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 Exposition Overload

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Draegon Eledor


Number of posts : 12
Age : 37
Registration date : 2007-05-01

PostSubject: Exposition Overload   Fri 28 Dec - 19:32:10

Defius Menace and Exposition Overload

We continued to work our way west towards the county of Westfall, ignoring the dead distractions of Duskwood. Westfall was a land of open prairies with large farmsteads set in the yellow plains. The land was not at peace however: The Defius plagued the area that had once been the breadbasket of this part of the world. Her mines – coal, iron and gold had fallen into disuse and were said to provide the bases for the skulking rebels who struck by all official accounts, randomly, viciously and without mercy.

Merlocks raided the western coast, law was a scant resource and not to be found at all in the southern lands that were dominated by the terrorists who wore distinctive red neckerchiefs pulled up to mask their identities. A new fortress was being built in the heart of the province at Sentinel Hill, but the conflict had dragged on for years with no sign of resolution. Farms burned, there were massacres in remote areas, assassinations of authority figures, the whole area was an ungovernable mess despite (as we would later discover) the fact that the prison had been filled with suspects by a paranoid leadership.

We had heard reports that the Defius was a largely horde group, possibly under their direct control, yet it was also said to have a human leader. We wondered about the truth of the official stories that we’d heard: How could a group survive so long without popular support? Perhaps stories of atrocities were simple propaganda and there were genuine grievances at the heart of the Defius movement.

In any case, our mission of infiltration might establish the truth of the matter. We had learned that the Defius had seemingly emerged after the completion of the city of Stormwind in nearby Elwynn Forest, perhaps there was a link here with discontented newly unemployed masses of workers starting the rebellion? It seemed to us that the Dead Mines in the southern Dagger Hills were the likeliest place for locating the core of the Defius movement.

The strength of the Defius became quickly apparent as we encountered a checkpoint on the road soon after leaving Duskwood. The sentinels outside wore alliance insignia, but this proved on investigation to be a trap for the unwary. Puderillo, scouting ahead listened in at an open window where red neckerchiefed occupants were deep in conversation. The conversation we overheard was possibly significant, possibly not: A messenger was instructed to take messages to the Red Ridge mountains at the behest of one Van Cleef. The messenger proved to be a shape changing Night elf whom we quickly lost when we attempted to follow him.

We had an unhelpful conversation with the guards at the outpost who proved unfriendly and uncooperative. They asked us for the doctrine of the Defius which of course we were unable to give and we retreated ignominiously. They didn’t attack us though which reinforced our impression that perhaps this was a story with two sides.

We struck across country to head North West towards Sentinel Hill, there to gather more information and we found a deserted ranch where we took shelter, fuelling our fire with the remains of goblin constructed agricultural machinery. Plainsweaver took a number of strange crystals from the carcasses of several such machines, though to what purpose I could not guess.

Reaching Sentinel Hill we witnessed large numbers of gnome workers* building extensive new fortifications to add to the existing tower and prison complex. Local guards, no doubt under the command of Captain White Main of whom we had heard** challenged us and I persuaded him that our Horde companions were harmless servants. Our association with the legendary Nessingwary helped smooth our path and we went on to conduct some research in the traditional tavern encounter session.

*A distressing site, after all, no one likes too much gnomework.
**Well now for his brothers Spanish and Water and his sister Flowing.

It was established that the gnomes were not slaves but an eager, well paid workforce under instructions to work very rapidly. Reports of the rebels painted a contradictory and confusing picture that did little to improve our intelligence on them. There was a report that a lighthouse keeper had recently been found hanged and the situation was generally tense with martial law in force.

We decided to strike off south west to Moonbrook on the edge of the Dagger Hills which we suspected as the centre of Defius influence. We passed Stendal’s Pond before eventually approaching our objective. Whilst we had seen dust devils on the approach to Sentinel Hill, we were greeted by the sight of full blown elementals of all kinds at large in the somewhat run down township that we could see. There were clearly many masters of elemental magic amongst the town’s citizenry and we could also see scores of heavily armed Defius troops.

The obvious strength of the opposition gave us significant pause for thought and as we hesitated five guards with large dogs came upon us and demanded to know who we were. We were unable to answer when asked what the Defius doctrine was, but slightly rallied by correctly answering a riddle concerning what was badly affected by cogs flying off, a machine being the answer.*

*Sounds easy right? Lucky I answered it though, others were going to go with army or some such.

We also noticed for the first time that members of the Defius had a cog branded onto their palms. We were invited to make ourselves scarce and did so retreating back to Stendal’s Pond where we stumbled upon a set of diaries which I was able to translate. The late Mr Stendal it seemed was an artisan engineer of some sort who had helped in building the city of Stormwind but then had become involved with the Defius movement before falling foul of them and its leader Van Cleef. This had almost certainly resulted in Mr Stendal’s untimely and premature demise at the hands of his former colleagues.

We returned eastwards with the intention of raiding the checkpoint we had encountered days before. We hoped to obtain some red neckerchief disguises but the checkpoint and indeed all evidence of its ever having existed was gone. So back to Sentinel Hill where we met a man called Daniel who offered to guide us to the Red Ridge Mountains where he assured us, we would find answers helpful to our quest. Knowing no better we travelled eastwards through the Elwynn Forest to the town of Lakeshire.

On arrival here we had another uncomfortable interrogation from a guard who was less friendly, especially after my ‘these Horde scum are completely in my power’ speech. Apparently some local black wizard from the Tower of Ilegor was controlling local orcs for nefarious purposes and wizardry related mind control was not the most popular skill to be claiming as an ability. Typical mundane attitude and quite unreasonable, it’s not like we wizards just go around charming people to get our way is it? So what could I do? I magically deprived him of his will of course.

He also seemed convinced that we were possibly linked to an outbreak of dragon attacks recently and in general proved annoyingly resistant to my entirely beneficial and benign mind control. I could barely convince him that these were not the droids he was looking for, let alone anything else. After much awkwardness and confusion* we entered town.

*He seemed to develop a maths related problem as he couldn’t count us correctly, insisting we were a party of eight rather than seven. Good job he wasn’t considering a career as a Maitre D. Definitely not a side effect of my control as that never harms anyone.

Daniel took us to the first floor of the local hostelry and there in a secret room, we met an aging founder member of the Defius brotherhood. Shaky Jake* who greeted us as potential bodyguards recruited by Daniel. Apparently Jake was a major target for Defius retribution, much like his old friend the long dead diarist Stendal.

* We neglected to ask if he had at any time possessed and extra leg. If he had its loss could have resulted in his ensuing shakiness, however it seemed more likely that this was due to his extreme antiquity; had he been an item of furniture or a vase he would surely have been priceless

Jake explained that the Defius brotherhood had been formed after the royalty that commissioned Stormwind decided that the stories about royalty not carrying money should be made more credible by them not paying the guild of engineers for their considerable work over the years of construction. This upset them and their leader Van Cleef considerably.

The Defius had formed based on the doctrine that only by everyone working together can success be achieved with every tiny piece as vital s the next, as without every cog working in harmony the whole cannot operate. Van Cleef, possibly stung by criticism for his performance as Chris in a Magnificent Seven sequel and unable to improve with his bit part in Escape from New York, had gone off the rails, driven by his acquisition of a device that had granted him immortality and he had taken the Defius down a route that delivered extreme violence and operated more like an underworld criminal organisation recruiting from the dregs of society.

They had cleared out the Dead Mines, once a rich source of gold and there constructed a huge underground cavern accessed either through the old mining tunnels or from a secret tunnel leading offshore to the Westfall lighthouse. In the cavern they hid their great airship, though Jake could give no current information on the Defius structure, leadership or strength, having been on the run for a decade or more after the great schism had divided the Defius between the non violent hippy faction* and the cold blooded murderer faction.

*Who inexplicably now seem to have almost completely disappeared following a series of tragic murders. Their most militant act, a series of bring and buy sales designed to bring down the government did have almost no effect however.

At this point we were interrupted by screams from below and the guard we had only recently had such an interesting conversation with arrived, once more getting his numbers wrong. However, it quickly emerged that some kind of interdimensional portal was accompanying us and we had unwittingly led the Defius straight to their target. Plainsweaver wrestled with forces that were beyond all our understanding and we fled the building.

After a few moments and a final cry of defiance from Jake, silence fell, and re entering we found everyone who had remained behind transformed to obsidian. Jake had indicated his satisfaction that he had explained everything to us and had seemed quite accepting of his fate, we determined that we needed to return to the Dagger Hills, and selected the lighthouse as our preferred access method.

On the road again we made for Gerard’s Landing*, there to take ship and arriving quayside were just in time to find a large squad of Defius troops about to seize a boat. We charged to attack and after a brief engagement killed them all. I used my wand of frost, arcane missiles and even had to resort to my staff a couple of times.

*Near Gerard’s Cross

I was slightly wounded despite becoming invisible for part of the engagement. Plainsweaver did good work our new human hung back shooting and the orc was her usual effective self. The Night elf was in a bit of trouble at times and clearly is a little frail for this sort of work

Unfortunately we failed to save the ship’s captain and his two sons who were targeted by Van Cleef’s men according to the orders we found on their captain’s body. We did recover some money and neckerchiefs and noted the subtle difference between the captain’s neckerchief and others. We also recovered a brand used for applying the cog mark to the palm, though interestingly the captain bore a tattoo instead of the usual brand.

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