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The Order of the Valkyries
#1
Chapter 1 - The small candle.

A small candle sits burning in the center of an ancient ruin blanketed in snow. The north winds howl through the remaining stone pillars that once stood proudly in a circle around the temples marble floor. Ice rimes the surface of the pillars and the broken bits of stone jutting out from the snow covered ground. A rising scream can be heard as the wind picks up in a sudden gust. The snow dances around the pillars and the candle for a moment. Husks of long dead oaks, out of place in the mountainous terrain, twist and writhe in the wind as if in pain. Then the scream subsides, the dead trees go still, and the snow falls back to the frozen earth. The candle only flickers gently, burning impossibly against the wind and bitter cold.
Perched above the ruin on a small rocky plateau in the side of a nearby peak, sits a small pile of animal fur, coated in snow and ice. The fur rustles and shifts for a moment as a slender leather covered arm and gloved hand emerges and appears to wipe its eyes hidden under the mass of fur. The arm recedes and the pile of fur remains motionless. Its unseen eyes, somewhere beneath the shadows of the fur, peer down at the candle.
A distant flapping of wings can be heard now, growing louder and louder as the unseen creature grows closer. Soon a large proto-drake lands near the pile of fur in a loud thud sending up waves of snow. It shakes violent for a moment, shedding off the snow and ice that coat its body. It then relaxes, before slowly and gracefully crouching low to the ground. A robed blood elf woman, outlined in a soft golden glow, slips off its back onto the ground. She pulls her thick fur cloak around her body to shield herself from the wind and clutches it closely to her chest. She trudges through the deep snow, over to the pile of fur, stopping just a few paces away. She lowers to one knee and bows, “Keeper, I am here”.
A soft female voice from under the fur speaks, “Hail Nadilynn. What news to do you have to report?”
“The Keepers have all been freed, The Tribe has opened the inner sanctum”, the robed woman states still bowing. “There is considerable damage to the prison. The cell is broken, but she has not left. I do not know why she has not tried to escape”.
“Did you meet with Keeper Freya?” asks the soft voice under the fur. “Yes Keeper. It was not easy to speak with her alone, but she knew who I was and what I needed. “, explains Nadilynn as she rises and walks over to her drake. She then reaches up and unties a small sack nestled behind the drakes wing, brings it over the other woman, and sets the sack down next to her.
The woman under the fur rises, icicles breaking off the thick fur fall to the ground around her, “Have the arrangements been made with the Tribe”?
“Yes Keeper”.
“Take all of our Rangers and Ascendants and join The Tribe. They will be safe there. You know what you need to do”.
A look of concern crosses Nadilynn’s face, “Keeper, what will happen to you”? “There are so few of you left, come with us”.
“I have my duty, you have yours. She cannot escape that prison or all is lost”
“Yes Keeper”.
“You can stop calling me that now. Our true Keeper returns.”
“May Freya watch over us” proclaims the woman under the fur.
“May Freya protect us” Nadilynn states in a bow.
The fur covered form extends a hand and grasps the sack Nadilynn deposited next to her. In quick motion, the furs fall to the ground in a heap. A blurred form bounds down the mountain side towards the small candle.
Nadilynn watches for a moment before turning and heading back to her drake. “Farewell Keeper”, she whispers into the cold.
[Image: 2295174RBdsr.png]
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#2
Jabadue reins in his raptor, all lathered and breathing heavily, in front of the guild hall. Before the beast comes to a complete halt, Jaba is off his mount, flinging his cloak behind him with one hand, and waving away the dust with the other. He slams the door to the hall open and charges in. The members assembled there look up, startled, from their activites. He nods briefly, and moves quickly to the guild leader's study, and raps on the door.

"Enter," comes the deep-voiced response.

Jaba goes in and salutes the large tauren seated behind an equally large desk. "Dere be good news, Shieldbearer!"

Kosath grins, "About time. Good news is a rarity in Northrend."

"Our old allies, Da Dark Valkyries, be wantin' formally ta become our tribemates fer da final push on Arthas." Jaba rustles around in the pouch at his side. Twigs, feathers, grass, and small animal bones sprinkle the floor. Finally, he produces a parchment scroll, and lays it before Kosath with a salute and "Shieldbearer!"
Have Mana Tide, Will Travel
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#3
"Thank you, Jabadue."

Kosath reads the scroll intently, nodding and smiling. He turns and studies a hanging fur on the wall with many marks upon it, then turns back to the Farseer.

"Let the Tribe know that on the third day of december we shall accept our new brothers and sisters into our ranks. Our family grows and they must be treated as such. I will speak with Nadilynn directly."
Kosath Whitehorn
"The Tribe is my weapon.  I am their shield."
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#4
Chapter 2 – The Last Queen
The wind grew still as a lone slender blood elf woman approached the gently flickering candle placed on a patch of marble on what used to be an ancient temple floor. Large pieces were missing from the marble, which appeared to have been carved from on single piece of stone. The remaining broken columns circled here and appeared to be ready to topple. It looked to be the place of a struggle of two creatures of colossal size.
The woman stopped before the burning candle. She kneeled down and begun to wipe away the snow in front of her revealing ice just below. She peered down into the depths below as if searching for something.
The air went quiet.
She remained there kneeling peering down into the icy depths motionless.
Then, the quiet was interrupted by the sound of flapping wings that grew closer. Soon, a Netherdrake landed just outside the temples outer ring. Two blood elves, a man and a woman, clad in heavy plate, dismounted the drake and approached the lone woman. The approaching elves joined the elf and kneel in front of her.
The elf looked up at the new comers and spoke, “This is the only way.” She placed a small satchel she was carrying out in front of her, and went on “She will be very weak and I do not know if she will have memory of her life when she returns.” The elf opened the satchel and removed a single large green seed pod and a small clear crystal vial. The man rose, and removed a pack he had slung over his back, and placed it before the elf.
The elf opened the pack and assembled a small metal frame that stood on the ground, with several shiny gears and a small hand crank. She then assembled a long metal rod with a large clear crystal at its tip. She placed the rod into the frame vertically and began to crank the handle. Slowly the rod burrowed down into the ice.
The elf again addressed the two turning first to the woman, “High Matron Marowenne, will you please take her to the tribe with the others" the High Matron noded in agreement. The elf then turned to the male "She will be safe there. There are too few of us left to protect her. General Morits, I release you of your duty to me. You charge is to protect her now.” General Mortis bowed but remained silent. A slight grin appeared to cross his face for a moment.
After a few moments the elf stopped lowering the rod, apparently reaching its required depth. She then removed a large narrow vial with a bright green liquid in it. She broke the seal on the cap, the odor made the other two wince quite noticeably. She then placed it inverted onto the metal rod, which was seemingly hollow as the green liquid slowly drained down. When no liquid remained, the elf disassembled the contraption and put in its place the large green seed pod.
She quickly poured the clear liquid, she had earlier placed next to the pod, over it. The clear fluid sparkled in the starlight, quickly being absorbed into the pod. Soon the pod began to shift, unfold, and sprout roots that quickly found cracks and the hole in the ice and began to push down through them.
The pod grew in size, its roots splitting open the ice, a great boom echoed in the valley as the thick ice strained and cracked. The pod grew into a tree in a matter of a few moments. The ice below it finally shattered under its weight and probing roots. Icy dust filled the air.
Suddenly a blinding white beam of light burst from ground in front of the tree. The three shielded their eyes. The beam quickly narrowed till it winked out, then immediately a thin ray of darkness appeared in its place. The column of darkness grew wider and wider. As it edge came close to the tree, it began to wither and turn black as if being burning by the shadow. Soon the dark column enveloped the tree causing it to shrivel and die completely. The three remained kneeling, but a look of concern crossed their faces.
The dark column vanished. The wind began to stir. Snow wafted up into the air around them.
Silence…
Then a pale boney hand reached up from beneath the fragments of ice littering the ground, trying to claw its way to freedom.
The silence was then broken by a deafening scream, “What have you done”!
The candle suddenly extinguished.
[Image: 2295174RBdsr.png]
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#5
Chapter 3 – Flash before your eyes
“My eyes, my skin, on fire! What have you done to me?” screamed the woman. She squinted barely able to make out a blur of a blood elf woman in front of her. The elf had bright blonde hair woven in an intricate braid on top of her head. Writhing in pain, her vision faded as black spots dotted her sight. The blonde elf grew closer, inches from the woman’s face.
“Did you have to put it in her face?” asked the blonde elf.
The woman screamed again in agony.
“I didn’t have much choice. My aim is not perfect through 10 feet of ice in the middle of the night Nadilynn” replied a distant voice.
“Restrain her hands or we will have more wounded. Where is Kutaklu? I need those leather straps soon” asked Nadilynn.
“Can you not just heal her” asked the out of site elf. “No one can heal this, I will have to take them out” replied Nadilynn”
The woman once again let out a terrifying cry of agony. Darkness came to her once again.
….
“Winlayna, wake up” children’s voices called out.

“Wake up sleepy head” another child called out.

The Vykrul woman opened her eyes and squinted at the bright sunlight. She looked around at the scene of a picnic among a grove of trees, tall grasses waved in a gentle breeze. Tall mountain peaks surrounded them on all sides. Six Vykrul children were running around playing.
“You feel asleep after the stories Winlayna” said a small girl next to her. Winlayna rose and stretched yawning. “Come children, gather up your things, it’s time for us to bring our offering to Freya’s temple” Winlayna instructed the children. The children cheered, and quickly picked up their things. Winlayna picked up a large cornucopia filled with fruits and vegetables laying on the ground.
The group headed off to a mountain pass.
Several hours later the bunch approached a valley at the end of the mountain pass. In the center of the valley was an open air circular temple. Its base was composed of single large piece of carved stone. Around the base were stone columns with intricate designs. All the stone sparkled with deposits of natural minerals and veins of precious metals. The stone columns appeared to have been grown from the earth rather than carved. Around the Temple stood three enormous trees that gave the temple and much of the valley shade.
“Alright children, give your offerings to the guardians like I told you” Winlayna instructed. The children paired up, each pair carried an earthen jug filled with water and an earthen pot with what appeared to be soil. One of each of the pairs ran off to one of the towering trees.
Once they neared the trees they placed their pottery on the ground and began to dig in the soil with their hands. The pairs of children each planted a seed using the soil they brought and watered the new mounds of dirt from the clay jugs.
Winlayna approached the temple and laid the cornucopia on the smooth stone. “We honor and thank you Freya for the season’s harvest” said Winlayna bowing low. “And we thank you for the blessing of children Freya.”
One of the small children pulled on the leg of Winlayna’s britches. “Matron Winlayna, why is the sky on fire?” the child asked pointing off to the distant horizon.
Winlayna turned and looked skyward to the north. In the distance a pillar of fire was streaking up from the ground to the heavens; it was soon joined by another, then another. The fires climbed higher and higher. A distance rumble started to echo through the valley.
She grew pale and called to the children, “Children, come…we must return home”.
[Image: 2295174RBdsr.png]
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#6
Chapter 4 – Anguish of Nifflevar
“I think she is waking”
“Linyna, give her another dose. I am not done”
…
Winlayna hurried to the village square to a throng of people waiting for King Ymiron to address them.
“Vrykul must remain pure!” shouted someone in the crowd.
“Show the aberrations no mercy, Ymiron!”
The King approached the dais and the sound of the crowd hummed louder. The noise was interrupted by an occasional shout.
“Show them mercy, my king! They are of our flesh and blood!”
“They weaken us! Our strength is diluted by their very existence! Destroy them all!”
“All hail our glorious king, Ymiron!”
“Let him speak! Be silent!”
“The king is going to speak!”
King Ymiron motions for silence.
Several Vrykul in the crowd shouted “Silence!”
King Ymiron addressed the crowd, “Vrykul, your king implores you to listen!”
“The gods have abandoned us!”
The crowd gasps in horror.
King Ymiron continued, “Even now, in our darkest hour, they mock us!”
King Ymiron voice rose as he went on, “Where are the titans in our time of greatest need? Our women birth aberrations - disfigured runts unable to even stand on their own! Weak and ugly... Useless...”
“Ymiron has long toiled. Long have I sat upon my throne and thought hard of our plight. There is only one answer... one reason...”
“For who but the titans themselves could bestow such a curse? What could have such power?”
King Ymiron yells raising his fist in the air, “And the answer is nothing... For it is the titans that have cursed us!”
The crowd clamors.
King Ymiron yells, “On this day all Vrykul will shed their old beliefs! We denounce our old gods! All Vrykul will pledge their allegiance to Ymiron! Ymiron will protect our noble race!”
The crowd cheers.
King Ymiron looked at several women in the crowd for a few uncomfortable moments, and then continued “And now my first decree upon the Vrykul! All malformed infants born of Vrykul mother and father are to be destroyed upon birth! Our blood must remain pure always! Those found in violation of Ymiron's decree will be taken to Gjalerbron for execution!”
Winlayna turned and left the square quickly, running to her hovel as the sun began to set over the village.
…

Winlayna lifted her mace as she charged, brought the mace around in a quick powerful stroke, the cold metal whistled in the air as it slammed into the side of the unsuspecting Vykrul’s head. His head exploded like a ripe melon sending a spray of crimson through the air. He crumpled and fell.
The other Vykrul, caught off guard, clumsily reached for his axe while Winlayna brought her mace around again catching him in the face. There was brittle cracking noise as her mace came to a stop halfway embedded in his skull. He stood there for a moment, and then he fell to his knees, toppling over with a dull thud.
Winlayna paused, breathing heavily, standing motionless, her breath forming mist that swirled and rose into the frigid air.
After a moment, she looked up surveyed her surroundings, and then opened the door to the hovel. She quickly dragged the two dead Vykrul inside. Thick red blood pooled on the wooden floor.
She looked around the apparently empty hovel and called out, “Sjyn”. She heard the muffled sound of a woman weeping from an adjoining room. She hurried to the room and found a Vykrul woman crouched in the corner near her bed clutching a small bundle of cloth tightly to her chest.
“Please…no” wept the woman.
“He is only a child, do not hurt him” she pleaded.
“You are safe Sjyn, it’s me. We do not have much time. We have to leave. Go to the southern dock. Alyxia is there with others.”
The woman sat rocking back and forth on the floor weeping, “He is just a child”.
Winlayna helped the woman to her feet “go Sjyn, or he will die”.
“I cannot leave without my husband” pleaded Sjyn.
“He is the one that told them she pointed to the dead Vykrul on the floor” explained Winlayna. “You have to leave”.
Sjyn stood there a moment quiet and then quickly ran outside disappearing into the darkness still clutching the small bundle of cloth.
Winlayna sat on the edge of the bed, buried her face in blood covered hands, and began to weep.
[Image: 2295174RBdsr.png]
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