Act two scene one
The Samarindian Forest is simply not the kind of forest idealized in poetry. When it was day, the forest was too humid with too many insects buzzing around. When it was dark, it was freezing cold and water condensed on the leaves and dripped on anyone taking shelter. One does not simply walk into a forest like this.
Plop. Plop. Plop. Magina regretted not carrying a tent. He rested under a strangely shaped tree, one that looked like giant ferns grew out from an oak tree and began counting the top spots for self-cultivation recommended by druids.
Father might insist that any place is a quiet place for a druid to inhabit, but there were one thousand four hundred and fifty six recommended places for self-cultivation in Kamlindor alone from the popular best-selling scrolls penned by Lestrac the Keeper of the Grove. His brother was not in any of the one thousand four hundred and fifty six recommended places for self-cultivation.
Yet, it was this forest that Furion sent Terrorblade to. Terrorblade was relieved of his duties as a Captain of the Sentinels and sent to this forest to acquire druidic magic.
Learn the truth, his own father's words.
Magina felt that it was stupid and took too long. Arcane magicks were better. Faster and easier to mold.
Magina followed the magical tracker he conjured up just to find his brother. Blood calls out to blood. With a vial of his blood, he sprinkled it on an enchanted compass and followed. Where the needle pointed was where his brother was.
This is magic. Nothing complicated. No risk of fickle weather and no pandering to obstinate weather. Magina read a co-paper written by Lestrac and Ezalor on the different methods of spellcrafting, they took multiple days of debating over the advantages of their own methods and agreed to disagree. Complete hogwash and two volumes of wasted paper just to say that spellcrafting is dependant on the individual.
When Magina rested enough, he got up and began following the path that his compass was guiding.
This is problematic. He didn't think it through very well
His spellwork was impeccable. But Magina didn't think of enchanting his artifact to be able to detect how far he was from his brother. They could be either as close as one tree away or a continent away.
The path led through too many bushes and overgrowth which he had to hack through to find his brother. Hack and bash for four days. Magina found his brother on the fifth morning.
Terrorblade was sitting on the stump of a tree in a meditative stance, dressed in ridiculous clothes made from leaves. His face was deeply engraved with intense concentration or it could be a symptom of constipation.
“My brother has gone loopy since I left him,” Magina thought to himself privately, he cleared his throat.
“Ahem, brother, I do not wish to interrupt your quest for the truth... however duty calls. We are at war again.”
Instantly, the contracted expression sprang open into a hungry look, “Again? Those treacherous - then I must return to my post as Captain of the Sentinels.”
Magina tried to say something but something held him back. His brother turned to him, all druidic demeanour abandoned. His eyes hungered for information.
“What happened to the truce?” He quizzed Magina.
“I am afraid that it is a long story – We will speak while we walk. Do you remember our correspondence?” Magina quizzed his brother.
Terrorblade shook his head.
"I remember I sent you letters by a flying courier," Magina furrowed his brow.
Magina watched his sibling fish out a sheaf of unopened letters from the hollow of a tree, the wax was sealed tight.
“Brother! Flying Couriers are not cheap!”
“What? A druidic life is meant to cut away all ties from a messy world.”
“Those letters should tell you the whole story. I came here to tell you that you are needed and to pass you a scroll of town portal. Father felt that a messenger should be sent.”
“Then let him send a messenger. Or mail me one via a flying courier”
“I came here to send this message is because we are brothers and I thought I should personally see how you are,” Magina said irately.
“You talk too much like a girl. Did your new fling with Shendelzare teach you that?” Terrorblade ribbed his brother. Magina's face darkened.
The elder twin teased his brother gleefully, "No? Are you so irritated because she left you for another man?" Terrorblade threw back his head and laughed.
Magina gave his twin a rude gesture. Magina pulled away from his brother and went straight for a clump of trees. He sliced his hand through the air and the air fractured, creating a gap
in reality, no it was no gap, Terrorblade mentally corrected himself, but Magina's legendary Blink technique.
Terrorblade watched his brother disappear in a blink.
"Why so serious?" Terrorblade protested to thin air.
He was mildly irritated at being a toad in the well; cut off from the world. He ripped open the most yellowed letter and began perusing them.
It had been a month since you left the Sentinels on your quest for druidic knowledge.
I have not been idle. We had begun crackdowns on Scourge infiltrations thanks to knowledge of that spy who goes by the alias Fletcher. He is a known terror notorious for murder and grave robbery crimes. Warden Mortred and Shendelzare were the ones who brought him in and we are questioning him with regards to the plans of the Scourge.
You have to finish up your quest soon. We have an exciting newcomer, She is known as Luna the Moon Rider. She has shown her capabilities and Father is pleased with her. She has the backing of many of the Moon Riders and they would be a good addition to our forces. She is currently filling in for you. If she does her job any better, you might lose your position.
Ha! I know you wish to cross swords with any skilled warrior. I daresay she is quite skilled, though not as formidable as Warden Mortred.
I have endeared myself to the Silkwood family. Though both Shendelzare and Warden Mortred were orphaned at birth, they have formed some kind of a
family between themselves.
Mortred is surprisingly quite friendly outside of her formal capacity. Sadly Shendelzare is often busy with leading the Wardens, so I would often visit her manor to find that her sister Mortred is there, if not preparing for some top secret mission, then she would be preparing for the next top secret mission.
Hah! Mortred even declared me to be the best of nobles. Furthermore she announced that if you had even half my qualities, she'll gladly wed you on the spot. For there are few warriors who have manners.
In fact, the good news is that I have promised myself to Shendelzare. To be hers forever. So you can have her sister if you clean up your act.
So brother, you should get yourself some manners and some skill with magic and you'll get a woman for a wife instead of two moonblades. The thrill your sword brings you does not compare to the thrill of a lady's touch.
“Bah! If I had half your effeminately perverted love for magic, I won't be a warrior.” Terrorblade retorted under his breath.
As for myself and Shendelzare...
The tales of his courtship grew too nauseatingly long-winded that Terrorblade opened another letter instead. It was from an old advisor of his. Terrorblade asked him to keep him informed about world events when he was gone. But he got too caught up with refining his newly found talent that he forgot about them. With keen interest, Terrorblade began poring over the reports. There were only grim news.
Rumours of an undead abomination was wandering around the borders, the cries of its victims being butchered, dismembered and horribly defiled had struck fear in the local populace. So much so that they named the horror The Butcher
The most famed lieutenants of the Scourge were rumoured to be marshalling foul beings into their service. The most dreaded Lich
, Kel'Thuzad and the shadowy Nerubian Assassin
, Anub'arak were spotted by spies to be very active in gathering armies.
To add on to their troubles, a being of the night has been inflicting heavy damage by decimating the night watches. No one could see it coming. When it did, too many valiant soldiers fell victim to it. It was attacking Origrimmar for one week and the other at Theramore and next it attacked Darnassus. This nocturnal assassin was terrorizing patrols that took place at night.
Some superstitious folk chalked it up to vampires. But Sentinel Intelligence
called it the Night Stalker
and put it on its Dangerous Beings list, on par with the demons from the Burning Legion. Demon Hunters had to be sent out to hunt this being down.
Finding a large stump upon which to sit, Terrorblade thought through all his wonderful plans.
His own father's recognition of his talents was a big coup for him. Being sent for training had given him time to seriously consider what he was hiding in his mind for thirteen seasons. He had always been disadvantaged when compared to his brother. No matter how hard the elder Stormrage trained, no matter how he honed his image-conjuring skills, Terrorblade could never defeat his own brother in a single duel. Both he and his brother loved the thrill of battle since their youth but neither would acknowledge the other as his superior.
Magina always won because he had magical ability and the ability to burn away magic. Images that he summoned were easily dissolved by such magic.
Even if his twin didn't know it, Terrorblade was secretly tracking their kills in battle. He could still remember the day when his men honoured him as the Terrorblade, so much so that his own name was soon forgotten. He was a hero, slaying so many of the dreaded enemies so easily. He was proud of himself that day. Very happy that his strenous training paid off with the destruction of the enemy.
That was until Magina's petition to serve as a sorcerer was approved. Magina's performance in battle was so spectacular that it forced Furion to reconsider the fact that the arcane artes can be as powerful an asset as the druidic artes. He was a one man army. The undead horde cannot hold up against Magina who seemed to be beyond a magic-user. He seemed to be more like a fountain of pure magic. As powerful as Furion himself.
Terrorblade trained longer and harder, in order to outdo his brother. But flesh has limits that magic does not. Terrorbalde thought to himself bitterly.
Terrorblade could still remember vividly the welcome Darnassus threw for them upon their return.
"Hurrah! Hurrah! Long live our heroes! Terrorblade has slain his thousands! Magina has slain his ten thousands!"
Terrorblade felt his stomach knotted tightly that day as he put on a smile to please the crowd. He was the older brother and he should be the stronger one.
Now with his newfound talent in controlling life energies, he had
the power to surpass his brother.
Terrorblade could show his people that he can be their mightiest hero and general. He would single-handedly destroy all the mighty generals of the Scourge. He would deliver his people. He would be their saviour
Deep down something nagged him. Of all the druidic arts, he seemed way better at honing his movement of life energies than his abiliy to communicate with the elements or with the trees. It somewhat disappointed him that he was not going to be a super-druid his father was.
He brushed these doubts aside. He will eventually surpass his father too. Even Furion recognized his power. That had to count for something.
"Yes...I will slay our enemies of our people and they would know that I am the much better Stormrage." His eyes thirsting for praise.
Images of vast crowds praising him gave him a drunken thrill; praising him more than his brother, that was truly delightful. To add on to that Magina, had to grudgingly acknowledge that the elder Stormrage was the superior fighter.
The elf clapped his palms together, shaking the vision out of his head.
"There should be no jealousy among brothers... So cut this foolishness out!" he muttered to himself.
Terrorblade picked up another letter to read.
Current events has been a most disturbing one for myself and everyone in particular. I will narrate to the best of my ability.
I woke up to a normal May morning in my own bed; my entire room was littered with crumpled sonnets I was trying to write to praise my beloved. I heard the turtledoves singing outside and I swore I heard, a hint of a crow's cry- Surely it must be a bad omen.
The elder Stormrage groaned, “Brother, you are tedious!”
My thoughts weighed with thoughts of my beloved-
“I hate lovebirds,” Magina's brother growled.
Father came into my room suddenly, he had that look of constant worry on his face. The recent events must have been on his mind, especially with our forces weary from going on multiple skirmishes. I tried to hide the sonnets, but he already saw them.
“Who are these addressed to?” He asked me. He still does not know of me and Shendelzare. You know how hard it is to deceive him. He had already suspected that I was in love but with whom he knew not.
After all we hid many secrets from him as children. Remember the time we blew up a tree? I thought that Father being an Archdruid would find out. But he didn't. Surprising.
“I wrote them to Warden Silkwood,” I answered
There was this sudden excitement in his eyes, like breaking dawn.
“Are you engaged to be married?” Father asked me directly.
“Ah-ah-Yes...” I admitted. Marriage was a little fast.
“This is excellent news to ponder over. Excellent news indeed,” Father mumbled to himself as he left for work.
It was a few weeks of normalcy until Father summoned me to the library. After we were seated and some small chatter, he finally broached to me what was on his mind.
“Son, you know that our forces are being stretched too thinly from multiple skirmishes to various disturbances at our borders.”
“We stand to gain from increased support from other sources than the Sentinels. I do know that the Wardens are quite partial towards us. In fact leaders on both sides are mulling over the idea of a possible integration of both forces. This would be much to our advantage as it can free up some of our soldiers.”
I just nodded some more.
“Son, this integration has been dragging at its heels for quite some time. I believe a certain union between a Warden Silkwood and a certain Stormrage could hasten the process of a merger.”
Needless to say I was speechless.
“I think you could get ready for a wedding,” Father beamed.
I thought Father was jesting.
A month later, while I was giving a lecture to trainees on the Artes of Magic, a messenger barged into my class and handed me a
I opened it and read:
Come down to the glens outside Ashenvale Forest.
Warden Mortred Silkwood wants to discuss about the marriage.
It was written briefly and with brief consideration, I dropped everything I had.
When I arrived at the glens of Ashenvale Forest, a stag sent by Father led me to a large Hunter's Hall. The whole place was reserved just for the purpose of this engagement. You have never seen the inside of a Hunter's Hall I presume. It was a hall with many pillars and long tables used for our soldiers' messing and for them to do an occasional trade or two.
I saw Father seated down at one side of a large oaken table and on the other, Warden Mortred.
Warden Mortred wore an inscrutable look on her face, like she was trying to figure out Father, while Father himself looked entirely too pleased with things
that were happening.
I took a seat at the left side of Father. Watching intently what was happening. Warden Mortred was eyeing me with that strange look. I somehow could just 'See' it, that she doubted. The airs about her I interpreted to be severely uncertain about a certain issue.
An issue between unthinkable bliss or a cruel jest. Now that I think back about it.
Father cleared his throat. “I have already quoted the bride price and Warden Mortred Silkwood accepted it. Name the day and you shall be wed, my son.”
Foolish joy overtook me. The gullible me was taken in my fate's cruel twist. I leapt for joy.
“Yes!” I cried in joy. I swear I believed that I was to be wed with Shendelzare.
What dismal fortune seized me that day! In that cursed moment, I heard a sob break out and I saw Shendelzare break out from behind the pillar she was hiding and ran out of the Hall, her tears falling like a broken string of pearls.
I also saw that Warden Mortred's face was struck with wonder and disbelief.
I immediately turned on Father. Who-was-still-smiling!
“I am really glad that you have shown a liking for Warden Mortred Silkwood. Both sisters would scarcely believe me until I produced one of the crumpled
sonnets you littered on the floor. The one you wrote in her honour,” Father declared pompously.
I was at a loss for words.
Warden Mortred's face was a mask of composure. Yet I could read in the air she carries about her, that she was happily confused. She reached out a hand to grasp my own. I did not take it.
Instead, I answered in agony, “No!” I was crumbling on the inside.
Father replied, his composure cracked from uncertainty, “No? Son. You are to marry Warden Mortred Silkwood.”
“NO! I never wanted to marry her! I won't marry her!”
Father thundered, “Fool! What madness is this? You are spoiling the potential merger between the Sentinels and the Wardens with your tantrums! One moment you wish to marry and now you say no? Shall I beat you with a cane you naughty rascal!”
“I WON'T! I DON'T EVEN LIKE HER!” I yelled back.
I heard a tensed and angry voice.
“You heartless creep... How dare you play with our feelings... How dare you Magina Stormrage ... How dare you hurt my little sister...”
There was murder in Warden Mortred's eyes.
“I-I” I stammered. The truth of the situation came to me like a lightning bolt, razing the ground it struck. How blind was I?
Warden Mortred gave a cry and I felt intense pain. I stared at my thigh, it was bleeding. That crazy woman stabbed me! Mortred's hands ran red with my blood.
“How could you...” Her eyes glittered in pain. “be so cruel. Trick me into thinking that you loved me.“
I croaked, “I'm sorry. I only loved you as a sister. ”
Mortred cursed me.
“Warden, Warden. My young one is quite foolish, not yet used to the customs of the world and the necessities that leaders need to make. Please stop this. The union can still go on as planned. The elder one might be more-” Father tried cajoling her.
“What! Father!” Terrorblade was outraged.
Warden Mortred made an angry choking noise. She marched up to me and slapped me hard. Twice. She immediately left the Hall, calling for her sister to return.
I ran after Shendelzare.
“Ah my goddess,” the elder Stormrage gaped like a dim-wit.
Oh my goddess. What happened? Even Father was quite surprised at the way things went. I explained to him what actually was going on. He was not amused. He thundered that family should not keep secrets from each other.
I remember that Father gazed at me with his horns bristling.
“You should have went meditating with your brother. At least he obeys the proper customs that I have laid down thousands of years ago. You and your reckless pursuit of the arcane artes! Didn't you know how much I grieved over my brother's magical addiction? How sad it was to know his eventual fall? Do you really want to end up like him?” He ranted.
Thank the goddess I was able to explain this to Shendelzare. Thank the goddess that she understood and forgave me. What would I do if she hated me?
Now, as I write this, Father appears to be vexed over how to appropriately handle the gossip that would spread throughout the whole of Darnassus. The Wardens won't overlook this slight to their head warden. They are ridiculous proud of being a respectable and independent military force.
Mortred is violently opposed to me courting her sister now. I worry about that a lot. But I love Shendelzare too much to let this stand in our way. I'll do all I can to mend bridges.
“Just marry the both of them.“ Magina's brother proposed idly.
It was as if Magina never sent the letter, and continued to write where he left off.
A terrible thing had happened since that engagement. With neither sister even willing to be near me, it took me several weeks later to learn that the
criminal known as the Fletcher was broken out from the deepest dungeons.
They must have the help of the Scourge. Those abominations defiled the Wardens guarding them and slew them afterwards, following which, with their twisted hearts and evil magicks, they raised our fallen into their vile undead.
Shendelzare, thank the gods, was not around when it happened. The moment she heard of such this prison break, she mustered the largest task force of Wardens ever deployed and went in to secure the prisoners and suppress the riot the Undead Scourge caused by their break-in.
Those vile things, not happy with descrating our dead, they have unloosed terrors that we have kept locked away from the world.
Her sister, Warden Mortred came later. According to Shendelzare, she was gripped with a certain mad vengeance after she witnesses the dying throes of her Wardens who were slain by the escapees and by the riot they caused.
Rumours began spreading about how she indiscriminately slaughtered every of the escapees not in their cells. People are now saying that she has gone really crazy and would start a war to avenge her fallen sisters.
Terrorblade felt a chill went down his spine.
Father already has plans for you. You might have to come back as a Captain of the Sentinels.