Journals of Alhazred

Fiction based on the World of Warcraft game setting

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Of Defias and Honor Betrayed Pt.2

Journal Entry


My last few months in Westfall were occupied with ferrying supplies from Gryan’s contacts in Stormwind and Lakshire in the Red Ridge territories. While I felt that my skills would have been better utilized by further soirees against the Defias, I knew that this was Gryan’s attempt to keep me out of the clutches of the bandits, once he learned that a price had been put on my head by the Brotherhood.

Eventually, with constant and pointed comments, I was able to make Gryan see reason. If the Defias really wanted to claim my life, distance would not really be a factor given their reach. With my firm conviction that the time was ripe to strike a decisive blow against that raiders ringing in his ears, he decided it was time to beard the lion in its den. To that aim, I was directed to seek out an old rogue of Gryan’s acquaintance named Wiley at the inn in Lakeshire. It was Gryan’s belief that Wiley was our best chance to finally start putting a face to the shadowy leadership of the bandits.

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Wiley was a cantankerous old goat, with a reputation as the town drunk. It took half the silver in my purse’s worth of lager and Gryan’s signet ring to finally convince the old man that he could trust my confidence, but I was presented with a much different person once we had moved our meeting to the room I have reserved for the night. Wiley it seemed, was actually a member of the royal intelligence service SI7. The image he cultivated for the citizens of Lakeshire was merely the cover of a shrewd mind and someone I rapidly came to believe was an Adept at his craft.

Lakshire was known as a resort town of the wealthy of Stormwind, and drunkards are often considered beneath notice. This placed him in a perfect position to over hear the private discourses of noble and commoner alike, but it was surprising to see real fear in his eyes when I turned the conversation to the Defias.

Fortune it seemed favored my mission, for Wiley had managed to acquire information that the Defias were planning a major offensive. He had also learned that the Defias were being aided in their plan by a mercenary group of Kobolds and Gnolls. Most surprising, was the knowledge that a group of renegade goblin engineers were working closely with the group. This last I found startling, not out of a belief in the inherent goodness of goblinoids, but because goblins were notorious for backing which ever combatant they felt most likely to win a conflict, as well as providing the most profit. The fact that they would align themselves with the Brotherhood was an ominous indication that what ever the leadership planned was serious indeed.

While I worked over this information, I asked if he had any insights that could uncover the mastermind behind the organization. Wiley’s demeanor became quickly agitated, but after an obvious internal struggle of some weight, he pulled a crumpled note from a pocket and pressed it into my hands then turned to leave. In the doorway, he turned and bade me pass along a rather cryptic message to Gryan… “The Stonemason’s fee will be paid.”

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While Gryan seemed rightly disturbed by the news I brought back, he was obviously puzzled by Wiley’s parting message. He obviously knew something concerning stonemasons, but did not believe it was relevant to our uncovering the leadership of the Defias. Not one to let go of any possible clue though, he decided I should take the news to Mathias Shaw. According to Gryan, Shaw was the spymaster of SI7 and in the perfect position to put the final pieces of the puzzle together. It seemed that Gryan and Shaw had fought together during The First War, and Gryan was finally calling in an old debt. I was told to check out the rundown militia barracks in Old Town. Old Town was a decrepid section of Stormwind rampant with crime and the seeder elements any large city attracts. Fitting that the leader of a group of spies and assassins would make his nest within the heart of Stormwind’s decay.


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Even had I been blind, I would have known the moment I entered Old Town. The ever-present smell of urine and rotting garbage warred with the distinctive smell of unwashed bodies. A festering pestilent collection of homes and shops, I most times could not bring myself to loath its inhabitants, even though I generally distain personal apathy. A life of backbreaking labor, hunger and poverty while in the midst of the obvious wealth the rest of the city enjoyed, made it easy to see why it was suicide to go unarmed even during the day.

Indeed, Old Town had forgotten itself even as the palace did its best to ignore its existence. As long as the plebs remembered their place, the rest of the cities inhabitants merely shook their heads at the instances of murder and larceny conducted in its shadowed alleys and commented that such could be expected from “Those kinds of people.” Truthfully, the only thing I found myself hating them for was the knowledge that their stink would permeate my cloths for days.

So, I was in no mood for the posturing of the young bravo guarding the front gate of the barracks. With the knowledge that this run down building was the headquarters of SI7, I was sure that there were mostly likely crossbows tipped with something deadly and poisonous pointed at me from the moment I stopped in front of the young punk, but that did little to dissuade me from raising my palm toward his chest and giving his essence a little tug to show him that I offered more pain than he was likely trained or paid to deal with. As I expected, after releasing him from the pull of my sorcery, he made no attempt to hinder my walking through the gate and up through the front door.

Once inside, I found myself in the hallway of a well-appointed facility. I did not cool my heels long before I was met by an unassuming older man in the livery of a butler and told that Shaw was waiting in his study. As I followed the gentleman, I had to smile at the thought that this manservant that looked so much like my grandfather mostly likely had forgotten more ways to kill a person than the entire garrison of Sentinel Hill, with the exception of Gryan, had yet learned.

Shaw’s office turned out to be well appointed in leather and exotic wood. Lush tapestries hung on the walls along with amazingly detailed maps of the Eastern Kingdoms as well as what appeared to be topographical maps of many of the regions of Lordaeron. The calm handsome man sitting behind the large desk that dominated the far end of the room watched me with intelligent hooded eyes as I walked forward and started to introduce myself. With a gesture, he bade me to silence. Shaw knew who I was and why I had come. Indeed, it was his respect for Gryan, and the fact that he did not suffer fools gladly, that had allowed me past the front door despite my actions with the guard, whom I learned was named Thaddeus.

After offering me a snifter of an especially excellent brandy, Shaw quickly got the point of my meeting with him. At his request, I handed over the note Wiley had given me, as well as recounting his comment concerning a stonemason. Shaw looked over the message, then got up and walked to a collection of cabinets that occupied almost the entire right hand side of the room. I saw as he opened one of the cabinets, that is was filled with folios stuffed with reams of paper. After a brief search, he pulled one from the collection and brought it back to the desk.

After giving it a quick perusal, he handed it to me and said that it contained the answers I sought. I must admit, it seemed awfully convenient as well as anti-climatic that he would have the answer to the leadership of the Defias Brotherhood so readily to hand. After saying as much, he told me with a strange smile, that a skilled woodsmnn knew that some fires must be left to burn for the good of the forest. But that the Master woodsman also knew how to read such fires, for eventually it would need to be extinguished. I was then told to make haste back to Gryan and lay the matter to rest.

While waiting on a gryphon back to Westfall, I looked over the folio. This was how I came to know the name Edward Vancleef and his connection to the Stonemasons and the Defias…


Edward it appeared was once a highly skilled engineer during the First War. Trained in techniques of stealth and insurgent tactics by SI7 itself, his specialty was infiltrating behind enemy lines to destroy the Hordes mechanical defenses. After the sacking of Stormwind and its eventual reoccupation, Edward turned to his equally exceptional talents in stonemasonry having been taught by his father, a master mason in his own right.

It was Edward that organized the efforts of the stone craftsmen in rebuilding the once great capital. Once the work was finally completed, Edward was one of the first workers exiled from the city gates at sword point when he sought payment for his efforts on behalf of the capital. Whether from a misunderstanding concerning the nature of the craftsmen’s desire to help, or simply from greed, Edward soon found himself joined by the rest of the men and women who’s backbreaking toil had restored Stormwind to it’s former glory.

With the nobility refusing compensation, or even acknowledgement of the efforts of Edward and his guild of masons as well as his fellow disenfranchised engineers, Vancleef soon grew bitter and rallied those of similar sentiment into a force with which to extract what they felt they were owed. Taking the name The Defias Brotherhood, the Defias tattooed the emblem of a cog upon their palms and held to the philosophy that “The machine will not run smoothly if the parts go renegade.” Indeed, it became their rallying cry

The following years saw the ranks of The Brotherhood swelled by outcasts and malcontents, as well as those technically skilled individuals that wished unrestricted freedom in their research, regardless of its potential danger to those around them.

Banditry, thievery and extortion became the order of the day and the means for Edward to continue his personal campaign to extract his payment of the flesh and blood of the realm that had betrayed him. All of that skill, technical knowledge and force of personality corrupted by his thirst for vengeance.



I hold to the old stricture of “An eye for an eye.” After all, even a dog that is abused by its master is justified in turning upon him. But Vancleef had become a diseased feral cur that savages all those around him in his need to inflict pain like that which he endures. Instead of seeking shelter within the very bosom of the people he and his represented, the better to foster sympathetic ties to the community, he instead brought death and hardship. In the end, he had become worse than the treachery that had spawned him.

It was with a cold and calculating fury that I returned to Gryan with his answers, and a vow that before a fortnight, Edward would pay for his butcher’s bill. The payment that was owed to Elywnn, Westfall and the rest of the Eastern Kingdoms, not in the name of the king, but in the name of those people like Gryan, Mister and Missus Saldean and my father, the common folk of the land who’s innocent blood cried out for justice. Their shades now had an advocate, and I would call him to accounting for his madness, or await him in hell.



By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier in the Conclave of Warlocks

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Damn WoW login server. It is but your words that keep my sanity on my grueling 12 hours delving, constrained to my 6X6 cubicle cell. Thank you

9:31 PM  
Anonymous Turai, Warlock of Frostmane said...

YOu wouldnt happen to be a writer for a living or are working for an english degree in college are you, because this is some pretty good stuff.

11:43 PM  
Blogger Alhazred said...

Turi,

Neither. This was my first attempt at writting a story. I just wanted to see if I could do it, as well as entertain the official warlock forum. I am glad you are enjoying it.

2:52 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I was surprised to find a nugget of gold in the mountain of coal that is roleplaying stories. Your writing ability is easily on par with fantasy writers with dozens of books. You should look into it.

Thank you for the good read.

2:07 PM  
Anonymous Adins, Paladin of Tichondrius said...

Again, great stuff Alhazred. I'm glad to see it's got a proper home for when the Warlock thread inevitably breaks. Keep writing and I'll keep trying to muster some Paladin counter-poise.

5:27 PM  
Blogger Conundrum said...

Warlock stories FTW! Love ya work Alhazred, get the next part done! :D
________________________________________
http://theconundrumjournals.blogspot.com

12:29 AM  

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