Ha'lin's party carried out its orders. A decoy guard kept watch at the gate, to make sure the elves kept their attention focused on the entrance to the Catacombs. Meanwhile, another branch of axemen wandered through one of the rear passages, and set off to circle the elves. All the while, Ha'lin waited tensely.
Eventually, a war cry sounded from behind the hills, and the elves all turned, drawing their weapons and abandoning their posts. The rear attack was in motion.
It was all Ha'lin needed; with a sure of adrenaline he led his own warband out from the entrance to attack the elves, thus trapping them inbetween two fronts. The elves were clearly surprised, not expecting this sophisticated strike, though by now they should have known better.
Ha'lin danced through them at close range, and the elves barely had a chance to use their swords before the wedge had diminished their numbers completely. A few last elves tried to break through the battle to freedom, but almost all who attempted this left themselves open to attack and were slain.
Two elves did break through, however. "Flee, brother! Warn the Marchwardens! Warn Hawkspear!" one of the elves cried before falling dead.
Ha'lin watched them go, his grimace spreading. However, the battle had been won. The slain trolls would have their heads posted, and hunters would be sent after the two escapees.
In the north, the Firetree tribe had begun raiding random settlements closest to the Zul'Aman border. Surely enough, scouts reported the moblization of some of the royal battalions from Silvermoon. As had been commanded, the Firetree avoided direct combat and ensured that it would seem like they were not responsible.
The Benefactors in the south, however, seemed to be sitting idle. Ha'lin saw no sign of their impending action. Communicating with Nuvazgal, one chance arose.
One of the royal battalions marching south had broken off from the main army and had taken a shortcut travelling through the very edge of Zul'Aman, taking them near the Mosstusks. Nuvazgal realised that with the Firetree in the north, he could do what Ha'lin did, and trap these elves.
Or he could let them pass, but since the Benefactors were not fighting, the Sunstrider army might instead end up reaching Ha'lin...
Jin'thek, Exhel and Lethon flew further northeast, until finally the green landscape gave way before another stretch of mountain range. Nestled beneath the shadows of these mountains, and entwined between the peaks, seemed to be an impressive collection of stonework and temples.
Lethon steered clear from the city that was surely Jintha'alor, and chose to make a subtle approach instead. He landed Jin'thek and Exhel in a glade behind Jintha'alor, undisturbed. "I don't think we've been spotted. We have the advantage of surprise." Lethon explained, as the two trolls dismounted. This pleased Exhel, as he was a master of stealth himself. "Aye, mon. We can be in an' out with Ba'jal's head before da' next sunset."
Jin'thek watched as Lethon transformed into his human shape, which would be easier to smuggle into the city. "Can ya fit in a little more, mon?" Jin'thek asked. Lethon grumbled, and changed his shape into that of a forest troll.
The three of them set off for Jintha'alor. With any luck, they would even be able to fit in for a bit if necessary.
The walls of the city had been damaged and were broken down at places, so it was easy to sneak into the streets. This high into the mountains the city was rather empty, and shacks and huts lay in disuse, creaking with the wind. Further below, however, smoke and light from cooking fires broke through the evening. In the distance, it was possible to see the peak of one of the main temples, rising above the rest. "We need to get there." Lethon announced.
Jin'thek was not yet convinced. They had to find Ba'jal; and where would Ba'jal be? In the temple? Or had the Prophet lied?
They had to reach a destination; but how? They might be recognized if they simply walked up; and yet stealth could easily fail in a crowded trollish city. Jin'thek strained his mind.
Having discovered that their target had been a decoy illusion, Myrokos and the company felt rather embarassed. Shouldering the blame, Myrokos Silentform chose to conveniently forget the incident and continue leading his party to find the mysterious Blo-.. 'BJ'.
Jintha'alor, by all sources, was a monstrous labyrinth of a city, packed with vicious forest trolls all of which worshipped a giant spider goddess who even had an avatar to directly guide her people.
It was not a sexy prospect, nor an appealing one.
Eventually, the company sent a lookout into the trees while they set camp to take a rest. The lookout called down. "I can see Jintha'alor!"
"Shut up, or you'll get us killed!" Myrokos hissed.
The man climbed down and saluted. "The city sprawls into the mountains from the plains. Looks like a tough nut to crack if we want to get in unnoticed, but nothing we haven't done before, right?"
"Right." Myrokos struggled. His mind raced to tackle the issue of how to find a 'BJ', what a 'BJ' was and how to evade a trollish army while searching.
A couple of days later, Thomassy finally returned to Lordaeron City at long last. Tailing behind him were the Kirin Mora; or rather, the survivors of that rebellion. There were no more than fifty magi left, under the command of the brave and bold Grigori Dosantos.
Escorting them were Witch Hunters, approved by King Alford and dispatched by Melrache.
The Kirin Mora entered the city gates, escorted by royal guards and passing through crowds which flocked to witness the event. In truth, the city folk did not really recognize the Kirin Mora, or likely could not guess the true nature of the delegation; what they did note, however, was the Eye of Dalaran emblazoned on the robes of the strangers.
Captain of the Royal Guard, Friedrik de Mon, opened the palace with his own hands and escorted Grigori Dosantos and Thomassy into the throne room, where they submitted themselves before King Alford Menethil.
"Welcome home." Alford said as Thomassy rose. It was good to see his court wizard again.
[OOC: I'll write the next Fenris update once Kerrah pitches in.]