Premise With the voice of Ralazar vanquished and the line of succession muddied, the Dark Strand began to consume itself in the north, many outright abandoning the Shadow March amid the power vacuum, Emdreath's demise was poison for the cult, a poison they could not cure.
Seeking new masters the fragmented factions migrated to the south, there Chok'suul once left hand of Emdreath unites the disperate factions under a new banner, the Shattered Strand, for the last few weeks they have launched raids on the Cenarion Wildlands, testing the defenses for some unknown purpose.
The distressed druids send an urgent message to the Circle, if they hope to discover and stop the Cult's dark plot they must act soon, or lose the wildlands and what life once flourished in Desolace, forever.
The Circle's arrival in Desolace was accompanied by Arngoth Brightfeather, an elder druid who has gleamed little insight from the Shattered Strand's motivations and goals for being in the deserted desert, but all knew that the reformed members of the Dark Strand were not assembling there en'mass for nothing.
Chok'suul, an Ogre magi had gathered them at the seat of their new power, Thunderaxe Stronghold, a forboding keep who's loyalty once belonged to a single master, the burning blade, until Chok'suul arrived, he and his lieutenant Gazilfrax have bloodied the Cenarion Wildlands. Though their raiding has been ruthlessly effective, should the full force of the fragmented cult be brought to bear on The Glade of Karnum it is uncertain at what cost their victory might come with.
Even with Chok'suul's alleged secret weapon they would likely fail, however the desert is home to many factions, and even greater power beneath the sands, should Chok'suul rally the Magram Clan or discover a weapon beneath the Mannoroc coven it could spell doom for the Glade and all life in Desolace.
Along their travel to the Cenarion Wildlands, the party had encountered a warning, the severed hands of druids nailed to a tree with a warning written in the sand, 'Flee or Fall' the work of Gazilfrax. Further along the party encountered sand carrion worms, large enough to devour the party, with some preparation and thinking the party distracted instead of risking a fight with them, successfully evading the desert beasts.
The Silver Circle arrived at Karnum's glade safely with Arngoth Brightfeather, they now await word from his Thero'shan, Emadre Wildwind from her scouting mission over the Magram Clan.
The Circle had stayed within the tense Karnum's glade for a few days, following their arrival they anticipated the return of Emadre Wildwind, the Thero'shan of Arngoth the elderly guide and eldest druid in Karnum's glade at the moment.
Wounded from his own venture to find the missing druid Arngoth returned to the glade and sought immediate aid from the circle, she had been captured by the Shattered Strand in a small outpost in the ruins of Shok'Thokar. Without much delay the circle abided his request, carefully- though unsuccessfully they plotted a course through the watchposts to avoid detection, looting a nearby tower for some the Cult's powerful equipment.
The Circle them encountered a trio of challenging guards, though with their preparation they made quicker work than the guards that had spotted them outside, after a brief interrogation involving ravenous swarm beetles, the party continued to a small bluff within the cleft, there Emadre Wildwind was. Suspended by arcane chains, the party was warned that it would tear her apart if they were not disabled correctly, after failing once Celassa & Mythera worked together to undo the last binding and with a handy potion restored the immediate damage done to Emadre.
Before the Cult could figure out what had happened the Circle's infiltration was successful, and Emadre now recovers in the wellspring of healing energy that is Karnum's glade, the Circle await what information she might have gathered studying the cult and the Magram Clan carefully..
Having rescued Emadre Wildwind the Druid happily gave out the intel she had gathered, the Shattered Strand had been actively trying to ally with the Magram Clan, in an overheard conversation Khan Martok, leader of the clan agreed to help if they could return to him the Shield of Aratak. Gazzlefrax had been scouring the ruins of the Mannoroc Coven to reinforce the Shattered Strand's numbers, thankfully with their new intel the Circle hastily made it's way to the Coven to investigate.
Entering the Coven the Circle was ambushed by Oman'Thel a deadly demonic bounty hunter whom had seemly taken a contract from Chok'Suul to get rid of the Circle, despite the dire circumstances the elves managed to push Oman'Thel to retreat through a nearby portal but not before promising to fulfill his contract.
Though the cadre had found only empty digsites the managed to track down Gazzlefrax within the Coven, there upon seeing that the guild had not been defeated by Oman'Thel quickly escaped and abandoned the orcish Warlock Gorkis, who quickly surrendered. Bargaining in exchange for his freedom he would lead the Circle to Gazzlefrax, who's lab was largely kept secret even among the Shattered Strand.
Part : 4
Spending the next few days traveling through the desert the Silver Circle arrived on the outskirts of Sargeron, the ruins had become home to many evils over the last ten-thousand years, and now the Shattered Strand had claimed it.
Interrogating their prisoner Gorkis, the party learned the peculiarities of Chok'Suul's rise, Gorkis speculated that a strange amulet the ogre had worn and the party heard he had been speaking to was the source of his supreme power.
Leaving Gorkis tied up, the Circle proceded into the ruins, quickly they intended on removing as many guards from the area as possible before locating Gazzlefrax, spending time afterwards searching around the digsites they were guarding.
One item in particular was found, an ancient highborne tablet detailing the necessity for powerful sources of magic for resurrecting the immaterial, though the party had little time to ponder why such things were being dug from the earth.
Soon the Circle found themselves in Gazzlefrax' lab, contending with the wiley Goblin's dark machines, the tinkerer had thrown everything he could at the elves, but the Circle managed to just beat out a victory with the arrival of some of their allies.
As they defeated and captured Gazzlefrax an image of Chok'Suul had presented itself, turning the party's attention to smoke rising from the Cenarion Wildlands, the Ogre Magi had taken advantage of the distracted Circle and captured a number of Druids, goading the circle into trying to retrieve them from his Stronghold..
#14962372 May 27, 2022 at 09:50 PM · Edited 21 days ago
The Shattered Strand Strikes! Whilst the Circle had dealt with Gazzlefrax and deprived Chok'Suul of his war-machines and dark deviousness the Ogre Warlock had used this distraction to launch a raid on the outskirts of the Cenarion Wildlands, capturing nine druids and goading the Circle into walking into a potential deathtrap to retrieve them.
Arngoth Brightfeather met with the circle, pleading them not to walk into Chok'Suul's trap, though relented when the Circle had set it's mind to the task, before they departed the glade they decided to interrogate Gazzlefrax.
But first, the Circle had finally met with the Khan of the Magram Clan, Martok, the centaur had been expecting to recieve the shield, promising that in return he would aid the Circle should they come to blows with the Cult again. After a small amount of deliberation the Kaldorei voted to pass on the powerful artifact, hoping that the Centaur's forces not siding with the enemy and coming to their aid in the future would prove a more potent boon.
With some motivation the goblin relinquished Chok'Suul's true plans.
Long ago, during the events of the Sundering, and some time closely following, a Highborne magi named Thelana Nightwind had been sent as Ambassador to Eldre'thelas by Queen Azshara, after the sundering had occured Thelana remained in the highborne city, aiding Tortheldrin in taming Imol'thar. As she began to dive into deeper, more darker magics the Highborne Prince identified her as a threat to his reign, during the purge Thelana was sail.. But not before she had transferred her soul into a gem, for ten-thousand years she sat dormant waiting for the right mind to palm her prison, Chok'Suul had been that mind.
Thelana had given Chok'Suul a taste of highborne magic, she promised him immortality should he secure Karnum's glade a wellspring of life otherwise left unguarded, their goal was to drain the life from desolace once more to ressurect the Highborne into a new age.
Troubled by this news the Circle set forth to quickly retrieve as many druids as they could, for the fight ahead would demand of them their service.
Thunderaxe Hold housed the captured druids in two groups, within the hold rested an army of Shattered Strand that would make short work of the circle had they been careless, beams of light swept across the area from high watchtowers scanning in the night. The Circle had but a single chance to get it right.
Cleverly the Circle devised an unorthodox solution, Mythoral and Cayldiais crept atop a flying disc granted by Mythera, flying high above the watchpost the Ren'dorei captured the mind of one of the guards over the first group, using Cayldiais' expert riding skills to keep them aloft amid a small rainstorm.
Easily the party had managed to free the first group, diverting the guards' attention and using the mindbent cultist to do their bidding until it was time to evacuate them through a portal.
After this the Circle encroached the northern end of the Stronghold there they were met with watchtowers scanning both the sky, this time a handful of the circle infiltrated from the ground, Feydren, Celassa, Cayldiais and Seldarine dodged the beams of light. Executing and skillfully extracting the remaining druids and escaping through a void-portal back to the glade to the applause of the stressed druids.
The day of Chok'Suul's impending attack had dawned, scouts had spotted his forces mustering in Thunderaxe Stronghold, Arngoth, Emadre, the acolytes and rescued druids of the grove, ancients and even Centaur of the Magram clan aided in fortifying Karnum's glade to the best of their ability.
Thankfully the circle had garnered allies, found and rescued which would aid them in the battle to come, together before the moonwell and prime objective for Chok'Suul to capture the circle accepted the boons of the grove that would aid them in driving out the Shattered Strand and ending their terrible reign.
The sonorous warcry of several horns sounded to the west, the main field had become occupied with the acolytes and circle, slightly overwhelmed in number the battle began, both sides inflicting grevious losses upon one another as desperate druids and frenzied cultists clashed. A single group of Druids had survived the first wave, though the tides had turned because of the circle's presence, Chok'Suul forced an early retreat beyond their barricades as he stole the souls of the dead both friend and foe the shower the land in a deathly rain of shadowbolts.
Behind the barricades the circle was granted a small reprieve before being asked to check the Glade's flanks for flanking forces, first they had relieved the rescued acolytes from a quick execution in the northern pass, then rushing to assist Emadre who had suffered losses against demonic summoners and their pets.
Thankfully the east was suppressed as a cohort of Centaur Skirmishers charged out from their clan's camps effectively slaughtering the demons and allowing the circle to return to Arngoth quickly, however their return had spelled a shift in the successful siege so far, the frontal barricades had been blown open, the glade was a chaotic mess of fighting and Chok'Suul stood atop the well erecting a barrier around his dark ritual that began to quickly siphon the power of the well and the life of the grove.
With no rest, the Circle engaged Chok'Suul who had brutally beaten Arngoth, though the warlock's dark magic posed a threat the druids of the grove they had kept alive during the battle aided in bringing down the outnumbered Warlock. Just as color began to fade from the well Ivahra Autumnsong, empowered by the well successfully petrified the ogre for long enough to navigate behind them, a thrust through their chest had ended Chok'Suul once and for all.
With the barrier thrown down, Thelana Nightwind emerged, the ritual had been cut just twelve seconds short from completion, the energies of her spell congregated and attempted to bring the Highborn witch back to life. Unfortunately, the Circle's intervention had garunteed she was stuck between life and death, cursing the circle Thelana teleported away from the glade, escaping the encounter.
As the battle had ended and the Shattered Strand defeated, Arngoth approached the dull lifeless well, the glade had knelt with him, many had died, sacrificing their lives to protect the future of Desolace, acolytes of the glade that had lost their futures.
Among the tears of Arngoth that had disrupted the well he witnessed Elune's basking light wash over the grove illuminating the fleeting energy still held within the grove, in time the wildlands would heal and flourish once more.