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The space elevator car decoupled from the station, and they had a slight feeling of movement before the gravity generators compensated. Enibal smiled to himself. On a public car the gravity generators gave you a ‘down’, they didn’t compensate. His Aunt turned to the two bodyguards, “You gentlemen have done a fine job, and I mean that. I have been around body guards before, and the two of you made me feel completely safe while, at the same time, making me nearly forget you were there. Thank you.
“Now, I would like some time to speak privately with my nephew. I am sure you can agree that we are under no threat here, and you can both retire to one of the bedrooms for a couple of hours?”
The two men visibly relaxed, somehow. Enibal would have sworn that both appeared totally relaxed before, but a sort of tense alertness he’d barely noticed went out of them. They turned to each other, nodded, and headed towards one of the rooms.
“Thank you so much, you sweet dears.” She pointed to the human, “And you, I’d love the chance to talk to you for a while at some point on this trip down. I haven’t met a human before, and would like to get your opinion on some things.”
George bowed his head slightly and spoke in a formal tone, “As you will, ma’am.”
She waved a hand at him and made a noise, “Oh, dearie, it is Eldia, PLEASE. You are far too cute to be all formal with me in private. Also, that was a completely personal request that you have every right to refuse, and I promise not to be offended if you do.” She winked at him, “Well, not to be offended enough to let anyone know anyway.”
George cracked a smile, seemingly in spite of himself. “Happy to Oblige, then, Miss. At your convenience.”
Eldia frowned and drew her eyebrows down. It took Enibal a moment to figure out why she seemed displeased, but he managed to jump in before she re-iterated her request that they drop the formalities. “Thank you, George, I think you will really enjoy the chat, my Aunt here is, well, you’ve known her for more than five minutes now.”
He gave the man a broad smile, which George returned. Then Enibal turned to his Aunt, “George here wasn’t holding on to formality, Aunt Eldia. He is from a place the humans call Texas, and that is just how he talks. Particularly to women.”
Both of the women’s eyebrows raised, and his Aunt gave George an appraising look. “Well, I must say, I think I like it then. Very polite and kind. I may have to visit this ‘Texas’ of yours sometime! What are you grinning about George, did I say something funny?”
“Not making fun of you miss, I promise. It is… more of an inside joke. I’ll tell you all about it later, after you had a chance to spend some time with our boy here.” He then touched his hand to his head in an odd gesture, nodded, looked at the women, said ‘Ladies’ and made his exit.
Enibal turned to the ladies and found a frown on Vashna’s face. He cocked his head in an inquisitive gesture, and she looked at the door then at him. “I have heard a lot about these humans, and a little about the ones that apparently chose to join the Republic. It seems like they need to be taught protocol, if I may be so bold. Goodwoman Eldia and I are mere citizens, but you are a ranking Ambassador and Voice of the Republic, yet the human directs his exiting courtesies to us and not to you.”
His Aunt frowned at her protégé, but nodded agreement then turned a questioning eye at him. He smiled in response. “The man is from Texas. I am not sure what that means, but that is what the other humans keep telling me when he acts like that. He is a good man, though, and well worth putting up with the eccentricities.”
Vashna gave a small smile and nod that he had no idea how to read while his Aunt chuckled. She spoke in wry tones. “I am even more intrigued. The women from this ‘Texas’ must be either the most cowed, most pampered, or most brutal women in all of sentient space. I look forward to the chance to discuss the matter with George.”
Enibal laughed, “After you do, please fill me in on what you find out. You have a way of getting information out of people that I have always sought to emulate.”
Eldia dismissed matter with a flip of her hand, “Oh, I’d say you’ve done a fine job of learning that skill. Otherwise how could you have managed in this posting, especially with the way things have been heating up?
“Speaking of things heating up, shall we get down to business? I do want to get caught up with you, but I have heard a quaint saying from the humans: business before pleasure, and my contacts have been blowing up my inbox and even my coms ever since the word got out that I’d accepted a posting here. But, this is your Embassy and your show. So, did you have someone in mind that you wanted me to start brokering deals with?”
Enibal felt his hands blush again and blinked rapidly at the unexpected turn. His Aunt dropped her hands into her lap, “You didn’t ask me here for my contacts and brokering skills?” He shook his head a little sheepishly. He’d never heard about her brokering deals. She cocked her head a little to one side and gave him a lopsided smile. “Ok, what were you planning on having me do?”
Enibal raised a hand, pulled out a privacy device, set it on the table, and turned it on. His Aunt looked at it with raised eyebrow as her manner shifted slightly, “Is there some sort of specific trouble going on so severe that you need that?”
“Not in particular, but caution is important these days.”
“I’d gotten the sense you didn’t want to discuss anything sensitive out in public, but I had no idea that things were so bad.”
He nodded, “It is worse, Aunt Eldia, it really is. I wish I could tell you all of it…”
“Oh, but you can, dear. Vashna and I both have ‘To The Diadem’ clearance. So, if you feel there is reason for us to know, you can tell us.” He felt a wave of gratitude when she handed him a pad proving her credentials, which spared him from having to ask.
“I… Ok, well, that increases the number of things I have to tell you. Wait, how did you end up with that kind of clearance?”
“I have worked some deals between some of our arms manufacturers and electronics dealers, and a few other things that required clearance.” She dismissed the matter with a wave of her hand. “I’ll tell you all about it later. So, what is it you wanted me to do?”
He gave her his best disarming smile, “I want you to keep writing the same articles you have always written about your adventures, but write them about this place and the people you meet, particularly the humans.
“Big changes are coming Aunt Eldia. Events are going to push The Empire, and our people, to the forefront of the galactic stage in ways we have never been. The average citizen of the Empire is aware of alien races in only the most academic sense: most have never even seen one in a video, much less in person. You have a way with your articles of making people who read them, or watch your feeds, feel like they have actually been to the places you describe, and have met the people you write about.
“You know you have received Diadem attention from your articles, right? I have it on good authority that she reads them on a regular basis.” She gave a small smile, but her chin turned down a little and her hands blushed. She knows, but isn’t entirely comfortable with the fact. Maybe she hasn’t known for long?
“Also, Intel has a copy of every article you’ve produced on file, and all of them have heavy annotations.
“Don’t look at me like that; in this case it is a good thing. The annotations are mostly for future PR drives to capitalize on the swell of tourism and interest in places and people you highlight. You’ve done a lot for the Empire: You have made people in every corner of our Empire feel more connected to places farthest away from them, and so helped the cohesion of the Empire as a whole.”
Her hands blushed bright, and she and Vashna shared a look that he had no idea how to read. She laughed and tried to wave his comments off, “Oh, I haven’t done all of that, my dear nephew. I like to think that maybe I’ve helped a few people’s lives seem a little less isolated, but I can hardly be credited for saving the cohesion of the Empire!”
He gave her a wry smile, “True, you can’t. But, you are hardly the only one writing articles of that kind, and at least two of the magazines that you write in are semi-covertly subsidized by the Diadem for the reasons I just outlined.
“The thing is, we need Imperial citizens to start thinking more and more about people and places *outside* the Empire, and feel connected that way to the League as a whole. The Diadem has PR campaigns and education initiatives to that end, but there is also an open mandate to contribute to the effort. When I found that out, I thought of you.” Keep a straight face, Enibal. You tell small lies all the time as an Ambassador, you know how to do this. She doesn’t need to know the first reason you thought to bring her here.
She gave him a knowing smile, and exchanged another of those looks with her assistant. “Well, when you put it that way, it makes my silly little travel articles seem so much more important. Of course, to do what you want I will need to meet and mingle with a lot of aliens, which will mean making a lot of contacts.
“The thing about me writing my articles, though, is that it will take me very little time. So, how about this: I will do what you ask, and even take on some extra writing to help with these initiatives you speak of.
“At the same time, I would like to put together a deal or two for some of my contacts with alien corporations. I promise, I will have at least a three-month lead on articles within a month, but I also expect that I will have at least one major deal ready for review by the end of the month, as well, and at least two more getting started.
“So, I propose that I work with your staff in both capacities?”
Vashna spoke up, surprising him slightly. “If I may Ambassador? Thank you. Your Aunt’s proposal is wise: I prepared a report for you based on the discussions we’ve had since she got your letter.” She handed him a data-pad. He took it and began to examine it as she spoke. “These are the first few things we wish to look into. I will help her get all this done, and I promise to make sure she has time for writing everything you need. Really, if I may be so bold, I think you are very much on to something with having her embedded here and writing her articles.”
He took another long look at her. She spoke with an authority that did not seem to fit her age. Then he looked at the report she’d handed him, and had to admit she had skills beyond what he’d have expected as well. His eyebrows went up at a few of the proposals. Some of these could really strengthen the Empire, and others would create a lot of good will with various aliens. Wait… how many of these… at least half of these proposals involve the humans.
He had to suppress a chuckle. This will make my other intentions a little easier. She’ll have to work with Henry a lot.
He put the pad down and turned a big smile on both of them. “I am so glad I asked you here. I think it is going to turn out better than I thought: For you, for me, and for the Empire… maybe even for the troubles to come.”
Both women nodded and beamed at him as they realized he’d accepted their proposal. Then his Aunt got very serious. “What do you mean about the troubles to come?”
He took a deep breath, let it out, stood, and walked to the window. “War is coming. No, don’t start. It is inevitable. We have at least a year, in the worst case, but not more than five years, before the Xaltans and the Humans go to war in earnest. There have already been some incidents, mostly by proxy from the Xaltans. Henry – the Human ambassador – and I worked hard to try to avoid it, but it is too late now: Not that there was ever much chance of avoiding it anyway.”
She settled back into the pose she used to use when something troubled him, and he needed no other prompting. He talked, for hours, and told her everything, from the shocking things he learned when he became Ambassador to his last discussions with Henry.
After listening she went to the window and stared out of it for a while. When she turned back, she looked oddly happy, “I am so glad you called me here, nephew. This is going to be interesting to say the least, and I can’t wait to meet some of these people. I have some ideas for articles to write, of course. My first few will be about the Embassy and the League Complex, but my first personality piece will be The Duke. In truth, I’ve wanted to meet him for a long time anyway. After that, I will write about this intriguing human you keep mentioning.” She sat down and gave him a look that seemed almost hungry. “When do I get to meet him?”
He smiled at her, “You remember those fighter practices I talked about? There is one in two days.”
“Oh, good! Do you think someone can get me some armor made in that time?”
He laughed. “You are as irrepressible as ever. No, but they have some you can borrow.”
They laughed, and transitioned to other subjects. The rest of the trip down was relaxed, and they spent most of it getting caught up on personal matters, though his Aunt did make good on her promise to talk to George.
Enibal noticed Vashna staring at him a few times. Sometimes she seemed to be simply very interested in what he had to say, others he felt almost like a lab specimen being studied. He decided that any woman dynamic enough to be taken on by his aunt was likely to have some quirks, and put the matter out of his mind so he could concentrate on enjoying a few hours with family and away from his responsibilities. (Prev) (Wiki) (Next)
------------------------------------------------------------------------- A little longer this time, mostly because I want to get finished with the intro of these two, and because there wasn't a good place to stop. This was even longer for a while, but it finally managed to get cut down. Next up: multi-species fighter practice! (and crafting, and secret meeting! Stay Tuned!)
With the end of BfA I would like to say that I found the final patch and raid rather underwhelming. It felt like such a jarring change from the rest of the BfA story line, all we had as a continuity line was the final cinematic of the Azshara fight. And don't get me started on the whole mess that I think Vale and Uldum are.
So I hereby want to give you my vision of 8.3, not a full change of everything (visions where ok, so was the cloak idea) just some little extras and a different endboss fight.
After N'zoth got released by the greedy murder hobos deep in the Eternal Palace the entity rushed through the oceans of Azeroth to the one place where reality is at it's weakest, the ruins of Ahn'Qiraj near the coast of Uldum. Crashing against the coast and rumbling towards the now visible Gates of Nyalotha, it left a searing scar of madness within the sand and mountains. It is here that Azeroth cried out to it's speaker to send champions to heal this woon. Magni rushed (teleported and made you walk) to the leaders of the Horde and Alliance, who after the dishonorable Mak'gora and Sylvannas totally unpredictable betrayal where having peace talks in the sprawling Mean Streets of Gadgetzan. There he proposed that instead of total disarmament they should gather what is left of their armies and azerite weaponry and fight this new threat. With some goading of Shaw and Kiro, Eitrigg and Grumbol did the epic handshake
and each vowed to kill more abominations than the other.
On the shores and deserts of Uldum the battle continues.
Completing the battlefront allows acces to the new dungeon [Chamber of Torture] and the raid entrance. [Chamber of Torture]
Here the Dark Inquisitor is torturing Queen Aszhara for the Blade of the Black Empire Xala'teth. Azeroth's mighty heroes succeed in defeating the Dark Inquisitor and obtain the blade for themselves and give it to Wrathion for 1000 AP. The inquisitor escapes but Azshara fucking dies with a last breath of smugness. You get a recoloured azerite piece as a reward.
No changes really, keep it all like it is except for the last bit. After fighting through the endless madness of the Waking City of Nyalotha the mighty heroes arrive in front of the towering form of N'zoth (I mean come on, how do you fight something this big?) The alternative fight and ending.
At the footsteps of madness the heroes must create a foothold with the help of Titan Sanity Beacons. The fight consists of a large area where waves upon waves of mobs attack the raid. The Titan beacons must be protected at all costs. In the distance the opposite faction can be seen doing the same. After a certain amount of waves the Avatar of Nzoth appears and wipes out the opposing faction and beacons. (Suck it horde/alliance scum!). He then comes for your raid. Fight is almost the same as current Carapace fight, but at 30% health Wrathion appears and does some fancy-pantsy moves and stabs the Carapace with Xalateth. (on mythic he fails). Defeating the Carapace ends the raid and shows the following cinematic:
Alternative Ending Cinematic
As the Avatar of N'zoth crumples to the ground the titan beacons can now operate at full capacity. Giant pockets of reality spawn within their area of effect. Here, mages are able to open portals that link to Azeroth allowing the heavy guns to fire upon N'zoth. Azerite munition has the great effect of being basically antimater inside Ny'alotha. Giant war machines and huge siege towers rumble through the portals and fire blast upon blast of azerite munition into the hulking form of N'zoth. A giant portal opens and from it the remaining fleets of Kul Tiras and Zandalar let loose massive broadsides that annihilate chitin, stone, and corrupted flesh. Under this immense pummeling the form of N'zoth crumples and it's heart becomes vulnerable.
Meanwhile at the Bilgewater Harbor, Gazlow and Gelbin are making the final checks. "Are you sure this will not explode in our faces?" Asked Gazlow. "I have made the calculations numeral times and they are 100% correct. Are you sure that this will explode when it has to?" said Mekkatorque. "I am usually not afraid of explosives, but I do not want to be near this one when it goes off."
They both look over at a giant artillery shell that is getting loaded into renamed cannon 'Azeroth's Retribution'.
"God-Ender loaded!" "Portals are open!" "Firing in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1..."
An enormous thunderclap sounded in Azhara, loud enough to wake a few druids still slumbering in Mount Hyjal. The God-Ender exited the cannon causing it to melt, it entered a mage portal which was linked to Dalaran, here it traveled across Krasus's landing and entered a second one, the shockwave ruptured all the windows in the city and cleaned the streets of littered depowered artifact weapons. At the other end: Ny'alotha. With a roar that made even Orcs cower, the God-Ender traveled the distance from the portal to the old god in an instant, plunging deep into the heart of N'zoth. A giant flash obscured the form of N'zoth, the shockwave leveled the buildings, and for an instant N'zoth felt that what he always claimed to be, fear. He then disintegrated in a firestorm of blue and yellow light. As the mushroom cloud of azerite towered over the crater that was once N'zoth the remaining city started vanishing, the pocket dimension of the Waking City was collapsing and the heroes rushed towards the portals.
"Did you get any good drops?" asked the rogue. "I got a dagger that isn't bis" said the druid. "Can I have it?" "Sure, trade me." ... "Sorry, it's higher ilvl than my staff. Can't trade."
Treemustache receives: x1 [Veiled Crystal].
Battlefront and dungeon in 8.3, much more epic ending cinematic that ties in with the end of Sylvannas betrayal and the ending of the 4th war. Let me know if it needs better formatting and if you liked it compared to what we got. I left it pretty open to change since we are all in this together, feel free to imagine certain aspects differently.