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Re: Eclipse: Light's Flame

Postby DeclanRavenholdt » April 13th, 2015, 2:00 pm

((Wouldn't miss it. See you there.))
Woldemar Steyer, The Blind Seer

Stepanos DelaCroix
Stepanos DelaCroix
Posts: 33
Joined: June 27th, 2014, 9:10 pm
Stepanos DelaCroix

Re: Eclipse: Light's Flame

Postby Stepanos DelaCroix » April 15th, 2015, 1:37 am

Candles flickered against stone walls, casting dancing shadow figures across cracked grooves in the chalky, gray masonry. Beside the candle, inside the meditation hall of Light's Flame and kneeling atop a white, leather pad, Stepanos prayed.

He gave thanks to the Light for their victory over Shadow. He sought solace for the lost soul Tirion Forewell, blinded by his desire for friendship by seeking it within the heart of Darkness. He prayed that Reverend Smithe would change course, and decide that only Darkness lay down the path he'd chosen. He prayed for his Guardians, his followers and his Alliance.

For redemption. For retribution. For reformation.

He nodded, then thumped his fist to Light on his chest. It was a good prayer.


Later, after receiving bandages for the battered ribs, and bruised back, he found himself at his desk penning a letter. A message of hope and salvation for the Reverend Smithe, with hopes that the man would turn back, and join the Guardians in their own Crusade against Accalia and it's Avatar.

To the most esteemed Reverend Jameson Smithe,

I pray the Light finds you well and safe from the Darkness that calls for you. We beg and plead with you, to turn back from the path you have set yourself upon. Turn back toward the Light, Brother. It is not too late.

All die, Reverend. It is a part of life. A part of living. You know this to be true. We cannot know the manner in which it occurs, nor the time. But we do know it WILL HAPPEN. Death is as much a part of life as living. It cannot, and must not be stopped. We choose Light, so that we may be welcomed home into it's warm and loving embrace by living a Righteous life under it's gaze.

We, as it's Guardians, beseech you to return. We will help you find Redemption, Brother! It awaits you, if only you will choose it.

May the White Light of Righteousness call you forth, and turn you back toward it's glorious path.

Lord Stepanos DelaCroix,
High Commander & Guardian of the Righteous Light


Stepanos patted the ink dry, then blew the drying dust from the parchment before reading the letter once more. Good words. Good and just. He hoped they would work.

"Page!" he called, folding the letter and sealing it inside of an envelope - his stamp embossed in golden wax. "See that this is delivered to the Cathedral of Light in Stormwind. They will know whom to forward it to." The young boy, wearing the livery of the Righteous Light, took the letter with a fist to light salute. He turned, and dashed from the hall.

Stifling a yawn with the back of his hand, Stepanos retired to his bed - satisfied that he'd done the right thing in moving to save the Reverend from certain Darkness. Next up, on the morrow, would be Mister Forewell. They would not be giving up on him, either.

Stepanos DelaCroix
Stepanos DelaCroix
Posts: 33
Joined: June 27th, 2014, 9:10 pm
Stepanos DelaCroix

Re: Eclipse: Light's Flame

Postby Stepanos DelaCroix » April 21st, 2015, 1:02 pm

Two days had passed since Stepanos had sent his letter. Two days, and no word in return. The courier claimed that the Church had no idea where the Reverend had gone, and left it at that. Of course, the Church and the Guardians were at odds with one another, so information flowing from them would be slim to nothing.

The one curious tidbit that had come from their eyes and ears within, claimed that the Reverend's house had been burned to the ground, leaving nothing but ash and soot; including the library that Anton had wanted to inspect. Curious, that. He would send Anton to inspect it in the morning. He reminded himself to write the order.

The night was cool and soft at Light's Flame. Birds twittered in the trees, flittering from tree to tree and singing songs of sleep. Various creatures roamed the grounds, squirrels and rabbits, mainly, nibbling on grass and acorns - bringing the garrison to life - even when it slept. Stepanos smiled.

Standing top the steps leading into the Great Hall, he watched with quiet satisfaction as the Light's favoured went about their night-time chores. Like a bee hive, all working as one - never ending.

Tomorrow, Stepanos would re-forge his blade.

Blacksmithing was a task he never tired of performing, using it to clear his mind and keep his strength and stamina in top condition. His fascination with the forge began in his youth, watching his father change ore into iron, iron into steel, and steel into swords. It was a lesson that guided him, that change is inevitable and that something new can always be created from that which was broken.

His sword was not broken. It was sharp, strong and true: a beacon of Light, and a weapon of Retribution. Yet, like the Order had recently been, it was time for reformation - the blade forged into something stronger, more powerful and able to withstand the coming battle against Accalia.

He took two steps, then stopped. His guild stone, the one used to communicate with his Guardians, buzzed to life - begging to be answered.

"Speak," he said, lifting it to his mouth. Voice activated through Light's gift, it was a handy device to have.

"Do you believe, sir," a soft, elegant feminine voice slowly replied. "That there is room for ALL within the Light? That even those who work with Shadow may do so while serving the Light as well?"

He froze, looking quizzically at the stone. He'd never heard this voice before. Certainly not one of the Guardians. He looked around the grounds, thinking it might be a prank of Brother Hegran's. It was something he might do, especially after the fight on the docks.

All were busy doing their tasks, and Hegran was out on patrol.

I'll bite, he thought, moving from the steps to stand under a large oak tree on the side of the plaza. His thought went to the Shadowfiend they'd fought in Stormwind. Was SHE trying to trick him? Perhaps.

"All who delve in Shadow are blights upon the Light," he said. "Shadow is the tool Darkness uses to extinguish the Light. Therefore, if one chooses the path of Shadow, they are doomed to fall into Darkness." He leaned against the tree, keeping his eyes on the workers and soldiers within the Keep. This has to be a prank.

"And what about those who follow the Light, while using Shadow as a tool to do the Light's work?" the voice replied. "Can they not find solace within the Light? Is there not room for their existence within the Light's embrace?" He frowned.

"No, Madam," he said, shaking his head. "There is not. Choosing Shadow to begin with taints one in Darkness. The choice to delve in Shadow indicates that one feels the Light is not worthy." His mind went to past conversations, his training, his books. The Tenets spoke to him like a preacher, and he flowed into the words and debate with the mysterious woman on the other end of the stone.

They danced for over an hour, each side winning points, while both moved closer to one another's position. It became clear to him, that the woman was NOT a Darkfriend. That she was a follower of the Light who felt there was a place for all within the Light. She was very diplomatic, and sounded like an emissary of peace from Stormwind.

It was a sound argument, and she made it well. Like a diplomat might, forcing him to think hard about his position and state it as eloquently as herself.

Who IS this woman? he thought, pondering her question regarding the races, and their places within the Light. She dances with words like a prima ballerina commands the stage. Their positions were VERY similar, though her stance on using Shadow for the Light's work was nowhere close to the Righteous Light's position.

"All races are welcome within the Light," he said. "All except one: the Forsaken. They are abominations and blights upon the land. Created from the Light's fallen, and reanimated with Shadowfiends. They feel no love, they feel no joy. No pleasure. They live to destroy, and can only continue so long as WE die."

This lead into another debate, though her position was not too far off from his. "While most of what you say appears to be true," she said. She had a lovely voice. "What of those who attempt at love, attempt compassion? Should we not show the same to them?"

"No, madam," he stated. "Not the compassion you mean. It would be compassion to destroy them, to end their miserable existence. Much like putting down a prize horse who has come up lame. Once all has been done, true Compassion is in the release of life, sending them into the Light for reunification."

The conversation continued, though their ground move no closer. It was like standing on the same road, yet opposite sides. They were on the same path, yet guided by slightly different lines. He could work with this, and said as much in reply.

"I must admit, madam," he said, once the debate had wound to a close. "That this form of communication for debate is odd. Perhaps you would be interested in visiting our Order in Light's Flame? The Guardians and I would be honoured to host you over food and drink."

"It seems we have more in common than I had first thought," she said. "I think I would like that very much, though the drink I prefer is probably not what you normally serve."

"Moonberry juice or water for me," Stepanos said, chuckling as he recalled his time with the Graceful Swan. "A taste that came during my time with the Tian monks in Pandaria."

"Interesting," she said. "Even more common ground, though I doubt your tastes came in the ways mine did.' She sighed, almost laughed. "Embarrassment sometimes forces change."

"You might be surprised, Madam," he said, this time booming a baritone laugh from his gut. "Mine involved Yaks. And a Graceful Swan." The pause was lengthy, as he knew she was pondering the meaning of his words.

"Ah, yaks?" she said increduliously. "This is a story I must hear, sir. Perhaps when we next meet?"

"So you agree to come to Light's Flame?" he said. "My Guardians would be pleased to welcome you."

"We shall see," she said. "You have given me much to think about, sir." Stepanos gasped, then clenched his jaw. Where are my manners?

"Madam," he said. "Please forgive me, but I never introduced myself. My comrades would be horrified at my lack of etiquette and tact. "I am Stepanos..." He paused, considering if he should include his title. "Stepanos DelaCroix. Guardian of the Righteous Light."

"And my Order would be just as horrified at mine," she said, chuckling. "Shocked, more like it. I am Aerana Dantay. It is pleasure to make your acquaintance, Stepanos DelaCroix."

"The honor is all mine, Miss Dantay," he replied. The name sounded familiar, but he couldn't place it. Before the Reformation, not many within the Alliance cared to associate with the Guardians.

"And now, Stepanos DelaCroix," she said, sounding tired and weary. "I must retire. I have recently recovered from an... illness, and find my stamina lacking at this time of night."

"I understand completely, Miss Dantay," Stepanos said. "I, too, must complete my rounds and retire. Though, I found our conversation diverting and pleasurable. You debate quite well, Miss Dantay. I look forward to our next bout."

"As do I, Stepanos," she replied. "Until next time, then?"

"Until next time," he replied. "May the White Light of Righteousness keep you safe within it's warm and loving embrace."

The stone went quiet. He stared at it, lifting the white, polished disc to his eyes - twisting it this way and that under inspection. What an odd occurrence. The last thing he'd expected while walking his rounds, was a mysterious debate about the Light's place in the world. Fascinating.

He caught the attention of a page standing just inside the door to the Great Hall. "Send word to the Brother Bailey," Stepanos said to the young man. "I want him to find out everything he can about a woman named Aerana Dantay."

"Yes, Lord High Commander," the young page said, Fist to Light salute. "Aerana Dantay. On it, sir." Stepanos nodded once, returned the salute and continued toward his chambers.

Truly Fascinating.

Stepanos DelaCroix
Stepanos DelaCroix
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Joined: June 27th, 2014, 9:10 pm
Stepanos DelaCroix

Re: Eclipse: Light's Flame

Postby Stepanos DelaCroix » April 29th, 2015, 1:08 pm

Light's Flame was abuzz with activity. Reports flowed into the Great Hall, detailing everything from an invasive Horde presence in Shadowoon, to latrines needing replaced. Couriers raced from the stable, leaping onto mounts and pounding toward the gates as if performed in one, solitary motion. Like a finely-made clock, the cogs of Light's Flame clicked in time to the Light's brilliant Will.

Stepanos and Anton watched it all work with a keen fascination, even seeking a spot to eat by the fountain, as the tables were taken by a group of miners on lunch break after a hard morning's work. It was here, that Brother Bailey found the two Hands of the Righteous Light.

"Lord High Commander," Bailey said, offering his fist to light salute. Stepanos returned the salute.

"Brother Bailey," he said, as the Priest turned toward his personal commander, High Inquisitor Anton Emmeran.

"High Inquisitor,' Bailey said, repeating the salute. "Congratulations on your raising. The Righteous Light will benefit greatly from your leadership." He bowed, then offered Stepanos a leather courier pouch. "The information you requested, Lord High Commander. I think you will find it quite interesting."

Stepanos smiled, and took the bag from Bailey. "You have my interest piqued, Brother Bailey," he said, opening the pouch and lifting the top document just as another courier on horseback pounded by the trio. The man halted at the steps to the Keep and leaped from the saddle - running up the stairs like he still remained mounted.

"I wonder what that's about?" Anton said, his eyes following the courier as he disappeared into the Keep. "Certainly seemed in hurry." Stepanos glanced up from the report and nodded.

"We'll check and see in a moment," Stepanos said, handing the report to Anton. "Read this first." He waited as Anton read the report, watching his reactions with a smile. The High Inquisitor's eyes widened as he snapped a look toward Stepanos.

"Empress of the Twlight Empire?" he said incredulously, giving the report a re-read before handing it back to Stepanos.

"Former," Stepanos said. "But still." He rubbed his beard, looking skyward as he searched his memory. "I seem to recall meeting her once, or seeing her at least. At a gala they hosted a couple of years ago in Stormwind."

"What was she like?" Anton said, taking the second report from Stepanos and reading while listening.

"Ah, what was she like..." Stepanos said. "Very regal, if I recall. Well spoken; Aloof. Most of their Order seemed that way, especially to outsiders. If they didn't know you, they didn't CARE to know you." Anton chuckled.

"How imperical," he said, then lifted the second report. "Did you catch this part about a reported falling out between Miss Dantay and the Empire?" Stepanos nodded, taking the page from Anton and handing him a third report.

"I did," Stepanos said, slipping the report back into the pouch. "She indicated that she was no longer in a position of power, in so many words, anyway. However, the reason was never stated; nor did I inquire." He shrugged. "Until now, I had no idea she was the former Empress of this landless Empire."

"Of course," Anton said, scanning the words again. "I wonder what made her step down as Empress? Doesn't seem like something one would choose having attained such a lofty position." Stepanos nodded thoughtfully.

"Yes," he said. "My thoughts as well." He leaned back on his hands, watching a group of porters lugging wooden crates to the Trding Post. A shipment of leather and fur, more than likely. Hopefully some vials of savage blood. He'd been waiting weeks for those. "Which brings my mind to the reasons she contacted me in the first place." He looked at Anton.

"Leaders in positions such as hers," he continued. "They're always playing at politics. Seeking advantages and alliances wherever possible. She mentioned something about once having had Guardians... Perhaps she was removed from her throne and seeks a force to help her re-acquire it?"

"You think she's seeking an alliance from us for personal gain?" Anton said, wrinkling his brow in doubt. He shook his head. "Your conversation gave no indications of such to me, Stepanos. I heard a person discussing the Light and Shadow, not political plotting."

"Perhaps she sought to use my faith against me," Stepanos said, hearing what Anton offered, yet countering. "She could be using my Faith against me, trying to gain a sympathetic ally by talking of the Light." Anton's face took on a calm, patient tone.

"Stepanos," he said quietly. "Trust in the Light. Through it's brilliant righteousness, we have been brought to Miss Dantay and she to us. All is well, High Commander. The Light shines as the Light Wills." Stepanos smiled, visibly relaxing and nodding.

"Of course, High Inquisitor," he said. "As always, your words illuminate that which hides. I will do as you say, and place my trust in the Light. It's Righteous Will be done." Anton nodded once, clasping his hands and closing his eyes as he did so.

"Light's Will be done," he whispered, reopening his eyes, taking in the High Commander as a priest might look upon his flock. Which, as the Inquisitive Hand, was exactly as it should be.

"Now," Stepanos said. "We must turn our attention toward the Elven witch, and the scoundrel Tirion. Our scouts lost track of the man last night. It appears he gave them the slip near the docks, and hasn't ben seen since." Anton nodded, listening. "As for the witch?" Stepanos shrugged. "No sign of her, either. Perhaps they've made their way to the Moonglade, awaiting the Eclipse?"

Anton shook his head. "No, High Commander,' Anton said. "There will be no Eclipse. Not for many months. After much contemplation within the Inquisitor's Tower, the Light has informed me that the Beast will arise at the start of the Darkmoon Faire."

"We will find them there." Stepanos stroked his beard, frowning in thought.

"Not Moonglade?" Stepanos said. "Are you certain it will be at the Faire?" Anton nodded.

"Yes," he stated. "Vionora hinted it's location in her words. The Dark of the Moon. No Eclipse over any of the continents." He nodded again. "It will be the Faire." He lifted a finger, stopping Stepanos from speaking.

"Also," he continued. "If we fight the Beast, we, along with any others doing the same, will be pulled into the Twilight realm. There, we will be forced to face our worst nightmares as we continue to battle Accalia." He sighed, clasping his hands. "We might not ever return."

"Light!" Stepanos exclaimed, sitting up straight and looking across the plaza. For some reason, a group of horses chose that moment to whinny and buck against their handlers - rearing up and pulling against their reigns. The tower clock chimed the hour, and a pair of porters dropped their crates - sending red apples bounding across the cobblestones.

Did those apples form interconnected circles? Surely not. He looked at Anton.

"That seems ominous," Stepanos said, keeping one eye looking toward the spilled fruit. "Perhaps we had best focus our attentions on the Witch and the Scoundrel. Leave Accalia for others." The apples WERE in circles. Light. Anton shook his head.

"No," Anton said. "The Light brought us to this fight, and it is US who will see it's Will done. I will research a method of linking all of our forces as we face the Beast. That way, if we get pulled into it's realm, we will have a means of escape."

"Like an anchor of Light,' Stepanos said. Anoton nodded. "That makes sense. Do you think it's possible?" Anton shrugged.

"I am not certain," he said. "However, if the Beast can pull us into it's realm, there must be a way of escaping. Balance must exist. Therefore, the Light will reveal to us it's methods, and we will use this to escape from Shadow's grasp."

The pounding of leather boots upon cobblestone captured their attention, turning their heads toward a running courier. The same one who had raced up the stairs not moments ago.

"Lord High Commander!" the man stated, fist to Light salute. "I have an urgent message from Stormwind. The plague has intensified, sir! Most infected have died, while others are growing more insane. It's never been worse."

Anton and Stepanos exchanged glances, then turned their attention toward the porter trying to gather the apples. Anton saw what Stepanos had seen: They formed two connected circles.

"Gather the Guardians," Stepanos said. "We have a battle to prepare for." Anton nodded.

"And I have an anchor to build."


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