Divided Paths

And the sequel has arrived for those that have waited in dread or anticipation. I can assure you that this one is longer then Burden of the Heart since more is going on. New allies join the fray, new foes appear, and a lot of terrible drama awaits everyone.

Chapter 1: Passing

The storm was closing in faster over Nagrand. The sky was electrified with energy and the old broken one knew it was going to be a wild storm. Orlon stood leaning on his staff in worn travel clothes, moving along the road with haste in mind but held back by the creak in his bones.

Behind him Taynia labored on her stomach swollen even more then when they had first met at the World's End Tavern. Her tale was one of confusion, love, and there was no doubt betrayal. Orlon pitied her and befriended her. Then he had come out of his retired living to travel along with her. He didn't know why but something seemed to be calling him to walk this path.

She claimed she was pregnant with the child of a death knight. Something of a hard story to swallow. Orlon had seen forsaken and even a few of the shadowy knights of the Ebon Blade in Outlands. All were dead and cold with not a spark of life in them. Taynia herself couldn't attest to this fact. No doubt she wanted the child to be her lover's. The truth was that the father was no doubt someone else but her story was filled with holes and important pieces hadn't yet fallen into place.

From how her story had become frantic, rash, and lost in ambiguity around the time she left her lover, and to the point she has arrived in Outlands was what could've happened. She didn'twant to remember it clearly. Or perhaps the death knight was the father and there was ambiguity in how the Lich King had constructed and imagined his harbingers of death. Even more you couldn't always reject the fact that the light itself might've had something to do in the bizarre conception if her story was to be entirely trusted.

Whatever the case, whatever the story, whoever the father, the fact remained she was with child. She was pregnant and wanted her fairytale ending. She was lost and Orlon felt that in a way he was meant to have been in that tavern and meant to help guide her back to a more sane state of mind and help to heal whatever scars she had yet to confess.

Taynia leaned against a tree wheezing a hand on her stomach, "Orlon ...can we rest? This child...it isn't going to wait for Telaar," She said wincing in pain again.

Orlon looked at her frowning in worry moving to her side to offer his old body and staff as support, "It is a long way to go. Keep moving child and we should come upon a camp or the like. Hopefully,"

Thunder rumbled overhead and he felt a sense of urgency again. It would do no good to try and bring a child into the world in the middle of a downpour. Shelter had to be found soon. Orlon and Taynia plodded along cresting the hill slowly as the first big drops of rain began to splatter onto the sun backed dirt of the path, "By the light, the rain couldn't wait just a bit more?" Orlon mumbled looking up worriedly.

Taynia gave another wince and nearly doubled over holding her heaving stomach, "It can't wait Orlon, the pains...oh..." she whimpered eyes closed.

The broken one looked to her worriedly and supported her against him more before looking up desperately searching the horizon for anything. There. A glimmer of purple light against the darkened sky and the arches of ethereal structures. It was no doubt Aeris Landing. The broken one personally had never truly liked the shifty ethereals but at the moment, he didn't care. Their camp was in eyesight. They could make it and beseech them for help.

"Come Taynia. There is shelter just over on that ridge. We can make it. It will be better to give birth there," Orlon urged helping her along although his bones protested. He was getting too old to be hoisting people around. But he pulled up whatever youthful energy still remained in him to push ahead. He had to. He was holding two lives in his hands...

"Light give me strength," he said through gritted teeth as the sky opened up and let loose its tempest.

…...

Gezhe was highly displeased with the weather. Highly displeased. No doubt it would mire operations and lead to a five percent decrease in profit. The technology of Aeris Landing sheltered them from the rain keeping the tools and gems dry. Idly the ethereal watched the rain drip over the shield and listened as the runner babbled about facts he had already predicted.

"Diamonds have risen sir and rubies are in high demand but veldarite still hasn't recovered," The runner said crisply.

"Yes, yes, nothing useful for me here. I said to bring information I could use!" Gezhe snapped irritably.

The runner straightened up and seemed to be a bit miffed, "I see sir...well your brother still wants those holocubes you borrowed as well or else he is going to come here and take them himself,"

"Bah, like he has the backbone for that," the ethereal trader grumbled waving a hand.

A peal of thundered echoed overhead and lighting flashed through the sky giving the whole land a wild look. Then a cry was hear at the path and he turned as a old muddy broken one with a whimpering crying woman leaning heavily against him stumbled in out of the rain. The ethereal straightened up in alarm as well as many of the workers of Aeris Landing.

The broken one looked up panting, "She is giving birth! Quick we need your help!"

The old broken one's voice was like lightning and Gezhe turned pushing the runner out of the way, "Paulsta'ats! Get bedding ready! Shadrek! Get over her, you said you did this once!"

The latter of the two rubbed the back of his head, "I watched it happen once when I was at Telaar organizing to make it so I could poach the eleks,"

"Still it is something! Get moving!" Gezhe snapped before moving to the woman.

The broken one allowed the ethereal to take her up and gave a grateful smile, "Thank you. I'll make sure to cover you for the loses. I know your kind don't like to lose profit,"

"Please. This storm is loss of prophet," Gezhe said smoothly, "We aren't completely heartless when dealing with a woman giving birth, old timer!"

Orlon only nodded wearily taking a seat on a box not caring what was in it or if he was even allowed to sit on it. He was tired. Taynia was crying out as the three ethereals were gathered around trying to figure out the general idea of what Shadrek was trying to explain. The runner was dancing on his toes behind Gezhe, "I could go get a healer sir. Sir? Hello?"

"Yes yes! Go now and hurry would you?" Gezhe finally snapped, "and while you are at it tell my brother I'll get those holocubes to him tomorrow or the day after tomorrow...I'm too busy now!"

The runner turned and was quick back through the portal. Quickly the trader turned to the other two ethereals and leaned over, "So...what next Shadrek! Is she suppose to be screaming this much in pain!"

"Uh...yeah! That is normal uh...contractions! She should be going into labor now," Shadrek said looking at the other two, "It probably isn't that hard we just have to pull the baby out right?"

"You fools! You might hurt the human if you do that!" Gezhe snapped angrily.

The old mage groaned and got to his feet pushing past the ethereals to kneel down next to Taynia. To think that the ethereals had such great technology yet when it came to the most basic aspect of life, they were completely bamboozled, "Here, I'll handle it. Just assist me until whatever help you sent for comes. Hopefully it will be someone who knows how to deliver a child," Orlon said gruffly.

Shadrek gave a shrug to Gezhe who rubbed the back of his head, "Well...I don't know if anyone in the Consortium probably knows how to..."

Orlon bit back a groan and sent a silent prayer that more bad news wasn't going to pile up. Taynia panted, eyes closed as she desperately held onto Orlon's hand, "Orlon ...this baby...its..."

The broken one held her hand trying his best to comfort her although he was at a loss himself of what to do. He only knew the basic outline of what he had to attempt to do if help didn't arrived soon. The portal flashed and Gezhe turned quickly, "about time! This lady is about- my Nexus-Prince!"

Gezhe dropped a hasty bow and the other two ethereals followed suit as the powerful figure of Nexus-Prince Haramad stepped through the gate. The Nexus-Prince lifted a hand with a slight chuckle, shaking his head, "No time for pleasantries this day Gezhe. I heard that there was a woman in labor?'

Taynia lets out a loud cry of pain her hands on her stomach. The broken mage nodded quickly looking up at the Nexus-Prince, "Yes uh...is a healer coming...?"

Haramad gave a laugh shaking his head, waving his hand slightly, "Oh no need for that. I've come her in person to make sure it is done right. Don't worry! I've done this before,"

In all honesty, it seemed odd that of all people it would be the nexus-Prince himself that was about to be the doctor. Orlon gave an unconvinced look at the enigmatic leader of the Consortium pushed up his sleeves lightly, looking almost cheery. It almost seemed like he was just going to sit down to polish some gems rather than to play doctor and deliver a baby. That and the fact that he highly doubted a trade-prince would risk coming out so openly. Something was not right.

"Now, let us get down to business yes?" Haramad said in an airy, unconcerned tone.

The next hours passed by with the storm raging and eventually growling off leaving a mist on the land. Black clouds still hung in the air as dawn slowly began to creep up. Orlon sat against a few crate, in a half doze, weary from the journey. The broken one mage could only attest that he was getting far too old for such crazy adventures and excitement. Next to him, Gezhe sat picking at his robes nervously, "You know it isn't often the Nexus-Prince comes out. Dangerous and all for him. Wonder why he came?"

Orlon gave a shrug, "Don't know much about ethereals let alone your prince," he said as the noise within the tent settled down and he briefly wondered if everything was going well.

The cry of a baby finally filled the air and it seemed like a weight had lifted off Orlon's shoulders. He let out a sigh slowly getting to his feet, leaning on his staff, "Sounds though like your Nexus-Prince knew what he was doing!"

Haramad stepped out of the tent cleaning his hands of the blood on them from the birth, his shoulders slumped a bit in weariness but his whole being seemed aglow. He paused to give a slight nod to the Broken One and Gezhe, "She and the baby are alright. It is a healthy baby boy...my word though! She was a real warrior pushing through this,"

The Nexus-Prince chuckled lightly as he tossed the cloth to the side, "Forgive me for wanting to handle this affair, but it always intrigues me to see mortals, how do you say it, preform the miracle of life,"

"Uh huh...well in any case we owe you our thanks, " Orlon said with a bow.

Haramad chuckled glancing at the tent, "I'm pleased with how things have turned out. She is a delightful woman...She named the boy Alexandros Haramad Fieldstron. Hopefully his middle name sends him plenty of riches and no assassins!" the nexus-Prince let out a laugh shaking his head.

He paused with a few chuckles still echoing in the air, "Well, you can see her now but she is tired. The dear will need some rest. Tell me, what are you plans now?"

Orlon shook his head getting to his feet, "Honesty I cannot tell you Nexus-Prince Haramad. No doubt we will continue with our adventuring to earn a few coins. She has considered traveling to Azeroth again,"

For a moment Haramad paused a hand rising to his chin, "Hmm...you don't say, "one could almost see the cogs turning in the Nexus-Prince's mind as he mulled something over, "I see...Gezhe, I need to speak with you quickly before I depart,"

The Broken one watched as Gezhe hastily followed Nexus-Prince towards the transporter before turning to step into the tent. Another ethereal was cleaning up the mess from the birth. Taynia lay back in rich pillows that had been gathered up from all sorts of odd places in the camp to make the new mother comfortable. She looked pale and drained but a happy tired smile was curling her lips. Orlon step closer and crouched next to her, "I heard the good news," he began looking down at the infant, "A healthy baby boy, Alexandros Haramad Fieldstron,"

Taynia gave a tired smile as she reached a hand to caressed the newborns face lightly, "Yes...named for his grandfather first. Then to thank Haramad, he takes the Nexus-Prince's name as his middle one. Then he gains my own family name,"

"And not the fathers...?" Orlon said cautiosly. He didn't want to bring up his doubts about the true parentage of the boy she held. There was nothing unusual about him. Just a normal baby like any other baby. The skin wasn't pale and had a pink and perfect flush. Taynia only held the infant close smiling lthough there was a sad tinge to it, "I doubt...I doubt his father would...would accept a child,"

Orlon only nodded accepting her tired answer. Briefly he wondered why she did not name the boy for her own father rather then the man who was the the assumed father of her child. Taynia only gave a small joyful smile.

It was a smile the broken one had never seen on her face. He put his hand on her shoulder and gave a smile of his own in return, "I'll watch over young Alexandros, Taynia. Get some rest. You deserve it child,"

She gave a nodded as she handed over the tiny newborn, sleep already heavy on her eyelids, "Thank you Orlon...where would I be without you?"

Orlon chuckled and sat back cradling the infant gently, "Who knows," he said with a smile, "Sleep now Taynia,"

She nodded weakly giving a yawn as she let her weariness catch up with her. The young priestess sunk back into the pillows, quickly falling asleep. Orlon yawned feeling sleep pricking at the corner of his eyes now as well. The tired old mage felt like taking a long nap himself. The infant slept quietly in his arms but he knew eventually the babe would be awake with cries of want. The broken one chuckled lightly and leaned back getting comfortable, "Well, for now I think we all...could use a rest," he said.

He tried to keep awake but his body lost the fight and soon he was loudly snoring with the babe held securely against him, asleep in its swaddle. Outside the clouds over Nagrand finally began to dissipate allowing for the morning light to penetrate at last.

…...

"you can't be serious Nexus-Prince! I'm needed here to make sure-"

Haramad raised a hand to silence Gehze's protests, "The Aeris Landing is doing fine, Gezhe. Things are in a stagnant market honestly and we need something...new," The Nexus-Prince said, "Azeroth...we haven't taken a look at the place. I need to send a good prospector of markets to investigate discretely,"

"Then what about someone else? I'm not cut out for this kind of-" Gezhe protested again only to be silenced by Haramad for a second time.

"Now Gezhe," the Nexus-Prince began in a chiding tone, "You have been without a doubt the best at knowing how the market fluctuates and you are a skilled mage user when you try. The woman and the broken one are going to need support,"

Gezhe let out a groan, his form slumping, "I'm not cut out for travel! I'm not an adventurer. Can't I just stay here-"

"If you stay here you'll miss out on the greatest profit the Consortium may have ever obtained," interrupted Haramad again, his tone sly, "Think about it...what kind of rare metals and never before seen gems could be accumulating in Azeroth?"

The merchant paused as the thought began to work its way into his mind and touched upon his greed, "Yes...but still..."

"And if you find the market I'll make sure to give you a substantial cut and a promotion," Haramad said sinking the hook deeper into his underling.

Gezhe straightened up and all the doubts and groans were covered up by the greed that was burning in him now as he already began to count out the pay and envision himself at a cushy desk job at last, "I see...you make a very convincing argument my Nexus-Prince," he mumbled, "I would be a fool not to accept it and I am no fool,"

He gave one last sigh before giving a bow to Nexus-Prince Haramad, "Very well. I will accompany the two on their journey and when they head to Azeroth...I'll be looking around at the market and make my report back as soon as possible,"

"Excellent. I'll be waiting Gezhe...make sure not to be late. I like to get in before the competition decides to weasel its way in," Nexus-Prince Haramad said before he turned. However he paused tilting his head as if listening to something, "Oh and do make sure to take a look at Northrend in particularly...there are rumors that one of our less savory rivals, the Ethereum, are snooping about. Make sure to take a look at that as well," the trade-prince said before stepping through the portal and disappearing to wherever it was he hid from his countless enemies.

Gezhe stared at the portal as something jolted him. Something had seen off slightly with Haramad. It wasn't just the fact he had made this appearance nor that he had knowledge of childbirthing. It was also the fact the trade-prince was not one to foret details about where the Ethereum might be. Perhaps the trade-prince was a bit punch drunk today...

Letting out a sigh and wondering what he had just agreed to, Gezhe turned back towards the main camp,"My greed is going to be the death of me yet..." he groaned slightly, "This just better be worth it..."

Darion hated the Badlands. The whole land was worse then bad. It was a hellish dust bowl filled with buzzards, coyotes, and those damn black dragons. The death knight sat resting against some rocks, the bodies of slain black whelps about him. The frost steamed on their bodies. It hadn't taken much effort to put down the wretched reptiles it had just been an annoying waste of time. It was also just making his already foul mood worse.

He had been told that an alliance priestess had been seen passing through the area recently. So he took the lead, wandering the arid region, enduring the sun, the dirt and a hundred thousand biting flies. Darion wondered if being dead just seemed to attract the swarms of insects more than usual. At least he was luckier then the other undead. He didn't have to worry about the maggots being laid in his skin. The forsaken often had to deal with the issue. After a day of adventure, sitting around pulling out the fly larvae from eating putrid flesh did not appeal the death knight. Luckily, Arthas had a sort of pride in how well he preserved his death knights. Everything was in tact as far as Darion was aware. Whatever reason Arthas had for the difference in his men, he didn't ever ask. Who knew what the mad prince was up to.

Darion waved a hand to scatter the annoying insects about his head scowling down at the body. It was a priestess. A very dead one. The flies were thick and it seemed the buzzards had been picking at the body. It wasn't Taynia though. Short black hair clung to the skull which was turning grey at the roots. Closer inspection placed the priestess at a very ripe age of pass fifty. Taynia wasn't that old, barely even older than himself.

Another dead end in his search. Darion let out a low growl as he got to his feet and turned to his deathcharger. The beast was calm, not bothered by the insects. The icy cold aura of the beast froze the annoying gnats with a touch. The death knight could do the same thing but it would be a waste of power. He didn't want to be wasting runes and mana with mundane things and then be regretting it when he needed it the most.

"Another dead end, Fury..." he grumbled, "Not a hide or hair of that woman. You would think she would be easy to find what with her being prone to accidents and disaster,"

He mounted his deathcharger and pulled on the reins turning with a frown back towards the north. The trip to the Badlands had been pointless. Yet of the last months, pointless seemed to be the underlying theme of his journey across Azeroth. It was almost like she vanished off the face of the planet...

Darion sighed and kicked his mount into a gallop heading back to the more balmy lands of Loch Modan, hunched broodingly over his reins. It had been a long road. Highlord Thassarian was holding out alright although he was expressing irritation with the Banshee Queen and her political dodges. So far getting an audience with the Undercity ruler wasn't going smoothly. Darion had bluntly told Thassarian to screw the formality and just kick open Sylvanas's door and drag Koltira out. Yet Thassarian didn't. He had a bit more tact and a lot more regard for the rules...for now.

The deathcharger's hoofs cracked against the sun-baked earth sending up clouds of dust as it passed. The dry wind blew the dust about. It lay in a layer on Darion's black armor and even managed to get into every crevice in the plate as well. He swore he could even feel it in his undergarments at this point. He no doubt had piles of sand and dust in his boots now to rival the dunes of Tanaris. At least that is how it felt.

So lost was he in his thoughts, he nearly missed the glint on the horizon. He pulled his mount to a halt and squinted. Again, a glint of metal was seen and the high-pitched squeals of black dragon whelps, "hmph...seems someone else is riling up the damn lizards," he grumbled.

Soon, the death knight found himself riding quickly towards the glint hand on his sword hilt, eyes narrowed. Ever since meeting Taynia, he had felt the stirrings of some part of him he had thought long dead. An annoying part of him that was still living in the days when he was a member of the Knights of the Silver Hand. Chivalry was a stupid habit that refused to die off when he took his own life. It was handy in his past life where it was something a knight needed, not as a soul stealing wielder of death.

The swarm of black lizards were squealing and snapping about a figure who fought like a wild animal to get free. A good number of the black beasts lay dead on the ground. Out of pack of the young whelps a screeching yip was heard as a fox fought forward its orange pelt stained with blood. It snapped widly ripping out the soft throats of the dragons and nimbly dodging away from the jets of flames and flailing claws of the beasts.

One whelp turned with a wail to take another lash at the fox only to be pierced through the head by a wicked arrow. A woman arose screaming and cursing from the mob of writhing bodies, figthing up to the high ground to let loose another volley of arrows. Her armor was ripped and wounds were apparent on her body but she refused to go down. A very different scene then when he had came upon Taynia...

He pushed thoughts of the priest from mind for the moment and brought his blade forward, "Looks like you picked a bit to many targets, hunter!" He shouted before releasing a wave of deadly frost upon the whelps. They let out cries as they were afflicted quickly with the deadly cold and soon were still. The rest met their fate just as quickly under the might of Darion Mograine. Death and decay danced under the beasts as they succumbed and dropped dead. The hunter and fox stood up, both panting from the fight but the woman didn't look pleased.

She lifted a hand and dropped her hood to reveal a mostly human face tempered with elven features. A half-breed. Darion sat up eying her up as he sheathed his weapon, "your welcome," he leered, feeling his usual dark mood return.

"Didn't ask for any help," she responded curtly, "I had the situation under control, death knight,"

"Didn't look like it to me and I've seen a lot of situations in my time, half-breed," Darion said back, frowning, "So what is a hunter doing out here in the middle of no where?"

The woman glared at him slightly and flicked a lock of her dirty blond hair over her shoulder and place a hand on her hip, "I should be asking you that question death knight. Your kind have no business being anywhere beyond your grave,"

Darion chuckled darkly, "Maybe...you should watch your tongue girl. You are speaking to Darion Mograine, not just any death knight and my family is know for short tempers,"

"So you are the one time highlord of the Ebon Blade," she drawled, "Can't say I'm impressed. I'm Adoin, a lone hunter who goes where she pleases and hunts where she pleases and doesn't need the help of the walking dead,"

"I've noticed," Darion drawled, "Hopefully next time you get in a mob you can control you won't be crying to me,"

"I won't, Mograine," she sneered lightly, "I don't need help. I was doing fine harvesting bounties on these reptile loinspawns,"

The Highlord snorted, "These things worth something? I could kill them in my sleep. They are nothing but pests," he said with a frown, "Been having to deal with them and everything of this miserable land looking for someone,"

Adoin quirked an eyebrow at him as she put her bow away and knelt down to scratch behind her pet fox's ear, "I take you aren't the best of trackers if you are wandering the Badlands without a clue in the world,"

"I had a clue," Darion said, scowling, "I'm looking for a priestess but despite my description, they seem to be deaf and send me on wild murloc chases!"

"Tell me about your prey. I can make up for your lack of ability, death knight," Adoin said, "After all, I'm a master at the hunt. From the shores of Auberdine to the mountains of Tol Barad," she gave the fox one last pat getting back to her feet, "May save you some hassle,"

"Yes it might, but you forgot the fact you are a bitch," Darion drawled.

Adoin only smirked, her eyes slitting slyly, "And you are a rude bastard so I guess that makes us even then, yes?"

Darion couldn't help but give a slight chuckle at that, giving a shrug, "Perhaps," he admitted, "Maybe if you don't slow me down you could be useful in helping me track who I am after,"

"Please, you will have to keep up with me," she lifted her hand and blew a sharp whistle. A shriek filled the air as a gryphon came winging overhead, a dusky, wild gold color. It landed next to the huntress who patted its next and quickly swung onto its back," Do try to keep up. I'll meet you at Loch Modan, at Thelsamar. Best to discuss business over food and ale and I'll tell you now, my services don't come cheap and I don't have all the time in the world. So don't take too long death knight or I might just retract my offer,"

Darion rolled his eyes, "I just might take my sweet time to piss you off," he said, "but don't underestimate how fast a deathcharger of a one time Highlord can run,"

Without another word he took off, flat against the neck of his mount, urging it on to speeds no mortal horse could gallop. Adoin laughed and gave a shout kicking her gryphon into the air, her pet leaping onto the beast behind her.

The death knight only smirked a bit as the race was on. At least out of all of this he was getting away from the accursed heat and insects. Adoin was a bitch but compared to the many women he had to deal with who fell into that category, at least Adoin amused him and didn't invoke an urge to strangle her like certain banshee queens. Still...she wasn't Taynia.

"Thelsamar..." he mumbled and memories poured out of Taynia, "Where in the hell are you...?" he asked out lout.

The sun baked land of the badlands gave no answers but a driving hot wind across the surface.

Sylvanas sat back in her throne decidedly pleased. Things have been improving for the self-style queen of the Forsaken. With the help of the val'kyr their numbers were growing again. The Horde had been keeping out of her reach and slowly she was "convincing" the death knights of the horde to look to her as their master slowly but surely.

Of course, the last piece of good news was not proclaimed out loud. They still were death knights of Acherus in looks. Mentally they were under her will and nothing more than elegantly created puppets. She looked to her right smiling crookedly as Koltira Deathweaver stood rigidly waiting for her orders. He would do anything to please her despite deep down he probably wished to do nothing but kill her. Yet he could do nothing against the methods she had used to break his will again. There was no Darion Mograine or ray of light to break their shackles. Only Thassarian to deal with and his polite request to see her.

Just like she suspected, Highlord Thassarian had more the manners of the Alliance to obey the paperwork unlike his predecessor. It would be a fact she would unveil as his folly when the time came. To her left, Nathanos Blightcaller stood silently, eyes lowered in contemplation. He too was loyal and her champion, yet of late he seemed troubled by her methods. Nathanos didn't speak up and followed her orders. She chose to ignore his misgivings.

Everything was in her hands for this card game to work and the aces in her sleeves. Yet wild cards were still beyond her grasp. Darion Mograine was still alive and at a hint of trouble ,no doubt, he would come charging back. There was also the issue of Tirion Fordring catching wind of her schemes and methods and declaring her an enemy rather then a tentative ally. Also there was that dashingly blunt and uncultured human dog-king Varian Wrynn and his warmongering of late. At times she wondered if Garrosh and the King of Stormwind were working together to orchestra the war they both wanted.

She frowned slightly and glanced to Nathanos, "Has Blacklake reported any findings about what Mograine is up too?"

"No, my lady," the ranger replied curtly with a bow of his head, "I have called in a favor for him to acquire the information he needs. A hawk should arrive in a few days with news that I can report to you and Blacklake concerning whatever Mograine is hunting and why. From there, Blacklake assures he can get more information easily,"

"Hopefully and hopefully soon. Eventually those damnable knights will figure out what we are doing, " Sylvanas said with a slight frown, "Then the element of surprise will be lost,"

"Of course my lady," Nathanos responded not betraying a hint of his emotions, "I'll be sure to pass the news to Blacklake when I meet with him. He has been just as anxious for news,"

The fallen ranger-lord wasn't about to also mention how rude and snide the other forsaken had been as well concerning the speed of information, "Finding the previous highlord and gaining his trust is not something to be done easily. The man is known to distrust many," Nathanos said carefully, "My agent will report when they can,"

"This agent, are they trustworthy?" Sylvanas asked fixing him with a cold stare.

Nathanos nodded not even flinching under her gaze, "Of course. They are the ones who have been keeping us informed on Alliance movement on the outer territories. One of our best spies,"

The banshee queen gave a brief nod before looking over to Koltira, "And my dutiful consort," she said in a near purr, "What do you think of all this?"

"Meaningless," Koltira said, his face blank, "In the end only you, my love, are capable of ruling these cretins,"

The Banshee Queen chuckled reaching over to briefly stroke the side of his face, "Yes, tis a true statement, my consort!" she said with obvious contentment, "And in time, I will,"

She turned to look forward, straitening up on her throne and elegantly crossed her legs. It almost seemed that already she was wearing the adornments of a queen of a vast empire that covered the world with her grip. Sylvanas smiled.

"In time I will,"

The landscape of the Dragonblight was gripped in the thralls of winter again. The northern winds brought clouds of snow from on high covering the land in a fresh blanket of snow. The bones of the dragons, once defiled, were covered again. The touch of undeath was masked and silence once again. Yet something lingered. Something had endured in that frostbitten land.

The once mighty necropolis of Naxxramas lay on its side covered in snow and ice. The insides were gutted and empty now. It was forgotten again in the silent cold north. Forgotten by all except the banshee queen who had looted it for devices that would give her more power, more followers and the two figures who stood contemplating the fallen tomb.

"Things are different now. The call of the Lich King is all but gone...yet you choose to follow still?"

"...it is complicated why I stay. I myself am not sure of the why,"

The second speaker shifted and turned away from the ruins of the necropolis as the former continued to stare at it almost in a mournful silence.

"Zeliek, in life and death you have always been hard to understand," the other said at last.

The fallen paladin, turned horseman, smiled grimly, "It seems that my cursed existence is extended when all I wish is death. The light still has a reason to keep me here. What that reason is..."

"I only restored you because there was...enough left of you to be restored. The other horsemen were not...so lucky," the figure gave a humorless chuckle, "Yet every time we come back, we grow stronger and now..."

"What will you do now without the Lich King?" Zeliek asked crossing his arms glancing over his shoulder at his companion.

The other paused thinking for a bit, "That is the question...isn't it?" they mused out loud, "I'm as clueless to you as what to do with eternity to myself. Perhaps return to the mundane of study and learning as was the original reason for the selling of my soul to damnation. But who knows? Life and unlife are both fickle and prone to change. For now, I will be content to vanish into the cold shadows. Do what you will Zeliek,"

The death knight was silent for a while, closing his eyes, "I go where you go. If in exile it is best for us to remain, then I shall be with you. Bound to your fate in life and death. This will be the second time you've restored my unlife, I owe you again and a paladin always repays their debt,"

"It is that damnable honor which has always made you the most confusing of death knights, Zeliek," the other said with an amused tone to their voice, "Very well then. Until it is time to sound the call again to either the new Lich King or to our own cause, we retire,"

The clouds opened up and the first flakes of the fearsome storm burst forward. Soon the listless land was covered in a white curtain and the figure of Zeliek was lost to sight. The taller figure at his side remained seen for a brief moment, the cold eyes blazing before vanishing as well. The land was silent once again.

and we start out running now, don't we? New plots, new characters, and even some old ones coming back. Zeliek has always been an interesting and so he has returned even though he is probably angsting about why he is alive. Other figures to be named later. For now, they can be mysterious person who is with Zeliek in Northrend.

And poor Koltira! If you wish to support having someone punch her in the face, leave a review. All reviews will be put towards writing a fanfiction that will fulfill this wish. The more, the more epic it will be. Maybe. Can't really promise how epic it will be only that it will continue fist and face.

Darion makes a new lady friend and doesn't realize he might be a father or Taynia is the mother of some other man's child and he will have to live with the fact the love of his life jumped in bed with some other man. Either way I doubt he is going to take the news well.

As for Gezhe joining the party of Orlon and Taynia...I for one have always liked the ethereal race, especially the trade-prince. For some reason the trader black market types have always intrigued me. Thus he joins the part. Two more and they will have a raid going...unless the baby counts as a party member then they will need just one. Most likely a tank.

Anyways, enjoy the first chapter of the sequel!