OOC: Indeed, I want to talk to Wulf before I post most of his update. Then I'll write it as soon as we do.
Also, before I can update Ambermill it is only fair I talk to Wulf, so that joint Dalaran/Lordaeron update will come soon.
Only a small garrison was left behind in Tarren Mill, and General Leo and his forces were set into motion immediately. Thanks to the wonders of magical teleporation, messengers were allowed to be distributed rather quickly throughout the kingdom. News was spreading that a vanguard of battalions from Stromgarde had passed through the gates of the Thoradin Wall, which had not been opened for many years, excluding King Eralas Trollbane's passage to Fenris Isle. Leo recalled meeting the King on his way to Fenris Isle; certainly an intimidating and powerful man in more ways than one.
Had his journey to Fenris been a ruse? Either way, the King of Stromgarde had chosen an ill time to strike, if that was indeed what he was doing, or if indeed, it was he who had given the orders to mobilize.
General Leo and his troops passed over the river and made haste towards the Thoradin Wall. All villagers watched their passing with awe and fear, many simple folk never before having seen an army of this magnitude on the move. The Eastern Legion passed Andriano, which had closed itself off in anticipation of coming events.
Setting camp in the hills several miles from the Thoradin Wall, Leo was busy preparing his troops for battle when a messenger clad in red rode into camp. "I am here on behalf of the Tribune of Stromgarde! Your movement into the region has not gone unnoticed, Hesperians! My lordship the Tribune asks for an audience with the officer in command of this legion!"
Leo looked to his subordinates and shrugged. He doubted that the noble and high-strung troops of Stromgarde would dare risk treachery staining their righteous hearts, and so it was unlikely that there was any foul play behind this.
Accompanied by Archmage Franek Snowburn, General Leo set off to meet with the so-called Tribune. Riding over the final hill under the heat of the sun, Leo was awestruck to behold no less than four legions.
Leo knew that this would mean trouble. Four legions in Stromgarde terms was a full, efficient fighting force. Not an invasion force, perhaps, but it contained many thousands of men which Leo's Eastern Legion would struggle to hold back, at best.
Then Leo saw a tall and regal figure ride up to meet him. Armed top to bottom and wearing impressive scarlet colours, a middle-aged man saluted Leo.
"The Tribune of Stromgarde, I presume?" Leo asked. The Tribune nodded. "To whom do I owe the pleasure?" the Tribune responded. "General TIBERIUS Leo of the Eastern Legion of Dalaran."
An uneasy silence passed between these two potential enemies.
Whoever spoke next would certainly have a lot to say.
As the days passed, news continued to trickle into Lordaeron City. Alford personally greeted Adaen Melrache upon his return from the conquest of the People's Front. News arrived as well that Sherman had set off to hunt down the Maroons, for better or for worse. One individual in particular was returned to the city who was of interest to Alford; a man called Warren Greystone. A member of the People's Front who had served Krowl, one of the few who had remained in contact with his old master.
In a secluded chamber in the dark of night, Krowl, Alford and Warren Greystone met to discuss affairs. Warren seemed tired and beaten. Days prior he had been an enemy of the kingdom, an outcast, fighting for freedom and equality. Now he was before the man he had wanted to kill for so long; Alford Menethil. Krowl's hand rested on his shoulder to reassure him. "It's alright, Warren. Though our original plans have changed, we may soon have a new domain in which our followers can rest. A domain where I will govern as I see fit, and Alford may do as he wishes in his own home."
Warren was not satisfied. "But liege, what of our homeland?" Krowl sighed. "Sacrifices have to be made, Greystone. We are not forsaking Lordaeron; we are serving it still. King Alford has heard my pleas, and he will do something for the poor. My own personal vendetta is perhaps better shelved as well. It is a shame Canbrad was too stubborn to repent."
Alford listened to the two of them squabble, all the while looking out of the window at a view of Lordamere Lake, reflecting moonlight. He wondered how Thomassy was doing, his dear court wizard, absent to lighten up the palace with his wit. Alford wondered where Sherman was now; likely fighting for his life with as much bravery as always. He even thought of Tileot, and Tileot's crazed mother. She was one problem he had not yet decided how to handle.
"Gentlemen, let me speak." Alford said, turning to them. "Warren Greystone, your life may have been spared, but you have not yet redeemed yourself. If you wish to do so, you must serve the state, exchanging for crimes for good deeds. Though you sought to undermine Canbrad from within, you have nonetheless caused harm to my people and sought to overthrow me. What you did against Canbrad you did for Maximus Krowl, not for Lordaeron."
Warren lowered his head solemnly. "What would you have me do?"
Alford cleared his throat. "That depends on what you can do."
The young lieutenant raised his head. "I can do many things, my king. Though the People's Front is dispersed, we still have many contacts we can use to our advantage. Agents as far as Alterac and Hesperia."
Sherman and his forces set off after the Maroon cultists under Andol. They would have to be made to pay for their crimes against Tyr's Hand. This time in sufficient numbers and with precautions taken, they would not make Pureblood's mistake and get themselves killed. Sherman, at least, was hoping they would not.
To the south lay the Hinterlands, a sprawling landscape of greenery, rivers, lakes, trees, green dragons, trolls and other dangers. If nature did not finish off Andol and his cronies, then Sherman would have to, however.
They made camp in a ridge overlooking several vallies. Sherman and his men were having a rather hard time of tracking Andol, but thanks to the clumsy, brutal nature of the Maroon gnolls, there were ample tracks. Setting up camp for the night, Sherman's force pitched tents and handed out supplies in the black of night.
Sherman found that he missed Pureblood's company. The young man had been naive, but he had also been an able lieutenant. As Sherman thought back to the adrenaline and risks of the past few weeks in Strattania, he was brought to attention when he realised several of his sentries were missing. He drew his sword, and his men, seeing him do so, did the same.
There was whispering in the trees, and the illumination of blue eyes lighting up patches of darkness.
"What does an armed force want of this land?" a feline voice asked.