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A flash of arcane light, and the party of adventurers appeared in the Mystic Ward of Ironforge. They were a varied group, of nearly every race that was pledged to the Alliance, and all were female. Three gnomes, two dwarves, a human, and a draenei, and all bore expressions of shock colored with grief.

 

A brief awkward pause was followed by murmured farewells, and they moved out into the main concourse of the city, singly and in pairs to their destinations. The pink-haired gnome and the blonde dwarf took each other's hand and wordlessly made their way to a nearby house.

 

 

--

 

Calluna sat at her desk, gazing numbly at the two identical scrolls before her. A soft thumping sound was all she could hear in the next room, and she glanced over to see her beloved, Twigget, standing on a stool kneading sweet dough for the pastries she took to market every week. Calluna frowned as she noticed that the gnome wasn't herself as she worked -- she usually hummed with contentment as she crafted cookies and buns, but now she labored in silence, with flour smudges on her cheeks where she had brushed tears away.

 

Ach, thought Calluna, this day has borne naught but ill...it would be no shock if those buns don't rise. With a sigh she returned her gaze to the sheets of parchment before her. Identical reports of what she had witnessed, addressed to SI:7 and the Ironforge Intelligence Council. She forced herself to reread the sterile accounts of the horrors that had befallen, copied out twice in laborious Common script, hearing the voices of past instructors and mentors as she did so:

 

A rogue does not become emotionally compromised.

 

A rogue observes, and reports.

 

A rogue carries out orders for Crown and Alliance.

 

Observes and reports.

 

Remains detached.

 

Observes.

 

Reports.

 

A sharp snap dislodged her from the spiraling tension within her, and she looked down to see that she had gripped the arms of her chair so fiercely that a large sliver of wood had broken off in her hand. "Feck it. Feck it all to blazes!" she swore under her breath, and after a second's pause she grabbed another sheet of parchment and affixed it to the bottom of the scroll destined for the Ironforge agency. She picked up her usual pen, then discarded it and rummaged in a drawer for one with a different, flatter nib, and began to write in the old Dwarven runes she had first been schooled in. Her language, usually so coarse in the Common dialect, took on a smoother flow in the old tongue...

 

 

"My liege Magni and whomever else may lay eyes upon this document:

 

It is against my better judgement and training as a rogue that I include this appendix to my report, but my judgement as both a Dwarf loyal to the Bronzebeard crown, and as a citizen of the Alliance, I cannot keep my heart in check and must beg your indulgence. I have faithfully served both Crown and Alliance snce I first took up blades many years ago, and have never questioned orders, never sought to discharge myself from a mission. I do not seek to do either now, but I cannot remain silent with these thoughts. Perhaps you who are my superiors might offer me at the very least, some counsel wiser than that which I can offer myself—I am without formal academic education, beyond that which was granted to me by my training with His Majesty’s intelligence division and SI:7.

 

The main body of my report is true to my own eyes. Highlord Bolvar Fordragon, regent of the Stormwind Crown, was slain in cold blood before Angrath'ar by the Lich King. To his last breath, Fordragon was the epitome of both soldier and Paladin. His desire for judgement against Arthas Menethil even extended to the reckoning of his most recent victim -- Saurfang the Younger, the Mag'hari son of the general of Orgrimmar. I can also attest that the young orc died as valiant a death as his people could ever hope for, though it is not my place to report on such. He led his warriors to the aid of the Alliance forces already in place at Angrath'ar with bravery. I do not believe that young Saurfang would have sacrificed his forces to the whim of the Horde. I shall elaborate on this later.

 

As I have already detailed the horrible failure of the assault on the Wrath Gate in my primary report, I shall not repeat myself. Had I not been entreated by the great Alexstrasza and her prime consort Korialstrasz (note to royal archivists, please also reference the name "Krasus" when and if this dossier is filed) to deliver the shield of the Highlord to King Wrynn, I would have made haste to Ironforge at once to present my findings. I beg the pardon of the Crown for this. Surely an excuse can be made, since one does not find it possible to deny the request of the Great Aspects, particularly that of their Queen.

 

Stormwind was much the same as it has been since King Wrynn was returned to his throne. Until now I have had no issue with his majesty, certainly his aid towards the house of Anvilmar has been invaluable. I was surprised to see the Lady Proudmoore in the throne room; it is rare that she ventures to the Eastern Kingdoms, even to her native Kul Tiras. I am unaware of her reasons for being in Stormwind on this day, but her skill with the arcane is without peer and I can only conjecture that a missive was sent to her by a Kirin Tor representative present at the Wrath Gate.

 

Sirs, while I have clandestinely surveyed both Orgrimmar and the Undercity of Lordaeron manner many times before, I had never traveled under a general amnesty to the orcish capital. I can only repeat what many have said before about their Warchief: he is younger than I expected, and he is no mere brute. This is an educated person, he is not without compassion, and mercy is as important to him as honor. Thrall spoke to the Lady Proudmoore with a fraternal affection, and she was equally cordial and solicitious. Theirs is an abiding friendship without question.

 

I confess that my first close encounter with Sylvanas Windrunner was colored with resentment and mistrust on my part. It took every ounce of restraint within me to keep myself from leaping at this shade of a woman and slicing her to ribbons. I had no idea as to why the Warchief tolerated her presence. Even as she spoke, I doubted the veracity of her assertations. For the sake of the diplomacy that Jaina Proudmoore demanded, I stayed my blades.

 

Sirs, I also confess that I took advantage of the general amnesty to engage in some reconaissance of Orgrimmar. What I witnessed there shocked me.

 

I have already stated that I was leery of Sylvanas. But all intelligence concerning her bears a common thread: she does not trifle with the lives--or unlives--of her people. She protects them fiercely, and inspires in them a manic loyalty equal to her own. This has been documented time and time again. She does not squander them.

 

I saw the bedraggled survivors of the coup making their way from the zeppelin landing to the city. They were even more broken than one could imagine, and in that mangled gutterish Common they speak, I could discern that the massacre in the Undercity had been terrible for them indeed. These were not soldiers; they were merchants and civilians of their kind, taken down by the actions of Putress and Varimathras.

 

The sight of those blighted individuals leads me to only one conclusion: much as I was loath to admit it, Sylvanas was speaking truthfully. Somehow, her control of the Apothecaries was not complete. This was a coup.

 

 Lady Proudmoore came to the same conclusion. She tried to press this point with Varian Wrynn, but sirs, if I may be granted to speak freely about the human monarch: this man does not take wise counsel well, if even at all. I understand he has endured much recently, and his actions certainly were colored by the tragic loss of his Regent and Highlord, but his outright dismissal of Lady Proudmoore’s pleas for reason gave me pause.

 

What transpired during the assault on the Undercity is detailed in my main report, I need not repeat that again.

 

But begging your indulgence once more, sirs, I must repeat: I am not an academic, nor am I given to diplomacy. However, in this instance, I cannot stay my pen. It is my sincere belief that should King Varian Wrynn of Stormwind continue with this sudden crusade against the nations of the Horde, it will only lead to ruin. Whatever his feelings are against them, it is this humble rogue’s opinion that to engage war on yet another front means certain disaster. The human forces are stretched thin enough in Northrend alone. Even putting out pocket skirmishes by the remaining Defias camps in their lands is an ongoing chore.

 

Sirs, I entreat you thus: while it is not my place to advocate, please consider forging stronger ties with Theramore. Lady Proudmoore is young, yes, but she possesses a grace and wisdom even greater than her knowledge of the arcane, and her ties to the Kirin Tor cannot be underestimated.

 

Should we continue to place all our faith in the humans with a Stormwind crown allegiance, I fear for the repercussions. I cannot and do not trust Varian Wrynn to rule with a just hand, given what I witnessed.

 

I thank you humbly, sirs, for your reading of this. I will, as ever, submit to the deliberations of my superiors.

 

Calluna Gempebble, servant of Ironforge. “

 

 

 

As she signed the document, Calluna felt a burden lift from her mind. She blew on the ink to dry it, and re-rolled the parchment into a neat scroll before sealing it with wax and her personal signet. She finished as the mantel clock chimed the hour, and made her way into the kitchen, where Twigget was wrapping the finished rolls and buns for market.

 

“Here, love, let me help you with that”, and swiftly tied a swath of clean linen around the warm loaves the gnome had been struggling with. “Mm, these smell better every time you bake. Mrs. Tyrngaarde should be payin’ ye more!”

 

Twigget chuckled quietly, her pink pigtails bouncing. “Flattery will get you extra helpings. Here, I’ve saved you some buttercakes, would you like jam?”

 

“Ta, no, the touch o’ your hands is sweetening enough, dearest.” Calluna slid into her chair as Twigget set two plates on the table, piled high with the delicate, soft cookies that were her specialty. They ate in silence for a moment, savoring the rich biscuits, then the gnome pushed her plate away still half-full and sighed.

 

“Love? What is it?” Calluna had never known her to leave a meal untouched.

 

“I know what you were writing, Cluny.”

 

“Eh?” she set her buttercake down, half-eaten. “Well…what of it?”

 

Twigget sighed again, staring at her hands on the table. “I don’t have to write dossiers like you do, and I’m not an ambassador for the gnomes, like Jinx or Tezzin. But I saw the same thing you did in that Varian..and it scares me, Cluny. It scares me to the bone,” she looked up at Calluna, tears welling in her brown eyes, “but what scares me more is this: what if Magni doesn’t take it seriously? Your people have had close ties to the Stormwind nobles for generations. I don’t know what I—what we will do, if they discard what you say as ramblings.”

 

Calluna stood, and moved behind Twigget’s chair, placing her hands on the gnome’s delicate shoulders. “Love, I can’t say that I know. I’ve never done anythin’ like this before. My record has been pristine, but not exemplary…and they cannae call this treasonous, for it’s not my King I speak against.” She gave a comforting squeeze, and Twigget reached up to cover her fingers with her own flour-dusted ones.

 

They remained like that for some time, pensive, before moving off to bed in silence. The scrolls lay on the desk until morning.

 

 

 


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