Heroes of Pandaria
Lord Arathram Departs (Old-time Hero of Pandaria, leader of paladins, leaves on a Holy Quest – never to return...)
Lord Arathram, half-elven Ranger-Wizard-Priest, veteran of the Giant Wars and Hero of Pandaria, cannot stand idly by when forces of the despicable Thardans profane and destroy the Sun-Temples in the southern city of Thay.
With a band of his most loyal Paladins and Rangers, he seeks leave of absence to undertake a Holy Avenging Quest. Acting Arch-Priest Melascol, previously temple almoner but now - following the disappearance of both senior High Priests in the Thayan disaster - the effective Primate of all the Ammonite Faith, grants his request. Rather than despatch the questors immediately to Elorinar, Holy Father Melascol in his wisdom charges Lord Arathram's group to retrieve a suitable means of vengeance - a mighty weapon from a legendary realm he knows as the World of Ohtacuru.
Solemnly the incantations are intoned and holy chimes sounded. With an oath to return only when their Quest is fulfilled, Lord Arathram and his party miraculously shift from the plane of Pandaria... and pass into the realm of Legend.
Time passes and Lord Arathram does not return.
All that is known of his name thereafter was recorded in an ancient scroll and recounted by elven sage Halewyn of Kel'Thalas on a far distant world:
Bane, otherwise known as the Plague of Nations, was said to be lost
from this world many generations before the Elves of Quel’Thalas
settled in their lands. The artifact is believed to grant
unimaginable powers to it wielder. There is none that would not fear
it when held by one of purity and truth. If used by one of unsavory
conviction, the world would be his to command. While none have found
the artifact, many signs point to Quel’Maron, the most northern
“Arathram was a mighty warrior among the night Elves of old. He killed the largest and most deadly dragon that roamed the northern lands. No one has ever seen him since that battle. He disappeared into the mountains. All that was found was a magnificent blade. It was Arathram’s sword, yet it had been changed. Through some act of arcane magic, a small vial of the dragon’s blood had been placed in the hilt of the sword. This is the plague of nations. They say that the poison of the blade could kill all that opposed it. There was another quality to the blade that many cherished. The blade seemed to give ultimate power to the one that bore it. For many years it was used as a symbol of strength among the Elves. Those Elves that used the ancient magic, and were to become the Elves of Quel’Thalas, protested the use of the sword. One night, a group of Elves attacked the Night Elf camp and stole the sword. They fled many leagues in one night, taking the sword to Quel’Maron. There, they hoped to return it to Arathram, or his grave. They believed he was the only one worthy enough of using the magic blade. Before they found Arathram, they were ambushed in a deep mountain pass by the Night Elves. The sword was never found.” (Excerpted from "Prophetic Truths: The Quest")
Queen Drahena Restored (One-time Hero of Pandaria, Chosen Champion of Chaos, is restored to normal physical condition...)
“Oh, come on, Smeggus!” bellows the beautiful blonde elf maid, lolling on her throne. Having returned to the Chaos stronghold of Demon's Vale after her glorious 'victory' over routing Thardan forces (in which her own army was wiped out) Drahena is, as ever, bored. “I'm bored of this. An eye-patch is not 'cool', it's just tedious. Regenerate me, now! Call yourself a cleric...”
“Dear Queen, I have found something that may.” says her loyal priest, emerging from the nearby Chamber of Magical Storage. “This 'Elder Scroll of Master Restoration' is the most powerful healing the Library of Brazenase the Chaotic has to offer – and...”
“Yes, yes, yes. Stop prattling and read it!” interrupts his mistress.
“At once, Your Majesty...” the priest replies, bowing, and mutters “...and my name is Smerjus.”
“Who cares? GET ON WITH IT!” screeches the sharp-eared, sharp-tongued elf.
Brevet High Priest of Chaos Smerjus reads the ancient scroll. Magical blue fire crackles and arcs across from the page to the throne – engulfing Drahena and drawing her upright. The eldritch energy burns, seemingly in reverse – a concentration at her ruined eye-socket pulses azure and leaves a new, elven eye in it's wake! The flames continue, running all over her body... over the face, along the outstretched arms, and lingering intensely on the chest and nethers. Finally the cobalt conflagration dies.
The elf tears off the now-superfluous eye-patch, and laughs – but suddenly stops and listens, forcing another laugh. A low-timbred laugh. Then looks intently at the upraised hand, now less fine - momentarily noticing the Priest's aghast expression beyond - before glancing down, at the flat chest, and finally feeling discomfort from trews suddenly slightly tighter.
The elf long known as beautiful Drahena is restored to his true form as plain male elf Darthrom.
Lord Raedil Passes the Time (Hero of Pandaria, Wizard-Lord and retired Warlord of Quendor: Traveller in the Imperium borderlands...)
Wood-elf Wizard-Lord Raedil left the lands of Pandaria for the life of a traveller in the borderlands around the human Imperium, particularly those of the elven forest known as Greenheart. Sometimes hearing the call to arms, he mostly passed the next two to three long years* in training others, notably two talented dwarves. On one occasion retired warlord Raedil famously recruited a large force of elven warriors clad with cloaking devices to fight against the ever-growing human empire. Sadly though, these arrived too late for the terrible Battle of Yuletide - the druidic-led allies there suffered grievous loss of life, and druid-elf relations were soured for decades afterwards. Later, in middle age around 1326TR, he once again felt ready for adventure but found the world had moved on. [* 340 human years approximately]
Dranlen Frontis Returns (Chief-Bard and Hero from Glorantha, followed the Muse to the world of Pandaria...)
Dranlen the bard bad farewell to the Shaman Baobon and set forth again across the Grazzendaal Plaines. Having learned much of the local nomads' folk tales, and noted many similarities and correlating differences, he long ago realized the tribes in this world of Pandaria are exiles originally from Prax. His vast persuasive skills could convince them to return with him, resist the rising tide of Chaos, and save their home world! But no. His time has gone – wasted in fruitless learning. A faint harmonic of the mystical chord, on which he first travelled here, reaches his ears – and, surrounding him, grows to a crescendo! Then, as it fades away once more, so with it does Dranlen's physical form... until he is gone.
Chas Torran's Last Stand (High Priest of Ammon-Ra, Reliquarist of St. Bemontë of Shiran, and other Martyrs of the Shiran Rebellion...)
Inspired to foment insurrection in the city of Shiran, to regain the temple of his Patron Saint Bemontë. Support faded away when he spoke, nervous in front of the gathered crowd, and his sincerity was not evident. Surrounding Thardan forces then closed in and High Priest Torran, with Fathers Scrote, Karraway and Brother Rocky, fought a gloriously heroic but doomed last stand. Magnox the Coward fled via a dimension door immediately the battle began, but was never seen again*. The High Priest's highly-polished armour, alongside the lesser priest's wooden leg and giant brother's skull, now adorn the Temple of Hecate in that city. The whereabouts of St. Bemontë's relics are unknown.
* Father Karraway fought bravely, with honour, and eventually fell – but won deliverance via angelic transference into the catacombs beneath the nearby temple ruins. While recovering there, he found Magnox's sun-blazoned shield at the edge of a flooded area infested with killer frogs. (It seems the angel had transported the coward into the water, where he drowned even before the battle above was over, his corpse being devoured by the frogs and their carnivorous tads). Once healed, Karraway escaped again with angelic aid, to tell Chas' inspirational tale. It is said the martyred High Priest's armour gleams gloriously whenever Ammon's goodly heroes win victory over insidious agents of the evil red sect.
Darthrom Goes Home (No more 'Drahena', plain old elf warrior Darthrom returns home to the frog-swamps of Ghinor's City State...)
“Come on out, Smeggus!” shrieks the plain blond elf Darthrom, formerly known as Drahena, while stalking chaos priest Smerjus round the throne room of Demon's Vale. “I'm bored of this now, too... I only want to talk to you.” he adds, unconvincingly.
“What's the sword for, then?” the voice of the hidden priest says, from a nearby dark room.
“Er – nothing. I just like swinging a sword. Relieves stress...” replies Darthrom, becoming nostalgic: “... takes me back to the good old days. No stupid politics. Just me, a sword, and maybe an axe, walking into a nursery and chopping and hacking to my heart's content! The gore, the severed heads and limbs, the screams and pointless pleas of innocents... ah, bliss!”
“But I'm bored of it all now. Pandaria. The idiot gods plans to 'Save the World' – pah! Who cares if it's destroyed by slimy Cthulhoids? There's always other worlds.” the elf-maniac continues, then sidles closer to the Magical Storage Chamber's doorway.
“So you would leave – and return to your home plane...? Urk!” says Smerjus – as Darthrom darts into the hidey-hole, and puts sword to priestly throat.
“Yeah – but you can't Plane Shift, you're not high enough level. And there must be No Witnesses...!” the murderous elf says, twisting the blade to cut...
“Wait! This can!” gurgles the desperate priest – and holds forth a fragile glass globe, swirling with grey smoke inside. “It summons a demon, able to travel the planes... 'Tis the twin of one Brazenase tricked a druid into using to humiliate the Chenat Canon Court...”
“Stop waffling then, and do it.” commands Darthrom, letting sword-point fall. “I'm a player-character - get me out of here!”
Chaos-Priest Smerjus flings the globe to the floor, shattering it, and grey smoke billows in a huge cloud. “Command the demon when it appears – tell it where to go...” he says, diving for cover. The smoke coalesces unnaturally and, even more so, solidifies into a towering humanoid form – a large grey-skinned man, totally naked but for a belt, holding a fine-wrought giant club tall as himself in one hand. For a few moments he is mid-air, bestriding the smoky cloud, but then it darkens and coalesces into... a many-horned dragon, of black scales – his mount.
“Who dares summon the Grey Man?” demands the Grey Man.
“I, Drahen-... er, Darthrom.” the elf replies hesitantly. Then feigning boldness, “Demon, I command you, as Champion of Chaos and Chosen One of Arioch - take me home to the frog-swamps of the City State of the Invincible Overlord in the world of Ghinor!”
The face of the Grey Man twists with demonic rage but he roars “Come, then! UP!”. His dragon mount spreads it's wings, rears, snatches Darthrom and leaps upward, in front of the gigantic statue of Arioch, directly at the temple-throne room ceiling... But then with just one flap – WHOP! - they vanish.
The chill high air rushes past, and Darthrom's pointy ears grow cold, as he flies clutched in the demon's dragon's talons. Far below he sees the land – yes, the once familiar bleak landscape of the frog-swamps, and in the distance the dark towers of the City State, where nearly forty years ago he was transmuted into beauteous female form, bathing at a dubious inn. Home!
The talons release their grip. The elf falls and hurtles earthward – then remembers this is exactly how he first reached the world of Pandaria, as Drahena. So like then, the elf again screams for aid from all deities he can name: “...Hermes, save me now! Orcus, save me now! Arioch, Arioch, blood and souls!... Oh damn you all! This can't be happening, it's just so stupid!” Finally, he thinks - and shouts: “Demon, I command you! Take me down!”
At once, the black dragon swoops below him and catches Darthrom on its spiny neck, in pain but intact. Seated backward, the elf faces the Grey Man, who looks beyond him for a suitable spot; then steers the scaly beast down to perch on a bare rocky outcrop amidst scum-covered waters.
Finally the Grey Man looks at the elf. “Now, as you command, Drahene-er-darthrom – I will take you down...” and his huge club strikes. Darthrom, with incredible dexterity still gripping the sword despite cold-numbed hands, raises it to turn the blow, while also trying to dodge aside. [GM: 16%(special), damage 3d6+3(x2)+7=4,5,5=41; DD: 24%(special), AP10(x2); Chainmail AP5, Defence 26% (normal) 10; 41-35=6 damage; HP4 → -2 in Locn 10 (Chest)]. But the grievous impact bats the parry back and smashes into the elf's body, even through elfin mail. The force knocks Darthrom, still clutching sword, off the dragon's neck into the green slimy water – SPLASH! Though incapacitated by injury, Drahena/Darthrom is conscious and horribly aware, as the water's green slime attaches itself to hands, legs, face – areas of living flesh exposed by ill-fitting mail - and hungrily begins to feed, soon eating down to the bone. Also the mail is quickly dissolved, exposing torso, but she/he cannot scream as relevant organs are gone. No flesh remains to stop the voracious slime pouring into lungs and devouring all from the inside. Then oblivion.
The Grey Man, Paladin of Chaos, watches impassively for two minutes until the remains are entirely consumed. “So – there's a vacancy for Champion of Chaos and Chosen One of Arioch, is there? Interesting...”. Once again the Grey Man bids his dragon “UP!” - it leaps, flaps and – WHOP! - they vanish.