Sheigh didn’t leave the room for this break. The short exchange he had with Ranger-General Brightwing was intriguing, and he attempted to contact him for more information. The general was deep in council with a few of his commanders, though, and Sheigh could not approach before the nobles began to return to the room.
The crowd had somehow grown. There were more lower lords, lesser magistrates, members of the Temple and Mage’s college. More blood knights were present, as were more Rangers. Word of his interrogation had spread, apparently.
Halduron Brightwing was the next to approach him. “Milord, I will keep this short, given the late hour. Militarily, you are well represented by your actions for the Sha’tari Skyguard, the Argent Crusade, and many others. My questions regard the motivation behind the particular groups you associate with.”
Sheigh nodded his understanding, encouraging the general to continue.
Brightwing cleared his throat. “Your actions, both military and civil, are public record up until the time of your exile. At that point, you joined several organizations, some not altogether reputable. Could you please enlighten us to why you did this, and what particular organizations?”
Sheigh breathed a sigh of relief. This particular line of questioning could have been quite hostile and uncomfortable, and he was glad General Brightwing had chosen to let him tell his story rather than interrogate him. Of course, some of the higher nobles were familiar with the truth from the hearings to end his exile, but there was still much gossip abounding.
He turned to face the crowd, gathering his thoughts before he began. “Shortly after my exile, I was approached by several irreputable organizations, several of them appearing to be seditious in nature. I chose a large and well-organized group which referred to themselves only as ‘Deviant’ and, using contacts with a former member of the Tuar’annwn, was able to gain entrance to the group. While they claimed to be working for the best interests of the Horde, their actions in the Serpentshrine Cavern and the lair of the demon Magtheridon made me begin researching the group more thoroughly. Many were wanted criminals, many more were engaged in criminal activity.”
“So you knew you were in a den of thieves, but remained?”
“Indeed I did. After contacting various intelligence services, I was able to speak with an unnamed Kor’kron commander about my findings. This led to several arrests of key leadership, which caused the group to collapse.”
Another noble stood. “Who was this commander, Lord Llyrandor?”
Sheigh bowed slightly. “That information is currently classified, milady. So too are the names of the members arrested. You would need to contact the Kor’kron Guard to learn more.” He turned to see if there were more questions before continuing. “I was able to exfiltrate the group during its collapse. At that time I was believed to be nothing more than an expatriate who wished to subvert the government in Silvermoon, so I continued to search for other groups like Deviant.”
“Let the record show that Lord Llyrandor’s loyalty to the crown has gone unquestioned,” General Brightwing added.
Several nobles cried out in anger or excitement. “Then why was he exiled?” one voice called out. “This is a man who desired the crown, left his kingdom, and associated with terrorists and subversives!”
A heavy staff beat against the council chambers floor, demanding attention. The crowd turned to see Grand Magister Rommarth step forward. “These matters are not for debate. Lord Llyrandor’s innocence was proven and his exile justly reversed. So says the courts, so must this council recognize.”
Sheigh bowed deeply, not surprised that others still distrusted him, but very surprised that it was Rommarth and Brightwing jumping to his defense. He waited for the crowd to die down before continuing.
“At that time I was contacted by Project Mayhem, a group you have perhaps heard of.” Many nodded – the name was known as a shadowy organization who carried out seemingly meaningless terrorist attacks such as burning empty buildings, freeing herds of kodos, and graffiti attacks. Publicly, the project involved the defeat of the elves who had followed Prince Kael’thas down his road to madness supporting the demon prince Illidan. “I joined immediately, eager to see if I could find out anything to repeat the successes I made against Deviant.
“The public face of Project Mayhem is very strong and very positive. We fought valiantly on several fronts, including at Tempest Keep, Serpentshrine Cavern, in Zul’Aman, Quel’Danas, even the Black Temple. While we did not defeat Illidan, we acted to keep supply routes open while the Iron Dragon legion and the Wrath of the Righteous brigade cleared the upper reaches of the temple.”
He cleared his throat. “I continued to delve deeper, looking for information about corruption, subversion, or anything underhanded. Unfortunately, other members of Deviant joined with me, and some began to suspect me. After the deaths of Zul’jin and Prince Kael’thas, that suspicion grew within the organization. My position was compromised and I was forced to leave the organization.”
“Without any useful data?”
He shook his head no. “If the group is involved in illegal activities, I was not privy to them.”
“What happened after that? You were still in exile, correct?”
He nodded. “Correct, even after the deaths of Prince Kael’thas and the demon prince Illidan, I was still considered suspect. I chose to openly pursue opportunities to show my loyalty, and with the increase of my powers as a battle mage, I seeked and gained acceptance into the Iron Dragon legion.”
“And how did you gain entrance to such an esteemed and prestigious organization, given the stain of exile upon your honor?”
Sheigh smiled. “I had strong contacts within the Legion. Its founders included Rhamnousia, a powerful mage who was an acquaintence of mine. He had originally commanded the Myrmidon legion and when it disbanded, he requested services and land from my House. At the time, Onyxspear was serving my house and she took upon herself the task of organizing such a large merger of forces into my own.” There were many gasps – the petite elf operative known only as “Onyxspear” was famous, infamous really, for her abilities as a thief and assassin. “That effort ultimately failed. I was not aware of the size of the Myrmidon legion and we were unable to accommodate them all. Several of Rhamnousia’s senior leadership went on to found the Iron Dragon legion, and Onyxspear eventually followed them. Between Rhamnousia, Onyxspear, and the commander of the legion Grimmric, I was able to gain entry.”
“And you served with the Legion in Northrend?”
“Yes milord General, up to the end of my exile. I fought with them during the destruction of Naxxramas and also during the clearing of Ulduar. While I was present for the death of Yogg-Saron, I had been badly wounded fighting his commander, General Vezax. I was unable to continue my duties as a front-line battlemage at that point, so I left the Legion.”
“Why did you not recuperate and then rejoin them?”
“At the time, milord, I had completed the terms of my exile and was eager to prove my innocence and end my expatriation.”
Brightwing nodded. “At that time, Lord Llyrandor, you were one of the most powerful and experienced battlemages in the service of the Horde. Why, then, did you join a group like the . . . Outsiders, was it?”
Sheigh smiled. “Yes milord General, the Outsiders. I was still eager for action against the Lich King, and we all knew that a battle would eventually be fought at Icecrown Citadel. The Iron Dragon legion had helped to safeguard the construction of the castle and lists at the Argent Tourney grounds, and Lord Tirion Fordring had announced the Trial of the Crusader immediately after the destruction of Yogg-Saron.
“While I was recovering and taking care of matters concerning my exile, I was approached by old friends who had joined the Outsiders after leaving my employ. Mostly these were Tauren friends and members of the Tauren Roaming Oak tribe. Their commander, Tyserus von Lichtenstein, was a strong believer in small unit actions and an inspiring commander. After a brief stint acting as a military advisor for House Vermillion, I took a job with the Outsiders. It was there that I completed the Trial of the Crusader, and our mercenary band was hired as part of the assault on Icecrown Citadel.”
“I have heard of this group,” one of the nobles said. Lady Arissyra, he noted, a minor noble whose house served in Dalaran. “My condolences for the death of Captain von Lichtenstein.”
“It will please milady to know that the captain did not die, after all,” Sheigh smiled. “He did fall in battle against the frost wyrm Sindragosa, but we were able to save him and he is slowly recovering from his injuries. Alas, he will probably never lead again, and the Outsiders disbanded before we could attack the Lich King.”
Regent-Lord Lor’themar asked the next question. “So what is this word that you have joined a business, RelicWorks, is it?”
Sheigh nodded. “Yes milord, I have put public support and monies behind this operation. I also spent two months healing from wounds taken in battle against Sindragosa, but I have begun joining this business in their field explorations, seeking relics plundered by the Scourge to be returned to the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor.”
Lor’themar nodded. “It must be rather rewarding work. My reports indicate you have grown fabulously rich over the last year.”
Hmm, a baiting question, Sheigh thought. “Indeed milord, perhaps not fabulously rich, but my business endeavors have been more fruitful this last year than were expected, as your tax collectors have verified.” Aha, this is about money. They want to put the squeeze on me.
Grand Magister Rommarth spoke next. “You have done great things for the defense of Quel’thalas, Lord Llyrandor. Including your actions with this ‘Shattered Sun Offensive’ to liberate the island of Quel’Danas. Reports indicate you donated heavily to both the Shattered Suns and to the Argent Crusade.”
“Indeed, Lord Magister. I spared no expense at the retaking of the Island, nor have I spared any expense in the defeat of the Lich King.”
“Were you present, Magister Llyrandor, when the Sunwell was re-lit?”
He shook his head no. “I was on the island, Lord Magister, but I did not participate in the events surrounding the Avatar of the Sunwell.”
“But you are familiar with them.” Rommarth stroked his beard in thought. “Magister, you were once rather outspoken in your negative opinion of the Na’aru and their followers, yet you are considered an exalted champion of the Scyers, the Sha’tari, and this Shattered Sun Offensive. Indeed you are a Champion of the Na’aru, if your titles are anything to go by. Did you change your mind about the Light and the magical beings who seem to represent it?”
There were several concerned murmurs from the priests and blood knights assembled. He answered quickly before the murmurs became shouts. “I no longer question the power of the Light, milord, nor the healing properties of the followers of Cenarius, nor the powers of tribal shamanism. While I am thankful for the rekindling of the Sunwell, my association with the Scryers and with the Shattered Sun Offensive were solely those of an ally fighting the same enemy – the fel influence that was corrupting our people through Prince Kael’thas. Any titles or distinctions they have given me were just that, honors given to me, not asked for. I did what I did for the sovereignty and defense of our lands and our people.”
“So you would turn against the Shattered Sun Offensive, if they threatened the sovereignty of our lands?”
“Yes milord Regent, I would.”
Lor’themar narrowed his eyes. “What if it cost you the opportunity to kill the Lich King?”
“I believe the Lich King is a significant enough threat, milord. The Shattered Suns are not.”
There was a murmur through the council. “The Lich King has been slain, Lord Llyrandor. This Bolvar Fordragon is a new, peaceful Lich King.”
“Then the Scourge must be systematically annihilated while under the control of Highlord Fordragon, milord Regent.”
Lor’themar smiled, leaning back into his seat. “Your sentiments are admirable, Lord Llyrandor, but your duties are to your people now. I believe everyone here has heard your words and supports my decision in your favor.”
Decision for what? his mind raced, but Lor’themar continued before he could speak. “Lord Sheigh Llyrandor, your kingdom needs you. Your people need you. I am assigning you a duty now which you must dedicate your life to, above all other causes. Come with me, Lord Llyrandor, and I will inform you of this new task.”
Lor’themar, Rommarth and Brightwing turned away, indicating Sheigh follow them. The crowd murmured excitedly, but began to disperse. Whatever the decision was, Sheigh was eager to discover the truth. He ignored the crowd and followed quickly, leaving his entourage behind. Do not fear the unknown, he heard a voice whisper in the back of his mind. With new knowledge comes new opportunity.
He smiled at his father’s advice, given on his first day studying magic in Dalaran. You are right, Father. You are right, and hopefully you are proud. Protect me and guide me in whatever this task may be. He passed through a curtained door into a private chamber with the lords of Silvermoon. Whatever came next, he would be prepared.
((Auth: FINALLY done! “Before the Council” was supposed to be a short autobiography of Sheigh as a character, but it kept growing and growing, and more and more ideas kept popping into my head. What was the information Halduron Brightwing had about Mylasande? What ever happened to Sheigh’s dream of capturing Eldre’thalas? What is Sheigh’s new assignment? All cut out of this story, so stay tuned for more answers!)