[Story] Letter from the Ghostlands – Reply

(( The reply is scribbled hastily on the back side of the paper. ))

Hey sis,
Are you crazy? First of all, if I even knew where to find him (which I don’t), do you think he’s going to fall for it? He wasn’t made a Captain for nothing, he’s ruthless, he’s smart and he’s cunning, and being turned into a walking zombie hasn’t changed that. You of all people should know not to underestimate him. Second, do you think he’s going to be able to just ride into Stormwind? The guards are dense, but not that dense. You’ll have to get the sword somewhere else. Maybe you can sweet talk that paladin into taking you to see some waterfalls or some crap like that. I’ll see what I can do about tracking the zombie elf down.

PS. Another paladin, really? You really ought to widen your horizons a bit, seers are much more fun.

[Story] Letter from the Ghostlands

(( The paper is weathered and torn, having traveled in a roundabout way to reach its recipient. ))

Dear Vassanta,

Tonight I am writing to you from a place I never expected to see again, the forest called the “Ghostlands”. I guess I should explain before I go any further. The humans’ clues about the cursed sword led them here, to the ancient ruins of a troll temple city. I was surprised to see how many had come along on this foolish errand: the human who told me about it in the first place was there, two elves, a seer, and the paladin I spoke to you about. Such a strange collection of people, all seeking this sword!

It was a terrible, scary place. The ruins are hidden deep in the forest, covered with vines and the webs of giant spiders. Some other explorers had begun to go inside, and they set up a camp outside. That is where I am staying tonight, I was fortunate that they had a tent without anyone else in it. I can hear them outside around the fire, but I cannot understand what they are saying. Probably they speak of the curses.

The dark woods themselves seemed to watch us when we entered. An enormous door built of logs blocked our way in, but they hit a gong and it creaked open — so much for being subtle, I suppose! The trolls emerged from the bushes and trees, they were hidden so well that you could be standing right beside one and not even know it. Besides that, the temple itself was rigged with deadly traps, built of natural stone and wood so they blended seamlessly into the surroundings. I stepped on one, but the naaru kept me safe, for it was only a dummy meant to startle rather than a deadly pit or spears, though we saw those in other places! One trap caused a massive tree to fall across the trail, and it very nearly crushed us.

Though the ruins seemed abandoned at first, we soon learned that this was not the case. The spirits of forest animals, bound to the trolls, stirred to wake their masters as we made our way deeper inside. A great bear, an eagle, a lynx and a dragonhawk all tried to stop our progress, and I was certain that we would all be killed! I so wish that you could have been there, Vass, because I was so afraid of this strange forest and its ancient secrets. I don’t know very much of curses, but the ones here must be powerful indeed. It’s true that Saltion the paladin was with us, and that made me feel a bit better, but I am still not certain what to think of him. At times he seems attentive, but others he is stoic and distant, much like Father when he was preparing to go to battle.

At last we reached the blade, hidden deep in the temple’s heart. The human knelt before it and was about to pick it up, but then he noticed some words etched along its blade. He read them aloud, trying to translate, and the blade shivered and came to life, the words igniting some spark within it. Before it had been only a thing, but now it was something more. When the human spoke, it turned slowly to point to him, but then it wavered, moving toward Saltion. I shouted at him not to touch it, but he reached down! The other human put his hand on the blade for a moment, and fell down on the stone as if dead. In the chaos I did not notice that Saltion had taken it into his hand, in spite of all warnings. He claims that he feels no evil within it, but I simply cannot believe that. I worry that it may have seized onto his soul already, he seemed dazed and distant, and hastened to return to Stormwind before the others. This isn’t what was supposed to happen, not at all. I will ask the naaru for their help in this matter, for surely they would not wish anything to happen to him.

I hesitate to suggest this, but perhaps there is some way to lure the sin’dorei to the blade? Would he come if you asked him to? Consider it, at least, for the greater good.

Yours in the Light,

[Story/Art] Flora & Fauna of Azeroth, by Amurii