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Thread: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

  1. #21
    Narf's Avatar Reach for the Stars.
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    This makes me want to try out the Warcraft mod. Is it in a good build?

  2. #22
    Artifex
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    I actually have yet to start playing, I still have a lot of unit and campaign modding left to do. I'm implementing a personal units stats system based on the unit statistics in Warcraft III. The current stats are reasonable I think except for mages and similar ranged units being too powerful in my opinion.

    Visually, there is a great differenc ebetween factions. In my opinion the night elves and dwarves are very nice looking, as well as the insects of the Qhiraji and some of the trolls. Humans, orcs and undead are a mixed bag. Sylvanas and her dark rangers look alright, luckily enough for this story, hehe.

    My mod concept and random ramblings to this date:
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Progress

    Dark rangers, crypt fiends, ghouls, abominations, crypt lord, death knight, banshee, dreadlord, gargoyle, liches, human skeletons, necromancers, apothecaries

    Silver hand, dwarven riflemen, spellbreakers, footmen, gryphon riders, knights, knights of Tyr, horsemen, foot archers

    Night elf archers, huntresses, dryads
    To do

    Death knight death coil ranged attack.
    Lich frost nova?
    Banshee and necromancer spells.
    Attack

    Attack as in warcraft, average damage after levelling but before smith upgrades.

    Armour piercing for spellcasters and magical arrows. Body piercing or area for area effect spells.

    Attack delay is warcraft cooldown x 10 by default, speed up as bonus for faster units or bigger units to make them unhindered by mobbing.

    Range is warcraft range x 2.

    Ammunition is 1 per 10 mana for magic users. 10 projectiles per level for non-magic units.

    Special abilities
    Dark rangers life drain, ap melee.

    Blademaster whirlwind, 0 attack delay.

    Spellbreaker feedback, + 10 damage (average of damage)

    Dryad poison, +4 attack, ap

    Armour

    Base Armour
    1 hit point per 100 hit points, rounded, in warcraft, after all upgrades.
    1 armour per armour point in warcraft, before all upgrades.
    1 defense skill per unit level in warcraft, 10 for heroes.

    Soldier upgrade levels are 1,2,3. Creature upgrade levels are 4,5,6.

    Armour bonus from special abilities.
    Lich frost armour + 7.
    Crypt lord carapace + 7.

    Paladin aura and divine shield + (5+15).

    Hit point bonus from special abilities, +3 default.
    Death knight unholy aura (no death pacts used here) + 3.
    Dread lord vampiric aura (no sleep since all mana to carrion swarm) + 3.
    Dark ranger life drain + 3.
    Paladin holy light + 3, command and chant.

    Defense bonus from special abilities.
    Demon hunter evading.
    Banshee curse.

    Shield

    Common RC values. Based only on area covered, not thickness.
    1 shield value per 10 % frontal area covered.

    Costs

    As warcraft gold and wood added. Upkeep equal of that.

    Build time is 1 turn per 10 seconds.

    Numbers

    100 is base number. Increase numbers and costs for lower level units, decrease numbers and costs for higher level units.

    50 default for heroes.
    50 default for huge monsters.
    100 default for casters.
    100 default for cavalry.
    100 default for elite units.
    200 default for regular soldiers.
    250 default for goblins, murlocs and skeleton minions.
    Morale

    Equal to unit level, 10 for heroes.

    Undead minions have locked morale.

    Mindless demons have locked morale.

    Constructs have locked morale.

    Fanatical heroes have locked morale
    Paladin
    Sylvanas


    From one thing to another, whats the story behind your charming avatar? It happens to remind me of the main character in an old webcomic of a Nordic huldra and her snarky friends which had a somewhat similar style.

    @Alwyn
    I appreciate your comments a lot.
    Last edited by Maltacus; August 07, 2022 at 03:48 PM.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  3. #23
    Artifex
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Chapter IV-II. Baths and Beds
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Anya Eversong listened to Sylvanas instructing Areiel. She liked it. For once there was a task that was not hurriedly desperate and for once it was not something that the dark rangers had to do alone.

    And for once it was something that might actually get them somewhere.

    ”I want you to be in charge of this as it is of the highest priority, but there is no need to engage the rangers, anyone who can read Common and possess a smatter of brains should do. You are to scour the archives and library for any information regarding Jaina Proudmoore and the Alliance expeditionary force to Kalimdor. Officially, and especially if Varimathras or his lackeys wonder, this is an attempt to gauge the military strength of remaining Alliance forces with strong national ties to our territory and to Dalaran.”

    Areiel grinned at the last bit and saluted, already on her way. Anya didn’t even have time to nod at her, but then again she had a mission on her own on her mind right now.

    ”Dark Lady?”

    ”Yes, Anya? Is something the matter?” Sylvanas answered with a barely recognizable tiredness behind her even tone.

    ”If it’s alright, I would like to talk to Sylvanas Windrunner.”

    Sylvanas raised an eyebrow.

    ”If I’m not much mistaken, you already are.”

    ”Am I?” Anya asked softly and looked intensely at Sylvanas.

    Sylvanas sighed. ”Anya, I don’t intend to pull rank on you when it’s just you and me. Out with it now. What’s on your mind?”

    ”You.”

    ”Me?”

    ”Our Dark Lady does everything she can and more to keep us safe. Our sister Sylvanas suffers alone.”

    ”What is left of her.” Sylvanas replied depreceatingly.

    Anya had heard more than enough of that hated litany.

    ”Everyone is encouraged to take time off sometimes. Ordered, I would say. When did you last take a moment to yourself, Sylvanas?”

    Sylvanas’ jaw seemed to clench a bit.

    ”I have too much to do.” she said curtly.

    ”Of course.” Anya agreed. ”Lucky for the rest of us that our tasks are so unimportant that we can slack off at our leisure at least…”

    Sylvanas narrowed her eyes.

    ”Mind your tone, Anya.” she warned. ”And you all need your rest, whether your bodies crave sleep or not, to keep your mind sharp and you know that well enough. And it’s still my job to see to it that you get it.”

    ”I used to have this Ranger-General who badgered me about the same being true for commanders.” Anya remarked absent-mindedly. ”Who told me that I would get my rangers killed if I made decisions with fog in my head.”

    ”Leave me alone.” Sylvanas muttered, not meeting Anyas stare. It was a testament to the deep bond between them that she didn’t literally throw Anya out. But doing that would violate a trust that ran far too deep to be broken in a moments irritation. Rangers did not back down from difficult things. Rangers did not turn their backs on one another.
    But now Anya was the one getting irritated.

    ”Excuse me, but for a moment it sounded like you were thinking we should entrust our safety to someone refusing to take even a moments pause to recover her wits. Or perhaps to someone so overconfident she believes herself so superior to everyone else that she is completely above the need to rest and recover.” she pointed out, with a hint of steel behind the sarcasm.

    Sylvanas stared back, then she slumped and admitted defeat as if tiring of their nagging game.

    ”Fine, have it your way, Anya! What the "#¤%& would you have me do? Sit in a corner weaving baskets? Whittling? Tin smithing?”

    ”You did stitch my cloak once…” Anya remarked, her tone unconsciously growing a little warmer.

    ”Only because we were in the field and your arm was torn up by a troll.”

    Anya smiled inside herself at the memory. It was a sad little smile but a smile none the less.

    ”You kept watch over me all night. Allow me to return the favor, Sylvanas.”

    ”Anya, you owe me no favours, you have done all I could ask for and more.” Sylvanas replied, no longer hiding her tiredness.

    ”Will you stop being so damned stubborn? Just come with me! The water’s getting cold.”

    That at last seemed to pick Sylvanas interest.

    ”The water?”

    Anya nodded towards the door and led the way, silently cherishing the quiet sound of dark red boots behind her.

    They navigated the unstable maze of half-ruined stairs and corridors that remained of the keeps upper levels to the room Anya had laid claim to and prepared. The wall had a large hole in it and the roof had fallen in, but it had a working fireplace and a mostly intact floor at least. In the middle of it stood Anyas prize, scavenged and bolted together again during hours of thankless toil with rusting tools and worse materials.

    A huge, barrel-like bath tub, filled nearly to the brim with water that she had painstakingly climbed the walls with. Hung over the crackling fire was Anyas other discovery, a miraculously whole cauldron she had traded many hours of work for, filled with boiling water.

    Sylvanas raised an eyebrow.

    ”Do you intend to cook me, lieutenant?” she asked dryly, amused and clearly surprised even if she tried to hide it.

    ”Yes, I discovered an absolutely fabulous recipe for boiled mule, I just need to get some salt and root vegetables. In you go!” Anya ordered and used her ranger cloak to keep her hands wrapped up as she dragged the cauldron over to the tub and heaved its steaming content into the rest of the water, which thankfully hadn’t cooled too much.

    ”I will keep watch.” Anya promised and mockingly began to parade back and forth across the small unlittered floor area. ”I will guard you with my last breath against Scarlet peepers, Scourge squatters and dreadlord busybodies.”

    ”With your last breath?” Sylvanas quirked an eyebrow as she loosened the straps of her pauldrons.

    ”Petty details!” Anya smirked and presented arms before an imaginary visiting officer.

    ”Alright, I yield, just stop that incessant pacing and sit down, will you?” Sylvanas smiled.

    Belore, how long it was since Anya had seen that smile. Sylvanas was removing her breastplate and Anya promptly busied herself with picking up the discarded parts of her ranger armour and arranging them orderly, wiping the dust from some places. She knew that the scar on Sylvanas’ chest where Frostmourne had pierced her heart was a sensitive thing for her and one she preferred to neither discuss nor display.

    Bent over her task, she could hear Sylvanas removing her boots and pants and slide into the bath.

    ”How’s the water?” Anya asked and tried to not sound as nervous as she felt.

    ”Not bad, lieutenant… Why, I’m almost thinking you mean to butter me up to whisk a promotion out of me…” Sylvanas drawled.

    ”Don’t get any ideas now, I am not Areiel. The horror…” Anya almost shuddered which earned her an amused chuckle form Sylvanas. Sylvanas’ insistence that Anya would make a fine ranger captain one day was as old as Anyas unbridled dread at the very thought.

    And for a fleeting moment, everything was almost like before.

    ”My lady, I have a present for you.” Anya said and held out a lump of something distorted with a sickly colour and not particularly pleasant smell.

    ”And what is that?”

    ”Soap, my lady!” Anya announced and couldn’t hide her pride. She beckoned for Sylvanas’ left arm and for once the stubborn woman did not protest. Anya dipped the piece of soap in the water and rubbed her hands with it, silently relieved that i actually seemed to work and turn out to be soap and nothing else. She followed the outside and inside of Sylvanas upper arms, admiring their toned muscles and the intriguing myriad of scars that told the history of the Ranger-General of Silvermoon. Anya thought they had faded a little, but it was hard to tell of course with the stark difference in skin colour compared to before. She gently lifted Sylvanas’ elbow and slid down around and along her forearm with the other hand. Sylvanas sat still as a statue, watching Anyas hands wrap around hers and then slowly lower it into the water again.

    ”How much can you feel?” Anya asked, partly curious and partly concerned about keeping Sylvanas’ mind on something else than her awkwardness with someone doing something nice for her.

    ”More than most of us, I believe. Physically. I feel the heat of the water, not just that it is water. Some sense of smell and taste remain I guess. It seems to be rather random. I know that Kalira claims to be able to taste sweetness and Velonara could tell the difference between fresh and blighted grass without looking.”

    Typical Sylvanas, Anya thought as she worked on the other arm. Deflecting any personal questions at the first opportunity. She currently didn’t give a damn about whether Kalira snacked on an entire cake or if Velonaras was growing a rose garden.

    Still, so far it was going fine. Anya was here and Sylvanas was here and that was all that mattered.

    ”Would you care to lean forward, my lady?” Anya asked quietly. To her relief, Sylvanas obliged her without a word. She traced the back muscles up and down, smooth and hard and…far too hard. Tense from months of neglect followed by months of monstrous pressure without a moment of relief.

    ”Apothecary de’Urden claims that soap could be weaponized to make things explode. Like the dwarves’ black powder. He seems a bit unhinged in my opinion.” Anya remarked.

    Sylvanas snorted and shook her head.

    ”At least it would be clean shot if it could be made to work…” Anya mused innocently.

    ”Ugh, that was worthy of Areiel. I tell you, captain material…” Sylvanas mumbled with her head resting against her knees. But she put no real effort into sounding annoyed.

    Now came the hard part. Anya almost bit her lip.

    ”Would you like me to…wash your legs?” she nearly whispered.

    Sylvanas was silent so long that Anya thought that she would say no, but then the banshee queen sunk back into the water and lifted a dripping leg to rest on the uneven edge of the tub. Anya could see her shrinking into herself and hiding under the surface. Of course. Sylvanas did not care about showing her her leg, she was worrying about the scars on her chest. No, Anya corrected herself, Sylvanas was worrying about The Scar.

    The Amani had left their marks along Sylvanas’ thighs and calves nearly as much as on her arms. Reminders of spears, axes and arrows crisscrossed all along her skin but Anya could not care less. Sylvanas was still the finest ranger of them all. Sylvanas still had the most gorgeous calves Anya knew. She ran her soapy fingers along them almost reverently, and not especially efficient for an impromptu chambermaid, but it didn’t earn her any complaint. In fact, Sylvanas was leaning back a little and Anya felt the leg stretching under her and then relaxing against the wood. She grabbed Sylvanas’ calf with one hand to keep in off the uncomfotable surface as she ran her fingers over the foot and between the toes. She had to restrain herself from outright caressing that leg or doing something silly like pinching Sylvanas’ toes.

    ”I’m going to get something.” Anya said, careful to look at Sylvanas eyes and not down her chest. ”You can wash the rest of you in the meantime if you like.” When I am not watching, so you don’t need to think about that.

    Anya deliberately took her time readying her last surprise, listening for the sound of water splashing to stop before turning around with a clay jar, or at least a broken half of it as the top had been smashed.

    ”This is something the apothecaries have been working on. It’s basically a simple oil but seems to do the trick to keep Forsaken skin from drying and cracking.” Other Forsaken skin, was the unspoken addendum. The rangers and the most powerful other undead were spared from those particular ills. ”Soon enough a flaking hide will be soo last month, and it wouldn’t do for the dark lady to be unfashionable, would it?” Anya chattered, trying to distract them from the present tension.

    Sylvanas looked at the broken jar.

    ”You should not be wasting it on me.” she said flatly. ”Others will need it more.”

    ”We still get stiff, and if we get stiff and fail to pull our bows fast enough the others die. Besides, this one is mine to do as I please with.” Anya countered, soft but insistent.
    Sylvanas’ gaze locked on Anyas, who found herself caught in it. They may all have red eyes now but Sylvanas’ were mesmerizing. They did not glow so much as burned, smoldering deep inside or openly when she was furious.

    ”Then do as you please, Anya.” Sylvanas breathed, her voice now dark and hoarse.

    Anyas hand cradled sylvanas neck, gentle as if the merest pressure would shatter it into pieces. She tried to feel every knot and every hurting, strained muscle that Sylvanas would be all too eager to dismiss and ignore. Her hands ran down the broad shoulders, much firmer than when she had merely been washing them, and upper arms that Sylvanas let hang out of the tub. It wasn’t a massage in the proper sense, although Anya did her best to knead the stiffness out of the shoulders and neck as best she could, but rubbing and caressing and caring until Sylvanas leaned back just barely into her hands and Anya felt her unbeating heart soar. It was working. Belore, it was working.

    Folding a part of her cloak to a small pad, Anya tentatively guided Sylvanas’ head to rest and tilted it back to allow her access to her face. Her thumbs rubbed tenderly around the too often clenched jaw and followed Sylvanas sinewy but slender throat down along her shoulders and up again, along her collarbone, up and then carefully down the middle of her chest and…

    "#¤%&

    Sylvanas jolted as if struck by some mages lightning spell and inhaled for air she did not need. Her eyes, almost heavy-lidded a moment ago, flared and she became rigid as a post.
    Anya pulled her hands away as if Sylvanas had burned them, no, worse, as if she had burned Sylvanas.

    I’m sorry! Please don’t go. Let me fix this. Let me…

    ”I have to go.” Sylvanas’ curt tone tore into Anyas soul.

    Anya said nothing. She knew when she had lost.

    She had brought no towels but a ranger cloak would have to do. Anya mutely held out one piece of armour after another for Sylvanas to don in equal silence. She averted her eyes.

    ”It…must have taken an effort to prepare.” Sylvanas mumbled.

    ”It was nothing.” Anya mumbled back, almost unintelligible, and stared straight ahead at the floor as Sylvanas left.

    She did not tell Sylvanas how long it had taken her to obtain the ingredients and the materials for making soap and oil, or how greasy and unpleasant the ordeal was even for her. She did not tell Sylvanas how thankless it was to saw plank after plank with a bent saw that broke after the first tries and forced her to chop them into shape with a spare dagger and a piece of firewood for a hammer.

    Anya kicked angrily at the bathtub, but filled with water it was too heavy to topple. Instead her foot crunched through it effortlessly, the wood no match for ranger legs and undead strength.

    Stupid scar. Stupid stubborn Sylvanas. Stupid damned everything.

    Anya sank down on the floor against the wall and watched indifferently as the water pooled around her and soaked through her pants and cloak.

    Her eyes itched. Something wet dropped on her hand. A blackish liquid, like too diluted ink.

    Huh, so apparently she could do that too.

    Last edited by Maltacus; August 07, 2022 at 03:52 PM.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  4. #24
    McScottish's Avatar The Scribbling Scotsman
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Never been a massive Warcraft fan, but this is enjoyable. Looking forward to more.

  5. #25
    Artifex
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Chapter IV-III. Baths and Beds
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Theramoore. It was called Theramoore. A newly founded town on a rocky island going by the same name, divided from Durotar by swamps and rocky coastland. Presumably lacking in resources but incredibly hard to assail from land due to the marshy ground. As far as the previous occupants of Lordaeron knew almost all Alliance survivors in Kalimdor had congregated there and they followed Jaina Proudmoore with devotion. The city was not an official monarchy but the archmage appeared to be the de facto ruler of the humans, elves and dwarves from mainly Lordaeron, Dalaran and Quel’Thalas.

    Proudmoore hailed from Kul Tiras, but the island nation remained unmentioned in any current correspondence. As far as Sylvanas could discern the islanders had isolated themselves almost completely from the Alliance but the reasons were unclear. The mighty Kul Tiran fleets had held the seas against the Horde during the Second War and with the recent events in Kalimdor that would seem like a still highly relevant asset, but perhaps they both lacked the resources to effectively aid one another.

    The mention of Dalaran tugged at a bitter knot of hurt deeply buried inside Sylvanas as Areiel concluded her report.

    Vereesa.

    Little Moon.

    Sylvanas insufferable, mewling, adorable and so very dear little sister.

    Vereesa and her husband Rhonin Redhair had lived in Dalaran the last time Sylvanas heard from her. Before. She knew it was stupid, and most likely vain, but a tiny part of her still hoped they and Allerias son Arator had somehow survived.

    Vereesa would probably detest what she had become, not to mention done as Arthas’ shackled servant. Sylvanas would find a way to bury those memories for good, she resolved. One way or another.

    ”My lady, there was one other thing.”. Areiel had an unusual air of thoughtfulness about her. If it were anyone else Sylvanas would have interpreted it as hesitation. She looked up.
    ”We found one other thing amongst the books and documents the dwarves researched. I think you had best take a look at it yourself.” Areiel said and handed Sylvanas a folded document, not looking very old judging by the lack of yellowing of the paper.

    ”…Kul Tiras and Lordaeron have this day agreed…”

    Marriage contract.

    Jaina Proudmoore.

    Arthas Menethil.

    ”What in all rotten hells is this Areiel!?” Sylvanas almost snarled.

    ”A draft. And authentic, as far as we can guess.” Areiel shrugged. ”He was a human prince once, after all and this is maybe the human way of doing these things.”

    Sylvanas’ mind was spinning, working on its own volition to process the new information. What did this mean?

    She knew better than to try and sort out her thoughts right now. She returned the paper to the improvised dossier that Areiel – thorough as always – had compiled with information on Theramoore and its ruler and forced herself to mentally put the matter away for later as well.

    Areiel took her silence as a cue to move on to the next issue.

    ”The Scarlets are advancing. They aren’t moving fast, or like they know exactly what to look for, but they are coming. Their main stronghold is Hearthglen. With the Scourge to the south and the sea to our north and west we are pinned down neatly. If we are going to do something else than repare for a siege of the Undercity it will soon be high time, Dark Lady.”

    ”Do we know where they are currently?”

    ”More or less. Our raids have taught them to protect their supply trains. They advance at a snails pace now but gather in palisaded encampments and keep those as strongpoints behind their lines to fall back to. Supplies are, we think, ferried between these to limit their time in the open.”

    Areiel indicated the sketchy map on the table, a pitiful example of cartography by elven standards but growing in detail every day. Red stones dotted the eastern flank of the Forsaken territory.

    ”How well manned are these forts behind the Scarlet lines?”

    ”We cannot tell. But all logic points to them being lightly garrisoned, anything else would detract too much form their sweeps at the front lines.”

    ”Indeed.” Sylvanas pondered. ”This is just like with their patrols, but scaled up. The big picture mirrors the small…”

    Areiel scowled at the dismaying situation indicated on the map.

    ”You have something on your mind, Dark Lady.”. It was not a question but a statement.

    ” I have a very bad and very dangerous idea, Areiel. I want you to assemble all banshees and all the rangers except two squads and create a diversion along the Scarlet lines upon your signal. The banshees will help you relay that signal to everyone.”

    ”Belore, how crude!” Areiel scoffed. ”And then?”

    ”You concentrate your forces upon one single weak point where the enemy lines can be penetrated and you go in, punching through and going deep into their rear. Your target are their supply encampments. You do as much damage as you can and then circle south through Scourge territory, preferably letting the Scarlets know where you are going but not letting them catch up. After that you break off north in secret.”

    Areiels eyebrows rose almost to the ceiling.

    ”The Scarlets are blinded by their beliefs but they are not fools, Dark Lady. They have priests with them, knights and paladins. They will not let us get away with something so…reckless!”

    Sylvanas just stared down among the pieces on the table, as if her scalding gaze would make them crawl back in their box and cease bothering her. Areiel looked a second time at her, scrutinizing Sylvanas with an evaluating gaze.

    ”What is it that you’re not telling me? Wait…just what kind of diversion did you have in mind?”

    ”You will be running with the wind, Areiel. No stops. No looking back.” Sylvanas jaw was set. ”It is late summer and blighted trees dry as everything else. You will wait for the wind to blow eastward. Set the woods on fire. Set their camps on fire. That will be your diversion.”

    If Areiel had been alive she would very likely have paled. Then again, if any of them had been alive Sylvanas would never have issued such an order.

    ”It will be done, Dark Lady. And where will you be?”

    ”Hopefully, far away by then.”

    ”No, my lady.”

    ”No?” Sylvanas smooth tone was dangerous.

    ”We will be far away by then.” Areiels voice was grave. ”I do not know what you intend but I know a diversion when I see one. You have something else planned in the meantime. Kalira or Amora can handle themselves in the woods as well as I can. I am coming with you, wherever you are off to.”

    Sylvanas opened her mouth to utter an adamant no, but Areiels determined look gave her pause. She thought about it. And as much as she loathed herself for feeling so, the more she thought about it the less appealing it seemed to be without Areiels steady presence and comforting practicality. Besides, they could take the time to properly plan the next moves after the return.

    ”Fine, you can come along.” Sylvanas said with a barely perceptible smirk.

    ”Lovely! Perhas you’ll even tell me where we’re going some day, my lady.” Areiel replied flippantly.

    ”Perhaps.” Sylvanas’ smirk grew a little. If Areiel felt like being stubborn with her today then Sylvanas would at the very least give as good as she got.
    Last edited by Maltacus; August 13, 2022 at 07:17 AM.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  6. #26
    Artifex
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Chapter IV-IV. Baths and Beds
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Lorderons capital lived by its shelterd position and proximity to Lordamere Lake and the rivers that connected it to the sea. As the fledgling human settlements grew over the centuries so did maritime trade and like most other inland cities Lordaeron now had a sprawling and chaotic harbour town to tend to larger vessels and ferry goods up and down the river and roads. Or had had such a town. It had not ecaped the destruction of the Scourge and the Legion, but the damage was less than Sylvanas had expected. Feral ghouls had been scouring the abandoned sheds and ramshackle houses but a company of their new deathguards aided by dark ranger scouts had cleared them out effortlessly.

    Sylvanas entered the town at midnight. They were heading straight to the docks, more specifically the It was raining slightly, and a biting wind blew through the muddy streets and heralded the coming end of summer in a few weeks. Sylvanas cursed under her breath. If the rain increased it would hamper Kalira and the rest. They had marched out a couple of days ago, laden with prepared torches and axes to fell trees for pyres and cut through Scarlet palisades and gates. The picture was sickening, no matter how much Sylvanas tried to squash that useless emotion. She was not a Ranger-General anymore. She was not alive.

    But they were setting fire to a forest. She could try as much as she liked to convince herself that it was all blighted and rotting but that was simply not true. Boughs withered and dried upon greying pines but they clung to life. Birds and beasts hid in terror from the undead and their foul aura of death but they were still there. Not all of Lordaeron was corrupted, but she was setting fire to it all the same and would not even do the deed herself but flee the scene and disappear for who knew how long exactly.

    The world did not allow Sylvanas Windrunner to be the Ranger-General of Quel’Thalas. So she would be the Dark Lady of the Forsaken and do what was needed to keep them safe. Even if it meant setting the forest on fire.

    Sylvanas turned her thoughts towards the man coming to greet her. The Forsaken was truly a mariners nightmares and superstitions given form. With a tangled and wild beard, fraying and tattered greatcoat and gaunt face with eerie pale yellow light shining from the sockets of his skull, the old sailor only lacked a peg leg and a few barnacles clinging to his temples to be the consummate ghost ships captain risen from the depths to drag more lost souls down with him, or however the human ghost stories tended to go. Sylvanas was no expert. What she did know far better however, was that the he and his motley crew comprised virtually all of the few Forsaken with experience sailing ships larger than river boats.
    ”Captain, have the preparations proceeded as planned?” Sylvanas asked in formal manner.

    ”Aye, Dark Lady. We have managed to replace the mizzen mast and fixed up the bowsprit like intended. She’ll be able to handle herself against the wind now, but she’s no sloop mind you. If the wind won’t turn we’re not getting far any time soon.”

    ”And if the wind is with us?”

    ”Then she’s in her right element an’ we’ll see what this lady’s really built for. But our biggest problem are sails and rope. Without good tacking an’ sheets these masts are just useless skeletons standin’ there lookin’ pretty.”

    ”Last we spoke you claimed we had the supplies we needed, captain.” Sylvanas pointed out and couldn’t help sounding quite accusing.

    ”An’ we do, we have rope and sailcloth enough, an’ some decent timber too in fact. Loaded and stowed. Those Scourge landlubbers let it all be, couldn’t tell a spritsail from top gallant if their unlives depended on it.”

    Neither could Sylvanas but she refrained from mentioning that.

    ”But it turns out my me and my lads aren’t as nimble with our hands as we used to be…back in the day... Skin’s bruising more’n it used to…”

    Sylvanas couldn’t see see his hands but she recognized the tone well enough. Every Forsaken mourned his or hers own losses and she could well imagine that for a sailor to be unable to pull rope would be as for a ranger to no longer manage to draw her bow.

    ”I am bringing a dozen dark rangers with me. Put them to work with whatever your crew has the most trouble with.”

    ”Music to me ears, Dark Lady! We are short-handed as ye well know, we’re almost but a skeleton crew, heh!”

    Sylvanas summoned all her discipline not to sigh and pinch the ridge of her nose. Belore. Her ships captain and her ranger captain would get along just fine. She could be looking forward to a very long journey.

    And it would indeed be a long journey. They were out of options, this was one last toss of the dice to find one single miserable nation willing to at least talk to them. She would go herself this time, with two ranger squads as an escort. An envoy too dignified to ignore and an escort too powerful to assassinate.

    ”Prepare to cast off then, captain. Set course for Theramoore.”
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  7. #27
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Chapter V-I. Dwarves and Detours
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Alina did not particularly care where she was sent or what she was told to do in service of the Dark Lady. But if someone had suggested that she would be spending days rowing a leaky boat across Lordamere Lake right under the eyes of the Scourge she would probably have suggested that person see the apothecaries for a clearly acute head wound.
    Yet here they were, well past halfway across the lake trying to fit a dark ranger squad and two dwarves with their small mountains of travel packs inside a patched up river boat with three pairs of oars. The fact that the dwarves travelling equipment contained better tools than anything currently available in the entire Undercity said a lot about the Forsakens state of things. The sudden and indiscriminate onslaught of the Scourge and the plague of undeath had left a lot of stuff dropped as it was, many times literally, across the kingdom for those who could scavenge it. It was just almost always broken.

    The dwarves. No. Alina didn’t want to think of them like that any more she realised. They were Runar and Halvdan and they were her…

    Could the dead have friends?

    Alina wasn’t sure. Friendship implied mutual feelings on some level and it was ridiculous to think that Runar and Halvdan would want anything but to get as far away as possible as quickly as possible from the likes of her. They were little more than walking corpses, for Belores sake! But both dwarves had acted with politeness, more than that even, and at least been kind enough to act as friends towards her. So Alina would do her best to act as a friend back. Because that was the only decent thing to do, even if none of this was for real.
    Runar and Halvdan had even insisted on rowing along with one of the rangers during the day. The rangers would be rowing in two shifts during the evening and night. Runar had pointed out that dividing the crew into watches and splitting the duties was after all standard practice at sea and Amora had obliged them even though she had looked a bit sceptical.

    But they could indeed row. At least after they had arranged their packs before them to have something to support their feet. And they didn’t quit or complain for a moment.

    The small crew would seek out a shore some times during the day for the rangers to scout the surroundings and the dwarves to tend to the needs of the living in the meantime. They slept onboard though as the rangers rowed, propped up against the hull and whatever piece of clothing they had packed, waking stiff and clutching their necks.

    The late summer would once have been a beautiful time for travelling. Of course it helped not being dead and not traversing blighted and withering forests filled with mindless ghouls. They had had to fend of packs of those twice, but it was no organized attack and there was no necromancer present so they stood little chance against their arrows and training.
    The weather was mostly warm during the day and rowing forced Runar and Halvdan to strip down to their pants after wary glances at the surrounding forest. Alina was studying them in secret as she held the tiller. They weren’t what she expected. She noted that they had smaller noses and ears than the dwarves she had seen described or depicted and not the rounded bellies. Then again, they had not exactly been eating well in the Undercity and probably not too good before either if they had been travelling through wilderness. There was no such thing as a truly lean dwarf but those two came close, with thick upper body muscles that strained against the oars absent layers of bulk to conceal them.

    Not that she was staring. But she was almost off duty and had to occupy herself with something.

    Alina felt a small nudge in her ribs and looked up only to see Amora Eagleyes knowing smirk. Alinas commander had been giving her a lot of curious looks these last days but she put it down to herself losing her grip and Wailing. Alina couldn’t blame Amora for keeping close watch after that. Belore, she could have killed one or both of the dwarves!

    ”Do keep your eyes on them, they row twice as hard under your scrutiny.” Amora whispered in Thalassian.

    Alina scoffed. Both Runar and Halvdan always did their best at the oars, they didn’t need anyone checking on them. Besides, she could mostly see Halvdan anyway since he had the aftmost seat. Not that she was staring or anything.

    ”Of course.” Amora chuckled. ”In any case it’s good to know someone keeps an eye on our short-legged allies, we can’t have them jumping overboard on us.” she commented with glittering eyes.

    Alina attributed the comments to Amoras weird idea of humour and repeated attempts to cheer Alina up and keep her thoughts on things that would not provoke a Wail.

    When it started to rain later in the night Amora still gave her that unfounded knowing look when she draped her ranger cloak over Halvdan and folded the hood into a tiny pillow between his ear and the bare planks. It wasn’t like Alina needed it when rowing anyway, it just got in the way and the cold didn’t bother her. She was just trying to act like a good friend.

    Amora was just overinterpreting things.

    Wasn’t she?
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  8. #28
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Chapter V-II. Dwarves and Detours
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    Rhonin Redhair privately concluded that the people of Dalaran lacked a sense of humor.

    At least it was underdeveloped. Perhaps starved from too little exposure to a healthy laugh now and then.

    For the love of mana, it was just a joke about polymorphing the citys population into sheep to keep them warm during the winter and use the wool to knit new clothes by spring. There was no need to interpret it as Rhonin thinking them all to be a flock of sheep. It was just a suggestion. And where would they get the forage to feed all the sheep anyway, to start with? And who would shepherd them? Academic culture was doubtlessly in decline if you couldn’t air these kinds of innocent idle thoughts without someone losing their head over it. As if they hadn’t enough to be sorry for since the Scourge invasion and Archimondes devastation of central parts of the city. No need to make matters gloomier than they had to be.

    At least his nephew-in-law had managed to keep his wit even after joining the somewhat stuffy ranks of the Alliances paladins. Rhonin missed Arator more every day, even if dealing with Dalaran restoration along with the elves magic withdrawal kept him and Vereesa busy. He hoped Arator wouldn’t do anything stupid and jump into strange dark portals like his parents or something similar. Much better to follow his and Vereesas examples and…go rescuing dragon matriarchs from their captivity among demon-worshipping orcs or so. Right… Perhaps Rhonin could enchant something for him, speaking of which. Paladins Polymorphing Poleaxe or something like that. Turning the enemy to sheep would keep Arator rather safe if he insisted on going into melee range and Light clerics always preached about their flocks so the iconography would be absolutely flawless.

    Had nobody else thought about this before? Truly, people lacked vision sometimes.

    He was on his way home, with another stack of reports to read in service of his pleasant city. This council business was interesting and all but all this report reading all the time…it was eerily similar to homework. And that was what you were supposed to have gotten out of when you got your archmage title, not gotten into. But at least he could be near Vereesa so that was well worth the inconveniences.

    He was passing by the city gates, still mostly in shambles but with a decent palisade that kept potential wandering murlocs and gnolls at bay with a little luck. And with the obligatory nosy city guard detachment. Those had been an absolute pest when the city had been under Grand Marshal Garithos regrettable command. Nowadays they were a little more sane. A little. There appeared to be some sort of commotion. Rhonin decided to linger and hear what the matter was about.

    ”…look, if we presented ourselves as common tavellers, would that have led to us being admitted? If you doubt our credentials as envoys; fine, but may we enter Dalaran outside of any such capacity?”

    ”You already said you were an envoy from Lordaeron and that makes it extremely suspicious. Do you expect me to forget that all of a sudden, dwarf?” the gruff voice of the guard details sergeant sneered.

    ”No, I expect you to let us into the city like any other commoner since we are of no apparent threat to you and you have not stated any reason why we would be. Consider us peasants with delusions of grandeur if it pleases you.”. The other voice was controlled, but had lost any warmth by now.

    ”Dwarves don’t farm around here. Don’t try to fool me, mister!”

    That does it, Rhonin thought. This had to violate some sort of limit of common decency for what a city could allow itself to tolerate and still call itself civilized. If the guard sergeant had not been one of Garithos finest he certainly could have qualified.

    ”What seems to be the problem, sergeant?” Rhonin interjected smoothly.

    ”Huh? Move along, this does not concern you, citizen.”. The sergeant waved him away dismissively.

    ”Oh, but I very much think it does.”. Rhonin stepped into his view properly.

    ”Do you have a hearing problem, mister…”

    ”’Councillor’ will do just fine, sergeant. Or ’Councillor Rhonin Redhair’ I suppose, though you simians may refer to me merely as ’sir’ if you prefer a less…syllable-intensive workout.”

    The confused look shared between the sergeant and his subordinates confirmed Rhonins assessment that these gentlemen would indeed have been prime material for Marshal Garithos.

    ”Now, is there any particular reason why we are letting these two esteemed guests wait at our door, other than indulging ourselves in a liberating moment of spontaneous and unbridled impoliteness?”

    ”Esteemed guests?” the sergeant parroted.

    ”Certainly. As you so observantly noted, they are not from around here. Anyone brave enough to risk the journey to Dalaran in these dangerous times is in my opinion an esteemed guest at the very least, until proven otherwise.”

    ”Councillor, they claim to be from the kingdom of Lordaeron! But Lordaeron has fallen to the wretched undead and they are obviously lying.”

    ”Is that so? Thank you for you insight, sergeant, and I will take it form here then. Foreign relations used to be council business last time I looked, which was admittedly almost half an hour ago, so I will be happy to relieve you of the burden of bidding two travellers welcome to the city of Dalaran.”

    ”But…”

    ”That will be all, sergeant.” Rhonins tone remained smooth but it had taken on a certain crackling quality that brought to mind the merry sound of the fireballs certain mages had the habit of flinging when they were in a fouler mood. ”Now, allow me to be the first to welcome you to our somewhat dented city and humbly request that you join me for an early dinner if it would be to your convenience.” he added with an elegant bow to the two dwarves.

    ”With the utmost pleasure, councillor. Runar and Halvdan, emissaries of the queen of Lordaeron, at your service.”. The dwarves managed a bow that matched his, despite the travelling packs that weighed them down.

    ”Please call me Rhonin.”
    Last edited by Maltacus; August 16, 2022 at 07:34 AM.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  9. #29
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Your mod concept looks very cool. I wonder if writing this AAR will help you to think about how you'd like your mod to work (at least in relation to units, particularly for the dark rangers).

    I'm enjoying your tale, it sounds like the marriage contract that the dwarves discovered may turn out to be important. It sounds like the dark rangers are in a dangerous situation, in between the Scarlets and the Scourge. (In Chapter IV - III, should "Our raid shave taught them to protect their supply trains." be "Our raid taught them to protect their supply trains.", or did you mean to type a different word instead of shave, or is a raid shave a thing?).

  10. #30
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Its a typo, an s at the wrong side, should of course be "our raids have taught them to...". However, barber shops are very much a thing in the warcraft world too.

    It's gonna be interesting when the diplomatic events progress and the Forsaken counterattack and I actually start playing the mod. In a coming chapter Sylvanas is planning tactics, very much mirroring my own ideas which are however untested with a high hit point stat system.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  11. #31
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Chapter V-III. Dwarves and Detours
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    ”This is molten iron in disguise and don’t you dare tell me otherwise you sneaky spell-chucker!” an accusing brown-bearded dwarf gasped some time later and reaching urgently for a glass of water while Rhonin chuckled in amusement. ”A volatile concoction that is definitely a danger to the public… Could you pass the – rice, was it? – please?”

    The ’Thundering Brewmaster of Flaming Righteousness’ was the newly opened pride of Dalaran cuisine in Rhonins opinion and his companys slack-jawed stare at the Pandaren staff as well as their terrified wide eyes upon downing the first spoonfuls of Pandarian red curry stew was well worth the extortionate rates.

    ”He’s definitely trying to murder us slowly.” the dark-haired Halvdan stated while scooping up a prodigious second serving.

    ”Sorry, gruesome deaths are from the green curry, not the red.” Rhonin winked.

    ”You sure? Well, further studies are needed.” Halvdan decided and dove into his plate.

    The arrival of the spicy dishes had interrupted the most outlandish tale Rhonin had heard in weeks, which spoke volumes surrounded as he was by scores of Kirin Tor mages.
    Lordaeron in the hands of a queen – a banshee queen – and rebelling against the undead Scourge with all it had. And Scarlet crusaders at their throats uncaring about the difference whatsoever. And these two dwarves acting as this unnamed queens ambassadors? Or were they simple messengers?

    ”Just to clarify; where do you fit in in all of these developments? Are you the queens envoys?”

    ”That we are, but our mission in Dalaran is honestly limited to handing over a letter of introduction and leave it to you how to proceed form there. We are due for Ironforge next.”

    ”Hmm, I can imagine. With the information unconfirmed I will make no promises other than that I could arrange for you to formally hand over this letter to the Kirin Tor Council – effectively the city council – at which you may have the opportunity to ask and answer a few questions.”

    ”May we take a moment to discuss that?”

    ”Of course.”

    Rhonin busied himself with his neglected second serving as the dwarves spoke quietly in a language he did not understand.

    Runar turned to face him again.

    ”I’d like to ask first – let’s call it out of professional curiosity – if that gentleman of a sergeant was acting or if he is actually that completely done?”

    Rhonin snorted very un-councillorly and reached for his napkin. He used the moment of respite to consider how to answer that. The question was humorous but it touched on things that decidedly were not.

    ”I would like to be able to crown him the owner of the thickest skull north of Stormwind but I fear that the truth of the matter is far uglier.” Rhonin sighed and struggled a bit with how to continue. ”Until quite recently, Dalaran was under the command of a certain Grand Marshal Orthmar Garithos. His most significant achievement was driving the Blood Elves away from the Alliance and to who knows where, deeply insulting the dwarven contingents and by extension king Magni of Ironforge, as well as driving a wedge between the remnants of Lordaerons army and us Kirin Tor mages. The Grand Marshals opinions of other races than humans are as can be expected from these actions. And while Dalaran has regrown some measure of sense since then I fear there are a lot of sentiments and misguided blame of the same manner lingering here. Not least in said guard detail and the sergeant, who I think would have miraculously rediscovered a good deal of his brains and manners had it been a human envoy and not a dwarven approaching him.” Rhonin explained with a grimace.

    ”I see. The obvious next question is of course if similar sentiments can be expected among the Kirin Tor councillors.”

    Rhonin wanted dearly to answer an assured no. He wanted to denounce the mere notion that the senior Kirin Tor members would allow themselves to be clouded by something so petty as racial bigotry. And he would also like to pretend that the centuries-old rivalries between elven and human mages were just a series of overblown misunderstandings, now that he was at it.

    But reality was sometimes not so accomodating.

    ”I honestly don’t know for sure. I would of course very much like to believe that my closest friends are above such things but…” he shrugged.

    ”Then if we leave the letter to you we have an unknown factor in the shape of your potential rogueishness…” Runar began and Rhonin grinned at him ”…and if we leave the letter to you and also accompany you we add another in the shape of your councils potential shortsightedness and flaring instinctive jealousy at the sight of our impressive beards. So the choice seems pretty clear.”

    Rhonin couldn’t argue with the logic there. But neither could he deny that there was a bit of a shame to miss seeing his fellow councillors faces as they were introduced to dwarven sarcasms of the highest order.

    After lightening his purse to a worrying degree and showing his guests a respectable inn and the way to the local flight master from where they could continue to Ironforge the next morning, Rhonin bid them good evening and continued on his way home, his head full of thoughts as he glanced over the envelope. There was something familiar about it.

    The handwriting. If anything, it had a distinctly elven elegance to it.

    Rhonin quickened his pace. He would have to ask Vereesa about this.

    They lived in a relatively small apartment in a part of the city that was becoming something of an elven enclave. It wasn’t too close to the flight areas. Rhonin feared the rowdy late night noises of the street might upset the gryphons otherwise.

    Rhonin knew his wife well enough to gauge that it had been an average day when Vereesa buried herself in his arms. The magic withdrawal symptoms waxed and waned by the day. For the thousanth of time he wished there was a spell to transfer mana from one person to another or something similar to counter that damned affliction.

    And the loss of Quel’Thalas was less than a year in the past. Rhonin winced at the thought of upsetting Vereesa if the letter turned her thoughts to that, but keeping it to himself would feel dishonest and they had promised one another not to keep their troubles to themselves.

    ”Hey dear, you’re home late.” Vereesa whispered into his neck. ”Long meetings or something?”

    ”No, I actually had dinner at the ’Brewmaster on the way home with a couple of new friends.” Rhonin whispered back.

    ”That’s great!” Vereesa praised. ”Finally you’re obeying orders to take some time to yourself once in a while.” she teased. ”Who did you meet?”

    ”I’ll get to that, it is a bit of a weird story. Let’s go and sit down first. How’s your day been?”

    ”Spitzamina came by in the afternoon.” Vereesa remarked.

    ”Spite? That’s nice of her. Did she want anything special?”

    ”Not really, just ask when we both can come out with her to party a little, and for me to help her untangle her tangled love life.”

    Rhonin laughed.

    ”Your rangers must miss their mother something terrible.” he said fondly.

    That lot. Sometimes it surprises me how they manage to tie their shoes on their own.” Vereesa shook her head. ”Now, what about the mysterious dinner company?”

    ”Right.” Rhonin produced the envelope. ”Do you recognize this handwriting? It’s familiar in some way but I can’t place it. It looked quite elven to me…”

    Rhonin noted that he apparently had better wash up in order to not taint such an elegant letter with the potential remnants of a spicy Pandaren stew, and had just removed himself to the bathroom when he heard a strangled, wounded sob from Vereesa and hurriedly tip-toed back to the living room

    Vereesa was white as a sheet. She was shaking like in the worst throes of magic withdrawal, and crying rivers, bent over the envelope that she clutched close to her as if it was the most precious item in the world.

    ”You must open it, Rhonin. You must, or I will!” Vereesa whimpered.

    ”Alright…shhh. I will. I better read it in advance if I’m going to present it tomorrow anyway.” Rhonin said as gently as he could and lifted Vereesa into his lap. She felt so small in his arms all of a sudden when she buried her face into his neck.

    ”It’s her, Rhonin! It’s from her. I would know her handwriting anywhere!”

    Rhonin slowly pried the enevelope from Vereesas hands, still shaking from sobs that racked her body. He unfolded the letter inside, written in the same elegant writing.
    It was direct, concise, relevant and to the point. No needless embellishments. Not they way a royal ambassador would express himself, more what you would expect from the professional reports of an experienced soldier. Of a Ranger-General.

    True enough.

    Vereesa did not need to look to know.

    Rhonin carefully put the letter down. The world was spinning before him for a brief moment and he held on to Vereesa to steady himself as much as her. Vereesa took a few ragged breaths, evidently struggling to speak.

    She whispered in the saddest voice Rhonin had ever heard.

    ”I want my sister. I want my Lady Moon.”
    Last edited by Maltacus; August 15, 2022 at 02:01 PM.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  12. #32
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Chapter V-IV. Dwarves and Detours
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    ”Of all the insanely stupid things we have done this has to be the most stupidly insane!” Runars voice rang out to the rider on the gryphon slightly to his left.

    ”It is insane of us not to have tried this out earlier!” Halvdan answered merrily. ”My beard, just look at the view from up here!”

    ”Trust the master spy to become bedazzled by such details!”

    ”Trust the royal diplomat to attempt to renegotiate the terms of the transport service just moments after taking off! One would expect a little more trust in our current allies!”

    ”On the contrary, I have complete confidence in their abilities! I would be perfectly happy to leave the flying business completely in the talons of these obvious experts!”

    ”How long would it take us to reach Khaz Modan on foot do you think!? Personally I want to get there before I am ready to join the restless dead ranks of our dark lady!”

    ”Are you sure!? Because to me it looked like you were happy to join the ranks of a certain ranger of hers!”

    ”I am just being considerate! It is called common courtesy, which I would expect even a mediocre diplomat to be aware of!”

    ”But of course! I had better follow your fine example and ask her to join me for dinner when we get back, provided the Undercity has acquired something edible by that time!” Runar shouted gleefully.

    ”If you so much as think about it I can arrange a date with my aaaaaaaaaaxe!”

    ”Yaaaaaaaaaah!”

    The two mighty gryphons of Aerie Peak suddenly tucked in their wings and dove at dizzying speed, only to spread them out and skillfully sweep along the ground and climb further up again.

    ”You did that on purpose!” Runar accused.

    ”No! He did!” Halvdan indicated his gryphon.

    The dwarves silently agreed to postpone further discussions about the up- and downsides of gryphon riding until they had firm ground a bit closer under their feet than at the moment. Halvdan was not sure if the gryphons had tired of their admittedly loud conversation or if they just enjoyed the occassional prank with new travellers, but discretion was always advisible.

    Pranksters or not, the gryphons were impressive creatures and could carry immense burdens. A whole dwarf (reasonably lean and in shape but still) and his pack, including a not insignificant amount of Lordaeron gold. If he left the baggage on the ground the gryphon could most likely carry another passenger at the same time without any trouble. Especially if the passenger was rather lithe and not too tall for being, say, an elf.

    Ah, damn, now he was doing it again. They had a mission to finish as per agreed and then they could see about how to proceed to get to Northrend and deal with the apparent dangers there, foremost of them doubtlessly this Lich King and his scum of a knight. Halvdan unconsciously bared his teeth at the thought. Well, perhaps gryphons could be trained to pick up enemy commanders with their claws and deposit them in more convenient places…like in the middle of that vast ocean to the west… Otherwise, he could always use an opportunity to practice his hammering backhand. He was sure that Runar would find it beneficial to their latest alliance to help bury that particular grievance rather permanently.

    And now he was doing it again, again. Blast it!

    Their travel path (or rather flight path) took them along the shoreline west, passing the town of Southshore and then veering south into the human kingdom of Stromgarde. It was a sight to behold, as the northern border was protected by an enormous fortification, Thoradins Wall if Halvdan recalled correctly. The kingdom was reputedly in some disarray bu the had to admit that the humans here knew how to build at least. It still felt a bit, well, exposed with defenses out in the open like this. Where were the mountain halls to fall back to?

    The gryphons held the course unerringly, crossing from roost to roost overseen by different flight masters and gryphon stablehands. Runar and Halvdan could have sped up their travel by continuing on fresh mounts but they quickly found themselves rather attached to their original ones. For all their antics – sudden dives were not an isolated occurence or the only mischievous behaviour when the journey appeared too routine – even Runar admitted that they were looking out for their riders and both he and Halvdan came to trust them implicitely.
    Besides, a few days of sleeping in beds rather than bushes and eating warm food wasn’t an unwelcome change of pace. And it also let them listen in on the topic debated in the smoky confines of the Stromgarde taverns. Two additional dwarves travelling aroused no particular suspicion it would seem and with a few extra coppers and toasts along with one or two prodding comments Runar and Halvdan soon had a rough picture of the spirit of this kingdom.

    Stromgarde was isolated, fractured, on its own for long time, insular, divided and patriotic at the same time. It was the northernmost Alliance realm now that Lordaeron had fallen and sentiments shifted between a longing for recognition long overdue and reluctance to be at the forefront of a gathering of nations many felt had not benefitted Stromgarde too much. After a brief council, Runar and Halvdan shelved any plans on approaching the kingdoms rulers spontaneously. This was an unsteady and unknown theatre where they would need far more intelligence to negotiate effectively.

    It was clear however that if the rest of the Alliance was met with suspicion, Stromgardes relative reprieve from the Scourge had not mitigated its hatred of the undead. Droves of battered soldiers and terrified refugees had fled south from Lordaeron, each with a more dreadful tale than the other. Carefully planted flippant remarks about what it would be like if some of the Scourge would have rebelled and fought the Lich King were only met with grunts and gruff remarks about how they would be welcome to destroy one another in that case, and rid the world of the plague. The plague referring here to the existence of undead, and not the actual plague that had been used to spread the curse of undeath and destroy Lordaeron in preparation for the Scourges attack.

    Halvdan reviewed his findings with Runar who shared his pessimistic conclusions and they raised their last tankards to the hope that the dwarves of Azeroth would prove more reasonable. It was hard to sleep after such days. Images of angry throngs of shouting dark shapes passed by Halvdans eyes, closing in around pale long-eared faces weeping red tears.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  13. #33
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    Chapter V-V. Dwarves and Detours
    Spoiler Alert, click show to read: 

    South of Stromgarde lay the Wetlands, mile after mile of water-logged marshes dotted with patches of woods and firm ground. A haven for some and a menace for others, they effectively guarded Stromgardes southern flank and Khaz Modans northern. Runar and Halvdan could only stare from above at the myriad of roads, paths, villages and small towns that huddled around the larger areas of open land or rivers.

    And then the mountains grew taller and taller and the Wetlands gave way to the heaths and pine forests of northern Dun Morogh. In no time the gryphons soared high over snow-capped peaks that shone in the sun. It was a truly majestic realm (not that the dwarves were partial in any way) that spread out before them and Runar and Halvdan felt their spirits soar along with their mounts.

    After hours of flying, the could see a particularly high mountain ridge where grey stone jutted out among the snow and ice. Rounded towers looked down on the valley below them, seemingly growing out of the mountain itself. Halvdan felt like letting out a great sigh of relief. Finally, here was a hall were one could feel at home and lean back in peace inside proper walls and not rubble and soot-blackened ruins. He was so captivated by the sight of the central keep with its enormous gate and stonework decorations that he almost yelped when theyw ere suddenly flying inside the massive structure under stone archs the size of castles in caverns that could hold several human towns with space to spare.

    Gryphon Master Gryth Thurden greeted the two somewhat shaky travellers with hearty exclamations and a few slaps to their backs and recommendations to seek out his favourite taverns whenever they had the chance. Runar and Halvdan thanked him and bid their tireless mounts goodbye with some regret and took in the new surroundings.

    Ironforge.

    The capital of Khaz Modan and oldest and greatest of all dwarven cities, Ironforge was a grand marvel of stoneworking and dwarven architecture, but fairly easy to navigate. Unlike the city-planning terrors of the human kingdoms Ironforge was logically and symmetrically carved out in a circle centred on the Great Forge that gave the city its name. From there one reached the Commons area next to the gate, the Mystic Ward, the Military Ward and the Hall of Explorers.

    Runar and Halvdan spent several days familiarising themsleves with the city and its major sights and shops, and consequently also its people. The dwarves of Azeroth were quite similar to their own kind and the place brimmed with an enterprising energy that was hard not to be swept up in. There were always myriads of things happening in every direction. Still laden with a good deal of Lordaeron gold, both Runar and Halvdan invested in more local outfits and not least winter clothes. The gryphon flight had left them feeling a bit too numb afterwards for anyones comfort.

    King Magni Bronzebeards clan had rod eout a civil war by eventually allying with the Windhammers against the Dark Iron dwarves that were now exiled and a bitter and relentless foe. The troubles at home however paled compared to the grief caused by the undead and costing the dwarves Alliance contingents dearly, including the kings brother and former ambassador in Lordaeron Muradin Bronzebeard, allegedly betrayed and murdered by none other than Arthas Menethil himself. Despite everything, Khaz Modan remained firmly comitted to the Alliance and its king lusted for vengeance against the Scourge. He was said to have forged an especially terrifying blade to counter that of the fallen prince, named Ashbringer and reoutedly capable of destroying any and all undead. Every dwarf clan was itching to have their share of reanimated bones to break and only the multitue of domestic troubles around the homeland seemed to be keeping them from marching out in force.

    To say the least, it was not looking bright for relations between the Forsaken and Khaz Modan, Runar adn Halvdan concluded as they gathered at Firebrews Inn by the western part of the commons. There was no point in putting off their task any longer.

    But it did not sit well with any of them.

    ”Well, here we are.” Runar began. His tone was off to say the least, Halvdan noted. His best friend and decade-long travelling companion was wry, amused, professional, irritated, angry or outright silly, but not deflated like this. It was a tone of someone about to concede defeat, not congratulate himself on succeeding.

    And it mirrored Halvdans mood perfectly.

    ”Indeed. Just an introductory letter to hand over and then we’re done.”

    A long moment of silence followed.

    ”What would you say about the odds of Ironforge even penning a response to the Forsaken?” Halvdan muttered.

    ”Almost irrelevant in my opinion, given the odds of anyone of note being willing to actually read their letters in the first place rather than tossing them into the nearest fireplace.” Runar remarked with an empty stare into his plate.

    ”They are given no damn chance of proving themselves, or their intentions!”

    ”To be frank, that could actually turn out to be the better outcome. What if all this accomplishes is provoking hostile attention and paint a target on Lordaeron for those who would rather see every undead destroyed?”

    Their predictions grew ever gloomier, but the strategic realities were undeniable. Lordaeron was the undead stronghold on the eastern continent and if the Alliance should want to make a push to reclaim it, now would be the time. And with the fanatical Scarlet Crusade well established in Lordaeron, there was little doubt about which side of the Forsakens story was the most likely to be listened to by the rest of the Alliance.

    ”So all in all it seems downright suicidal for any living being to voluntarily keep serving the banshee queen of a shunned undead kingdom.” Halvdan mused, seemingly absent-mindedly.

    ”Complete madness.” Runar agreed. ”Just as addled as someone obsessing over the idea of returning a smile to the delicate lips of one of her delightful dark rangers.”

    ”Utter lunacy.”

    ”Insanity in its purest form.”

    They both sipped on their ale.

    ”I suppose we could always…belay delivering this introductory letter until the circumstances are more to our sides advantage. Until they have been…wrenched to our sides advantage.” Halvdan suggested to nobody in particular. ”After all, it wouldn’t be particularly flattering for a master emissarys reputation to have orchestrated a colossal and irreparable diplomatic fiasco in a sensitive political situation.”

    ”Terribly shameful.” Runar concurred. ”And it would certainly be rather embarrassing for the spying department to have failed at gathering the background information needed to prevent a diplomatic blunder of such magnitude.”

    ”There’s that, after all.” Halvdan nodded.

    There was a moments silence as the dwarves looked for confirmation in each others eyes. An onlooker might have noticed how those eyes narrowed as both dwelled on the injustices of Azeroth.

    ”For the sake!” Runar snarled defiantly.

    ”Of the Forsaken!” Halvdan growled.

    The sound of engraved dwarven tankards clanging together and slamming down onto the table echoed along the mountains of Khaz Modan.
    Last edited by Maltacus; August 16, 2022 at 01:46 PM.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  14. #34
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Sick Baby Jester
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Ah the mighty Maltacas returns! Haven't read any of it yet (except the first post) but being a Maltacus joint it's gonna be great I'm sure!

  15. #35
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Hi @Turkafinwë, nice to see you here. Very nice smiley by the way, my birthday was just last sunday in fact

    You might want to read, or reread, chapter 33 of Home to Midgard before beginning this, for an extra laugh. Reading chapter 13 can also bring some insights into why a couple of protagonists here are not so unsettled by dark ladies as the average visitor.
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  16. #36
    Turkafinwë's Avatar The Sick Baby Jester
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by Maltacus View Post
    Hi @Turkafinwë, nice to see you here. Very nice smiley by the way, my birthday was just last sunday in fact

    You might want to read, or reread, chapter 33 of Home to Midgard before beginning this, for an extra laugh. Reading chapter 13 can also bring some insights into why a couple of protagonists here are not so unsettled by dark ladies as the average visitor.
    Another victory for my psychic powers! Happy belated birthday dude! I hope you partied accordingly.

    Thanks for the suggestion. It's been a while since I visited our Dwarfish friends. I might as well say hello.

  17. #37
    Alwyn's Avatar Frothy Goodness
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Happy Birthday for last Sunday, Maltacus!

    I enjoyed seeing Runar and Halvdan being comforted by somewhat familiar surroundings at Ironforge, and convincing themselves not to deliver the introductory letter. I'm feeling sorry for the Forsaken, and wondering if they'll find another way to help the dark rangers (it sounds like they have some sympathy for the desperate situation of the dark rangers too).

  18. #38
    Narf's Avatar Reach for the Stars.
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by Maltacus View Post
    Hi @Turkafinwë, nice to see you here. Very nice smiley by the way, my birthday was just last sunday in fact

    You might want to read, or reread, chapter 33 of Home to Midgard before beginning this, for an extra laugh. Reading chapter 13 can also bring some insights into why a couple of protagonists here are not so unsettled by dark ladies as the average visitor.
    Yes! happy Birthday. To answer your question, I don't remember the story behind my avatar i made it many years ago, glad you like it! Know the name of the web-comic?

    Also dang, I thought you were making these stories based on your in-game playing. Please do PM/VM me if it gets to a nice playable stage, Ive gotten bloody toothed to play it.

  19. #39
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Also dang, I thought you were making these stories based on your in-game playing.
    I will be, the story just haven't gotten there yet. So far the actual gameplay depicted is a bit of spying and the construction of a ship, basically. But when the campaign gets under way it will be with my own stats so it may not be very comparable to vanilla WTW in that way.

    The comic is called Kalliandra Cloak, https://calliandracloak.thecomicseries.com/ .
    The Misadventures of Diabolical Amazons - Completed.
    An Orcs Tale, a Third Age AAR - Completed.
    Reviewed by Alwyn in the Critics Quill
    My Dread Lady, a Warcraft Total War AAR - A few chapters done.
    Home to Midgard, a Third Age AAR about two dwarves, a spy and a diplomat - Completed (pictures remade up to chapter 19).
    Reviewed by Boustrophedon in The Critics Quill

  20. #40
    Narf's Avatar Reach for the Stars.
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    Default Re: [Warcraft Total War AAR] My Dread Lady

    Quote Originally Posted by Maltacus View Post
    I will be, the story just haven't gotten there yet. So far the actual gameplay depicted is a bit of spying and the construction of a ship, basically. But when the campaign gets under way it will be with my own stats so it may not be very comparable to vanilla WTW in that way.

    The comic is called Kalliandra Cloak, https://calliandracloak.thecomicseries.com/ .
    Looking forward to your start, include screenshots! If need be I can suggest a good program for it.

    Ok that is super cute, My wrench have meaning, but might steal some headdshots from this to wary up my avi. Looks great.

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