OCC: This might be a little long, but I had a lot I wanted to say! I feel since I'm a bit new I have some catching up to do, and I have to establish the 'character' of both my characters and kingdom, so you guys can get an idea of what my Ravenholdt is all about.
Van Dam's steed is fast, and it carries him crashing through the main gates directly into Ravenholdt Manor in the brashest, most un-stealthy fashion imaginable. His calm demeanor moments before expertly masked a sense of urgency. If he was swift enough, he could still meet this 'emissary' who came offering a contract. He was just in time, as Travot's incredulous expression indicated.
Travot Ravenholdt: What the Hell is this Van Dam?!?
Van Dam doesn't react to Travot's consternation and instead turns his attention towards a man who is blindfolded and being escorted by two guards.
Warester Van Dam: Is that the man with the contract for the King of Kul Tiras?
Travot Ravenholdt: It is! Don't worry, he's been sensory-deprived as per custom. He has no idea exactly where in the mountains our little home is. And I turned him down. Killing a Head of State is worth a lot more than what he was offering.
Warester Van Dam: I want to know the details. All of them!
And so he was told. During the debriefing, Hellen made her way into the Manor. The blindfolded man was still being held, somewhat uncomfortabley. Finally, Warester had heard and seen it all.
Warester Van Dam: Tell your master, whoever he may be, that Ravenholdt accepts his offer. Now guards, get him out of here.
Travot, Hellen, and everyone else seems utterly shocked by what has just transpired. Van Dam remains calm until the emissary has been removed from the Manor and the door closed behind him.
Warester Van Dam: I want that man followed, and I want to know where he goes and who he reports to. Understood?
The guard he was addressing nods in understanding, and then sprints out of the room to accomplish the task.
Travot Ravenholdt: Mind telling me what that was all about?
Warester Van Dam: The continent has become a powder keg Travot, and all our intelligence reports that its explosion is inevitable. We can no longer afford to linger silently in the shadows. The pagans have attained more power than I'd ever thought possible, and they're no friends of Ravenholdt. Do you remember the old stories of our guild's formation?
Hellen von Xie: I do. We began killing dissidents of hostile tribes behind their lines so humanity could unite into great Arathor.
Warester Van Dam: That's right, Hellen. And the strongest dissidents are always religious zealots. Since our very inception, we were set against the worshippers of the Ancient Evil Gods, the Loa, and the 4 Gods alike.
Travot Ravenholdt: Pffft. Nobody living could possibly remember that.
Warester Van Dam: And what of the Gods themselves? We have a vested interest in keeping the Lightists in power. The Light is a philosophy. While the current zeal the Church and their witch-hunters possess is way overboard, at least we don't have to worry about them summoning in tangible vessels of their worship. If I know pagans, that's their goal, and that doesn't bode well for anyone who wants to live in a world they do not rule.
Travot Ravenholdt: So you actually intend to kill Proudmoore? I hear that he himself is some kind of divinity.
Hellen von Xie: Indeed. His father, who never leaves his side, is said to be the direct offspring of one of the 4 Gods, if you believe the stories. His powers make such claims hard to deny, though.
Warester Van Dam: And what gifts does this King's lineage afford him?
Hellen von Xie: He's obviously a powerful spell-caster. He's been witnessed controlling schools of flying beasts from the oceans. And, this isn't confirmed, but they say he may also be clairvoyant.
Warester Van Dam: Damn, that's an impressive skill set. He's obviously a key player in the pagan hierarchy. That's why it behooves us to take that emissary's offer, despite the fact that its an obvious set-up.
Travot Ravenholdt: Obvious? It seems straight-forward enough. It was probably one of the Lightist Kings that sent him our way in the first place. They have every reason to want him dead.
Warester Van Dam: Or is that what somebody wants you to think? Did you look at that messenger? He was wearing no colors. In fact, he was conspicuously the opposite, as if there was effort taken so that nobody would know where he was from. Hellen thought he was from Dalaran, he had the look of a Tirasian to me. He was nebulous by design. Now tell me, why would any Lightist have to hide their desire to want a prominent Pagan dead? Furthermore, consider the amount of money he offered'¦ not a Kingly sum, but not such a pittance that an average wealthy nobleman couldn't afford it. Could have come from anyone, or could it have? Most tellingly, they paid the entirety upfront. Nobody pays upfront unless they want absolutely no trace to lead back to them and are willing to invest some serious capital into a very risky venture. This tells me its someone sufficiently high up, perhaps trying to make a power play. They could be trying to take Thaumas' position.
Hellen von Xie: Or trying to turn him into a martyr.
Warester Van Dam: Indeed. I'd say this makes my little excursion to Fenris Isle a lot more interesting, doesn't it? I'm going to get their early, stealth around and see what intel I can turn up on all the parties involved. If it turns out the pagans are what I think they are, I will take out Thaumas, his father, and anyone else that I gauge is a major threat to Ravenholdt. Travot, I want you to use the money we just got and stock up on basic supplies. Also, raise the alert level. I want rogues behind every rock and bush of this mountain in case things go wrong. We've got pagan-allies mobilized at our very doorstep, we need security. Hellen, you're with me.
Travor nodded and obeyed with surprising deference. He knew he was partially responsible for putting Ravenholdt in danger. It was he who took the contract from Alterac to poison the wells of Tarren Mill. Van Dam was furious when he learned of this and unleashed upon Travot in a fit of violence, as he felt such actions were far beneath the guild. Poison, when used properly, is honorable. When used indiscriminately, it takes the lives of innocent children. Any fool can dump chemicals into a water supply, hardly the behavior of world-class assassins.
Such behavior jeopardized the security of the Ravenholdt community. Its exact location was kept as secret as possible. Should a larger force learn the exact whereabouts however, it would be hell to get up the mountain. The incline is so steep that it is nigh impossible to get any cavalry or siege equipment up to the summit. The jagged rocks fall into a formation such that marching infantry up the mountain restricts movements, and no more than 2, perhaps 3 soldiers could fit up any potential path. Add to that the fact that the area is booby-trapped to hell, and it's a test of cunning just to get up to Ravenholdt when nobody is around. When factoring in invisible assassins around every corner, you really want an invitation before trying to go there.
Van Dam himself exited back to the armory, with Hellen in tow. Ravenholdt possessed one of the truly great armories in all of Azeroth, a testament to both their high adventuring and their thievery. Only the revered were permitted access though, as many great weapons had been lost forever on failed raids. This time, Van Dam would need every advantage he could get. The assassins of Ravenholdt were not mages or priests, and had no supernatural gifts or advantages. Instead, they had to rely on training, skill, and premeditation to be able to not only stand against such powerful enemies, but to kill them!
As Grand Master Krol used to say, 'Any foe, no matter how insurmountable they may seem, can be defeated if you have enough prep time.' Warester remembered those instructions well, and it was time to armor up. And there was one man he knew he could consult to do it.
Qu: Back so soon, Warester?
Warester Van Dam: I'm going to be needing some special stuff this time, Qu. Wow me.
Qu, of course, wasn't a name. It was a title, and stood for 'Quartermaster.' He handled all the equipment that Van Dam would need to complete this, or any other mission. Warester was already equipping his utility belt, littered with pounces that contained, amongst other things, thieves tools, flash and blinding powders, heavy runecloth bandages, crippling and mind-numbing poisons, healing and swiftness potions, and a trusty grappling hook. He also had various enchanted and bejeweled trinkets, to counter magical opposition and detection. But you need special gear for special jobs. Qu tossed him what appeared to be a pair of goggles.
Qu: Try those on. You're going to like them. Ultra-Spectropic Detection Goggles. They'll see through most any magical cloak or deception. Be careful though, you might find out you been dating a fatty for the past couple of months. Trust me... its not fun. Moving on... if that doesn't thrill you, these will. Direct your attention to the table to your right. Those are arcane bombs. Spellcasters will be evacuating their bowels when they see one of these bad-boys in your hand. Not only does it prevent any spell from being cast for enough time for you to get out of there or to finish the job, but it also ignites the very magical energy they'd use against you!
Hellen von Xie: You can't be serious.
Qu: I never joke about my work. As always Warester, take your pick of the weapons.
Warester eyed his choices. Ah, a Thrash Blade. The small sword was one of a series that was so perfectly balanced that sometimes you could seemingly attack twice in one strike. This was his choice. He looked around for a weapon to hold in his off-hand. And he found it.
The Fang of Korialstrasz. This dagger was truly a legacy weapon, forged by the late Master Krol. The story goes that some time ago, a young girl from Strahnbrad was cursed by a rogue magus. The only way to remove the curse was a blood-letting, but no ordinary blade would suffice. The infection was magical in nature, and a magical edge was needed to remove it. Krol, like many, had heard the tales of the legendary Red Dragon Korialstrasz, who was said to be so awesome he was nigh unto a god. Krol managed to track the leviathan to his cave, defeat both the magical and mundane traps and alarms that were set in place, and, through the use of anesthetic poison, was able to remove one of the giant's teeth! For years after they called him the Draconic Dentist. He brought the tooth back, crafted a blade out of it, and cut the girl in time to remove the infection and save her life. He then used the blade to kill the rogue magus. Master Krol was a legend; Van Dam knew he could never fill his shoes. But, he would use this weapon.
Warester Van Dam: I have what I need. Thanks Qu.
Qu: Yeah, yeah. Try not to break those goggles. Oh I almost forgot, something for the lady. The little thing you requested earlier.
Qu produces a small stone and hands it to Hellen, She clearly doesn't know what it is.
Warester Van Dam: Its magic. Put it in your ear, you’ll be able to communicate with me. I am going to Fenris alone, Hellen, but I need you to stay here and be my eyes and ears. Can you do that for me?
Hellen von Xie: I can.
Warester Van Dam: Good. Wish me luck then, because I might just need it.