Chapter One - The Gate
"Ok, we've got instructions from the king, transportation to the Blasted Lands and a sense of adventure in the name of The Light" said Kashaahri, "Is there anything else we need?"
Everyone looked to Emielice who shook her head and signed "Not as far as I know but I've probably forgotten something"
"Well, you've packed extra gold just in case?"
"Ok then. Prepared as we can be so let's go."
They all mounted and flew to the Mage Tower where the portal, maintained by the mages, would take them through to the Blasted Lands and the Gate to Draenor. Lessons over the years that they'd been together had taught them caution and so they'd developed an order for them to pass through portals: Their paladin, mage, shaman, priest, and last would be their warlock. The Kashaahri and Allarae could bring any situation under control rapidly, Daalorisa could start healing and then Elanna could either heal or deal damage depending on what was needed. Emielice, with the flexibility of her demons, could take in the situation whatever the situation was and react appropriately. It was a system that they all knew and practised and it had saved their lives on a number of occasions.
Arriving at the portal in the Blasted Lands, Emielice found the site in an uproar but the important thing was the call of "Demon" from Kashaahri. She immediately went onto the defensive, commanding her demon to follow her lead.
Looking around it was obvious that the demon had been there for a while. Damage had been done to the camp and many of the soldiers were down. The camp was in chaos and a massive demon was running rampant through it, barely even being slowed down by the efforts of the soldiers many of whom were still trying to grasp the nature of the attack upon them.
That chaos came to an end when Kashaahri's thrown shield struck the demon and her taunt rolled out across the battlefield bringing a short lull to the battle taking place as the demon stopped and turned to look at her.
"Eredar" Kashaahri called again, scorn dripping from every syllable, as her Judgement crashed into the demon.
The demon spun towards her and snarled "Dranei, I shall enjoy ripping you limb from limb. To tear your still beating heart out of your chest" and, with the last word, charged towards the waiting paladin.
The two came together in a resounding crash as the demon slammed into the paladin's shield. Despite the demon being at least twice as tall and several times the mass of Kashaahri she didn't move, simply absorbing the demon's momentum. Then her weapon went up as she called upon the Light and she struck the demon, knocking him back.
"Then you'll need to try harder, demon" and the light coalesced around her and flowed down into the ground, Consecrating it and burning the demon whenever he touched it.
The demon screamed in rage and struck out, only for his weapon to meet Kashaahri's shield and her sword to smash his chest once more. The Frostbolt from Allaraelanna and Shadow damage from Elanna went almost unnoticed by the demon. Emielice threw on an Immolate and then turned and tapped Daalorisa on the shoulder, nodded to a young soldier and then turned back to the battle.
Daalorisa looked at her and then at the soldier "Tell your captain to pull his men back, we've got this"
The young soldier looked at her, confused, and then the note of command got through and she snapped to attention "Yes ma'am" and took off.
Daalorisa turned back to the fight and threw a small heal on Kashaahri. Unless the demon pulled something other than unthinking rage out this fight was over - it was just a matter of time. Looking around she noted that the young soldier had reached someone in authority who was now pulling the soldiers back from the fight and organising help for the injured. To assist with moving the soldiers out of the way she directed some of healing abilities towards a few of the wounded. It wasn't much but it allowed the soldiers to move more rapidly.
Seeing to the soldier's injuries and preparing the dead for return to Stormwind lasted until after dark. Once that had finished and the camp had settled down some the team were called to the captain's tent.
The captain looked at the adventurers, considering their unperturbed expressions of patient waiting. 'Hmmph' he thought, 'they've done this before and rank doesn't impress them.' Out loud he said "I'm going to start by thanking you for dealing with that monstrosity and the help that your healers have given the men since."
"It looks" said Elanna "like we were simply in the right place at the right time and dealing with demons is in our job description."
"Still, I'm thankful for the assistance that you've given since you've arrived." They nodded, accepting the thanks given "Right, well now that the niceties are out of the way is there anything I can do for you?"
"Could you tell us what happened? We were here to join Kadgar and the people he was taking through to Draenor." asked Kashaahri "Kadgar has obviously gone through the portal with those adventurers else you wouldn't have been having so much difficulty with that demon."
The captain considered for a moment and then said "There was a short lull in the orcs coming through the gate and Kadgar decided that they had to take the chance that had been presented and go through. They went through and the orcs stopped coming. We took advantage of the quiet time and started cleaning up, looking after the wounded while still keeping on alert. After a few hours, the gate closed. We don't know what happened but there was a sound of an almighty explosion that came through just before the gate collapsed. We assume that Kadgar and his team did something to forcibly close the gate from the other side. After that we stepped down from full alert. I figured that if the gate opened again we'd have time to assemble and be ready before anyone came through. That was yesterday. That demon appeared only minutes before you did, he appeared directly upon the gate platform and the gate opened behind him."
"That would be why you were unprepared."
The captain nodded and continued "He declared himself the 'Gate Lord', that we were unworthy and attacked a group of my men scattering them and doing damage to the camp. That's when you turned up and turned the tables for us. I've had people watching the gate since and although it's open it doesn't appear to be… operating in the same manner as the old gate. The watchers say that it's darker and flickering but can't really say anything more than that. Although experienced scouts they're not mages so if you want more information on that then you're either going to have to get it yourself or wait until we can get a team from Stormwind here to investigate it."
"We only got our marching orders from the king this morning and yet you say that Kadgar went through yesterday? Did you send anyone to inform the king?"
"Yes, I did. Sent another through the portal when the gate collapsed as well. For you to be sent this morning would indicate that my messengers didn't get through but they came back within a few minutes after having left reporting message received and that we were to maintain our position. I can't think of why you'd be sent after that."
There was a considered quiet for a few moments while everyone thought about what the captain had said when Allarae said "There is another possibility" and went quiet again.
"Well" said Daalorisa "Don't keep us waiting".
Allarae glanced to Daal, smiling at her impatience, then said "The gate was not just a portal between worlds but also between times taking whoever went through to the time before Draenor shattered. With its collapse, especially if it was forcefully collapsed, that time flux may have rebound and affected other portals around it."
"So, what you're saying is…?"
"That the portal not only brought us from Stormwind to here but also from yesterday to today."
"But my messengers got through without any difficulty"
"Yes, I would assume that they used the portal at a time outside of the effect whereas we stepped into the portal at or near the time of the gates' collapse. It's even possible that we came out at this time because of the Gate Lord's opening of the new gate."
"And what would have happened if he hadn't opened the new gate?" asked Kashaahri
"We may have been trapped in the portal for all time or we may have ended up in some other random place and time. It's hard to say without more information."
"Not a pleasant thought either way but we're here now."
"We're here now at the time and place that we needed to be" said Elanna "and the gate's still open."
The captain looked to her and then back to Kashaahri and asked "What are you going to do now?"
She looked around at the others in the team "We're going to need to discuss that. Do you have a tent we could use for the night?"
"Yes, of course. I'll assign someone to see to your needs."
"Then we'll say good night and we'll see you in the morning."
"Going through that gate is why we came here" said Elanna
"We must go through" signed Emielice
The team looked to their leader who pursed her lips "And you Alla? Daal?"
The two asked looked at each other and Daal nodded assent. The Night Elf turned to Kashaahri and said "We, too, feel that we should go through".
"You do realise that there's almost no chance that we're going to end up on Draenor at any time and that there won't be any way back?"
They all nodded at her, letting her make the final decision. They were a team and either they'd all go or they'd all stay. The leader pursed her lips again and then said.
"Then get packed. We leave first thing in the morning. I know that you've all made arrangements with your folks if you don't return but it's probably worth writing to them now, letting them know what's happening. We'll give them to the captain to deliver before we leave."
Most of the soldiers had found an excuse this morning to be near the gate. All of them looked on the weirdly flickering gate with foreboding. And all of them were there to watch the adventurers that had saved them walk into it.
"Do you think they'll be back sir?"
The captain looked to the young private who'd asked, recognising her as the one who had brought the message from the adventurers the day before. The message that had both brought relief and hope as it allowed him to get his men out of the meat grinder that had descended upon them so unexpectedly.
"No, private, I don't." He looked back to the gate "And I'm sure that they understand that as well as I do." He said as he fingered the five letters that the private herself had delivered to him that morning.
They looked on as the five, holding hands, stepped through the gate as one. Moments later the gate died.