PREMISE Unrest in the ruins of Falanaar reaches an apex as rumors are corroborated of fal'dorei rising anew from the depths, disturbing the sleepy residents of Lightsong. Determined to do their part in keeping Val'sharah safe, the Silver Circle rallies to investigate and defend their home.
STATE OF AFFAIRS
Starlight Parade On a midsummer's eve, Silversworn Mythanil Briarblade led a group of volunteers on a small expedition through the woods of western Suramar in search of Starlight Roses. However, this trip took a turn for the worse, as they came across an aggressive fal'dorei and were forced to defeat it. Though they were able to retreat safely, this was the first sign that perhaps not all was as it seemed within Falanaar.
Assessing the Threat Perturbed by the appearance of a fal'dorei during Mythanil's herbal outing, Renoris Feathersong and Elliistra Skysong took the initiative to go on a duo scouting mission into Falanaar and its underground tunnels, to affirm that the dilapidated townscape held no lingering threats to the surrounding region.
While deep within those chambers, the two managed to discover a young shal'dorei woman being cocooned and held captive by a male fal'dorei. While he was dispatched quickly and silently, the fact that the creature had secured the girl at all was unusual, considered an effort-laden behavior for his kind, and thus highly suspect. The nightborne, however, began to scream for help as she was being escorted from the premises, likely rousing any creatures that may have lingered in the tunnels, and forcing Renoris to knock her unconscious. She was then brought back to Lightsong to heal.
Between the unusual aggression of the two fal'dorei encountered thus far, as well as the ruckus caused by the rescued shal'dorei, the arachnid elves are believed to be on high alert, and perhaps planning something dastardly. It would be up to the Silver Circle to determine if there was truly any threat at all - or if it was all merely a coincidence...
Taking Precautions In wake of all the news surrounding Falanaar, civilian travelers looking to cross the border of Suramar were strictly advised to be accompanied by armed guardians while passing the town's ruins. Volunteer Silversworn are capable of acting as such guardians, as well as local druids and other trained mercenaries.
Furthermore, surveillance of Falanaar and the surrounding areas was well underway by Brother Feathersong and Warden Razorleaf in response to the mounting threats. Other members of the Circle were encouraged to conduct their own scouting patrols of the area in groups of two to six (as to not draw unwanted attention), to gather as much intelligence as possible and ensure all their bases were covered.
A young shal'dorei noble hailing from Suramar City, Elyse found herself in the hands of the Silver Circle after being rescued from a fal'dorei cocoon in the pits of Falanaar by Renoris Feathersong and Elliistra Skysong. She has spent the weeks since then recovering in Lightsong, nursing an impaired leg and being tended to by the local innkeeper, Khardon Timberdawn.
#14403515 Aug 13, 2020 at 03:49 AM · Edited 2 years ago
It was a warm, late-summer's eve in Lightsong. Members and affiliates of the Silver Circle had congregated around the outside of the inn. Some were preparing to embark upon hunts, as was traditional for such times of year; others came to answer a different call.
Warden Shaureyne Razorleaf had sent a missive of import to all those of the order a few days earlier, recounting the recent series of unfortunate events surrounding Falanaar, an ancient and dilapidated settlement located just across the forest borders into Suramar. She would do so again for those present or unawares. Everything had began nearly a moon cycle ago, when Mythanil Briarblade and a volunteer band of Silversworn embarked on a gathering mission turned fal'dorei slaughter. Weeks later, Renoris Feathersong and former Elder of the Moon, Elliistra Skysong, would rescue a young shal'dorei woman from a cocoon within the depths of the Falanaar Tunnels, a maze of underground shafts once a major part of the Arcway. Such behavior these days was considered unusual for the arachnid mutants. Shal'dorei were not easy prey, and their increased activity from below and above sparked further concerns. Even civilians had consequently been prohibited from solo travel across the divide, necessitating accompaniment by armed adventurers, such as the Silversworn or Val'sharah druids.
While the shal'dorei, Elyse Starchild, had taken many days to heal, eventually she agreed to be interviewed by those determined to find out more about what was happening in Falanaar - and why.
Elyse was a youthful but arrogant woman. Several of the elves in attendance attempted to win her favor to little avail as she stalled the onset of interrogation, however voluntary. Eventually, she would share tidbits of what she knew and remembered from her experience. Claiming to be on an expedition, she had traveled to Falanaar in search of mana crystals. By accident, she was caught off guard by a Withered, causing her to tumble into the exposed Falanaar Tunnels, saved only by her arcane instincts and a large chunk of ancient mana she had managed to clutch. Indeed, the chambers were covered in darkness, and she was barely able to glimpse the figure of her arachnidian captor as it pierced her with strong sedative venom in the leg, causing her to fall unconscious. The next thing she knew, she was being torn from a webbed cocoon by her two 'rescuers'.
Many members of the Circle saw fit to question the shal'dorei's intentions and machinations, as well as speculate the reasoning for why she may have been left alive - relatively - by the fal'dorei. The former was mostly met with scorn by the elven noble. The latter, however, appeared to pique her interest as some sort of scholarly pursuit. Had the fal'dorei been siphoning magic or energy from her form instead of simply killing her outright? Were they attempting to find some twisted means of reconnecting with the Goddess? The possibilities seemed endless, and so too did the Circle's attempts to find real answers to their dilemma.
Curiously, Elyse was not knowledgeable on the existence of the fal'dorei at all prior to the encounter - or the nature of demons, or anything that wasn't pure arcane. Yet, she remarked that something was amiss about the wild, latent magic of the region. Something chaotic. She could not elaborate, due to her lack of experience, but it was enough info for those present to formulate that precautions against fel magic would be ideal when the time came to storm the ruins.
It was then that the interview took a turn for the worse, as the dubious shal'dorei broke into an outburst just short of a temper tantrum, denouncing the night elves as 'Moon Goons' and disillusioning a majority of the present Silversworn. With many deeming the interview unsalvageable, their questioning would abruptly end there, leaving Elyse to her own devices. From there, the Circle began to ruminate the best way forward with the Falanaar incursion using what little intel they had managed to gather from her.
By midnight, the next steps had been decided. Connected associates would venture to the Watchers, Illidari, tentatively Suramar City, and even the Circle's own Archives to derive more information on their arachnid enemy and the nature of the Falanaar region. Meanwhile, the Silversworn would continue to act as guardians for civilian travelers across the border toward Meredil, to ensure their safety. In the days ahead, the elves and friends would ready themselves for a thorough scouting and search of the eastern reaches using the knowledge they had gathered...
#14406875 Aug 20, 2020 at 04:35 AM · Edited 2 years ago
A cloudy day in Val'sharah heralded the arrival of the Silver Circle to the Garden of the Moon, where Warden Razorleaf awaited them. Since the day the cross-region travel restrictions had been put into place as a response to the fal'dorei threat, groups of civilians had required trained guardians to accompany them over the border into Suramar. That day, a request had been put in by a large caravan of twelve, including the likes of Elyse Starchild, whose escort had at last arrived to return her to the glimmering eastern city; the caravan's leader, a stocky silvered worgen, offered the still-crippled nightborne a seat in their wagon.
Necessitating an increased number of defenders to compensate for the larger group of travelers, the Circle answered such a humble call. In short time they began the journey to Irongrove Retreat, the agreed-upon neutral halfway point between the inner workings of Val'sharah and the shal'dorei homeland.
The walk across the thick woods was slow and cumbersome, and some minor obstacles were encountered along the way, though in good time the caravan was led within eye's view of the Retreat. However... while nearly across the final ancient bridge to the settlement, the caravan horses became disturbed, and started a ruckus, dragging their hooves and neighing at nothing in particular. There was no explanation to notate such a change in behavior. Yet the magic-sensitive elves of the Circle, too, felt something amiss - the air was saturated with latent arcane magics the likes of which tarried with one's senses, dizzying the mind, making it difficult to decipher their origin.
With intuitive aid from Seldarine Stardragon, the caravan's horses were able to be calmed and gently led across the bridge, safely arriving to Irongrove Retreat without as much as a scratch upon them. With their duty of the evening complete, the Circle hastily returned to the previous area to explore for what could have spooked the animals, and where their magi's headaches were derived.
Prompt, bold investigation by Renoris Feathersong revealed a most dangerous predicament. Precariously secured onto the underside of the ageless stone bridge was an enormous cluster of ancient mana crystals, roughly the size of the caravan's wagon itself. It was held up by thin, glimmering strands of web, and buzzed with a palpable, active magic. This cluster was not a natural growth. It had been planted there, deliberately. And there was only one possible culprit: the fal'dorei, creatures they had so diligently been working to undermine over the last several weeks.
Concerned for the safety of the area, Seldarine, Mognus, Iraavos, and Waltur reacted quickly and prepared a ritual to drain the arcane power from the crystals, so it would not be at risk of agitation. Yet this was a concentration of incredible power, and would be a challenge to tame. A single wrong move, a simple jostle or rough touch of the cluster, and it would assuredly begin a chain reaction that could threaten the integrity of the bridge - and their own lives.
Such a triumphant victory was not in the cards for the Silver Circle that eve. Though they got far in the ritual itself, the raw arcane became too great a force to contend with directly and keep in check. A stray bolt redirected from Seldarine's grasp, practically locking onto the crystals and clashing straight into them. The reaction was immediate: bright pink sparks flew outward, causing a chain of small bursts that grew like a snowball effect, until the cluster shattered entirely. The ground beneath the group shook violently as the explosion of mana ruptured the very air itself, and enveloped the area in a brief, blinding light.
Once the dust had settled, it was clear that the damage was done. A massive circular chunk from the bridge had been virtually erased from existence, jeopardizing its stability, rendering it nigh-useless to more than one or two travelers at a time. And indeed, much of the Circle found themselves severely injured in the blast - those who caught the brunt dragged themselves to the shoreline, blinded and bruised, made to deal with the consequences of their failure. Some were hurt more than others - Renoris found himself enduring the very heart of the arcane explosion, and Seldarine remarked a foul trace of something in the magic she'd absorbed. Hurt and in desperate need of recovery, the caravan guardians gathered what strength they had left to retreat to Irongrove, and lick their wounds while ruminating what was to come. But beneath them all, a dark energy stirred...
The cluster had been hiding something from their magical senses.
It hid a concentration of fel. And it was deep within the Falanaar Tunnels.
#14409069 Aug 24, 2020 at 04:25 AM · Edited 2 years ago
The mission began on the outskirts of Falanaar. Congregating in a forgotten plaza of the ancient townscape, the Silver Circle set to work on organizing their objectives. Their movements that eve would be only the first-half of their ultimate plan: to infiltrate the Falanaar Tunnels directly, investigate and find the source of the fal'dorei's sinister scheming, and thus disrupt them for good.
For an extended period, the large group of elves and friends discussed the best course of action. At last after a great deal of debate, it was decided: a distracting effigy would be placed in the Moonshade Sanctum by the pandaren, Shenshou, to attract the attention of some fal'dorei and their skittering spies away from the Temple of Fal'adora. From there, the Circle would rush eastward, across the gaping expanse of tunnels that lay below them, and make a break for a hallowed chamber within the Temple itself to serve as their forward base.
The first task was easy enough, despite the size of their brigade. In the webbed remnants of the shrine where the second Arcan'dor seed once rested, Shenshou summoned a guardian ox statue that rang out defiantly, taunting any spiders nearby for a limited time. After a moment of scouting, the group quickly moved on, urging their feet as quickly as they could manage down the broken slope that would lead them to a cliffside crossing the exposed Fal'adora underpass.
It was an unfathomable drop, when one peered down below. The fal'dorei's home was shrouded in darkness and mazes of webs that glinted almost menacingly up at the bold kaldorei and their companions.
Just as they were about to move on, some of the group stumbled backward; a trio of wayward spirits had emerged from the gloom, floating upward towards them. As they passed above the cliff, a warning was whispered... "Leave this place." In an attempt to heed the ghosts' plea, the Circle sped-walked their way towards the Temple plaza, just ahead of them. But it was too late to run. The sound of skittering limbs was evident, and they found themselves beset by a wide wave of vile spiderlings crawling erratically towards them from the depths of the tunnels below.
The battle was frantic, and fierce. A retreat was ordered amidst the chaos, backing the elves into a relative corner, nowhere to escape among the sparse wilting trees and wild flora of the temple gardens. The wave of spiders pushed hard against them. Curiously, a few of the groups split off, scattering in the direction of the Moonshade Sanctum - perhaps the effigy had worked after all.
It would only be a matter of time before they were overrun. In a valiant divine effort, Mythanil Briarblade turned to the ancient spirits of eternal priestesses that yet walked the grounds of their sanctuary. To them and to the Goddess herself, she made a plea, beseeching them to awaken and aid their plight; to cleanse the worldly affronts that were the web weavers, and reflect Her light back upon their timeless shrine once more.
And so the spirits would abide her. Enthralled by the call to service in the name of Elune, a chain of five begotten shades gathered together, linking their arms and ethereal hands as they chanted softly, an unintelligible song to the Great Mother, carrying out Her will and the call of the Circle. The rising moon above them appeared to glow brighter, as did the priestesses, until their transparent forms manifested into a brilliant, billowing dome of divine light, protecting the whole of the Fal'adora gardens.
The remaining spiderlings, stricken by the display of raw power, could find no way to penetrate the holy barrier and scuttled frantically back into the depths of the tunnels below them. Though awestruck, the elves knew this was their time to follow suit into the underground by descending from the temple entrance, where their goal of the eve awaited them.
It took some time to recuperate within the ancient halls. Despite the temple's entryways being in pristine condition, latent magic penetrated the air, freely flowing and yet thicker than mud. Those with magical sensitivity fell suddenly ill, struck with aching heads as they attempted to discern the origins of the energies in vain. Though such chaos could not bode well for their mission, they pressed on, in search of respite.
As promised, a perennial chamber of Fal'adora remained, not much further beyond the temple's foyer. Here there were more long-passed priests that yet wandered, though they would pose no threat. The chamber served as a prime, secluded base from the rest of Falanaar for the next several days. Not only as a place of rest, but also a place of strategy and communications, as the Silver Circle prepared to make the final decisive strike against their mutated kin...
#14632226 May 06, 2021 at 03:54 PM · Edited 1 year ago
After days of preparation and scouting, the Silver Circle gathered their strength for a final assault against the fal'dorei and their mysterious plans, deep in the Temple of Fal'adora.
The journey was initially strange and perilous, driving the Silversworn through winding webbed halls laced with unstable crystallized arcane. The further they ventured into the depths, the more that the ill-fated magic began to pervade the senses of some of their magi. They were certainly on the right track. But just as the trail seemed to be nearing its end, as sure as any dangerous artifact would be, the group was attacked by fal'dorei defending the room they encroached upon.
After a lengthy battle, the Silver Circle emerged relatively victorious, and were able to approach what looked to be a massive, ancient pylon. Pure arcane manifested in its crescent conduit. It took several minutes of finicking between multiple party members to determine how it might be deactivated. Ultimately it was Mognus who managed to locate a controlling moonstone within the pylon and, assuming its removal may contribute to its deactivation, did just that.
However, this is where matters took a turn for the worse. Upon the moonstone's removal, it became clear that it was merely a filter; the arcane conduit was yet another mask for the powerful concentration of fel they had been seeking. The murky, overwhelming magic that saturated the halls of the temple was now made crystal clear as emerald green burst from the pylon's crest into a bright, powerful beam that winded through the temple and further into its lower levels. In haste, the Circle left the pylon behind for the time being to follow the direction of its beam even deeper within the crumbling tunnels.
Upon arrival to their final destination, the party found a pylon not unlike the one they had just left, wholly infused with fel magic that seemed to be building up at a rapid pace. They also encountered an unexpected foe; an aranasi demon. It was she who had rallied the fal'dorei. These spider kin had been used, mutated, and abandoned; but together, as a found family, they could destroy the region of Suramar that had taken so much from them, and stake their rightful claim to the pieces of Azeroth they deserved.
Of course, the Silver Circle had none of this. Fel in and of itself was bad news, let alone a demon pulling the strings. After thwarting a wall of flame, and enduring a fierce fight, they were able to subdue the aranasi in runic chains.
The demon, in her quiet desperation, offered the Silversworn a choice. She would share how to safely halt the build-up of the fel pylon, if they allowed her to leave freely... or she would perish along with her secret to saving the land.
The debate was strong amongst the kaldorei. Eventually, and begrudgingly, some of them agreed to her request - and she turned out to be true to her word. By inserting the moonstone Mognus had retrieved into the conduit of the second pylon beside them, its charge reached a magical stalemate. Additional time would be required to disable the conduits for good, but until then, the Silver Circle had managed to complete their mission.
As they moved to release the demon from her bonds, though, one kaldorei had other plans. At nearly point-blank, Elieene Dawnspyre raised her gun and let loose a shot straight toward the aranasi's head, killing her instantly. Half of the group was left in shock as the pirate-druid stated that she had never promised the aranasi's safety.
This action formed a rift between the Silversworn, for although the damage was done, many felt their honor had been soiled by the actions of another. Tensions remained high during the remainder of the night, while they sought a rear exit out of the temple and sent others back to work on disabling the first pylon. It appeared that not all missions could end so morally just.