. Hindsight now shows that to be a wise decision as none of my former comrades came home from it. Arthas did kill Mal'ganis but the cost was horrible. But his is not my story to tell.
During this time of my wandering I somehow manage to find my way into the southern human lands near Stormwind. Where a call was going up for people to help defend the area against the incursion of beast and man set upon destroying what fragile safety they had won for themselves. I answered this call as more of a way of redeeming myself for the earlier cowardice act I had committed.
It was during this time that I came to meet some wonderful people whom I still call friend. The first was a memorable encounter that I barely escaped from alive. I had taken a commission in the killing of trogs in and around Dun Morogh area. I was to collect their ears as proof of kills. It was getting towards dark when the light can play tricks on the eyes. I saw a campfire and was going to approach to yelling distance when a axe comes flying out of the darkness. I raised my shield to deflect the axe and when I had a chance to focus saw this enraged dwarven warrior rushing at me trying to finish the job he started with the axe.
Now I had battled man and beast and things that were both and neither. Never a battle have I had like the one that day. The power with which he could swing that huge mace was astounding, what was worse was that he didn't leave many openings to counter attack through. Having taken a few small wounds thankfully nothing fatal I screamed that I was working for his king, helping to defend his homeland. That seemed to quell his rage and he slowly lowered his mace, and very gruffly in heavily accented common said speak human.
This is how I came to meet Falromord. A prototypical dwarf, strong as the mountain rock from which he came; and just about as likely to change. It was obvious that he didn't have a lot of trust of me but was willing to at least hear my tale. After I told him of what had gone on in my life these last few years
, he challenged me saying that if I truly deserved the right to my weapon and shield I would continue on this path and do what I could to help.
He accompanied me back to the mountain glory that is Ironforge, where he crafted me armor that replaced my old and worn set. Slowly we began to trust each other and set out on the road of adventure together. Many battles have we fought side by side theses last years. He keeping me in weapons and the finest armors that can be made. Me taking the brunt of these attacks upon my shield and sword arm as he destroys our enemies with the whiling dance of death he creates with his maces.
While there is much more to my fine dwarf friend I shall let him tell his own tale of how he came to be on the road that night.
There are others of whom I shall tell you latter but the hour grows late and this tale grows long so I shall did you goodnight for now.
He touched quickly on the night we meet in Dun Morogh. I also remember it well, if differently than him, I had just settled into my camp and heard this sound like troggs mating coming from the west side of my camp. I jump up and grab my throwing axe and threw it towards the sound. I chase after it with my mace ready to cave in another trogg head and continue cleansing my land of their filth. Well to my surprise I hear the sound of it bouncing off metal and wonderin' if I be battlin' a worthy foe ,an orc.
I let loose with my battle cry and swing my mace in hopes of either disarming or injuring my opponent enough for a quick kill. To my surprise my mace slammed into a shield. The blow bein' stopped cold. I quickly settled into my battle rotation consistently looking for an opening to land at least a blow that would give some advantage. The dark and the skill of the opponent only in my mind confirmed an orc was my opponent. Heh, ya can imagine my surprise when I hear a bull like bellow claiming that this interloper to my camp is not only human but on the king's business.
With the certainty that I could get my mace back to a suitable position to defend myself, I step back into the dim glow of the camp fire and allowed him to speak. Guardedly, he began tellin' me his tale of how he had abandoned his vows to the Silver Hand after the traitor showed his true colors and was tryin' to redeem himself by helpin' when and where he could in the southern lands. My first reaction was horror that one could break a vow, freely given, but these have been odd times of late in Azeroth. My people, the dwarfs of Ironforge have felt the bite of the traitor deeply with the loss of the King's brother with the traitor in the cold forsaken north.
I offered him what hospitality is to be found on the road. Warm fire, a bit of ale, and a fine meal if I do say so me self. During this time it appeared a weight had been removed from his shoulders, simply seeming to be able to accept a kindness started to change him. We settled into a uncomfortable comfortable kind o' silence that any warrior of the road knows these days and made our plans to sleep for the night.
The morning found me alive and ready to continue my cleansing of the kings land of the foul troggs that had sprung up like weeds, during these last few season of battling orcs and plague crazed undead. I started breakin' down me camp and finally took a long look at this stranger who came out of the dark last night, noticing that while only of middle years for a human his hair and beard where completely gray. Feelin' a bit of the wise ass in me creep out, I asked him what a youngster by dwarven standards was doing with all that wrongly colored hair and sorry attempt at a beard. Now friendship can be based on many things but to me, ours will always be based upon his reply. He calmy stated “ I have seen the gates of hell, my young 'Ramord and I am searching for the way back.”
Now I don't take too well to being referred to as young, espically by one of the short lived races. Although that twinkle in his eyes when he said it made me wonder what this man had truly seen. I tossed back over me shoulder a simple claim that I'm out to hunt some troggs and if he is still looking to fill out his bounty, mayhap we can kill twice as many, twice as fast.
I'm a warrior trained from the days when I could barely hold the mace that me father crafted for me, and have seen many a fine warrior take to the field. Still seeing how this man would run into a pack of this vermin and the call upon the power of the light and simply hold them there while I wadded through their ranks decamating them. There are trully many ways to gauge the measure of a man but for me tis simple, can he hold his drink, can he hold his own in battle and most importantly can he turn a phrase and make a joke. While his ability to hold a drink had yet to be determined he made me laugh and was impressive in battle. So after we had our share of trogg killing I offer the chance for him to return to Ironforge with me.
We returned to my beloved mountain home, which I am away from to much to suit me those and these days. We managed to close a tavern or two together, and while he cant drink like a true dwarf he is close for a human. After this I knew that I couldnt let hin return to his war with the armor and weapons he carried into my camp. So I took him offer to the great forge and set about a task that nowdays seems to be me lifes work. Crafting him the best weapons and armor that my small skill in smithing allows me to create.
Many battles have we waged on this world and distant others, we even manged to gather a few others into our group, but seeing as how he wants to be the story teller I let him continue this tale as my small part in correcting his mistakes is
Word spread through out most of Northrend of a tournament sponsored by the newly formed argent crusade. A martial battle to test one skill and possibly if the stories are true champion a city once again. Gone is my happy memories of the city to which I was born. That my old city almost crowned this monster the first time is a horror that I shall always carry. For a chance again to be from somewhere and not a wondering sell sword but again to have a home. I find Fal and tell him some of what I heard and some of what I hoped. He scoffed at me and said a home youngster you always have a home with me in the mountain. I tell it its a open tournament with champions from all the Capital cities. This peeked his interest and he softly grumbled into his beard "wonder what they call Champions back in Ironforge." Well if your so set on doing it he dead pans over to me we might have to practice up some long unused skills for both of us.
So for the next few weeks he took pains in showing me how little I remembered of fighting with a huge mace again in my hands. The inertia one must over come and then to control the swing as not to overbalance yet maintain a solid base. Lessons poorly learned in a distant youth, when the shield and sword called to me as my martial instruments. Although I had a good teacher back then they couldn't spin two monstrous weapons with which the ease Fal does. So under his glaring eyes I got a huge compliment. One day you will be okay. Then the pendulum swung back the other way as it must.
Fal may easily be my better in the art of massive damage, but I, I have mastered the sword and shield. The joy of wave of enemies bashing themselves away as I hold the ground on which I stand. It took him sometime to remember how to balance to adsorb the blow and recoil into attacking motion. He learned quickly and showed me a couple moves that I never learned so was taken a bit by surprise. He gently chuckled to himself and said something about a dang holy bubble.
Our martial skills to a level we felt comfortable with we preceded to the tournament grounds. We were greeted by goblin profiteers looking to pay little and get paid themselves considerably more for our work to fulfill their contracts. We find the contact person for this tournament and get given some task of killing off small scourge units and searching for some special swords. Then a piece of news that made me smile, jousting . For a minute I wondered if Fal would know the skills of mounted combat. Our first combat on the mounts they gave well trained steeds of war, was simply against target dummies. I carefully watch Fal go for his first pass. Flawless, up out of the saddle, knees flexed but braced all his weight balanced behind his lance and shield. His lance shattered under the impact of a perfect hit. He reined in his mount and rode past me chuckling and said to me "We Dwarfs do have a cavalry". Again this man of middle years as judged by his people, a group of season way past a number any human can live astounds me yet again.
My time behind a lance was during my training in the silver hand and jousting to me was time well remember from my younger years. As a set the lance into my stirrup as I prepared to charge my first target dummy, my mind drifted back to a time that seems forever ago. On the training fields in novitiate for the knights many an hour was spent this way. Some on similar stationary targets and some at hanging shields. The thunder as a train war steed bears down upon his target, to me its the finest music their is. A harsh pounding sound occasional punctuated by the trumpeting of my horse as he stormed to do his own battle with the opposing horse. Lost in this memory came sharp thump on my head and Fal gruff voice asking if I was scared of wood these days. I settle into my stance and the warhorse surged forward a solid thump in my shoulder and the sound of shattering wood let me know I had scored a solid hit.
After proving ourselves worthy of fighting for them we moved up to small sorties against Arthas's mounted troops slowly drawing out the unit commanders and not just his throw away minions. Once we even went against one of his undead worms. Fal shouts to me to keep out the hammer he made me as he has some armor he wish to try out. Some new combination of ore and the very elements of the earth that is supposed to shield one from the bitter cold that many of Arthas minions use in battle.
It has since slow done and soon we are told it will be a more proper tournament. But for the work and martial prowess Fal and myself showed and the work for some goblins to earn funds to pound out bents and such. We we awarded something dear to me and maybe to Fal also based on what he said to me. Me I am Graimerin of Stormwind again I rdie into battle in defense of my home. Fal well Fal on the other hand is now known as Falromord of Ironforge or as he so nicely put it. "where else is a self respecting Dwarf from".
Let me formally introduce myself, I am known as Fanabb in common which will serve for this purpose. I am a night elf and priest of Elune, once immortal but now subject to death as any living being is. My race was the first to awaken and we heard the call of Elune. We venerated her at the most powerful of sites and basked in the glory of her power. We learned though that with great power comes the possibility of great danger.
The first I personally saw of battle wage on a vast scale was the first invasion of the burning legion. What many of short lived races have taken to calling the war of the ancients. Queen Azshara a great a noble member of my race was cruelly tricked by the foul demon Sargeras. He wanted a portal to be opened to allow his minions access to this pristine world. Many other wise and great members of my race discovered his plot and were able to close the portal before he was allowed access but at a cost that not only sundered the very face of the continents but changed my people forever. Those that weren't sucked under the waters of the newly formed sea and transformed into monsters managed to survive. But the cost of survival was terrible my race broke in two. Many took to boats and sailed away to one of the new continents and called themselves High Elves, the continued to practice arcane arts that almost destroyed us once. Our druids descended for centuries into the dream where they sought to protect our world with the aid of Ysera one of the great dragon aspects. Those of us that survived and choose to stay retreated to Mount Hyjal where for centuries we lived in peace within our forest and zealously protected our lands.
Being a priest of Elune after the sundering was a difficult time. Many of my race saw those of us that served as part of the problem. We allowed ourselves to believe we where above the rest of our race, that somehow we where better of a higher caste than they. I personally never had the pleasure of serving at the great temple. While I venerate Elune and know her tremendous powers I only saw her well once in my enormous lifetime. My service was out in the settlements helping to explore the forest and come to know its inhabitants. Cenarius the demigod was someone I saw more than my Queen. But I had freely given myself to a different path and didn't study at the feet of the great stag. I knew his powers and saw the great gifts he bestowed those that choose to follow him into the drudaic arts.
The war is chronicled many times over by those much more scholarly than I. I will simply add that destruction that vast should never be visited upon any living being. How the gods managed to save what we have of this world is simply a testament to their powers.
So the centuries passed as we stayed secluded in our false safety on the mountain until we came into contact with a new race. They called themselves Orcs, the were destroying our beloved forest and met with death from the sentinels who where its guardians. This was the beginning of the end for my life as it had been for centuries. Archimonde a old enemy returned again at the head of an army this time of undead and demon alike brought death and destruction to our mountain. The world tree was destroyed and our immortality taken along with it. Battle was joined by those that defiled the forest to protect what we could Orcs that we one time killed helped us save what we could of ourselves and our homeland.
It was during this time that we learned what had befallen our brethren that crossed the sea centuries before in there pursuit of the arcane. Their city in ruins and a monster raised from their sunwell our isolation had to end.
We gave up immortality in our hopes to preserve life as we know it in our forests. Many of my brothers and sisters still toil to cleanse our forest from the sickness that has enveloped it since the end of that war. I choose to leave the forest, to take the battle against this scourge army. I have tried in my own way to make a change in the way I view the short lived races of my home world. This was how I came to meet the human Graimerin and his friend and companion Falromord.
In my venture into the outside world I first choose to stay within my races area of control. I went to Silithus where the Cenarion Circle has maintained an outpost for time immortal battling the denizens of that inhospitable place. Where we imprisoned Qiraji to stop their rampart destruction of the land. The Circle decide to open the gates and to destroy them once and for all so that we could stop their spread.
I went out to help during one of the small skirmishes before we ventured into the vast prison when I saw a human and a dwarf battling the insect like inhabitants of this area and the very elements themselves. Having seen first hand the battle prowess of the races during the battle for our sacred tree I sought to offer what add I could. Calling upon the power of Elune I shielded the human who seemed to be taking the brunt of the attack and and cast upon he and his dwarven companion words of power to increase their fortitude while in battle. The skirmish was over quickly as those two seemed to be able to weave together a dance of death the likes of which I had never seen. When it was nothing but corpses left upon the desert floor the human turned to and said “thank you sir and may the light bless you. I am called Graimerin and this is my friend Falromord.” Not knowing what was proper for the ways of the people I simply said may Elune bless you in your battles against these foes.
Then I can only imagine it to be Elunes divine guidance that took hold of the human he asked if I would like to add he and his companion in their eradication of horrors of this land. Before I could decline his offer the dwarf barked that they didn't need any assistance and I should go back to hiding in the trees as my race had done for centuries. Offended by this rude comment from one of the lesser races I was turning to leave when the human quietly said to his friend that to decline aid in battle was to help was ones enemies and during these dark times enemies where plentiful but allies scarce.
Wisdom such as this human had just shown was remarkable to me in one so young, intrigued I wondered what help they might need or could offer me. I was unsure though because I had no wish to make friends with life forms destined to die; till I had to sharply remember that now even I could die. I decide to simply be as truthful as I felt comfortable with. I told them that I was a priest and could offer some healing and some other assistance if they needed it. Graimerin seemed pleased and quickly wanted to accept my offer of aid but the dwarf Falromord still seemed uncertain if not outright suspicious but apparently he trusted the humans instincts. Shortly after we met nightfall was upon us and we began the process of setting up a camp for the evening. I quickly saw that these where people used to the hard life of the road much more than I, even if they couldn't feel the land they way my people do the did respect it. A small fire was made and carefully banked and shielded as to not only protect us but also as not to give away our position to our enemies. They broke out their road food consisting of some dried meats and I assumed some dwarven spirit. I offered to share some of my food with them which consisted of cheese and fruit which they accepted with graciousness.
It was during the meal that the dwarf turned to me and bluntly stated that as far as he was concerned Grai as he called him was a overly trusting youngster destined only to see the good in people. He then furthered his point by telling me he trusted the stone of the earth and little else with the huge exception of the human Graimerin. I replied coldly that I trusted little but Elunes grace and her wisdom. He then asked why would I agree to this grouping if I distrusted so much; my reply then is as true as it is now that in Graimerin I sense a wisdom beyond the years a human could ever know. Surprisingly the dwarf chuckled and said “aye I know what you speak of, Grai seems to have ability.” Taken aback by this rather radical change I didn't respond but decide that this dwarf and human may bear watching as they seemed to be much more than the sell swords I initially took them for.
What seems to be merely a eye blink of time to me but I'm sure is much more has passed since that day. I still seem to be traveling with these two odd companions of the road and others have joined us, the wisdom I saw in Graimerin that day is still evident and always astounding. Falromord is still the gruff dwarf fierce in battle and friendship and always the defender and sword arm of his closet friend Grai. Me I still travel with them keeping them healed as the singlehandedly at times seem to need to win this war on their own. Graimerin talks of his need to atone for some stain upon his honor, Having traveled with this man I can not imagine him ever to be dishonorable but his demons he refuses to share as he purges the land of theirs.
Will I ever feel fully accepted by these people I'm still unsure as centuries of seclusion are hard to overcome. Although of one thing I am sure no one ever had more stalwart companions in such an unsettled time.
I am Carack not the name that I was given at my birth nor the name I use in some areas of our world, I move through the world with the hope that I'm not remembered at all. Carack is the name that was given to me in my youth by my older brother. I was trying to sneak into his room when a poorly placed foot cracked some carefully placed boards he left assuming I would try to gain entry into his room. I will never forget the laughter in his voice when he yelled “ Hey Brat Boy isn't that the last sound a thief should ever hear.”. Then he broke into laughter and said you will always now be Carack to me. While this brother was not the oldest he is and will always be the one that to me can solve anything. He left to go finish his studies and start on the path that led him to his lot in life now. Strong, stalwart, compassionate this is my brother a man that has given everything but his life to people he hardly even knows, why because he says his honor needs to cleansed. Yes my brother is Graimerin, the gray man rarely these days do I hear laugh that shaped my youth and for that being taken from me I follow this road simple in the hope that someday my brother will put off the mantle of the gray man and be himself once again.
Its midsummer time again and as I was making my way through our lands and those on the other side of the dark portal many memories came flooding back in. Some of these are of a happier time and place and some trigger memories that are best left in the past. The happy ones are mostly of a young man and his brother. We would celebrate and honor our fires and look forward to traveling through the areas around or homeland. It was during this time that I found out I could move noiselessly through many areas. We would gaze in awe at the jugglers and laugh till we couldn't breath dancing around the flame poles. The sad memories occurred when I went by what is now called the undercity, a place now known more for fratricide and regicide than the shinning jewel of my youthful homeland. Gone are the times that I would sneak away to watch my brother in the various stages of his training. It was during these times that I came to understand that being unseen had many advantages. I will never forget the day that my brother was accepted into the order and others would now call him brother because of gifts he possessed. Although it was a only a short time until the darkness descended that still shrouds these lands. Ahh I must put off this melancholy as what is done is done and the people who once where friends, companions or a familiar face for the most part are gone.
It was shortly after being accepted into the order that Grai as he wishes to be called now made it home to our family and told us that he had met someone who he cared for deeply. Our parents being who they where questioned him about whether she was of noble birth, and I'm sure knowing them hopefully of a higher standing house than us. Grai tried to be as evasive as a honest man can be when questioned on matters of the heart but finally told us all that she was from Silvermoon city. Father instantly saw this as a means to move upward socially as his son was not only a Paladin but one that had contacts with the high elves. Mother was concerned about the fact that Grai would age in front of his paramour and she would hold her youthful beauty. For my part I was happy and a bit jealous as my favorite had found someone else to share his heart. I put aside the petty jealousy that was my first reaction when I saw the joy in my brothers face when he spoke of his lady.
During the time that Grai was away I started on what was to become my lot in life. Information about what was going on in the camps and just generally throughout my homeland had value and those that could get this information became a assets to our King. Needing a reason to be moving from city to village to the secluded farm, I took up the mantle of a traveling merchant. One who specialized in rare cloths and magical items. Having a high level of dexterity with my hands aided me in this and my many daggers that I kept concealed on my person made sure that I stayed safe. I always find it amusing that people find a wandering tradesman nonthreatening and will often times give away valuable information simply to know what is going on further down the road than they have traveled. It was in this way that I came to hear about the horrors of the plague coming across farms that were once full of laughter and joy where now burnout husk housing unspeakable monsters.
I was making my way back to our home city when rumors of what our prince had done not only to his father but the city reached my ears. I decide to speed north hoping to find my brother so that he could tell me that this was a story told to frighten children and could not be the truth. Knowing him as well as I do I looked for a holy site figuring he would be asking for guidance from the light. We met up outside a small chapel in what is now known as the eastern plaguelands and to my horror he confirmed that these rumors where true. Lost in away I had not been since I was a small boy I asked him what should I do. He told me to head for Stormwind and to inform anyone who would listen to me. I asked him what he was planning on doing, he replied that he was headed north in hopes of rallying the elves to our cause.
I made it to Stormwind but a horse can't move as fast as a rumor and a story of this horror precede me there. Once there I decide to turn around and head north again with the simple hope of helping my brother in some way. I found him a broken husk of his former self leading his mount who looked as ragged as he did. He recounted to me a horror that worse than any I could imagine, Silvermoon in ruins. He said then that he had shamed his order and himself by not being able to stem the tide of this horror. All that he cared for save is kid brother, brat boy where dead or worse. He looked at me and said until he could cleanse his honor he would be know as Graimerin, the gray man one devoid of hope and searching for purpose to his life. He told me to continue with gathering what ever information I could in these dark times as that would have a value that no amount of gold would ever match. I asked him what he was going to do, a small part of the man I remembered surfaced then and he said he was going to dedicate his life to the eradication of the horrors visited upon this land. I asked him if the leaders of his order couldn't stem this tide how would he. His response was coldly delivered “ I have seen a darkness that I shall carry until the light can cleanse this land.”
We parted then and I went about doing the task he had set for me, with a open ended plan to meet so that I could let him know what whispers I had heard in my travels. When we met back up he had some how gained the trust of Falromord a true servant of the light whether he knows it our not. As time has moved forward more have joined his cause and knowing my brother I'm sure he'll be present when we can cleanse this land if the light allows us to.