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Meeting with Fordring
Two years past:

Quote:The day had been long and the days battles even harder, and The Duke was weary. Under the dusky sky of the Plaguelands the sun was finally setting as he made his way back to the Chapel, now called "Light's Hope."

Once to his chambers in the Chapel's basement, he sensed a presence immediately, but was careful not to give away his advantage. Years of experience battling undead had at least taught him that.

He was careful not to take off his weapons, and instead went to the wash basin where his servant had placed fresh water. He swooshed a handful of water onto his face to clear a mixture of sweat and dried blood from the days battles. His back was to the stranger, a test to see if it was an assassin.

When no attack came, he calmly asked, "How long do you plan to hide there out of sight?"

Suprised that her presence had been detected so easily, the cloaked figure stepped from the shadows.

"I have spent too many years battling your kind to be fooled so easily." Duke Zverenhoff stated matter-of-factly. "Now tell me why you have come. Is it to end my life? Who do you serve?"

The figure glided towards him slowly, making no sudden moves. She moved with grace, like a dancer and though clearly undead he knew it was not the shambling of a typical Scourge.

"Who do you serve?"

This time it was not a question but a demand. His hand now rested on the pommel of his longsword.

The voice that answered was soft and feminine, and had an almost melodic and ethereal quality that seemed strangely out of place here.

"I serve the Dark Lady for I am Forsaken...and now I also wish to serve the Argent Dawn as one of it's agents. The threat of the Scourge must be stopped. They are destroying this world. I would pledge my aid that they cannot succeed in their dark schemes."

The leader of the Argent Dawn approached her and stood at arm's length. It was a sign of pending trust that she recognized immediately.

"Your people come to us from time to time...yet they are the one's we take the longest to learn to trust. Tell me...why should I believe you?

She reached into her robe with a slender white hand. The Duke's blade was halfway from it's sheath before her delicate hand withdrew an ordinary looking bag. She tipped its contents onto the table, where dozens upon dozens of small rock-like chips scattered themselves across its surface.

"Scourgestones" he remarked. "And quite a good many of them it seems. There must be close to 1000 in number here. Do you take pride in having slaughtered your own kind?"

This was a test...and the undead girl instantly knew it.

"They are not "MY kind" good Sir, though I was once one of them."

What do you call yourself?"

"I am...Dispaya...mage and advisor of Ironsong. A noble tribe led by the great troll Sreng."

"Even here I have heard tales of Sreng and his people. Ironsong is noble...they honor Thrall's truce and that means you are not my enemy."

The Duke smiled at her at last. "Kosath is also one of your leaders. That Tauren has helped us more than any other."

Dispaya returned the gesture and stared at him. Nicholas Zverenhoff was handsome by human standards, a man the undead girl could have loved had the flesh of her body not been so cold, and he carried an air of dignity about him, and strength the likes of which she had rarely encountered in a human. She liked him almost immediately.

"Take down your hood that I might see your face." He asked her with a calm voice. Dispaya obliged him.

"I am sorry you died so young." he exclaimed upon seeing her.

"Death claimed my body, but not my mind Lord Zverenhoff. I assure you I am quite capable."

"A mage by the looks of you...a weilder of spells and magic..and a powerful one to have gathered so many of these stones. The scourge use these to mark their servants. You have easily killed thousands of them to find so many." The Duke seemed impressed.

"I have killed nothing living...for I value life if it does not seek to destroy life." The girl calmly advised. "I have merely...released... many souls who have been bound to slavery. What I have done was done in mercy." She made a slight bow.

Nicholas next made a sudden move! His sword lept from its scabbard. it's point instantly finding it's way to her throat. Dispaya barely moved and instead glared at him through soft yellow eyes.

"Yet you hear their call do you not girl-mage? They speak to you! They whisper in your ears when you are near. They call you back to them! Will you oblige? Will you betray my men when I send you along as an escort? Will you return to your wretched undead masters? Will you slay me in my sleep if I make you welcome here?"

His questions were almost shouts...demands for answers he must know if she were to be permitted to stay.

"I hear their call." she replied calmly. "We always...hear their call. But I will never betray you Lord Nicholas" she replied ernestly.

He dropped the sword from her neck. He had shown her what he wanted...that he could slay her with little effort had he so wished.

"Very well Dispaya mage...we shall give you a chance...for now. An Argent patrol is gearing up to check the old mill north of here. You will go with them and keep them safe from harm eh?"

"As you wish my Lord. Your men shall return unharmed."

With that, Dispaya pulled her cloak about her and softly glided out through the chamber door.

The Warrior returned to his wash bin and threw another palmful of water into weary eyes.

"We shall see little mage...we shall see."

That encounter had been several years in the past and Dispaya went over it in her mind as she waited. She had met Lord Fordring before, briefly at his camp in the Plaguelands. She wondered if he would remember her still.

Nicholas Zverenhoff first came into the tent. Lord Fordring followed.

"It is agreeable to see you again little mage." The Duke proclaimed upon seeing her.

"You look well Sir Duke." Dispaya made a slight curtsey.

"She is polite as always." Fordring proclaimed. "Now...my time is precious. What may we do for you this day Farseer?"

"I come to offer The Ironsong Tribe in service to the Argent Dawn Lord Fordring. The Scourge are making their intentions clear. The new plague has begun to overwhelm our cities. Our people are once again in peril."

"Yes, this concerns us all Lady Dispaya. I have no hesitation in saying your help will be welcome. Any who wear the Ironsong Tabbard will be welcome to join our new crusade, be they undead or living."

"I thank you Lord Fordring. I shall make this known to my tribe."

The Duke next spoke. "We are dispatching Argent healers to Horde as well as Alliance cities to help dispurse this attack. It will thin our numbers but we have no other choice."

"I am loathe to already be on the defensive against Arthas and his minions." Fordring proclaimed. "The time is coming soon when we must take the War to them instead of waiting. For now however, we will stand fast and increase our numbers. When the time is right we will go on the offensive.I believe I have lived in exile long enough."

Dispaya smiled.

"You find something amusing Mage?" Fordring asked.

"It is not that I am amused, but I am glad to see you back to action Lord Fordring. Your exile was most...undeserved. I forsee a new Crusade that will restore your former glory."

"Let us hope Lady Dispaya. Now...take word to your tribe to come and join us in Northrend. There is no more time to waste."
Sing True Ironsong!

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