Disclaimer: I do not own World of Warcraft or Halo as those were developed by Blizzard Entertainment, Bungie Studios, 343 Industries, and subsidiary companies respectively. I only own the OCs.
Author's Notes: Hi folks I'm back! Sorry that I hadn't updated in a while but I had a crazy semester at college and didn't have a whole lot of time writing my story. Plus I had a few moments of inspiration and I wanted to get it all down on paper while they were still fresh in my mind. And I know you guys were probably expecting more than one chapter after all this time but I have a good reason for doing so. Along with updating this story I've also published a new story called Mechdread so feel free to check it out. Also for those of you who may have not noticed I've change the timeline of this story because at first I wasn't sure how to fit Halo's timeline within World of Warcraft's timeline but now I am. Now with that out of the way, onto the story!
Meet the Kaldorei
Day 2; April 12, 2554
Location: Temple of the Moon
Local time unknown, sometime in the afternoon.
John followed the high priestess as she led him to a room on the second level where the meeting would undoubtedly take place. As he and the Night Elves entered the room John did visual sweep of the room and found it to have a rather simple setting, a long elegantly designed wooden table positioned horizontally with four chairs and one more noticeable detail.
Four other female night elves were already waiting in the room.
Two of the Night Elves who were standing behind one of the seats on the center right both had the common theme of silver eyes and violet skin of their race with one having white hair and the other pink. Both appeared to be priestesses, judging by how similar their robes were to Tyrande's.
The third night elf standing next to the seat on the far left wore a greenish hued, violet trimmed armor that went from the neck down that consisted of a form-fitting breastplate, shoulder guards, and padded metal and leather leg guards that went from her hips to her boots. The night elf herself had light purple skin with long curly blue hair that went past the shoulder blades and jagged tattoos beneath her eyes.
The fourth and final night elf standing next to the seat on the far right had violet skin and had the most unusual appearance of the others as she was bald save her long eyebrows and green hair which was fixed into a long top knot style and a crescent moon tattoo in the middle of her forehead. She also wore what appeared to be an exotic metal plated armor with gauntlets ending in claws while the armor itself was fitted with a green velvet cloak which held a fringe of deadly, razor-sharp blades along the hem.
"These must be the other night elves that the High Priestess told us about." Cortana commented while observing their hosts.
The Chief said nothing but he silently agreed with her.
When they noticed that he had entered the room with Tyrande they respectfully greeted her, with the fourth night elf merely nodding, before turning their attention to him. The two priestesses looked at him with a mixture of curiosity and nervousness probably wondering who and what he was. The third night elf gazed at him with interest though her eyes held a hint of suspicion in them and her posture indicated that she had a great deal of combat experience. While the face of fourth night elf was expressionless as she silent observed him as if she was evaluating or judging him which reminded the Chief of the way the "Spooks" from ONI would look at people.
"Master Chief." called Tyrande drawing his attention to her. "Allow me to introduce the others who will attend this meeting."
"This is Sentinel General Shandris Feathermoon," she gestured to the third night elf on the right with a hint of fondness in her voice. "She is the Commander of the Sentinel Army."
Shandris nodded, confirming the Chief's impression of her.
Tyrande then turned to the two night elves at the center. "These are two among the senior members of the Sisters of Elune, Priestess Heilna Featherflight and Priestess Meridia Nightsong." She introduced the white and pink haired night elves respectively with both of the priestesses bowing their heads slightly in acknowledgement to the Spartan.
"This is Warden Cordana Felsong of the Watchers." Tyrande said as she introduced the last night elf who said nothing as she continued to stare at him.
"And of course you already know Fandral Stagehelm, Archdruid and leader of the Cenarion Circle." she remarked neutrally though John could tell that Tyrande was trying hide her disdain for the other night elf.
Fandral merely glowered at John.
The High Priestess then turned to address the recently introduced night elves.
"Sisters, thank you for coming on such short notice. This is the human who calls himself the Master Chief," she explained gestured to John as he stood next to her. "He is the reason why I have called this meeting."
"Of course my lady, you would not have summoned us if it was not urgent." Shandris said respectfully with John noticing that her tone was laced with reverence as well. "But why does this... human hold such an interest?"
The other night elves nodded also wanting know the very same thing.
John knew that Shandris wasn't being condensing or impolite, she was just genuinely curious about him.
Tyrande smiled at Shandris. "That is one of the many questions that will be answered at this meeting."
She then signaled for the night elves take their seats and as they did she made her way to the seat on the center right. Fandral followed close behind her and gave John a withering glare as he past which John thoroughly ignored. At the same time Saelia and Kiruna went and stood behind General Shandris while Naros stood next to the archdruid who now sat on the center left seat.
Once the night elves were settled Tyrande began to speak.
"Before we begin I would like to thank you Master Chief for coming to the aid of Saelia's patrol from an attack by Orcs of the Twilight's Hammer clan."
All the other night elves in the room, save Saelia, Naros, and Cordana with the former two nodding in acknowledgement and thanks while the latter had a subtle look of intrigue, started in surprise as it was obviously news to them.
"You're welcome." the Chief said simply.
Tyrande smiled and nodded while Fandral recovered from his surprise with a sneer.
"Is that so? Tell us then, "Master Chief", what was it that compelled you to so valiantly come to their aid? And why haven't you told us your true name?" he asked with suspicion while raising his eyebrow in mock curiosity.
Tyrande frowned at the archdruid along with Shandris who glared at him. Saelia and Naros on the other hand looked almost embarrassed as they realized that didn't even ask for the Chief's name while Kiruna and Cordana watched on with keen interest.
"I helped them because I needed help." answered the Chief, unperturbed by Fandral's attitude.
"How so? You seem capable of defending yourself." reasoned Kiruna confused by the Chief's answer. She wasn't the only one as the other night elves, except for Saelia, Naros, and Tyrande who already knew the answer, also seemed confused by the Chief's reply.
"I needed information about where I am and your people were more likely to help than the Orcs." he explained.
"What makes you so sure that we would be more inclined to help you than the Orcs from the Twilight's Hammer?" asked Shandris interested in what his answer would be and somewhat suspicious of his motives.
"From the way they and Saelia's group fought." John stated leaving the nights elves with puzzled expressions on their faces. "Saelia's group fought together and watched each other's backs while defending themselves. The Orcs just fought with no discipline and didn't care whether they or the ones beside them died. That told me everything that I needed to know." he explained upon seeing their confusion.
"You determined all of this just by watching their battle?" asked Shandris who looked thoroughly impressed.
The other nights was also impressed while Saelia smiled at the Chief's complement of how well her patrol fought. Fandral did nothing except continue to glare at John.
"Also the reason why I haven't told you my name is because I'm not authorized to. It comes with being a Spartan." the Chief added answering Fandral's second question.
While this struck the night elves as odd none of them questioned him any further on the subject.
"Thank you Master Chief. For both aiding our kin and in answering us honestly. Now if there is nothing else, can you tell us about where come from?" Tyrande quickly asked wishing to continue the meeting before Fandral decided to interrupt again.
"Actually High Priestess there's someone I'd like to introduce who will make things much easier to explain."
Tyrande tilted her head slightly to the side out of both confusion and curiosity but Saelia and Naros seemed to know who the Chief was referring to.
The Chief then held out his hand."Cortana."
Cortana then appeared in the palm of his hand causing the eyes of the night elves, except Saelia and Naros, to widen in surprise.
Tyrande had of course been told by Naros about this mysterious woman of light but she had been somewhat skeptical. But now, as she stared at the smiling miniature woman of light, all doubts left her mind.
Cortana continued to smile at her night elf audience when she decided to break the ice.
"Hello. My name is Cortana."
Tyrande quickly recovered from her surprise as she began to introduce herself.
"Greetings Cortana. I am-" she started.
"I know who you are High Priestess Tyrande Whisperwind." interrupted Cortana as she held her smile. "I was watching and listening as you and the Chief were talking."
Tyrande was even more surprised by that but before she could ask Cortana to clarify, Fandral spoke out.
"And just what are you exactly? Some kind of wisp? A spirit? An undead specter? Or perhaps you are demon yourself!" accused Fandral with his eyes narrowing in suspicion.
Tyrande frowned turning to face Fandral and was about reprimand him when she heard Cortana laugh.
Cortana's laugh then turned into a fit of giggles, much to the surprise of the other night elves and to the annoyance of Fandral, which soon stopped while keeping her amused expression.
"Sorry, I couldn't help myself. But you know it's very rude to place your shortcomings with other women on a girl you just met." she teased while facing Fandral.
Fandral's face held a look of outrage while every other night elf had entirely different reactions. Saelia, Naros, and Kiruna were shocked as they had never heard of anyone who spoke so brazenly to the archdruid before. Shandris wore a smug look as eyed the embarrassed Frandral while Cordana slightly raised an eyebrow and had a twitch of a smile that left as soon as it appeared. The two priestesses held up their hands to their mouths, trying to hide the fit of giggles that they had gone into while the high priestess wasn't much better off, as it took every ounce of her composure to keep her somewhat straight face and not end up like her fellow priestesses.
The Chief let out a small smile.
"To answer your question, no I am not any of those. I am an A.I. with personality, as you can see." She said simply.
Before Fandral could retort Tyrande held up a hand. "What is an A.I.?" she asked curiously.
"A.I. is an acronym for Artificial Intelligence. Short version, I am made up of a complex series of programming that is very smart and I work out really complicated problems for the UNSC." Cortana replied, careful not to give away too much info.
Tyrande slightly frowned at the lack of clarity but was nonetheless satisfied.
"Thank you Cortana. Now, if that is all-"
"A moment High Priestess." interrupted Fandral with a smirk. "How do we know this…human is truly what he says he is? How do we know that he isn't a demon if he conceals his face?"
Tyrande frowned at being so causally interrupted but she knew it was a valid question and looked to the Chief.
The Spartan hesitated for a moment until Cortana faded back into his armor then he removed his helmet with a snap and a hiss. Needless to say the night elves in the room were surprised to see that the Spartan was indeed human, namely Saelia as she had expected him to be many things once he revealed himself to them. She imaged him as true demon of some sort underneath the armor, a living being of death and carnage as she had witnessed earlier from him, or even a battle scarred warrior whose visage spoke of death just from a glance. These and many other possibilities occurred in her mind, but nothing to what she was seeing before her.
The Master Chief was pale, almost albino, yet he didn't seem to have any visible signs of physical weakness, in fact he seemed to be at the peak of health. Saelia knew enough about male humans to see that the Master Chief was actually quite handsome for a male of his species. He had strong, well chiseled features that showed no flaws or facial hair. He also had reddish brown hair that was cut short in what seemed like a military style which seemed suited to him as it gave him the aura of a veteran soldier which he no doubt was. But the most telling of his features was his eyes.
His eyes were pale blue and they glowed in an inner fire that seemed to be cool and calm but there was no denying the power that lay hidden within them. His gaze was also very different from a normal human. It was calculating, intense, focused, with hints of sadness, absolute confidence, as well as patience.
All of which intrigued Saelia as she continued to quietly observe the Chief from the sidelines. And apparently she was not the only one, as she glanced at her fellow night elves and found that they all had a similar reaction to her own. She then returned her gaze to the Spartan waiting to see how this meeting would unfold.
After a moment's pause, the Spartan turned to the archdruid.
"Does this answer your question?" he asked.
Fandral remained silent as he gazed at the Spartan and then nodded as sat back down.
"It does. Now then tell us, where are you from and why are you here?"
The Spartan placed his helmet back on and his face was once again obscured behind it. Then he looked to Tyrande for permission to proceed to which she smiled and nodded.
"I think it would be better if I showed you, Cortana?"
Cortana then reappeared. "Yes Chief?"
"Could you show a few non-classified images and information?"
"Way ahead of you Chief."
Needless to say Tyrande and her fellow night elves were surprised by the images that Cortana began to show them as she gathered the information she had stored away. Although she and John had decided to leave out information concerning the Halo Array and the Forerunners for now as this was considerably sensitive information and would best be kept hidden away from anyone, even potential allies. After all, the knowledge that somewhere in this galaxy were weapons that could purge the entire galaxy of all living things would most likely be a problem if mentioned to the people of this world to say the least.
The data that the A.I. was showing them was a basic summary of the history of the UNSC, though the A.I. withheld the name of the UNSC homeworld of Earth or its exact location, along with any other data by UNSC standards that was considered classified. The images highlighted the expansion of the UNSC from Earth and the development of the Slipspace drive, which was something that was a lot harder to explain than most, but John and Cortana finally explained that it was a technological equivalent to a portal made by magic. The night elves watched as the humans of the UNSC begin to build what in their eyes was a ship among the very stars in the depths of the Great Dark Beyond.
The night elves watched in amazement as the UNSC build their colonies and their fleets in the very void of the stars; it was naturally shocking for them to think that humans who had no knowledge of magic could be able to accomplish such feats. In fact out of all the whole races of Azeroth, this was something that only the draenei were able to do. And to their further amazement, instead of destroying whole tracks of land for their own needs, the humans of the UNSC were able to actually live a life that was in balance with nature as there were still beautiful lands and forests around their cities. The UNSC Army and the UNSC Marine Corps were also surprising as they had never seen the kinds of items and weapons that these human men and women carried.
The night elves were also surprised to see the kinds of vehicles and weapons the UNSC soldiers used in battle. Saelia herself was no stranger to the effectiveness of such weapons in battle and Tyrande had been told about how deadly those weapons were thanks to Naros showing the memories of the battle through magic. Both women and just about all the others in the room were very much surprised and worried about the sheer carnage such weapons could bring into the field of battle as well as among the stars when the UNSC warships went to war.
Naturally Tyrande was very serious about her next question after learning of this.
"Why would your people need to rely on such destructive weapons to wage wars? If your people are as powerful as you say, then would there not be a need for them?" she asked while the other night elves nodded in agreement.
"Because we soon faced enemies that would warrant those weapons. And while you think that these weapons were destructive, the weapons and forces of our enemies were even more powerful. This enemy was a collection of races united by religion and faith that called themselves the Covenant. I would tell you more but I'm not sure how well you would take it if I showed you more about them."
That was when Fandral spoke.
"We have faced the very wrath of the Burning Legion, the encroachment of our lands by the lesser races, the incursions of fthe Scourge, and countless other threats as well as the traitor Illidan and his hordes of Naga. How can your enemies equal that?" he sneered while Tyrande flinched at the mention of Illidan's name.
The Spartan looked at everyone else in the room and saw the skepticism on their faces. Seeing that since they were serious about this, he decided to show them one of the key battles that took place early in the Human-Covenant War, one of the first of many battles that would follow.
"Alright. But before I show you more I should warn you that what you'll see will be disturbing." he said seriously.
Fandral simply snorted at that while the rest of the night elves remained silent and looked on.
The Spartan began by showing them a beautiful world known as Minerva, one of the colonized worlds in what they were told were the Outer Colonies of the UNSC. The capital city of New Ithaca was located there, and it was a very large and bustling metropolis with a sizeable population numbering at least five million people. It had a heavy garrison Marine and Army forces, complete with everything that they would need as well as a small but mobile orbital defense fleet.
It didn't do them any good as the Covenant came and for the first time, the night elves where shown what happened as the Covenant brushed aside the orbital defenses and descended upon the city of New Ithaca.
In moments, the Spartan's records showed the UNSC fighting their best to keep the Covenant forces from landing on the planet's surface, but the Covenant ships which were pointed out by the Spartan were able to brush the ships aside. Soon the climax of the battle had begun as more UNSC ships from Frigates to Destroyers and even the massive Cruisers came on site to fight as the Chief and his own team of Spartans were on their way to the surface to aid the exhausted and shell shocked survivors.
The city that was once massive and beautiful, even by night elf standards, was now turned into a hellish place. Pristine buildings were now reduced to rubble, fires were ablaze everywhere, trails of glowing energy flew as the UNSC flying machines shown to be Shortswords, Longswords, Vultures, Pelicans, and Hornets were waging a brutal aerial war with Covenant air forces which was somewhat similar to battles with aerial mounts of the Alliance and Horde would fight another, but with machines instead and while those forces clashed and fought with sheer ferocity over the now blackened skies, the once massive towers of the city were now torn and ruined as fires and smoke filled the sky.
The night elves found themselves unable to move as they looked at the images before them and around them, the battle in space was shocking enough, but as soon as the Spartan and his companions hit the surface of the now ravaged city and hearing the Spartan give his orders, they finally saw the real carnage on the ground.
All around them were buildings that were ruined and blackened, vehicles upturned and burning, the screams of the living were there as well, and then they saw the bodies of the humans of this UNSC. All around the Spartan and his comrades were people, twisted and mutilated beyond recognition, rivers of blood flowing everywhere into pools before their eyes. The bodies of young children, teenagers, and adults littered the streets and the ruined buildings, many of them sporting horrific wounds, some had limbs and even heads removed, their innards revealed in the harsh light of combat. It was not limited to just civilians, as soldiers wearing UNSC Body Armor and carrying weapons were there, their bodies bleeding heavily from severe wounds, others were burned by plasma fire that parts of their bodies had sometimes been scorched to the point that they were hardly recognizable.
All throughout the city were the screams of the dying, the wounded, and of those who were killed without mercy. The recording stopped briefly then showed a lone Marine being interrogated by a lone sangheili in black armor who was surrounded by a number of kig-yar who were chattering hungrily, their blood thirsty eyes glued to the wounded Marine as he was being held up by his neck by his captor. His right arm hanging on through a few strands of skin and flesh while blood flowed down his legs. Cortana then increased the volume of the recording and magnified the image to make the whole thing larger to see.
"You fought well for such a weak creature, you Humans have shown true courage and honor in fighting us even if your death is the will of the Gods. But know that we are not without mercy, and so I shall grant you a swift death." the Elite sneered in mock respect.
The marine, his face twisted in pain and hatred, as his name was shown as Sargent Michel Stevens, spat at the Elite's face.
"Go…to….Hell, you… split-chinned… bastard!" he rasped through clenched teeth.
The sangheili gave a sound that was like a laugh and its mandibles twisted in a form of a smile as it spoke.
"Even in the face of death, you fight with all of your will and soul. You Humans truly are impressive creatures despite your weakness. Therefore I shall indeed grant you an honorable death… death by the sword."
With that, the sangheili took out a handle and ignited it into what Saelia and Naros recognized as an Energy Sword.
The Night Elves there watched as the Elite stabbed the weapon right through the Marine's body, they heard Michel's strangled cry of pain for a moment until his head rolled down lifelessly. And then to their shock, the Elite casually tossed the dead human's body aside only for the Jackals to suddenly leap upon Franklin's bodyand begin to devour him.
"Elune's mercy!" gasped Priestess Meridia with a look of utter horror on her face.
The recording changed images, showing that the Spartans were now on the move, but Tyrande interrupted the recording when she began to speak.
"How could you and your comrades leave that man to die like that? Why didn't you try to save him?" she asked sternly, though her face showed that she was doing her best not to lose her composure.
The Spartan could see that the same question were in the faces of the attending night elves, even Fandral was confused as to why he had not helped the wounded and helpless Marine while Cordana only slightly narrowed her eyes as assessing or judging him.
"On your world High Priestess, you can wipe out a patrol and would have plenty of time to do what you need before they were missed by their allies. In mine, our technology and the Covenant can shorten that to mere moments. If we had attacked, they would have warned their forces of our position and their defenses would have been much harder to break through and they would have been harder to eliminate" he explained. "No one, least of all me, wanted that man to die the way he did, but it was either his life or the lives of many others in the city. It's hard and cruel, but it was necessary. We all knew the risks and so did he."
The night elves were left stunned by this, even Shandris and Cordana, both who could be counted amongst the most composed, were disturbed. But any complaint they had died as they saw the truth in what the Master Chief said. Tyrande herself recalled how some of her sisters gave their lives so that others could live. She understood that so she spoke no more of it as the images of the events continued to play out before her.
Eventually the Spartans were able to meet up with the survivors of the garrisons and soon began to gather what they could in order to fight to allow the survivors to escape from their now doomed home world. The night elves watched as the Spartans gathered what they could alongside the surviving soldiers and move out. They even salvaged whatever weapons and ammunition they could find from their dead comrades.
Tyrande was horrified by the carnage before her, to know that in only half a day, nearly all of the people in that city were slaughtered, and even their best soldiers on the ground, despite their valiant efforts, could do little to stop the incoming advance, what had once been two different groups that had nearly a hundred thousand soldiers and so much firepower were cut down to less than a hundred each in only half a day. The idea of such slaughter on a scale like this nearly made her ill, something that she had rarely felt before in her long life.
She looked to her left and she saw a for a moment the body of a human child, a little girl, her eyes gripped in terror in death, her mouth opened in a scream but her throat was cut as blood flowed through her mouth, nose, and throat with her body showing signs of being gnawed upon by beasts, the handiwork of the blood thirsty Jackals. The sight sent waves of revulsion and remorse through her as she looked at the poor child's terror stricken face.
She looked to her right and saw a dead member of the UNSC Army with his left arm blown off below the elbow, his eyes closed and blood streaming out from the gouges of his burned body armor with his right hand clutching his assault rifle in death. Some distance behind him was a woman who had been gunned down and a massive series of burns on her back showed that she had been shot as she tried to flee with , to her further horror, a bloody bundle not too far from the woman.
That however changed when the Spartan and his soldiers finally engaged the Covenant. The night elves watched as they watched the Spartans and his comrades fight with their foes in the records as they all looked at the Covenant races as Cortana explained them one by one, from the Unggoy or the Grunts, to the Sangheili or the Elites, the Kig-Yar or the Jackals, the Yanme'e or the Drones, the Jiralhanae or the Brutes, and the Mgalekgolo or the Hunters. The battles that erupted between the UNSC were undeniably brutal as several human survivors were slain in the most violent manner possible while the Covenant races were also slain by the soldiers of the UNSC and the Spartans as they moved like shadows or avatars of war with Covenant soldiers falling before them. Screams and curses filled the air, human and alien in a symphony of unmatched destruction and bloodshed. It was like reliving the bloodiest battles, yet they were not part of the whole thing. The night elves in the temple found themselves in the record, even if they could not smell the flames, the stench of flesh being burned, or hear the sounds of fighting and dying around them, felt like they were actually there.
All of this reminded Tyrande of the first slaughter at Suramar so long ago….this was the only time she had ever been reminded of that day, and she couldn't help but feel sickened once more.
This battle waged on until the Spartans were forced to evacuate all the surviving civilians and soldiers from the world. Just when the night elves thought it was over they saw, to their shock, as the ship the Chief was on began to leave the Covenant fleet were now unleashing their full might to reduce the world below them into nothing but a lifeless world. Cortana explained it all as the night elves watched in horror as the once verdant and lush planet that would have easily been an ideal home for their people and the other races of Azeroth was reduced into a barren wasteland by the Covenant.
After this, Tyrande was speechless and looked at the Spartan with hard eyes.
She had seen the carnage of the war with the Burning Legion nearly ten thousand years ago during the Great Sundering and yet again when the Legion came again after the Alliance and Horde arrived in their land five years ago. She was no stranger to bloodshed and death, but seeing warfare of this level, with such brutality was utterly shocking to her and she couldn't help but try her very best to fathom just how could it be like this.
"Is this how wars are fought on your worlds?"
"No High Priestess. What you just saw was not a war, but a single battle, one among hundreds that would last for over thirty years, resulting in over two hundred and ninety nine other worlds being subjected to the same fate as Minerva." John replied without emotion.
This was utterly disturbing to the night elves. The thought of so much slaughter on so many different worlds and on such a scale… they had seen the devastating power of magic, but to see such wars where magic never existed and done with this level of brutality and with such ruthless and thorough efficiency, was very difficult and disturbing for them to conceive.
"How long have you been in this war with this….Covenant?" Shandris asked after a moment of silence.
"I have been fighting them ever since I was fourteen years old." John replied.
Shandris's eyes widened at that and so had everyone else's, even the normally stoic Cordana was shocked.
"You have been fighting them since you were that young?" Tyrande asked softly when she found the composure to speak again.
"Yes. Technically I am forty-three years old but thanks to UNSC medicine and technology, I am physically younger and I will live longer than most humans."
This greatly surprised the night elves but soon that surprise turned to dread at what the Spartan said next.
"But the Covenant was not the only enemy we had to fight, there was a worse threat that came later, a threat called…"
"No more….please! By Elune's mercy I have seen enough…. stop these images!" pleaded Tyrande with a trembling voice.
The Spartan could see the distress in the face of the High Priestess, while her two attending priestesses had the same look of distress with Cordana and Shandris giving her a sympathetic glance, so John agreed but not before he told them of the end of the war where the lies of the Prophets finally were revealed. How the Sangheili revolted for the betrayal of their race by their former leaders, how they fought side by side to finally end the conflict, and how he and Cortana finally ended up on Azeroth.
Tyrande decided that she had seen enough for one day and decided to end the discussion for now about where the Spartan came from. However, one thought still troubled her about the events she witnessed.
"After all that….fighting and bloodshed, how could you not have become maddened by all of this….slaughter?"
John could tell that this was important to her and decided to answer.
"As Spartans we were trained to fight and endure through everything and win. We were once trained to stop rebellion, but when the Covenant came, we then fought to save every human life we could. We fought a war for our very survival, our right to exist. That was why no matter what happened, there were other soldiers who never gave up and those soldiers refused to lie down and die, because they knew that they were the ones to defend their homes, their families, and those who could not fight back."
Tyrande was silent; she looked at the Spartan and marveled that someone like him was able to survive the level of fighting she had seen with her own two eyes. That added further weight to what she had seen from Naros's magical sphere as well as his report. That was when she recalled something that she had heard from the records that the Spartan showed her.
"What exactly are you? I understand from what I have seen that this title you have is your rank and you are a member of the Navy of your UNSC, but what does Spartan mean? Does it hold any particular significance? You were called that by your fellow humans many times, and even called demon by these Covenant, why is that?" she asked curiously.
The Spartan thought about it and replied.
"The term Spartan is from ancient soldiers of the same name, the Spartans were a civilization of an old city-state in an ancient kingdom on our homeworld. They were warriors who fought relentlessly against overwhelming odds so we were named in honor of them."
"As for why they called us Demons, it was because we inflicted heavy casualties upon them many times, especially when I destroyed a place that was sacred to their faith."
Tyrande took it all in and she thought deeply on the things she had learned.
"Now that you have told us all of this I must know something. What your plans are while you are here in the lands of my people? If you are to stay here, I need to know your full intentions so I can make a proper decision regarding your stay in our lands." she finally said.
The Spartan nodded.
"Fair enough. I'm not here to cause trouble for you or your people. I'll only be on this world until my people come and retrieve me. But until that time, I would like some information about this world while I stay here."
"Oh? What sort of information?" Tyrande asked.
"Everything. Maps, cultures, customs, social hierarchies, factions…everything. I need to know who the sides are and what the situation is here so I can make informed decisions that will be the key to my survival on this world." he said simply.
Tyrande gave the matter a great deal of serious thought especially since she the value of what he was asking for. Then out of the corner of eye she saw that Fandral looked as though he was about to explode with protest.
She returned her gaze to the Chief.
"If it's not too inconvenient I would first like to convene with the others before I make my final decision. In the meantime, would like to take a tour of the city?" she asked.
The Chief was about to say that he would be fine waiting outside but Cortana spoke up.
"Hold on Chief, this might be a good opportunity to get a lay of the land. Plus I'm a bit curious."
He really wasn't all that thrilled about being in a public area but knew she was right.
The High Priestess smiled and nodded.
"Very well. Saelia, Naros, and Kiruna." she said calling out the night elves. "Would you provide escort for the Spartan and show him the city? We will send someone for you when we are finished."
All three night elves bowed.
"Of course my lady." replied Saelia. Saelia then waved for the Spartan to follow her which he did.
As soon as they left the High Priestess faced Fandral and knew it was going to be a tiring debate.
As soon as Cortana had finished cataloguing the information they had thus far, she spoke to the Spartan and told him that now that they were done, they might as well look at the city and see the sights before the sent for them. The Spartan naturally argued with her on that regard as they had a private conversation.
"Cortana, you know that I don't like being out in public."
"I know, but we can gather even more information from out there as well as the temple. This being the night elves' capital would mean that there's plenty of people who come here to trade, plus getting more information will be helpful. Besides, you can try to be more sociable with our hosts, after what they've seen, I think showing them that you're not a demon is a good idea."
John could tell that Cortana was dead serious about this and sighed once more as he spoke back to her.
"All right, but I'm only doing this because you asked for it. I might not like it at all, but if it'll make you happy then fine."
Cortana laughed gently at that.
"You can be a nice guy when you want to be."
"And you say that I don't get you anything." remarked John.
She laughed even more.
Saelia then began to guide the Spartan through the city of her people, showing him the various locations of the city and along with him were Kiruna and Naros. All the while, John had been studying the city itself and saw a good deal of things there in the city and began to record it in. He studied the exact layout of the city while listening to Saelia as she told him about the various sections of the city as they passed by what was called the Cenarion Enclave and made their way through an area called Craftsmen's Terrace. Naturally the residents were more than willing to point at the Spartan and talk in their native language, which by now the Spartan understood well enough. Some of the people were wondering what he was, where did he come from, all those sorts of things and some would even wonder if he was a demon. Some of that amused Cortana but he ignored it.
He also noticed the political disputes between Tyrande and Fandral. While they may not realize it their arguments were more than enough to tell the Spartan that there was a political power struggle going on between them.
They briefly stopped near the barracks at the Warrior's Terrace as the Spartan watched the warriors there spar, while Saelia sneaked a quick glance at him as she tried her best to picture him without his helmet. It was also hard to imagine that he was already in his forties when he looked to be a young man in the prime of life. The Night Elf Sentinel then turned her attention back to her duties as she then guided the Spartan through the Tradesmen's Terrace.
After an hour of touring the city, a female night elf in robes soon approached them.
"Sister Moonstrider? The High Priestess is waiting for you." she told Saelia.
"Very well, inform Lady Tyrande that will be there shortly." she replied.
The priestess nodded heading back to the temple.
Saelia turned to the Chief. "It's time."
The Chief nodded and indicated for her to lead on.
Tyrande looked out the window to see the rest of the city of Darnassus and was deep in thought after all she had seen from the records of this Spartan. It was still hard for her to grasp it all but she could sense that all that she had seen was not some illusion, why she felt that was beyond her for now, but there was no doubt that this man before her was not of this world. And as such was a very powerful being in his own right and was to be treated with respect.
She also felt a moment of kinship with the man, he too was a warrior like her and had fought for his people just as she had for hers and gave everything to defend them just as she did. That was why in the end of the discussion between them, she believed that spoke truthfully when he said that he had no intention of fighting for anyone on this world until he found out more of this world and its people. He naturally would undoubtedly defend himself if attacked but she felt certain that he was not here to start a war with anyone and as such, he would more focused on securing his location and do what he could in order to be rescued if possible by those of the UNSC.
She wished that her beloved Malfurion was here with her to guide her and give her the stability and support she longed for as well as help her in keeping her people together. Not to mention for him to take back his rightful place as archdruid of their people, as Fandral's actions have troubled her long before the Spartan ever came to their world. Fandral was an excellent druid, of that there was no doubt, having been Malfurion's lieutenant for a long time.
However, his temperament was not one would expect from the right hand of Malfurion Stormrage, he was hot tempered, prone to rash decisions, and also very much a traditional night elf who dislikes the alliances with those he deems as inferior races. Fandral believed that their race were the only true druids in Azeroth as well as the superior race as they had defeated the Legion without any aid in the past and he believed that with time, they could do so again, despite the evidence on the contrary.
Added to that was his belief that the only way for the night elves to grow in strength and power was through expansionist actions as well as military force. That coupled with his aggressive stance made him clash with her in more than one instance. It still made her wonder why was it that Malfurion had such a person as his right hand as they also clashed on many matters in more than one moment in the time she had known the two.
Fandral of course had suffered the loss of his son Valstann in the War of the Shifting Sands many years before, so some of his anger towards other races was understandable. However, today his actions continued to grow more and more radical and Tyrande worried that sooner or later, there would a civil crisis among her people if this kept on occurring. Only those closest in both their respective orders knew how violent their clashing of words was getting and it was only a matter of time before things could radically change.
Speaking of which…
"Tyrande, you cannot be seriously considering in allowing the human access to the archives and granting him sanctuary within our lands?!" Fandral asked incredulously.
Tyrande turned and Fandral a piercing gaze.
"First Archdruid, you will remember that I am High Priestess and leader of the Kaldorei and you will address me as such. And secondly, I am more than entitled to consider the Master Chief's request whether you approve of it or not." she told him sternly.
Fandral's eyes narrowed but he said nothing as he gave a reluctant nod.
Satisfied despite Fandral's lack of sincerity Tyrande turned to the other night elves in the room save the two priestesses who she sent to resume their duties as their presence was no longer required.
"Shandris, what did you make of him?" she asked the general and practically adopted daughter.
Shandris pondered for a moment. "While much of what he told us seemed to be too incredible to believe, I don't think he was lying to us. He had the look of a warrior, carried himself with the bearing of one, and his voice was unwavering. He seemed sincere in his desire not to provoke conflict with ours or any other people. I believe we should grant his request and allow him the chance to prove his words with his actions unless he gives us a reason to do otherwise."
Tyrande smiled with pride at Shandris's measured reasoning.
Frandral snorted. "Preposterous is what I think you mean sister. A human warrior from the Great Dark Beyond! Utter nonsense!"
Ignoring the archdruid, Tyrande turned to the silent Watcher.
"Warden Cordana what is your thoughts on the Master Chief?"
Despite Tyrande's history with the Watchers, Cordana had never held any personal grudge or displayed any resentment against the High Priestess.
After a moment of silence, Cordana spoke for the first time during the whole affair.
"While I somewhat share the archdruid's skepticism, I am inclined to agree with General Shandris. The images that the Master Chief showed us are simply too powerful to ignore. Granting him his request will allow us to evaluate his character and motivations." Cordana said crisply with cold calculation.
"Then it is decided. When the Chief returns I will inform him that I will grant his request." Tyrande said with a note of finality.
It was then that a knock sounded at the door.
"Enter." said Tyrande.
The preistess that Tyrande had sent to inform the Chief entered the room with a bow.
"High Priestess, I have informed Sentinel Moonstrider of your summon and she the Chief will arrive shortly."
"My thanks Sister, you may go." Tyrande said thanking the younger night elf.
The priestess bowed once more before leaving the room.
Tyrande looked at the other three night elves.
"Shandris, Cordana you may go as well. I personally inform the Spartan of my decision. Archdruid you will remain." she directed and gave a look at the Fandral that brokered no argument.
The two female night elves nodded in understanding and left the room, leaving the High Priestess and the scowling archdruid alone to wait for the Spartan.
As John and the night elves accompanying him as they made their way to the room that held the meeting, he noticed General Shandris and Watcher Cordana leaving the room and coming toward him. As they passed him Shandris gave a small smile and nod while Cordana just gave him a curt nod and they left.
"I wonder what was about?" Cortana asked him privately.
"Don't know. Guess we'll find out soon enough." John replied.
When they entered the room he immediately saw the High Priestess and the glaring archdruid waiting for him.
"Master Chief. You will be pleased to know that I have decided to grant your request." she informed him with a smile.
"Thank you High Priestess." he said sincerely.
"However there is one condition I have before I allow you to view the archives."
"What's that High Priestess?"
"I would like you to be observed while you are reviewing the archives. The knowledge held within it is very precious to my people, I trust this will not be a problem?" she asked.
John shook his head.
"Very well then. Saelia and myself will show you the way." she informed him.
That was when Fandral spoke.
"The High Priestess may have granted your request human. But do not believe for a moment that I won't be watching you very closely." he warned.
The high priestess sharply turned head at the archdruid, narrowing her eyes as she did so.
"You will leave the Master Chief alone unless I allow it. Do you understand me?"
Fandral silently nodded his compliance before briskly leaving the room.
The high priestess sighed and turned back to the Chief.
"Please follow me."
John nodded and followed her out of the room.
Minutes later inside the archives of the Temple of the Moon…
The archives hidden in the temple were very vast and there would undoubtedly be more than information as well that he would be able to get his hands on. Naturally the alphabet was unknown to the Spartan but he was able to get the chance to understand it later once he was done looking at them as this would allow Cortana to gather the information.
The Spartan poured over maps, pictures, scrolls and more while moving with relaxed patience and focus one each book and scroll that was located there in the library, he knew that there would be even more sources of information in the city that he would be able to look into at a much later date. Cortana was humming to herself while she took in all the information with a smile and filing it all away.
John was naturally not alone in the room as Saelia and Tyrande were also in the library, the two Night Elves were currently observing the Spartan from a balcony as he stood and poured through the books, maps, and scrolls looking for a few minutes to half an hour or so before moving to the next one.
Saelia then spoke to the high priestess.
"High Priestess, what do you think of him?"
Tyrande sighed a bit.
"The Chief, as he prefers to be recognized as, is a very interesting being. Despite coming from a society that has no knowledge about magic, but he is quite capable. Naros's description of his battle skills are proof of that, and what we have seen adds further weight to his story. As for him personally, I do not know, he certainly is a dangerous being, of that there is no doubt, but he seems to be sincere about his desire to be left alone." she replied.
Saelia nodded at that as the two of them watched as the Spartan continued to pour through the tomes and scrolls before him, they had no doubt that the glowing female being Cortana that was with him was helping the Spartan. The moment the being known as Cortana revealed herself to Tyrande and the others in the Temple with a smile was actually the most shocking part of the whole discussion as they had never seen anything like her before. As Fandral had said, she was like a wisp, yet she was not a dead being or a spirit, but in her own words a….program, a being made of information created by humans from this…UNSC that the Spartan was part of.
Tyrande recalled that and smiled a bit as she spoke.
"For a supposed demon, he seemed rather well mannered and pleasing to the eye, I can see that you also noticed Sentinel Moonstrider."
Saelia nodded, she had indeed noticed the unique appearance of the Spartan without the helmet to hide his features and she had found herself surprised and strangely...interested. Tyrande continued to smile to herself and then looked at the Spartan as he seemed focused on gathering the information that he came to get from their archives.
She then noticed that Saelia wore a troubled look on her face.
"Is there something wrong Sentinel Moonstrider?" Tyrande asked with concern.
"It is nothing my lady." she replied with a slight hesitation before giving the high priestess a weak smile.
Tyrande frowned. "Sentinel Moonstrider. If there is something that is troubling your thoughts you can speak of it to me."
Saelia paused for a moment before relenting, telling the High Priestess about the dream she had last night. When she was finished Tyrande held a thoughtful look as she pondered on the possible meaning of the dream.
"Was that night the only time you had this dream?" Tyrande asked.
"Yes my lady, I have never had this dream before nor have I ever seen anything like those….images in all my life." Saelia replied still disturbed by what she had seen. "What does it mean my lady?"
"I do not know sister. I too have never seen or heard of anything like what you described from your dreams." said Tyrande with a shake of head. "Though Elune does grant visions to those who are meant to see them, their meanings are not always clear. I will pray to Elune for guidance and perhaps she will grant me the wisdom necessary to unravel the meaning to your dreams.
Saelia nodded in gratitude. "Thank you my lady."
"You are welcome Sister. In the meantime go about your duties as you would normally and inform me if you have these dreams again." Tyrande advised.
"Yes my lady." Saelia acknowledged with a slight bow.
Tyrande turned to continue observing the Spartan as he perused the archives when a sudden idea occurred to her.
An hour later, near the entrance to the Temple of the Moon…
"Before you return to your ship Spartan, I believe that it would best if you have a guide or guides to help you to be further accustomed to the lands of my people. This way you will know where you are as well as know what and where the other denizens are here in Kalimdor, whether benevolent or not. Since you are familiar with Sentinel Saelia Moonstrider and Druid Naros Shadecrest, I wish to ask if you would consider them to be by your guides to help you while you are here in our lands?" asked Tyrande.
The Spartan looked at the two night elves and weighed the options. Both had exceptional knowledge of the land, had useful skills, and they were more familiar to him than anyone else for that matter. It was better to work with people who know of already so you can watch them carefully as well as gain information from at the same time.
"I don't mind High Priestess, but I have to point out that I will be traveling this land to learn more once I have secured my base of operations. If that happens, I want to know if they are all right with traveling with me to areas beyond Kalimdor. I also might have to travel to the lands of the Horde and meet their races as well as other races on this world so I need to be sure that they are all right with that? Or will they decide to stay here when I leave and return to their duties until I return?" asked John.
Tyrande looked at both night elves and the silence was there, this was something that had to be carefully considered. To her knowledge Saelia and Naros had never left Kalimdor's shores before and this was not uncommon. Many night elves preferred to stay in the lands that they knew as home and while many have gone beyond the shores, Saelia was a Sentinel and Naros was a Druid of the Cenaruian Circle and they were both duty bound to stay and defend Kalimdor in one capacity or another.
"I would be willing to go if that is your wish High Priestess. Though I know little of the lands beyond Kalimdor, I am willing to go to those lands and the Master Chief with your approval." Naros said with a bow.
Tyrande smiled, nodding in agreement and the druid returned her smile. Truthfully, hearing about the lands beyond Kalimdor in the past had stirred curiosity in the young druid and he was eager to see these lands. After all, he had heard rumors that both Malfurion and Tyrande had gone to those distant shores and he wished to see what they had seen as well.
Tyrande then turned to Saelia.
"And what of you Sentinel Moonstrider?"
"I…I am unsure my lady. I have never considered traveling beyond Kalimdor before." Saelia replied with slight apprehension in her voice.
"High Priestess, if I may speak?" Kiruna suddenly asked.
"I have greatly traveled beyond the lands of Kalimdor and I have been to the lands inhabited by the humans and those of the other members of the Alliance. And the lands of those who are not part of the Horde and even the lands inhabited by the members of the Horde. If you will allow me, I will accompany the Chief alongside Saelia and Naros. Since I know many of the lands beyond Kalimdor quite well I will be able to help them to adjust living outside of our homeland."
Tyrande thought it over and knew that Kiruna spoke the truth. She also knew that Saelia and Kiruna were close friends and comrades when they were both in the Sentinels. It would be better if both Saelia and Naros had one of their kindred who had already traveled beyond their lands with them to aid them in both adjusting to other lands and to guide them if the Spartan left their lands.
"I agree with Huntress Kiruna's idea, what of you Saelia?"
The night elf Sentinel pondered on it for a moment and decided that perhaps she could do this duty. It would be a first to her, but if her closest friend could do it then there was nothing stopping her from doing the same. Besides she still was honor bound to keep watch on the Spartan, and if doing so meant traveling with him beyond Kalimdor and possibly Horde territory, then so be it.
Though she wondered why she felt that there was more to her decision than that.
"I will do as you ask my lady. If it will help our people then I will travel with the Spartan wherever he may wish to go." she said with resolve.
Tyrande smiled at that.
Once everything had been settled, the Spartan recovered his weapons with her approval and left to return to the village of Rut'theran to leave in his Pelican. When he and the others arrived at the Pelican, the three had to ask a number of curious night elf children and teens to leave the Pelican alone and allow the Spartan to activate the code to have the Pelican remove the lockdown that it was in effect.
As soon that was done, the Chief powered up the Pelican's systems and lifted it off as the Spartan was now focused on the task of getting back to the Dawn and add all the necessary defenses to insure that the ship would properly defended. It would take a lot of work that but it will be worth it as it will insure the security of his ship during his stay on this world. He also had enough supplies as well as the support of the Robotic Rovers, and he could use the materials that were available to him, though he needed to double check the Dawn's inventory and see if the supplies he had were enough. And he would need to retrieve the two drop pods he arrived with first thing in the morning.
Hours later in late afternoon, nearing the Dawn…
As the Pelican came closer to the Dawn's location Kiruna was engaged in a discussion with Naros and Saelia to learn just what they knew of the Spartan and getting a feel for the Pelican. She noted that compared to the goblin zeppelins, Hippogryphs, and the Gryphons she had ridden before, the Pelican didn't allow for the feel of the wind but it seemed to have some sort of device that kept the air cool and comfortable. Not to mention the flight seemed very fast compared to the zeppelins.
"We're here." John informed his passengers.
Kiruna then moved up to the cockpit and what she saw out of the window caused her eyes to widen and made her speechless. She saw the severed half of the Dawn laid out across the area and stared at it in wonder.
She then turned to look at Saelia with an unspoken question.
"Trust me Sister, you have not seen anything yet."
As John stepped off the Pelican's ramp and into the Dawn's hanger deck and he briefly looked around and saw that everything was in order.
"This place is amazing!"
The Chief turned and saw that it was his newest guest Kiruna who had spoken as she looked around her in awe.
"Saelia." John called.
Saelia looked at the Chief with a questioning look.
"Show Huntress Kiruna to where to sleep and get some rest. I have some things that I need to take care of tomorrow." John said.
Saelia nodded then guided Kiruna to the crew quarters with Naros behind them leaving the Spartan alone.
As night arrived, the Master Chief decided to take some time in keeping an eye on the ship before getting some rest. Later, he would ask if Saelia and her friend would be able to fill in and help Cortana watch the ship by patrolling around the area of the Dawn when he needed some sleep. He might be a Spartan, but even he needed sleep just like any human.
Author's Notes: And done! I realize that the Master Chief didn't really do much in this chapter but I promise you all that you'll see the Chief doing a lot more fighting in later chapters. But at least the Chief got to visit the Night Elves home and made a good impression, possible gaining some allies while Cortana totally owned Frandral so all in all it was time well spent. And if your interest in reading my other story that I've published while updating this one please feel free to do so. Also I should be updating more chapters for this one later. So until next time see ya later!