Campaign Report – War of the Thorns

Part 1: A Cry For Help

Participants: Tinwëtar, Melaniel, Kathene, Ialluen, Aariam, Sinrall, Talasandra, Meirawyn, Seilenna, Anaerith (guest), Solaufein (guest)

Mission report 1 – Grove of the Ancients, Darkshore
Date: 4th of Quel’Asta, 2018

Summary: The Nightblades had received news about a disturbance outside Astranaar and shortly thereafter they had also received a hastily written plea for aid. The latest news that had come in was that the Horde had attacked Astranaar and that there were wounded and fleeing in need of help and protection. The Nightblades, under Outrunner Moonglow’s command, decided to head to Ashenvale to see as many of the fleeing civilians to safety as they could.

As the Sentinels reached the border between Darkshore and Ashenvale they found it blocked by a giant wall of glittering and pulsating wisps. On the Ashenvale side of the wall the ground was littered with Horde corpses covered in vines and roots. It seemed someone, or several someones, with strong druidic magic had been doing their part to protect Kalorei lands. The wisps parted to let the Nightblades through so that they could continue deeper into Ashenvale.

Smoke rose in the direction of Astranaar and it brought with it the worry that this invasion was much larger than they had initially thought. About halfway to Astranaar, close by Maestra’s Post, the Nightblades saw a group of fleeing civilians far below. It was quickly decided that the Sentinels would make protecting this group and getting them to safety their main priority.

After assessing the civilians and checking them for injuries, the Nightblades began to lead their charges towards the Zoram Strand; in the direction of an old saber trail that would take them back to Darkshore without ever stepping foot on the main road. But it soon became clear that they were being followed; the Horde army was on the move and headed straight towards Darkshore.

The Nightblades and their civilian charges made their way towards the saber trail, but as soon as they stepped into the canyon a loud CRACK, followed by a deafening BOOM, was heard and a huge tree trunk was felled behind them; blocking any escape that way. On the sides of the canyon, and on the road ahead, Forsaken Dark Rangers appeared with their bows drawn. There would be no easy way out of this.

A long and drawn out battle ensued as the Nightblades and their civilian allies fought for their lives to break through the Dark Rangers’ ranks and reach the safety beyond the wisp wall. During the fighting, many sustained severe injuries but eventually they managed to beat the Dark Rangers back and make it to safety. The Nightblades and the civilians then headed to the Grove of the Ancients to regroup and see to their wounded.

Due to her heoric actions and staunch leadership in the face of such an enormous crisis, Ialluen Moonglow was elevated to the rank of Priestess within the Nightblades.

Part 2: Spirits in Chains

Participants: Tinwëtar, Kathene (DM), Ialluen, Aariam, Syrune, Seilenna, Shaadris, Thalrevan, Sinrall, Thindis (Guest)

Mission report 2 – Grove of the Ancients, Darkshore
Date: 10th of Quel’Asta, 2018

Summary: The Kaldorei forces may have been pushed out of Ashenvale as the war pressed into Darkshore, but the forest was still no safe haven for the Horde invaders. Supply caravans from the Barrens had been routinely falling victim to the ancient protectors and spirits of the forest itself, who the Horde had angered through their campaign of death and destruction.

Word had reached the Nightblades of a ritual being performed by the Horde deep in Ashenvale, one that would spare them from the forest’s wrath by forcing the spirits to submit – and the anguished cries of those spirits could be felt all the way in Darkshore.

The Nightblades flew out on hippogryphs, hidden by the shadows and leaves of the forest canopy as they pierced the raging warfront at the wisp wall, following the cries of the spirits toward a druidic grove near the border of Ashenvale and the Barrens. Landing a distance away, the kaldorei could immediately feel that something was… wrong. That the darkness of the forest was deeper, and that the shadows that should have been places of safety now gave off a sense of dread. The familiarity of a homeland they had been bonded to for an eternity felt somehow stripped away. Was this a glimpse of what Ashenvale might become, if left to the Horde?

After a quiet walk through the silent devastation of a recent battlefield and an encounter with maddened, suffering wildlife, the Nightblades found that this sense of wrongness was more than a mere feeling in the air. They came upon a group of Darkspear trolls performing a ritual dance around a bubbling cauldron that filled the air with a shadowy mist, and as the Kaldorei sprang their ambush, they found that fate seemed against them. Their agility and senses seemed to fail them at inopportune moments – the spells of even experienced priestesses would fizzle away unexplainably, and attacks that on any other night would have been certain, deadly strikes would be easily deflected or avoided by the trolls. Even when it came to defending themselves the Nightblades found their movements sluggish, falling victim to clumsy trollish attacks that should have been simple to elude.

Despite the unnatural infelicity, the Nightblades triumphed against the troll witch doctors and their guards and turned their attention to the cauldron. Shadowy energy coiled around it, and something seemed to faintly glimmer within the murky black liquid within. As Sinrall attempted to cleanse the magic, the true nature of the ritual was made clear. The cauldron bubbled violently and then shattered, releasing a score of wisps that had been trapped inside. Chiming in distress, they rushed away into the forest, and as they did, the strange, permeating sense of dread seemed to abate slightly.

The Horde’s ritual was afflicting all of the forest’s ancient protectors – and that included the Kaldorei themselves. And though this cauldron had evidently been only a part of a greater ritual, destroying it had lessened the effects – and further, the spirits released from their confinement seemed to have granted some slight boon to the Kaldorei – a presence that urged them onward against the madness gripping Ashenvale.

The Nightblades were reinvigorated, and followed the drumming toward the nearby druidic grove. There, they found the true heart of the Horde’s ritual – two more similar cauldrons surrounded by yet more trolls, shadowy magic emanating from each that constricted around an ancient protector at the grove’s heart, sapping its life and spirit. Before the ancient stood a female witch-doctor wearing a painted kaldorei skull as a mask, co-ordinating the ritual, and at each side of her, shamans hammering at primitive drums.

Enraged by the sight of such desecration, the Kaldorei wasted no time springing another ambush. Sinrall threw himself against the witch doctor as a distraction, while the rest of the Nightblades split into two groups, each assaulting one of the cauldrons. Though the dark ritual still affected the kaldorei, turning Seilenna’s arrows and slowing Kathene’s advance, the blessing of the ancients seemed to have its own effect, the trolls unable to harm Sinrall despite having the acolyte surrounded.

As the battle in the grove raged, Ialluen focused her moonlight on another of the cauldrons, shattering it and releasing more imprisoned wisps. The Horde’s ritual was weakened further, and the spirits of Ashenvale lent their strength to the Nightblades, the tides turning in their favor as more trolls fell before them, felled by Syrune’s arrows and Thindis’s vengeful blades. Ialluen soon turned her prayers on the third cauldron as well, and with it broken, the last of the Horde’s curse burned away, the air of the forest returning to normal – and the fury of the spirits descending upon the few trolls that remained, the only fear and dread now coming from the defilers themselves.

The witch-doctor – who had spent the battle entangled with Sinrall, unable to pierce his divine barrier – soon found the full force of the Nightblades against her. Staggered by arrows and blades and unmasked by Sinrall’s fist, she fell to her knees, hissing that no matter what happened here, Ashenvale would forever belong to the Horde. Sinrall claimed her life, choosing to grand her as merciful an end as possible in spite of the desecration she had wrought on the forest.

The ritual had ended at last, and the ancient was free – but even though a victory had been won here, the Horde still had dominance over Ashenvale, and the war raged on in Darkshore. The sentinels had no means of bringing the ancient to safety, but the great spirit chose to stride out into the forest against the defilers once more, offering some last words of wisdom to his kaldorei deliverers – to endure, and to always remain true to Kalimdor no matter the pain inflicted.

The Nightblades returned to their hippogryphs to depart for Darkshore before the Horde could discover them – and could only hope that this effort would help to turn the tide, and perhaps show the Horde that even now, Ashenvale was not beyond the reach of the Kaldorei.

Part 3: Cleansing Corruption

Participants: Tinwëtar, Melaniel, Kathene, Ialluen, Hrothgeir (guest), Kuurat (guest), Kamaala (guest)

Mission report 3 – Lor’danel, Darkshore
Date: 12th of Quel’Asta, 2018

Summary: For the past few days the Horde had been making bomb raids over Ashenvale, with the kaldorei moonwells as their primary targets. Almost every single moonwell in Ashenvale had been completely obliterated by the force of the Horde’s onslaught. But, the waters were not necessarily completely gone. Some moonwells still had a few trickles of water inside of them and word had reached the Nightblades that the Horde sought to use these waters for their own nefarious purposes.

A group fo Dark Rangers, headed by a Forsaken Apothecary, had been spotted heading towards the Moonwell of Purity; seeking to foul and corrupt its waters through vile experiments. The Nightblades were infuriated by this and decided to head deep behind enemy lines to put a stop to these horrible practices. The dwarf Hrothgeir Stonebrow and the two Lightforged Draenei, Kuurat and Kamaala, decided to lend their aid to their elven friends’ cause.

As the small group made their way towards the Moonwell of Purity on their hippogryphs, they saw that parts of Ashenvale were burning. Groves and clearings that they may have known or wandered through were completely destroyed by the Horde warmachine. When they drew closer to their destination, the atmosphere around the Sentinels and their allies suddenly changed. The air seemed thicker and a vile stench seemed to ride it; growing stronger the closer they got to the Moonwell. The trees were not as vibrant in this section of the forest either, it was almost as if they had started to wither and waster away.

Upon landing it soon became clear that they were not alone in this section of the forest. A group of newly risen ghouls were crawling around aimlessly; watchdogs for the Forsaken party further inside the grove, no doubt. To avoid detection, the Nightblades and their allies smeared mud and dirt on their skin and clothing to disguise their scents. Priestess Moonglow also produced a ball of strong-smelling herbs that she tossed in a different direction, forcing the ghouls to crawl that way to investigate, and thus the Sentinels could sneak past.

Further into the forest, the group found the entrance to the Moonwell being guarded by a trio of Dark Rangers. There was no obvious way to sneak past the vigilant group and instead it was decided that Hrothgeir, Kuurat and Kamaala would act as a distraction while the Nightblades snuck up behind the Dark Rangers to assassinate them.

The distraction started off well enough; the draenei’s and the dwarf’s performance dumb and silly enough to keep the Dark Ranger’s attention on them for -almost- long enough. But at the last minute they noticed one of the Nightblades sneaking in the shadows and the Sentinels’ cover was blown. A fight ensues and the kaldorei, together with their allies, have to fight hard to brigh the three Dark Rangers down. In the end the three forsaken are slain, but not without a cost. One of them managed to hit Priestess Moonglow in the chest with one of her black arrows. Luckily the Priestess had enough presence of mind to begin to heal herself immediately, and thus saving herself from the clucthes of death, but it left her weak and drained afterwards.

Inside the grove the Sentinels and their allies are met with a devastating scene; where once the moonwell stood and gave life to the surrounding area was now only a burned crater, with a small portion of moonwell water left at the bottom. The proud arches that ones towered above it lay scattered and broken on the ground and the rocks that made up the rim had been reduced to mere pebbles. Close by the edge of the crater stood the Forsaken Apothecary; dripping various potions and fluids into the water, making it turn from a shining silver to a murky, sickly green colour. On either side of him the Sentinels could see cages that contained kaldorei corpses; their glassy eyes staring sightlessly up towards the sky and their skin having turned a dark grey and it looked almost rotten.

The Apothecary gloated about his various experiments and plans to the Sentinels before attempting to kill them. But the Apothecary never stood a chance. Fuelled by their rage and fury, the elves and their friends made short work on him and then turned their attention towards destroying the remaining ghouls.

While Hrothgeir Stonebrow, Kamaala, Kuurat, Huntress Wildstar and Captain Glaivestar slaughtered the ghouls, Priestess Moonglow and Commander Ravenmist did what they could to cleanse the small pool of moonwell water from the Forsaken’s taint. Once the waters had been cleansed they gathered it up into four vials; four vials of faint hope for the future. It was a somber and grief-stricken group that arrived back in Lor’danel that night. The Horde had clearly dealt the kaldorei a devastating blow that would be felt for a long time to come.

Part 4: Prisoners of War

Participants: Thendorion (DM), Tinwëtar, Kathene, Aariam, Ialluen, Shaadris, Nythiea, Syrune, Alylia, Sinrall, Aesa, Thalrevan

Mission report 4 – Lor’danel, Darkshore
Date: 17th of Quel’Asta, 2018

Summary: The Horde onslaught on Darkshore continued, the invaders steadily gaining ground – by now, even the ruins of Auberdine flew Horde banners. Though the situation looked dire indeed, the Nightblades continued to guide evacuees to the sanctuary of Teldrassil, when they were approached by a Silverwing sentinel scout with a report from Ashenvale.

The sentinel – one of the rare male kaldorei to serve – spoke of horrors in the forest. The Horde had taken many captives in their raids, and he had discovered many of those captives were being held in a captured druidic barrow den; a place of balance and calm, now repurposed into a grisly prison by the Horde.

The Nightblades set out on hippogryphs behind enemy lines once again to reach the den and rescue those being held there, flying over the raging battles south of the Wildbend River, and the silence of wartorn Ashenvale.

The entrance to the den was in a small forested canyon, and the Nightblades landed nearby to approach on foot. A diverse force of Horde invaders had occupied the den – a sin’dorei sentry was swiftly dispatched by Aariam, and an undead mage channeling warding spells was slain by Aesa and Syrune’s arrows – once they had been carried into position in the talons of Nythiea and Thalrevan. Outside the den, the Nightblades found that here, so far out of sight of the kaldorei defenders, the Horde was embracing its darkest sides. Surrounded by trolls, an altar held the body of a kaldorei prisoner, her heart plucked out in ritual sacrifice. Shrunken heads hung from nearby branches in mockery of those slain, and smoke from the nearby bonfire swirled, ominous hints of anguished faces visible in the rolling clouds.

The Nightblades descended fiercely on the trolls, orcs, forsaken and tauren that had occupied the canyon, but the Horde were no pushovers. The Nightblades had to make use of every weapon in their arsenal to overcome their varied opponents. Shaadris’s shield bore the brunt of a charging tauren, protecting Tinwetar and Alylia as the priestesses rained starshards and moonfire down on the shield-bearing forsaken deathguards, breaking their defenses and allowing the deadly blades and arrows of the sentinels through into the Horde ranks. Even Syrune’s hippogryph, Ahusaka descended to spread confusion through the occupiers, creating yet more opportunities for the sentinels to strike.

Now made clear that this den was being used for far worse than a simple prison, Commander Ravenmist led a small group of sentinels into the den while Huntress Wildstar led the rest to finish the last stubborn remains of the force outside. Inside the den, the sentinels discovered the kaldorei inside were being kept in horrific conditions – starved, tortured, and awaiting their turn to be sacrificed. More Horde guards fell to the sentinels’ vengeful fury, one beneath the claws of Thalrevan and Ialluen’s moonfire bolts, and one hapless orc finding himself choked to death by a burning whip of moonfire summoned by the Commander.

They had arrived too late to save the life of the first captive, but Ialluen was able to administer last rites and send the poor woman’s soul to rest. However, there were no moments of peace to be found in the blackened den, and the priestesses next found themselves ambushed by sin’dorei farstriders – though the strength of Elune proved more than a match for their arrows.

With the last of the Horde outside slain, the sentinels reunited in the depths of the den and began to release the prisoners they came across – realising as they did that many of the captives were no sentinels or druids, but civilians. Dead prisoners had even been left to rot in their shackles beside the living – here in this dark place, the Horde’s depravity had been truly unleashed.

The sentinels descended into the very heart of the den, where they found another trollish altar upon which was shackled a familiar face – Thendorion Northstar, a Nightblade recruit, defiantly struggling against his captors even as a shadowy dagger slowly descended for his heart – a troll witch doctor on the upper level channeling the sacrificial ritual to claim Thendorion’s soul for the loa.

With fury in their hearts, the Nightblades made their final assault on the chamber; Ialluen working to shield Thendorion, while the sentinels worked to destroy the totems that kept the ritual under a shadowy barrier. Even here, Horde warriors fought against the kaldorei, more orcs and even a pandaren fighting to keep them from their brother.

Kathene, overcome by fury, rushed for a totem only to be ambushed by the last of the Horde between the sentinels and the witch doctor – a sin’dorei demon huntress, with whom she became locked in a clash of glaives. Aesa, Aariam and Syrune’s blades and arrows cut down the Horde’s guards and shattered the remaining totems, fracturing the ritual and filling the chamber with blue light as the spirits of the fallen were suddenly unleashed, turning their fury on the witch doctor himself.

Ialluen’s barrier had spared Thendorion from the dagger, and with the ritual stalled, the chains holding the sentinel to the altar were easily broken by the young priestess. Spotting the witch doctor now vulnerable, Tinwetar called down a pillar of blinding moonfire to eradicate the loathsome troll as he was accosted by the spirits of those he had sent to their demise.

Dodging glaives and felfire, Kathene and Aariam together finished the formidable demon huntress, the battle ending with the sentinel huntress’s glaive buried in the demonic elf’s chest.

Only one of the enemies survived – a goblin, perhaps the wisest of all the Horde in the den, threw the cell keys to Aesa mid-battle in surrender before vanishing – though whether he was spared out of mercy or simply overlooked in the chaos in the den, who can say?

At long last, the barrow den was silent, and as the fury of the battle faded, the wisps of the fallen encircled the weary and wounded Nightblades before rushing upward through the tunnels of the desecrated den into the comfort of the night. Thendorion had been spared, though he was deathly weak after his ordeal, and the horrors he had been put through would surely not comfortably fade from his mind – and he was but one of the prisoners the Nightblades rescued and returned to Lor’danel. Less than a quarter of the kaldorei who had been held captive in the den had been saved in the end, and though the souls of the fallen were now safely with the Goddess, it was a small comfort to the sentinels who had delved deep into the true horror that the War of Thorns had delivered to Ashenvale.

Part 5: Saving Private Barrett

Participants: Tinwëtar, Melaniel, Kathene, Ialluen, Aariam, Sinrall, Alylia, Thendorion (guest), Ilyande (guest), Myriia (guest)

Mission report 5 – Lor’danel, Darkshore
Date: 22nd of Quel’Asta, 2018

Summary: After having saved one of their friends, the time came for the Nightblades to make another daring rescue deep behind enemy lines. Word had reached the Sentinels that a very agitated saber, that did not belong to any of the Darkshore Sentinels, was pacing in a restless manner in Lor’danel. The Nightblades went to investigate and quickly discovered that the saber was Frenzy; the companion of their human ally Private Myriia Barrett.

Frenzy had been wounded, but the big feline still seemed determined to make the Nightblades follow her regardless. After having healed the saber as much as she would allow, the Nightblades mounted their own sabers and began to follow their feline guide.

The wounded saber led the Sentinels past the wisp wall and straight into Ashenvale. The Sentinels became increasingly uneasy as they were fast approaching the ruins of Astranaar. Luckily Frenzy led them around the former settlement, rather than through it, and they managed to evade the Horde forces stationed there. Deeper and deeper into the forest they went until they eventually began to hear the unmistakable noises of battle and explosions.

The Nightblades rode closer and came to realise that the noises were coming from a small dale off the side of the road. Upon closer inspection the Sentinels could see that at the bottom of the dale was a cave and it was completely surrounded by Horde forces. Frenzy charged straight towards it, which made it clear that Myriia was, indeed, inside the cave and she was keeping the Horde at bay by cleverly concealed traps and explosives…but she would not be able to hold out indefinitely.

Having the element of surprise on their side, the Nightblades got themselves into position to launch a surprise attack upon the Horde assaulting the cave. The initial attack was successful and two of the Horde’s archers were quickly taken out, but now the enemy was aware of their presence and a hard fight ensued.

The most resilient of all the Horde’s fighters was the undead rogue, who would sneak around on the battlefield and try to ambush the Sentinels when they least expected it. He almost managed to kill Acolyte Winterstar by a well aimed dagger in her back, but luckily Commander Ravenmist had the favour of Elune on her side and managed to bring the dying Acolyte back to full health from the brink of death.

Eventually the Sentinels managed to vanquish their foes and Acolyte Winterstar got her revenge on the forsaken rogue by smiting him down with the Goddess’ holy fire. With the Horde dead the Nightblades could finally enter the cave and find Private Barrett within. Myriia seemed to be a bit worse for wear and the Sentinels quickly brought her back with them to Lor’danel for treatment and rest. Another successful mission accomplished.

Part 6: Battle of Wildbend River

Participants: Tinwëtar, Melaniel, Kathene, Aariam, Ialluen, Syrune, Seagazer, Naralon, Tiola, Thendorion, Sinrall, Seilenna, Illyande (guest), Duskshroud (guest)

Mission report 6 – Nightblade Camp, Darkshore
Date: 26th of Quel’Asta, 2018

Summary: The wisp wall had fallen, and the Horde warmachine had marched into Darkshore in full force. The defenders had stopped the army at Wildbend River, forcing the current conflict into a stalemate. The Nightblades were tasked with reinforcing the Western Flank of the line, relieving the unit that currently fought there, and hold on until a fresh unit could relieve the Nightblades eventually.

Huntress Kathene had officially been made Quartermaster minutes before the call to arms, and the Nightblades had a few minutes to prepare before heading to the Front lines at the river. Syrune and Ialluen took to the air, while the rest joined the fight either on saber or on foot. Thendorion quickly manned a nearby Glaivethrower and put it to good use.

With the river dividing the hostile forces, the Nightblades engaged with the Troll axe throwers, and soon arrows, moonfire, axes and glaives were exchanged across the bleeding waters. A small group of orc grunts attempted to use the combat as a diversion to cross the river, but they were quickly found and dispatched by the Nightblades.

While the troll unit was dealt with, the Dark Ranger who was in command of the Horde flank made her appearance. She called for bat riders to fly over and overwhelm the Nightblade forces. She aimed to use the bats to attack the Hippogryph riders while Forsaken rogues attacked from behind. But while the initial strike was surprising, the Nightblades recovered quickly. Ialluen and Syrune struck the bat riders out of the sky while Captain Melaniel, Seilenna, Sinrall and Aesa made sure the Forsaken would not rise again.

But it was not yet over. An orc unit, emboldened by the drums of a Kodo rider leaped across the river to charge at the Nightblade frontline, while a group of goblin sappers brought their explosives with the intention to cause even more havoc. The Nightblades quickly dispatched the Goblin sappers by igniting the barrel before they were ready. The Orcs, however, proved more difficult. While the grunts were eventually dispatched, the Kodo rider was far more resilient, and it took all of the Nightblades’ might until finally Tiola managed to land a killing blow.

Shortly after, the Dark Ranger herself joined the fray, accompanied by an Orc Blademaster. She shot her dark arrows and managed to shoot Syrune out of the sky, while the Blademaster and his mirror images confused the sentinels. Thankfully, Thendorion was quickly able to mark the real Blademaster due to past experience. Commander Ravenmist retreated to find Syrune and make sure she was not mortally wounded, while the remaining sentinels fought against the villainous pair.

The battle raged on, and the Dark Ranger was eventually pinned by Huntress Wildstar and killed, while the Blademaster was beheaded by Illyande Winterstar.

Wolves howled and the sound of siege engines were heard in the distance, but thankfully salvation for the Nightblades arrived in the form of a fresh Sentinel unit from Darnassus. Tired, bleeding, but at least alive, the Nightblades retreated to a nearby camp, prepared to fight again when their turn arrived once more.

Part 7: The Fall of Lor'danel

Participants: Tinwëtar, Melaniel, Kathene, Ialluen, Aariam, Alylia, Tiola, Syrune, Meirawyn, Thendorion, Elysar, Illyande, Duskshroud, Gustov (The Myrmidon), Ercia (The Myrmidon), Besiege (guest), Kraityn (The Myrmidon), Celendriel (The Myrmidon), Isalye (The Myrmidon), Ernya (The Myrmidon), Fylien (The Myrmidon), Auset (guest)

Mission report 7 – Onboard “The Myrmidon”
Date: 31st of Quel’Asta, 2018

Summary: With the Kaldorei navy on their way back to Darkshore, the Nightblades were tasked with remaining in reserve at Lor’danel until the order came to charge in and rout the Horde forces for good. Joined by the crew of the Myrmidon, the two forces were just waiting for the final order, preparing their gear for combat.

And then the war drums were heard, not from the south, but from the east. Wolfriders charged forward as the combined forces of the Nightblades and Myrmidon scrambled to stop them in their tracks before they could cross the bridge and reach the town proper. The battle of Lor’danel had begun. Roars of wolf and saber, clash of glaive and axe, rang across the town. Arrows flew and the song of the priestesses echoed in the elven ears and hearts.

The wolf riders threw their nets at the Hippogryph riders, but thankfully they missed. However, they did manage to snag the gnome Hops’ gyrocopter from the air and it came crashing down under the bridge. Sentinel Nightborne jumped after her to try and save her.

As the battle raged on, from the north a giant warmachine appeared, menacingly making its way into firing range upon the town. meanwhile, a Horde Zeppelin flew in from the south, paratrooping Kor’kron warriors into the town proper to hunt down the civilians.

The defending forces split up; one group to keep holding the bridge, the other to deal with the paratroopers and bring the civilians into safety. To keep the wolfriders at bay, Commander Ravenmist ordered the bridge to be destroyed. Aariam and Hops used what explosives they could find on the Horde corpses to build an improvised bomb they could use to blow up the bridge.Thendorion joined in to help them and offered guidance. The Vindicator Auset and the monk Fylien managed to create a barrier between the defenders and the hostile forces as the fuse was lit, buying the defenders time to retreat from the bridge as it blew up and thus forcing the Horde to look for another entry-point into the village.

Meanwhile the Horde Paratroopers were far from defeated, sowing fear and chaos in the centre of town, forcing the defenders to fight amongst the civilian population. The war machine from the north strode on, unstoppable, glimmering with the blue and gold Azerite that empowered it, and with a single shot it obliterated one of the buildings, scattering debris all over the field. The war drums continued as the Horde forces charged from the south, Trolls and Tauren reinforcing the Kor’kron paratroopers. Overwhelming defeat loomed near.

The Warmachine struck again, and again, obliterating a building each time it fired a shot. While the Nightblades, the Myrmidon, and the other defenders fought bravely, and the Horde suffered many losses, this was not a fight they could win. Reluctantly, the Nightblades called for a retreat. The Myrmidon mages opened a portal onto their ship and ushered through as many as they could. Lor’danel fell and Darkshore ended up in the clutches of the Horde.
But it was not the final blow. The final blow was far worse than anything the Night elves could ever have imagined.

As the defenders tried to recover on the ship, wounded and exhausted, the whistling of the Horde catapults were heard from the conquered shores. However, they were not aiming at the ship. In horror, the defenders watched as the Azerite empowered catapults slung fire and armageddon across the waters towards the World Tree, Teldrassil, engulfing the great city of Darnassus in flames. Tired and beaten, barely processing what they had just seen, they all knew…the War of the Thorns was lost, but far from over.

Part 8: The Burning of Teldrassil

Participants: Tinwëtar, Melaniel, Kathene, Aariam, Ialluen, Tiola, Elysar, Seagazer, Meirawyn, Ilyande, Thendorion, Alylia, Duskshroud, Nytheia, Markus (the Myrmidon), Ernya (The Myrmidon), Ercia (The Myrmidon), Narilaes (The Myrmidon), Talfven (The Myrmidon), Isalye (The Myrmidon), Tinnatha (The Myrmidon), Matthias (The Myrmidon), Celendriel (The Myrmidon), Henna (The Myrmidon), Auset (guest), Hops (guest)

Mission report 8 – Odyseus’ Landing, Azuremyst Isle
Date: 31st of Quel’Asta (2nd of Mennare), 2018

Summary: A few hours after they had boarded “The Myrmidon” the exhausted defenders reached the docks at Rut’theran Village and disembarked in a hurry. Ash, embers and burning debris rained down over them as they swiftly made their way up towards the portal that made reaching the crown of the mighty tree, and the Capital nestled in its boughs, so much easier. However, reaching the top would not be as easy this time.

The portal had powered down and stopped working. Its usual glowing pink mist was nowhere to be seen and despair gripped the hearts of the Nightblades and their allies. They -needed- to reach the top to help evacuate as many civilians as they could before it was too late! And if the portal was not working, the citizens of Darnassus might be trapped.

The group argued fiercely, trying to figure out some way to get the portal working again. Then Commander Ravenmist remembered that they still had the Lunar Sphere; the ancient kaldorei artifact that they had retrieved from Magistrix Duskveil in Suramar. It had the ability to amplify power and spells. Perhaps the spehere could help them amass the power they’d need to reopen the portal?

Realizing that they were running out of time, all the Priestesses and the druids currently with the group focused their powers and channeled them into the Lunar Sphere. Commander Ravenmist then directed the massive output of raw nature and lunar power towards the portal and with a blinding flash the portal flared to life once again.

As soon as the portal started working again a group of civilians stumbled through, grateful beyond belief to have escaped the inferno the captial had become. The Sentinels and their allies directed the refugees towards the docks and any fishing boats and other small crafts that might still remain intact before heading through the portal themselves. The Lunar Sphere remained hovering in the air behind them, glowing brighter and brighter the more people were sent through.

Upon finally stepping through the portal, the first thing that greeted the group was a furious inferno. The canopy far above the elves and their allies was alight with brighty burning flames, like a midsummer torch, and smoke and ashes made it hard to see what lay ahead. The once beautiful elven city was now a burning ruin.

Stuck with horror and grief the group scrambled to get their wits about them and divide themselves into rescue teams. Each group then headed off into different sections of the city, aiming to save as many civilians as they possibly could and lead them to the Temple so that they could go through the portal to Stormwind that was being opened within.

The Sentinels and their allies worked tirelessly, battling flames and smoke to reach trapped civilians and get them out. But eventually the heat of the inferno forced them to retreat as well. Buildings crumbled to ashes around them as they fled, burning logs and stones falling down and forcing them to choose different paths as they struggled to reach the Temple in time.

The bridge leading up to the Temple was on the verge of collapsing and it was with great effort that the druids managed to hold it for just long enough that the stragglers could cross before it crumbled into the waters below. Seconds after, with a cracking sound like thunder, the giant doors to the Temple of the Moon fell, effectively blocking the entrance and trapping the people that still remained within. The sound of the roaring flames was deafening, but the panicked screams of the civilians who did not make it out in time still managed to reach the group as they stood outside the crumbling Temple.

But then, above it all, cutting through the thunderous cacophony like the sharpest blade, was a soft ethereal voice singing. Priestess Astarri’s voice rose higher than the towering flames to offer hope and solace to those who were doomed to die in the inferno. The song eventually trailed off and afterwards there was just the crackling of embers and the whoosing sound of the all consuming flames.

It became increasingly clear that the Nightblades and their allies were also trapped and possibly doomed to die in the flames, but with a last burst of strength the Myrmidon Mages managed to open a portal onto the deck of the ship and the Nightblades and their allies managed to stumble, crawl and run through to safety.

The Myrmidon, with its ragtag band of grief-stricken survivors, set sail for Azuremyst Isle, leaving the still burning World Tree, and the destroyed heart of the Kaldorei people, behind.

“By the Moons’ glow, listen
Beside the river, listen
Holding those you love, listen
To the cries of the dying
To the whisper of the wind over the silent dead…”

Part 9: Grieving the Fallen

Participants: Tinwëtar, Melaniel, Kathene, Aariam, Ialluen, Seagazer, Meirawyn, Elysar, Ilyande, Duskshroud, Nytheia, Auset (guest)

Mission report 9 – Odyseus’ Landing, Azuremyst Isle
Date: 4th of Mennare, 2018

Summary: It was a weary and grieving group of elves that gathered to say their final farewells to the fallen after the Nightblades had reached the safety of Azuremyst Isle. Commander Ravenmist began by adorning everyone with the traditional campaign feather. This time it was from a Teldrassil owl and had been dyed in various shades of grey, with a firey tip and a small strip of purple near the dark teal base.
Red and gold for the flames, shades of grey for the ashes. Purple, for the kaldorei and dark teal, for the Nightblades.

After the feathers were handed out the Priestess raised her voice in a lament for Teldrassil, the lyrics and melody giving voice to the grief that lived in the hearts of the kaldorei. During the song, wisps arrived to hover in the air around the elves, listening and grieving alongside their once kin.

In purity, all things are born.
The eldest tree was once a tender sapling,
And even the stars were young.
O Lady Elune,
Weep tears so sweet
At the thought of the innocence
That once was ours.

The huntress’ horn has sounded!
To battle, it calls us now,
To the defense of all we hold dear:
This city,
This well of the moon,
This soft song of the evening breeze.
it calls us,
And we answer.

The first have fallen,
The vanguard of this battle,
Preceding us
To the realm of wisps and shadows.
We yet have blood to shed.
Theirs. Ours.
It is the price
For time to save our shining city
Cradled in a tree of dreams and starlight.

The jewel of our city
Lies within their craven grasp.
One last time, we shall stand.
One final act, we shall perform
By the light of the moons,
By the flash of our blades,
By the song of our arrows,
We shall triumph–
Or we shall fall.

The tree has fire for leaves
And skeletons for branches
And its roots feed only upon
The ashes of the dead.
The winds that sigh through it now are the cries of the dying
And this song,
This lament
For horrors unspeakable,
For cruelty unimaginable,
For this life and the beauty and the grace that once were
And shall never be again.

By the moons’ glow, listen.
Beside the river, listen.
Holding those you live, listen:
To the cries of the dying,
To the whisper of the wind over the silent dead,
To the song my broken heart will ever sing
Of the story of the Tree of the World
And the death of all the dreams
It once cradled in its mighty boughs.

Lastly, the Nightblades and their allies said farewell to their fallen by placing small candles into flower shaped paper lanterns. As the Priestess spoke the ritual words, the elves placed the lanterns upon the water and watched as the current swept the tiny glowing lights further and further out to sea, away from the shore. They offered up the names of their fallen, among them one of their own number: Seilenna Forestfeather.

The ceremony was concluded with another hymn; this one much darker and foreboding than the first one, promising death and vengeance.

Ask not the sun why she sets
Why she shrouds her light away
Or why she hides her glowing gaze
When night turns crimson gold to grey

For silent falls the guilty sun
As day to dark does turn
One simple truth she dare not speak:
Her light can only blind and burn

No mercy for the guilty
Bring down their lying sun
Blood so silver black by night
Upon their faces pale white

Cruel moon, bring the end
The dawn will never rise again

This marks the end of “The War of the Thorns” campaign.

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