Part 1: Briefing
Mission Report 1 – Feathermoon Stronghold, Feralas
Date: 19th of Mennare, 2019
Summary: In Feathermoon Stronghold, the Nightblades gathered at the Moonwell to receive an urgent briefing, rushed into their hands by a courier of the Temple of Elune in Val’sharah.
Within the letter, rumours that had swirled about the Stronghold of late were confirmed – the Alliance and Horde fleets had clashed in the Great Sea, only to be ambushed by Azshara and her naga. With the power of the Tidestone of Golganneth, the naga parted the oceans, bringing the ships of both factions crashing to the ocean floor, where the survivors now fought a fierce battle against the naga under a tenuous truce.
But it was not to the battle against the naga that the Nightblades were to be sent. The Tidestone’s power had also uncovered the ruins of Zin-Aszhari, the ancient, lost capital of the Kaldorei Empire. The sisterhood believed that in a certain temple within the city, an ancient relic had been sealed away in the moments before the Sundering – the Moontide Vow, a gift from Elune said to bear power over the sea; able to calm rough waters or stir up a ferocious storm. With the temple now exposed, the chance was presented to return, open the seal, and recover the Moontide Vow before more unscrupulous hands found their way to it.
To that end, the Sisterhood had supplied a mage of Highborne birth – Iskara Rainshroud, formerly of Zin-Azshari herself, who would create the ritual to bring the cadre to the ruins of the city. The mage was abrupt, stern, and focused upon the task – after a few pleasantries, she left to begin her work, asking not to be disturbed unless it was an urgent matter.
The Sisterhood’s instructions were to recover the Moontide Vow before the two moons met in the sky, though they did not give a reason why. Sure enough, a meeting of the two moons was coming, a rare event seen only once in five centuries where the edges of the moons would touch in the heavens, the White Lady directly above the Blue Child. Oddly for such a rare celestial event, it was not one that the Kaldorei people celebrated or even seemed to take note of. Yet something about the thought stirred some long-forgotten memories in the elders among the Nightblades…
Part 2: Once in a Blue Moon
Mission Report 2 – Zin’Azshari Ruins, Nazjatar
Date: 20th of Mennare, 2019
Summary: The Highborne mage, Iskara Rainshroud, had worked tirelessly on the circle for three nights, scrutinising her own work to an almost obsessive degree. What she had created looked far more intricate than a “normal” circle of teleportation – though surely a spell that could traverse the shattered leylines to Zin-Azshari would not be a simple endeavour.
With their mounts and supplies brought to the circle, the Sentinels awaited Rainshroud to enact the ritual. Placing her ever-turning staff into the center of the circle, the spell came alive with shining arcane light. Yet despite all of her preparations, midway through the ritual the spell suddenly, catastrophically fractured, coming undone as the Nightblades were transported across the ancient arcane currents that encircle the world. The last thing to go through their minds was a flurry of activity from their moonstones, the runes upon them changing rapidly, before settling on a new, chilling rune – the peerless Star of Azshara, Light of Lights.
When the rush of arcane energies finally abated, the Nightblades found themselves separated into two groups, each in their own predicament.
One group found themselves submerged in a watery passage, their supplies and beasts drifting around them as they struggled to find a way out. Fortunately, a column of moonlight guided the way, and they were able to swim for safety – managing to rescue the unconscious Iskara from the water, too. The sight that awaited there was nothing short of alien – a crimson forest of gigantic coral formations, sea life skittering over them. In the distance in every direction, a towering, impossible wall of raging water, precariously held back by an unseen power. Though Iskara was not breathing, the priestesses managed to revive her before her life was lost, but she was still in a terrible state. Before long, the group realised the better part of the cadre was nowhere to be seen – and their moonstones were seemingly inert, no longer able to send messages or commands, or locate others.
The ruins of Zin-Azshari lay closeby – the group had arrived on the outskirts, and spotting strange predators overhead, decided to head further into the ruins, hoping they might find the missing sentinels there. Along the way, ghostly echoes of the past played upon their senses – hints of laughter, fragments of conversations carried upon the wind, darting lights that vanished when they went to investigate. Eventually, resting a moment in a tower, the priestesses attempted to sense the cause of the disruption on the moonstones – and though their efforts felt like dropping a stone into a bottomless ocean, they did briefly reawaken their stones, revealing a Serpent rune – the sign of distress – that drew them further into the city, toward a statue of the radiant Queen Azshara that stood over the ruined road.
There, beneath the gaze of the Light of Lights, the Nightblades were at last reunited. Ahead stretched the ruins of the city proper – along with dozens of spirits that dwelled within, seemingly still going through the motions of their lives as though the world were still intact. At the foot of the statue, one spirit approached them, welcoming them to the wondrous capital of the Kaldorei empire, and asking if they had come to attend the festivities. Before there was a chance to learn much more, there was a sudden change in the air – the sound of crashing water grew louder and louder, and as the phantom sound swept across the Nightblades, the spectral spirits’ bodies became water, and they were swept away by an invisible tide, vanishing from sight…
Uncertain what to make of it, but glad to be reunited, the Nightblades made camp in a ruined structure off to the side of the road, and began preparations to journey toward the broken temple that stood over the ruins in the distance.
Part 3: Antediluvian Memories
Mission Report 3 – Zin’Azshari Ruins, Nazjatar
Summary: Finding shelter within the ruins, the Nightblades soon came to learn the strange rhythm that ruled over this part of Zin-Azshari. As dusk fell each evening, heralded by lively music, the ghosts would return. They would spend each night preparing for their grand festival, only to be swept away by an unseen deluge as the night reached its zenith. Had they been doing this ever since the Sundering?
The ghosts seemed to see the Nightblades as any ordinary Kaldorei come to visit the wondrous capital, and the cadre soon learned that the festival was called the Tribute of the Two Moons, to commemorate the very same meeting of the two moons that would soon take place in the skies overhead – the night by which they were to retrieve the Moontide Vow from the temple. According to the spirits, this event was a wondrous night where the two moons in the heavens met in a gesture of humble supplication to Queen Azshara herself – but to some of the more ancient members of the cadre, including Iskara, this did not sound right. Was the meeting of the two moons not supposed to be some kind of fable about forgiveness?
Iskara was still in a poor state after her near-drowning, but could at least direct the cadre toward the temple they were searching for. Along the way, they found themselves ambushed by more violent ghosts, tormented, suffering spectres of the drowned Highborne who had spent an eternity in the lightless depths. After fending off an ambush by these spirits, the Nightblades finally reached their destination.
There was indeed a grand temple here, which had once surely rivalled any temple within the empire – but long ago, this temple to Elune had been rededicated to Azshara herself. Now, it lay surrounded by deep, languishing shadows. Directly across the remains of a sunken road, what had once been the temple’s ritual chamber had been the only part to remain a temple to the Goddess. According to Iskara, the Moontide Vow lay behind its sealed doors.
Part 4: Trespassers
Mission Report 4 – Temple of Elune, Nazjatar
Summary: Camped outside the temple doors, the Nightblades had ample time to examine them and try to learn the secret to their opening. An enchanted mechanism still held the doors firmly closed – the engravings upon the doors seemed to tell a story, but the details had been worn away by the long ages under the ocean depths. Two devices closeby seemed to hold the key – a pair of large, circular devices each fit to hold a lens had once projected moonlight onto the door, one for each moon. But examining them revealed that long ago, the lenses had been removed. By the looks of them, by melting the frame with fire.
Slowly, some of the mysteries behind their task began to fall into place. The reason that the doors had never been breached before was that moonlight had never been able to reach the temple through the depths. Surely the Sisterhood had known this. But then why was the night of the Tribute of the Two Moons to be the deadline? No explanation had ever been given.
Following a rumor overheard from one of the trapped spirits, the Nightblades went in search of the first of the lenses. Apparently, “not so long ago” to the spirits, a trio of mages had tampered with the doors to seal the temple, and absconded with the lenses. The spirit gave a vague direction for one of the fleeing mages – and this ghost of an ancient memory was all the Nightblades had to go on.
They soon discovered that they were not the only living souls intruding upon the sunken ruins, though. The Nightblades ran across a group of Shal’dorei – archaeologists, there to scour the sunken ruins for artifacts. Not willing to risk themselves with an open approach against the Shal’dorei mages, the Nightblades launched an ambush, quickly forcing the Shal’dorei to surrender.
It seemed these Shal’dorei had been in search of relics related to a certain figure from the city named Lady Skysong. In exchange for letting the archaeologists flee, the Nightblades took possession of a pair of artifacts they had excavated from the ruins. One was a perfectly circular blue lens, still bearing melted fragments of the sealing device upon its edge – the Lens of the Blue Child. The other, more curious, was an enchanted crystal, somehow attuned to the ancient past through the Shal’dorei’s magic, though they did not linger long enough to explain what it was for.
When the Nightblades returned to the sealed doors, the crystal’s purpose was revealed – it illuminated an ancient memory of the night the temple had been sealed. Three Kaldorei women – each dressed in finery fit for noble magi, but hooded as though for a clandestine purpose, tore the lenses from their sockets with arcane flames. Their voices carried through the crystal’s magic too. The leader was Lady Skysong, the one the Shal’dorei had been investigating, The other two were her apprentices, each of them given one of the stolen lenses to conceal. The first of the apprentices fled in the direction the first lens had been discovered, but the other, whose name was Yazmia, decided the lens was a gift from her lady, and vowed to take it home with her, heading in the direction of some nearby estates…
Part 5: A Looming Convergence
Mission Report 5 – Temple of Elune, Nazjatar
Summary: The Nightblades spent some more time camped beneath the doors, as the moons above slowly drew closer to their meeting. Only a few nights remained, and the second lens would have to be recovered swiftly. Iskara continued to press the sentinels on with their task – each night, she could be seen to linger at the doors, resting her hands on the ancient stone when she thought herself to be alone.
The crystal had revealed its hidden memory, but the sentinels found another clever use for it – the light refracted through it revealed the city as it used to appear before the Sundering, and they used this to see the inscriptions upon the weathered door as they had been so many years ago.
The engraving upon the temple doors told the story of the meeting of the two moons, an ancient inscription narrating a long-forgotten fable:
‘The Blue Child draws the ire of the White Lady.
The Blue Child leaves the heavens. The White Lady mourns. By her tears the oceans are stirred to fury.
To calm the goddess, the children search the land for the blue child. An age passes. The Blue Child returns seeking The White Lady’s forgiveness.
The two moons meet in the height of the heavens. Between two moons, over calm tides, a vow is made. Never shall we forget.’
It seemed that the Tribute of the Two Moons had once been something very different to the celebration of Azshara that the Highborne ghosts were preparing for. But many things about the mission were aligning in odd ways. The temple itself seemed dedicated to the meeting of the two moons that served as the mission’s deadline. Was it a coincidence? If the Sisterhood had known, why not mention it?
Part 6: The Wayward Apprentice
Mission Report 6 – Temple of Elune, Nazjatar
Summary: Regardless of the Nightblades’ questions, the second key, the Lens of the White Lady, would need to be recovered before there could be answers. Disguising themselves as the entourage of House Vyssahn, a Highborne family from afar with Telderan at the head, the Nightblades entered the Highborne Estates, navigating a web of gossip and noble intrigue to learn more of the situation and track down Yazmia’s residence.
They learned more of Lady Skysong, too – she was said to be an especially arrogant and cutthroat noble, and this entire Tribute of the Two Moons festival was her doing – all part of her ceaseless scheming to earn the Queen’s favour and a place on her court.
The cadre eventually found Yazmia’s home – and the ghost of Yazmia herself. Though she was the apprentice to Skysong, she proved remarkably easy to persuade, and gleefully guided the cadre to where the lens was hidden – only to be snatched by a set of giant, writhing tentacles as she walked too close to the wall of water surrounding the ruins. The Nightblades managed to rescue her, but not before the unseen creature had lashed at their minds with dark whispers, overlapping voices that spoke both truths and lies at once.
With the second lens in hand at last, the Nightblades had little more time to question Yazmia before the hour of the nightly drowning came, and she, like all of the spirits, was sent screaming to the unseen abyss. The Nightblades made their return through the silent, deathly estates, that only hours ago had been filled with Highborne gossip and jovial chatter…
There was a more pressing concern, too – it seemed that each night, at the hour the ghosts drowned, the sensation for the living was growing more intense. This time, a few of the Nightblades had found themselves coughing out seawater as it ended. The dark curse upon the sunken city was beginning to affect them…
Part 7: A Mote of Drowning Moonlight
Mission Report 7 – Temple of Elune, Nazjatar
Summary: With the two lenses in hand, the cadre had all that was needed to unseal the temple and retrieve the Moontide Vow from within. But by now they had many questions, and they were beginning to lose trust in Iskara, who had been growing more and more obsessed with opening the doors. As for Lady Skysong, she had sealed the temple long ago, she had arranged the Tribute of the Two Moons gala in honor of Azshara, she had gathered a huge collection of relics that had once belonged to the Sisterhood, and the Shal’dorei had been seeking her – her fate was certainly tied into the Nightblades’ mission too, but according to the spirits guarding her estate, she had been missing for some time…
With the deadline looming near, and the drowning growing worse each night, the Nightblades decided to delay their task no longer – they would use the lenses to open the seal, and find out what truth lay within the forgotten temple.
With both lenses back in their rightful place, and with a touch of lunar magic from the Nightblades’ priestesses, the light of the two moons shone through them and onto the weathered door, forming the shape of the meeting of the two moons that would soon come to pass. The doors, sealed for untold ages, began to open, and Iskara made her way to them – only for a dark storm to rapidly form overhead and block out the moonlight. A black javelin shot out from the darkness, impaling Iskara from behind, piercing through her chest and leaving her on the brink of death. The culprit revealed herself from behind the Nightblades – the apprentice of Lady Skysong, Yazmia. But Yazmia was no spirit, and never had been – she had survived the Sundering and the drowning of the city to become a Shirakess naga, a void witch, and had awaited this night for thousands of years – for it was not just the reunion of the two moons, but the reunion of the apprentice with the Mistress who had abandoned her.
Yazmia revealed that Iskara Rainshroud was, in truth, Lady Kairas Skysong, the very same woman who had sealed the temple to begin with.
“If you survive,” she said, “you can find out just what she locked away in there. And then we’ll see if you can forgive her…”
The Nightblades were able to fight Yazmia off, though she was a formidable enemy. As she retreated, the storm lifted, and the ancient enchantment of the seal unravelled. The doors would never be closed again. Iskara had survived, but only barely, and so the Nightblades ventured into the depths of the underground temple without guidance…
There, they encountered the spirit of a young Kaldorei with long, silver hair and a robe decorated with flowing ribbons, more fit for a dancer than an acolyte. She spoke with the Nightblades just long enough to introduce herself as Isha Skysong, the daughter of Lady Skysong – who, she said, was not welcome within the temple.
Even as Isha spoke, the drowning was beginning to consume her. Unlike the other spirits, she seemed to be aware of the curse taking her – and said that she had grown used to it by now.
When the drowning had passed, she was gone, and the temple lay silent and lifeless.
Part 8: Azure Truths and White Tears
Mission Report 8 – Temple of Elune, Nazjatar
Summary: As Iskara, or perhaps Skysong, lay recovering from her wounds, the Nightblades spent some time exploring the unsealed temple. There were no lost sacred relics to be found within, no cursed sources of dark magic. Nothing but the dripping of water in long-drowned corridors, a dead moonwell with only the dregs of seawater within, and in the deepest chamber of all, what looked to be a tiny, carefully tended garden of aquatic plant life.
Iskara woke before the ghosts returned, and finally, she admitted the truth to the Nightblades.
Long ago, she had been Lady Kairas Skysong, a Highborne noblewoman desperate to ascend in status. Seeing Azshara’s love of being worshipped, she set about using her wealth and cunning to acquire as much as she could from the Sisterhood of Elune – relics, sacred sites, even festivals – all to be rededicated to the Queen in an effort to earn a drop of her favour.
But her efforts had never borne fruit, and she had begun to suspect the cause was a certain blemish upon the name of House Skysong – her daughter, Isha, who had joined the Sisterhood against her mother’s wishes, making her the subject of ridicule among Highborne nobility.
“I could seize anything from the moon goddess, except for my own flesh and blood.”
Skysong knew that her daughter cherished a certain ceremony of her temple, dedicated to a meeting of the two moons in the sky. And so, Lady Skysong had devised the Tribute of the Two Moons – a grand gala that would drown out the Sisterhood’s ceremony, and make that night another offering to Azshara, a gesture as much for her own vexing daughter as it was for the Queen.
As fate would have it, the plans for the Tribute of the Two Moons had been interrupted by the War of the Ancients. Sheltered in Highborne society and staunchly loyal to Azshara, Skysong had remained blissfully unaware of the truth of the demonic invasion until close to the end, when she had finally by chance had a revelation. Understanding the terrible truth, she abandoned her loyalties and tried to seek out her daughter to escape from the city with her before the demons destroyed what remained of Highborne society.
She had summoned Isha home and explained what was happening, but the girl flatly refused to leave with her. Isha resented all that her mother had done, how her greed, spite and vanity had damaged the Sisterhood again and again. It was thanks to her mother that the temple she loved had been split in two, leaving only the former ritual chambers for the worship of the Goddess. If the end of the world was coming, then as a temple initiate, Isha belonged within the temple, helping to care for those seeking shelter there, not fleeing for her life.
Never used to being refused, Lady Skysong took matters into her own hands. In secret, she headed to the temple, set on stealing the two lenses that held the doors open and sealing the ritual chambers to bar Isha’s entry.
But unbeknownst to her, she had arrived too late. Isha was already inside the temple, and by the time Skysong realised what she had done, the end was already upon Zin-Azshari. With Isha entombed in the temple as the deluge washed over the city, Kairas escaped alone to wallow for ten thousand years in regret.
The depths of her past crimes drew a variety of reactions from the Nightblades, from shock to disgust to vehement anger.
Yet there was still more to the tale. Asked about the Moontide Vow, Skysong said that there was no relic. She had engineered the entire mission, manipulating both the Sisterhood and the Nightblades with a tale of a sacred artifact, all for a chance to open the doors and learn her daughter’s fate. Soon after, the strain of talking and the stirred emotions became too much for her to bear, and she fell back to unconsciousness.
With their entire mission revealed to be a lie, the Nightblades were at a loss – but they resolved to at least attempt to help the spirits trapped within the temple, and as dusk fell again, they began to explore.
Within the lower temple were many spirits – mostly Highborne taking shelter from the war they thought to be raging outside, and a handful of priestesses tending to them. There were even some familiar spirits to be found there – the spirit of Shyere’s mother, Syverine Vyssahn, and of Evenian Lunarglade, a Priestess ancestor of Maracyn. Perhaps it was fate that had guided them there.
At the aquatic garden, they again encountered the spirit of Isha.
Isha Skysong claimed to be the only one of the spirits who was aware of their fate, though she did not know why. She had tried many times to awaken the others, but it had never worked, and she had long ago resigned herself to her fate.
When the Nightblades explained the reason they had come to the sunken city, Isha revealed that there was a Moontide Vow after all. But it was not a relic; it was the name of the sacred ceremony to celebrate the meeting of the two moons, a ritual dance performed in the gardens above the temple. It was a night for past transgressions and injuries to be washed away, for Kaldorei to forgive one another as the White Lady had forgiven the Blue Moon so long ago. In the nights before the Sundering, Isha had been preparing to perform the dance herself, to help lift the spirits of those sheltering from the war – until the doors had sealed shut and entombed them all within the temple.
The Nightblades wondered if the Moontide Vow ceremony could help to release the trapped spirits from the curse upon the ruins, but Isha thought it impossible – the ritual could not be performed without the sacred waters in the moonwell at the temple’s heart, and those waters had been washed away with the flood. Worse still, the relic that had once been used to replenish the well, the Vessel of Restoration, had been seized by her mother, one of many prizes to be given out at the Tribute of the Two Moons gala.
Even if the waters had been there, the ritual called for music, and other dancers, nothing that could be provided by the spirits who were trapped within their loop. But when the Nightblades suggested they could provide their own abilities for the ceremony, their resolve seemed to spark a glimmer of hope in the young girl’s spirit.
Before long, the temple filled with panicked cries as the phantom deluge crashed through the halls, washing the spirits away as it had every night for ten thousand years. The temple was silent once more.
Only three nights remained until the moons would touch in the sky. If the Moontide Vow ceremony were not performed then, perhaps there would never be another chance.
Part 9: Last Breaths
Mission Report 9 – Temple of Elune, Nazjatar
Summary: With a new mission of their own devising to drive them, the Nightblades set out to Lady Skysong’s estate, with Lady Skysong herself in tow. Returning her to her home triggered a change within the spirits of the ruins – now that their missing hostess had at least been found, the Tribute of the Two Moons gala could finally begin. The air rippled, and suddenly the ruined estate was alive with activity, a crowd of Highborne from many different influential houses in attendance. A celebration ten thousand years in the making could at last begin in earnest.
The Vessel of Restoration, along with many other relics, were still housed within Skysong’s personal vault – which was still submerged behind the walls of water, where only the spirits could reach. With no means to reach the relic themselves, the cadre played along as House Vyssahn once again, entering the various contests of the opening night in an effort to win the Vessel as a prize.
Archery, Melee, Arcane Magic, Hippogryph Dressage, Saber Racing and Wine Tasting… House Vyssahn, against all odds, excelled in all. At the saber racing, another familiar face was found amongst the spirits – Lantara Bladeshadow, the ancestor to the cadre’s own Lantara. She was talented enough at riding to have been conscripted to race for one of the competing houses, though not quite enough to beat her living namesake. At the closing of the night, to a crowd of cheering Highborne guests, Lady Skysong herself awarded House Vyssahn with the Vessel of Restoration, slipping back into her role as the Highborne hostess out to win all the influence and power she could from the occasion.
But this too was interrupted by the unmoving curse of the drowning. When the cadre emerged, soaked to the bone and coughing up seawater, all of the song and life and laughter that had filled the ruins had been swept away. And had some of them seen something more in the abyssal depths? There had been a terrible, orange glow in the dark, the memory of an unfathomable evil ruling over the depths…
With the Vessel returned to the temple, conversation turned to Kairas’s regrets as she began to think on just how many souls she might have condemned, and the scale of her failures to her daughter. Kairas had not yet faced her daughter, and insisted she had not come to be forgiven, only to save Isha’s soul – but with piercing words, Telrenya convinced her that forgiveness was not her choice, but her daughter’s, from whom she had robbed so many choices already. Had she truly come all this way to withhold from her this final decision?
Humbled at last, Kairas asked Telariel to guide her to the garden that Isha had kept. Within the silent chamber, she decided that when next the spirits returned, she would be there to face her daughter, and whatever choice Isha would make.
Part 10: Prelude of Water
Mission Report 10 – Temple of Elune, Nazjatar
Summary: Whatever confrontation or conversation took place between estranged mother and daughter was not for the Nightblades to witness, but when Kairas emerged the next night, she seemed to have new purpose in her sorrowful golden eyes.
The cadre saw the same resolve in Isha’s eyes when they went to meet her, and there she told them a story that had been lost to time, the fable of the Reconciliation of the Two Moons. It was the tale that this temple had been constructed in honor of, that had been inscribed upon its sealed doors, and that had inspired the Moontide Vow ceremony.
Returning the Vessel of Restoration to its place at the edge of the drowned moonwell, the Nightblade priestesses and druids were able to restore its waters with prayer and moonlight, and the extinct moonwell reawakened. It seemed almost as though a breath of life had returned to the long-dead temple.
The cadre ventured out to the gardens above the underground temple, accompanied by Isha. With time short, the spirit tried to explain and demonstrate the dance as best she could, movements graceful and flowing like water. She would be the White Lady, but she would need a Blue Child, and stars to dance around them. Fortunately, there were those among the Nightblades who were up to the challenge.
Part 11: The Dance of the Drowned
Mission Report 11 – Feathermoon Stronghold, Feralas
Date: 31st of Mennare, 2019
Summary: There seemed to be a change in the air at the temple as the hour of the Reconciliation approached. Isha and Priestess Lunarglade began to gather the spirits and guide them up toward the gardens, while the Nightblades set out their plan of action.
The sentinels stood guard while a few of the Nightblades joined the ceremonial dance; Isha playing the role of the White Lady, Ialluen the Blue Child, and Maracyn, Telariel and Telrenya the stars that danced around them in the heavens. Absent any musicians, Shyere recruited the spirit of her mother, Syverine, to provide the song to accompany the ceremony.
When the moons at last touched in the sky, a gleam of light shone between them like a newborn star. With that, the ceremony began – but no sooner had it started, Telderan spotted a familiar face amongst the spectral crowd – Yazmia, who swiftly sprang her ambush.
A dreadful psychic scream rang out from the shadowed temple, freezing the thoughts of much of the cadre as a group of naga emerged from the wall of water, accompanied by Yazmia’s pet zoatroid. Chaos gripped the ruined gardens as the Nightblades fought to defend the ceremony – and the dancers continued to perform, the fleeting chance too precious to squander.
The Nightblades fought valiantly, bringing down the zoatroid in a burning heap and slaying the naga myrmidons. Yazmia was a devious opponent and struck several severe wounds as she made her way toward the dancers, but ultimately found herself impaled by Shyere’s spear. In a final attack, she sent a black javelin seething toward Isha – but this too was thwarted by a shield of moonlight at Maracyn’s fingertips.
With the battle over, the ceremony could be completed in peace, and the air was filled with sparkling droplets of moonwell water as the hearts of the trapped spirits reached out – and were answered. One by one, the spirits that had spent ten thousand years sealed in the drowned temple began to shimmer away in astral light, like dandelion seeds blown to the wind. From each, there rose a wisp, and together they became a starry river flowing up from the bottom of the sea into the sky.
The ceremony had brought a moment of revelation to the spirits, and there was time for some all-too-brief parting words between the living and their lost relatives – Syverine Vyssahn, Evenian Lunarglade, Lantara Bladeshadow, and Isha Skysong – before they too joined the stream of wisps reaching out to the sky. Where those wisps would journey to after they had made their long climb to the top of the walls of water, only the Goddess knew.
The Temple of Reconciliation lay silent now, and it would forever more. The fable of the moons meeting, the dance of the Moontide Vow, and the lives of all the Kaldorei who had sheltered from the end of the world there – from that night on, all of those lost memories would be entrusted to the Nightblades to carry.
But while they had helped guide some souls to the embrace of the Goddess, the city still teemed with spirits who would go on living out their final nights again and again. Looking out at the expanse of ruins around them – and knowing that yet more ruins and souls lay beyond the walls of water, beyond sight and reach – perhaps all of this effort had been merely a drop in the ocean.
Watching her daughter’s spirit vanish away into the stars above, Kairas was wracked with sorrow and grief. The task she had set in motion had finally concluded, though thanks to the Nightblades’ influence, perhaps she had found something she had not expected on her journey to save Isha’s soul. Accepting the comfort some offered to her, Kairas gathered herself long enough to weave the spell that would carry the Nightblades back to Feathermoon.
The dance of the drowned would continue throughout the ruins of Zin-Aszhari, perhaps until the end of time. But for the souls the Nightblades had freed, a long-denied peace was at last theirs to enjoy.
Kairas Skysong submitted herself to the Sisterhood after the cadre’s return to Kalimdor. She revealed that in the plan she had envisioned, whether Isha’s soul had been freed or not, she would take her own life by walking into the walls of water around Zin-Azshari – but having been forced by the Nightblades to actually confront her daughter and submit herself to fate rather than manipulating it, she had not been able to go through with her plan.
Over the next few nights, the truth of what had happened was pieced together. Kairas, in her exile, had learned of Zin-Azshari being exposed and been troubled by nightmares of Isha’s fate. It had left her obsessed with the need to open the seal and release the daughter she had entombed there. She knew only those with a connection to the Goddess would be able to open the seal and possibly help the souls trapped within, so she set about doing what she had always done as a Highborne determined to rise in status – manipulating those around her. She planted rumors of a relic that the Sisterhood would have to follow up on without much time to scrutinize the details, and positioned herself as a convenient mage able to bring their agents there as quickly and directly as possible. The rest would fall into place naturally, or so she hoped – she had not counted on Yazmia awaiting her with a grudge to settle after being abandoned by her beloved mentor to drown.
As for the Reconciliation of the Two Moons, it had once been a cherished fable, but the association with Azshara that Kairas had placed upon it had led to it being discarded after the Sundering, along with many other parts of Kaldorei culture. In their haste to rid themselves of the Highborne’s legacy, the Kaldorei had forgotten the true meaning of the meeting of the moons and their tale of reconciliation and forgiveness, until now.
The whole affair left the Sisterhood in a difficult position. Kairas had been a vindictive, spiteful enemy of the Sisterhood in the past, profaning all that was sacred without a care, just to sate her lust for power and status. She had lied and manipulated, placing the Nightblades in great danger under false pretenses. Perhaps there was an ounce of nobility in her goal of freeing her daughter’s soul, but was it too little too late? And what of the other souls she had condemned to drown in the temple? Had she had any care for them?
And yet whatever her motivations, had she not acted as she did, perhaps none of the souls lost in the temple would ever have been freed. The window of opportunity to perform the ritual had been so narrow, and the sealed temple had been the least of anyone’s worries until Kairas had planted the rumors of a relic there. Unthinkable as it seemed… could the hand of the Goddess have been upon Kairas Skysong’s shoulder?
The Sisterhood’s representative put the issue to the Nightblades, asking for their input as the ones who had been close to Skysong and witnessed her firsthand. Thanks in large part to a letter from Maracyn, the Sisterhood’s verdict was ultimately to allow Kairas Skysong a chance to right her wrongs – abandoning all former titles, and pledging to live her life in service to her people and the Goddess. It was an offer of mercy that Kairas accepted, and from that night on, Kairas Skysong would live a life of atonement, in the hopes of one day earning a second reunion with her lost daughter.
This marks the end of the “Dance of the Drowned” campaign.