Here is a page from the emptiest stage. A cage or the heaviest cross ever made. A gauge of the deadliest trap ever laid… And I thank you for bringing me here; For showing me home, For singing these tears, Finally I've found that I belong here….
2003-12-31 13:06:30 - Furor Planedefiler
Victor always had an uneasy feeling when handling Ulthruvilikh. Sometimes the blade would allow Victor to carry it to Lord Crowley without much incident, other times it would not even allow Victor to remove it from its pedestal. For the first time, since Lord Crowley had introduced Victor to Ulthruvilikh, the sword remained silent and motionless in Victor’s hands. If a weapon could have feeling, thought Victor, this one would be in a state of depression.
Very little was known to Victor about Ulthruvilikh. The sword itself was unique to this world. The hilt of the weapon was forged out of a mithril alloy, made to look like the upper arms and hands of what Victor could only assume belonged to an Angel. The upper portion of the arms made up the pommel of the hilt while the delicate, angelic hands split off to form the quillons. When one looked upon the weapon it was as if the hands were presenting the blade, holding it up for all to admire.
As far as Victor could tell, the blade of Ulthruvilikh was not made of any type of metal that he had ever seen. Lord Crowley once told him that the blade was forged from an indestructible gem of unknown origin, possibly obtained from within the fiery depths of Blackrock Spire. The crystalline blade jutted out from the hilt in an almost cylindrical fashion. The surface had sharp indentations and serrations, as if someone had delicately chiseled a piece of solid glass to be both blunt and razor sharp at the same time. Within those razor sharp serrations were carved ancient runes, the language of which had long since been forgotten by the people of Azeroth.
During combat, Ulthruvilikh would sing; the blade humming through the air and striking at its enemies in a cold and unforgiving manner. It was at its most glorious and awe inspiring when facing the Undead. Intense flashes of light would seep out through the serrated indentations of the blade as it cut through undeath without mercy. It was on the battlefield, then, many thousands of years ago, that Ulthruvilikh became known as the Hand of Light.
Lord Crowley was visibly upset when Victor finally reached the stables.
“Where have you been, boy?” shouted Leonus. “I’ve been waiting for you and Ulthruvilikh for hours.”
Explanation of the trepidation Victor had in regards to Ulthruvilikh would be useless at this point, Lord Crowley had heard them all before and Victor could tell that he was in no mood to argue.
Lord Crowley uttered a few words in an ancient tongue and the sword propelled itself from Victor and into the waiting grasp of the Lord Protector.
“Are you prepared for the journey, Victor?” asked Leonus.
“Very well, pay attention boy. We will be making our journey half a day east towards the Elwynn Forest, where we will then meet up with Themesz, an old and trusted Magi of the Alliance – and dear friend to my father and our family,” said Leonus.
“And Victor… we will be traveling by way of portal - once Themesz has completed his preparations…” continued Leonus.
Victor nodded, futilely trying to swallow the lump that had made a sudden and unwelcome appearance in his throat. Victor had always shied away from most forms of unsanctified magic and magical travel was no exception.
“Sire…. May I humbly ask where we will be traveling to once we have reached Lord Themesz?” Victor could barely hold together the string of words that had just left his mouth.
“Darnassus… Naturally,” exclaimed Leonus. And with no further explanation from the Paladin, the two rode out towards the Elwynn Forest.
The ride through the Elwynn Forest was a peaceful one, passing without incident. The Alliance had a secure lock along the roads and thoroughfares in mid Azeroth and thus most travel along its guarded roads were safe for the myriad traders and adventurers that passed through the lands.
Leonus and Victor were steadily approaching the hovel of the Gnome, Themesz, and would soon be on their way to the island city of the Night Elves, Darnassus.
“There!” pointed Leonus.
In the distance they could see a small hut, neatly maintained by the various living cantrips of the Magi.
They could see the ancient Gnome standing outside, his long unfurled beard blowing in the light breeze. He had anxiously been awaiting his friends’ arrival and from the looks of things in the yard, ready to get to work.
After initial greetings were exchanged, Themesz took Leonus and Victor inside the small hovel to rest from their journey. The ritual for conjuration and teleportation was taxing and such a long teleportation would drain strength and endurance from the travelers.
“I’m sorry about Ardan,” whispered Themesz. “I think we all knew that sooner or later, he would be captured – but to be brutalized in such a manner… Vengea… er justice shall be meted out old friend…” Themesz nodded.
“Once we reach Darnassus, we will meet with Roenic and discuss our battle plans,” stated Leonus. “Will the portal be ready by morning, Themesz?”
Themesz nodded with assurance.
As promised, at sun up of the following day, Themesz had begun the ritual conjuration of the portal that would take the adventurers to Darnassus. A dark maelstrom was beginning to take form at the clearing by the Magi’s hovel. The Gnome had called forth the power of the elements to tear open a gateway to the other side of the world and was now focusing intensely on the gateway, waiting for the portal to stabilize so that the party could safely venture forth to the home of the Night Elves.
“NOW!” he yelled, as both Victor and Leonus leapt through the portal, and finally, Themesz himself, breaking his concentration long enough to make a dive for the faltering gateway.
Within seconds the party found themselves outside the Elven city of Darnassus.
“Check that your body parts are all intact,” Themesz said, now grinning mischievously.
Leonus let loose a hearty laugh as Victor began to pat himself down.
“Relax boy, it’s all there, even those pointy little ears that you inherited from your Great Grandfather…” quipped Leonus.
Victor sighed in relief and then proceeded to vomit in a nearby bush.
A great guffaw could be heard coming from the direction of a squirrel that was watching the event unfold from the fringe of the clearing. The animal made its way towards Leonus and Themesz and began to grow in size, shifting its body, transforming into the towering Night Elf, Roenic.
“BROTHER!” called Roenic, motioning towards Leonus.
Roenic put his hand on Leonus’ shoulder and gave his condolences in the native tongue of the Night Elf.
“It has been too long,” said Leonus, “Yet the hands of time have done nothing to your appearance. It must be that filthy Elven blood keeping you young,” they both laughed out loud. Leonus himself was a half breed, descendant to the ancient High Elves of Quel'Thalas (though this was only known to a select group of people).
Roenic greeted both Themesz and Victor, stopping to hand Victor an herbal remedy for portal sickness.
“Just swallow the flower bud whole, lad,” said Roenic, “It’ll clear you up, right as rain!”
“Let us get to camp; the forests of Teldrassil can be unforgiving come the darkness…” stated Roenic.
The four adventurers made their way to the beach campsite which had been prepared by Roenic - the shores of Teldrassil were radiant. At its southern most point, on a clear day; the continent of Kalimdor could be seen off the horizon.
The sun had now set across Teldrassil and nighttime had taken over the campsite. All was quiet as the sounds of the crumbling waves of the ocean and flickering flame of the camp fire occupied the minds of the party.
One could watch the sea mist float up from the foamy wash of the waves in this beautiful world and forget about all of their troubles. Had it been any other day, these four men could have been mistaken for a gathering of friends, enjoying a peaceful evening on the shores of Teldrassil. Tonight, however, there was tension in the air. Something would soon break the air of tranquility and their objective would be made clear.
Leonus stood up and walked past the camp fire. He grasped the hilt of Ulthruvilikh and unsheathed the holy blade. Victor, Themesz and Roenic all stood at attention.
“Stand back… be silent,” said Roenic.
Leonus brought the blade out and held it tightly in his right hand, facing the endless ocean that lay before him. He began to utter some words in the forgotten tongue of his ancestors and then released the blade from his grasp.
Ulthruvilikh stood upright, hovering in mid-air. It began to rotate on its axis and then slowly, it began to arc in a perfect circle. At first, the blades arc and movement was slow. Gradually, it began to gain speed and flashes of light began to emanate from its myriad cracks and serrations. Faster and faster the blade spun until all that could be seen was a blade arc in front of the party. Leonus stood his ground, his right arm held out straight, as if commanding the blade. The flashes of light began to take on some order. The hues changed and shifted. Every color of the spectrum emanated from its being. Victor and Themesz could hardly believe their eyes. Slowly, pictures started to take shape in the blur which was the sword’s arc. The light patterns were forming images as the blade continued to arc and spin upon its axis.
“What is this we are seeing? What is happening?” asked Victor.
Roenic knelt down by the boy and explained the legacy of the Blades of Light.
“The Blades of Light were all created out of the same gem formation from within the depths of Black Rock Spire,” he explained. “Your uncle, Ardan, had the shards that had been forged from the main blade – those were named the Blades of Light. The runes you see upon the blade are in an ancient High Elven dialect, and they read: “Atoned is he that finds redemption through the Blades of Light.” Suddenly things began to fall into place for Victor. He understood why Ardan left the notes upon his victims.
Roenic continued speaking, “For decades, this was the only way for your father and his brother to communicate. To call forth the power of the blades to bond, the image of each was created and they could freely converse, without ever being seen together.”
“But…. Ardan… is dead,’ stated Victor solemnly.
Roenic nodded, “Aye... what we are about to see is an artifact in the memory of the blades. It will detail what happened to Ardan and reveal his assassin and we hope the reasoning behind this mad man’s murderous ways.”
Their attention was once again focused towards Ulthruvilikh. The blade was now in full motion - moving at blinding speed. The first images began to take form. It was Ardan, in the midst of an army of Orc and Forsaken alike. Thirty of the beasts attacked him, a feeling of awe overtook the party as they watched this man, solo… alone… put up the most valiant and ferocious battle to have taken place in millennia. The Blades of Light flashed, blinding the Orc and Undead, many dropped before the Master Assassin. Soon the sea of the retch parted and a man of grossly exaggerated form stood before Ardan. This must have been Drakowen… but... he had changed. He was now a hulking figure, his upper body was bare and marked with scars and tattoos alike. Drakowen uttered an incantation and Ardan was knocked to the ground – incapacitated. The Orc and Forsaken minions of Drakowen then disarmed Ardan and tied him to posts that had been placed in the cracked earth.
Drakowen stood above the fallen Ardan, an evil smirch across his now malformed face.
“STOP!” shouted Themesz.
With his left hand Leonus commanded the blade to hold the image that Themesz had wanted to examine.
Before them in the blade arc stood the High Priest Shar Drakowen. Victor immediately took notice of something, interrupting Themesz as he was about to speak.
“Look at his arm, Lord Crowley…” said Victor.
“He has the insignia… but… his insignia is different. It is complete,” said Victor.
The party looked upon the right arm of Drakowen and upon the marking of the inverted ‘D’ mirrored to the ‘R’ read the words ‘Dismal Rage.’ They had been wrong in their assumption. His markings on the dead were not done out of vanity. This ‘Dismal Rage,’ had further meaning. Something that none present understood.
Themesz cleared his throat loudly this time. “Leonus take this image back... reverse it and stop at the point the High Priest parted his minions.”
Leonus again motioned with his left hand, reversing the image to the point requested by Themesz.
They all stood, unaware of what Themesz could see.
Themesz had now turned a shade of white as he pointed to the image.
“Look there… in the upper left corner, towards the sky,” he stammered… “Do you not see it?”
The party did not understand what Themesz was looking at or pointing to…
Themesz was now visibly frustrated. “IT IS A TEAR!” he shouted. “Drakowen has managed to open a tear into the Twisted Nether. Something comes… Someone comes… ALL of this: This bloodshed, the murders, and this abomination of a brotherhood Drakowen has formed with these horde outcasts – they are in preparation for whatever evil comes from the Nether.”
“Your brother stumbled upon something he should not have seen, and because of this, these savages took his life…” said Themesz.
Leonus had seen enough. He could not bear another minute of watching his own blood being spilled, the torture and inhumanity displayed towards his brother enraged him – vengeance had now taken hold of his heart.
Leonus called forth to Ulthruvilikh. The blade stopped its motions and returned to its master’s hand.
Victor once again spoke, “Lord Crowley, how will we find the High Priest?”
Leonus did not answer, but instead remained stoic. He once again held the blade up towards the ocean.
“ULTHRUVILIKH!!” His words came with force and command… “LIGHT MY WAY.”
From the blade a blinding purple light exploded. It emitted a beam that shot across the ocean to Kalimdor, off the west coast.
“And so our destination is known,” whispered Leonus, exhausted from all he had seen and done.
Roenic wiped his tear-stained face. This scourge must be stopped, he thought to himself. The Night Elf began to shift form. His outstretched arms formed beautiful ebony wings, his torso shrank, forming an avian chest. His face and legs took final shape. Roenic was now in form of a mighty hawk.
“In my pack is a map, I have marked it as to our next meeting place,” said Roenic. “I will now fly to Thunder Bluff. Do not worry about me, friends, I am protected…”
“When next we meet, the great Tauren Hunter, Halfaz will be among our ranks. Do not fear… He would give his life to save our world. He is my brother in nature.”
And with that the Roenic’s mighty wings lifted him off of the shores of Teldrassil and took him beyond the darkness of the ocean, towards Kalimdor.
When a fan of the fantasy genre envisions the Mage, they envision a single being able to manipulate magical and elemental energies to form spells of massive destructive power. The Mage in World of Warcraft is this being and more… Everquest players will most likely relate the World of Warcraft Mage to the Wizard of Everquest with a touch of Everquest Magician.
The World of Warcraft Mage has a line of spells to manipulate Frost and Flame, as well as the added ability and utility of conjuration. Unlike the Warlock, the Mage cannot summon pets or servants to do their bidding in battle. The Mage relies on their ability to decimate the ranks of the opposing force through direct damage and area effect spells along with special lines of spells that hinder their opponent’s movement and attack speed.
Among the Mage’s arsenal of utility spells is a veritable cornucopia of magic. One of the more important of the Mage’s utility spells is Food and Water conjuration. Unlike other games in the genre, Food and Water are integral to a World of Warcraft player’s health and mind rejuvenation. This ability alone will make having a Mage around extremely convenient and beneficial to an adventuring party.
Other spells in the utility line of the Mage’s spellbook include a spell called Khadgar’s Unlocking, which will find much use in opening the myriad locked chests and doors in the World of Warcraft. Reducing falling damage via a cast of Feather Fall is also among the utility spellbook of the Mage. Naturally, the World of Warcraft Mage has a form of self-only Invisibility, allowing them to be cloaked from the vision/sight of both friend and foe alike. The Mage also has a special Armor line of spells called Frost Armor, which acts as both an enhancement to the Mage’s Armor Class as well as a Damage Shield for any that may strike at the Mage with melee. The tertiary effect on the Frost Armor line is to actually slow the attack speed of the aggressor.
Lastly of note in the utility lineup of the Mage spellbook are their Portals. Mages receive the ability to port or ‘gate’ themselves to the various cities in the World of Warcraft and at later levels, through some ritual conjurations, allow the more powerful of the Mage caste to open portals to the cities of Warcraft for entire groups.
The Power to Crush Thine Enemies (Damage/Nukes)
Uncontested in the World of Warcraft is the ability of the Mage to damage their opponents through the use of direct damage (nukes) and area of effect spells (AE). Unfortunately, I was only allowed a taste of what the Mage of Warcraft brings to the table, but I am happy to share what information I have with the readers of this update.
To list just a few, the World of Warcraft Mage has the means to cast the following spells:
Frost Bolt: A high damage nuke that also slows the movement rate of the opponent (snare).
Fireball: A high damage, very long range fire based nuke.
Arcane Missiles: I call this the Machine Gun of Doom. The Mage channels Arcane Missile for five seconds, each second that passes fires off another missile at the enemy (or multiple enemies)..
Frost Nova: One of myriad Mage AE spells. Frost Nova is a Point Blank Area of Effect spell that radiates outward from the Mage, causing low damage but freezing in place all in its destructive path. Said to be a useful escape tool, among other things.
Blizzard: A standard high damage area of effect spell that damages multiple enemies within range of the Mage.
An additional note about the Mage: Still undergoing testing and development is the Mage’s ability to cast various forms of Illusions. Note, this MAY not make it into Final, but it sure would be nice ;)
Asking a Druid in the World of Warcraft for a port will more than likely get one maimed; likewise for those that wish for a cast of ye olde’ Spirit of Wolf. Expect former Everquest Druids turned World of Warcraft Druids to shapeshift into a Bear and maul you to death for such insolence. Just remember this, you have been warned.
The Druid of World of Warcraft was designed as a ‘Jack of All Trades’ type of character – yet master of none. Key abilities of the Druid include the ability to Shapeshift into various animal forms, some formidable in their own right, others as innocuous critters and beasties, best used for scouting and possibly ambush of the enemy. Along with the power of the Druid to Shapeshift comes a full spellbook. At its core, the druid is a powerful healer (when not in animal form).
Currently the Druid has the ability to Shapeshift into two forms: Bear and Cat.
As a Bear, the Druid becomes a Warrior. While not having anywhere near the abilities of a pure Warrior, the Druid in Bearform is granted a Rage bar and some of the key abilities available to the pure Warrior. It has to be noted that while in this form, the Druid cannot cast spells. Do not be fooled, however, into thinking a Shapeshifted Druid in Bear form will not make a formidable tank. With the loss of their spellcasting power, they make tangible gains in the ability to take and dish out some damage.
As a Cat, the Druid takes on the abilities of the Rogue. Key to these abilities is the ability to Stealth and Scout. Some of the damage dealing capabilities of the Rogue may also be granted to the Druid in Cat form.
When the Druid is not in the form of an animal, they gain the ability to cast spells. A Druid makes for a powerful healer and has the ability to also dish out some damage via nukes. Also granted to the Druid in Druid form is the ability to cast an outdoor Root (Tangling Roots), to stop their enemy in their tracks, immobilizing them outright. Again, the drawback to being a Jack-of-All-Trades is that the Druid gives up many of the instant cast heals and more powerful Area of Effect Heals the Priest class has available for use.
The name of the game for the World of Warcraft Druid is versatility. This versatility will guarantee a spot for the Druid in any adventuring party.
Note: While only two of the Druid’s Shapeshifting classes have been listed in this update, I was ASSURED that there will definitely be more forms that the Druid will be able to take later in their life. Some of these forms may augment the Druid’s ability to swim and others may be used in PvP warfare *GRIN*.
Additional Notes: "The Druid in caster form will be balanced to compete with the healing capabilities of the Priest. While he will not have the same versatility in healing, his raw healing output will be similar. Groups ideally will be equally happy having either a Priest or Druid in the group for healing." (R. Pardo)