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Four years have passed since what is now called “the Sunwell Crisis” - a time when the infamous Sunhawks, led by prince Kael’thas Sunstrider, attempted to summon the demonic Burning Legion into this world. In a desperate struggle the mad tyrant and his slavish loyalists were defeated - and a new age has begun for the elvenkind, one of recovery and prosperity.

But you are ‘Lynestra Dawnstrider’, the last Sunhawk, hiding from the law in the land of human cutthroats. There, even those of them you've considered friends have revealed themselves to have dubious loyalties and secret agendas, while those that oppose you openly have turned out to be harboring shocking secrets. With Mercer's grimoire and his little book of secrets, you could very well be on the verge of ousting and destroying him, should you simply wish so - you just need to resolve the dwarf situation first.


>Google document, constantly updated
https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-jPBo0HRy-9zORO12ZO325ka3L1e2Bsjrtzo9RDlO20/edit?usp=sharing

>Twitter, because you have to have one these days
https://twitter.com/sunhawkqm

>Previously, on the Last Sunhawk
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2021/5049040/
>>
File: The Dwarf.jpg (187 KB, 1200x1371)
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187 KB JPG
“Whit abit yer kin? Ye have a kin?”
Kin..! The very memory of your brother, your only living kin, stung and hurt you in a way that almost made you forget about the the embarassment you’ve felt - almost. In another time, you would spend a minute feeling sorry for yourself - but right now, you were faced with a dwarf snarling at you and wincing in a manner that suggested silence was not a valid answer to his question. He would have little appreciation for dramatic pauses and enigmatic non-answers.
“A brother, yes.”, you began. Then, in the same very breath, you’ve continued. “But he…”
“Weel, hoo abit ah insult th' memory ay yer kin, loch ye insulted th' memory ay mine, eh?!”, the dwarf canted his head to the side and stared at you expectantly. You’ve waited out several seconds to make sure he’s done, and you may speak.
“Well, since you ask…”, you raised your head.
“Not glad yoo’ll be, ah bit. Ah bit yoo’d be screamin’ fur a duel or whit nae’, fur the achin’ honor of Brightblaze Cindersorraw, ur Longshanks Drearymug, ur Felflame Darkbad, ur whatever your fowk’s nam is.”
You breathed in quickly, hoping to get a word in before he interrupted you:
“My name…”
“...bunch ay nonsense, aw ‘at. Changed th’ name of yer folk - fine, yoo’re blood elves now. Whit fur yer callin’ yoorselves Trueblade Scumvengeance? Ye want tae yell it tae th’ warld hoo tormented yer ur? Ye want revenge, go get revenge. Don’t greit tae be seen. Main hae bin wa ye allied wi’ th orcs tay - hey, watch at whit ye mistreated me intae!”
You inhaled quickly and opened your mouth - but this time, it was just a test to see if the dwarf was going to speak over you loudly the moment you would. He did no such thing - so a moment later, you would raise your hand and inquired:
“So, while I am deeply sorry for any offences against your kin I might have committed - although I’m still not certain what they are - your repeated insinuations that me, or my people, are somehow responsible for the deeds of the few… On that regard, I refuse to apologize. For indeed, they were the deeds of the few, not the many. You see, while the sun king was distracted with such minute matters as taming a hostile world and saving us all from extinction, he couldn’t manage every affair that was happening across the cosmos - so he had to delegate some responsibilities to a pack of jackals that stayed behind, in complete safety. His majesty would never stay behind himself, of course, he knew responsibility and honor, a true frontline general..."
>>
"...risked his life for our people more times than I can count - unlike some others we both know. No, they would never be caught dead saving our people - they've had other important matters on their plate, such as squatting in the palace... In any case, some executive power and a significant deal of authority - a regency, even - had to be given to the people whom the king believed to be honorable men - and he had no way of knowing that power would corrupt them in an instant. Indeed, instead of governing in the interests of our people, they’ve abused the power his majesty has entrusted them with. The alliance with the orcs - the forsaken, really - that’s widely known to be Halduron’s doing, his ties to the former ranger-general are no secret, anyone who has a pair of eyes can see what happened there. They enriched themselves too, by the way, and fabulously so - the lord-regent does not have enough coin for an infirmary on the Falconwing square, but for his good co-conspirator Rommath and his friends in Dalaran, there’s funding to refurnish half the city. These were top-down decisions, every single one of them - made without the sun king’s knowledge and consent. Had he been on the throne in practice, and not merely de jure, none of the offences you speak of would have ever happened - and neither would many other things. So if you wish to lay blame on someone, master dwarf - I can give you names.”

For the first time in some time, you laid your eyes on the wildhammer and saw that he was still listening, with his eyes wide open, and this strange expression on his face, a strange mix of fascination, confusion, bewilderment and shock. Either the tale you were spinning touched him to the very core of his being, or you may have been speaking just a little too long, and a little too passionately.

>”...Lor’themar, Halduron and Rommath, not me. And maybe Aethas as well, his involvement is not quite as direct, but there are some very interesting coincidences involved in…”
>”And by the way, “Cindersorrow” is a perfectly good name. I would go by that.”
>”Anyway, I think I’ve made my point.”
>”You look like you have a question, master dwarf. Go ahead.”
>”Apologies, politics tend to wind me up. I’ll get off the soapbox.”
>I may have gotten a little passionate, but this was the detailed explanation that the situation called for. I apologize for nothing.
>He looks confused. Very well, let me repeat from the beginning.
>>
>>5118805
>”Anyway, I think I’ve made my point.”
>”Apologies, politics tend to wind me up. I’ll get off the soapbox.”
>”You look like you have a question, master dwarf. Go ahead.”

Yes! It’s back, I’ve been waiting for it.
>>
>>5118805
>”...Lor’themar, Halduron and Rommath, not me. And maybe Aethas as well, his involvement is not quite as direct, but there are some very interesting coincidences involved in…”
>He looks confused. Very well, let me repeat from the beginning.

The truth needs to be told! Wake up, people!
>>
>>5118805
>>”...Lor’themar, Halduron and Rommath, not me. And maybe Aethas as well, his involvement is not quite as direct, but there are some very interesting coincidences involved in…”
>>”You look like you have a question, master dwarf. Go ahead.”
>>
>>5118805
>”...Lor’themar, Halduron and Rommath, not me. And maybe Aethas as well, his involvement is not quite as direct, but there are some very interesting coincidences involved in…”

After a while...
>”Anyway, I think I’ve made my point.”
>”You look like you have a question, master dwarf. Go ahead.”

And jeez, we really went on a whole minutes long monologue there, huh?

Welcome back SunhawkQM, I've been eagerly awaiting your return. I trust your holidays were pleasant?
>>
>>5118805
>>”And by the way, “Cindersorrow” is a perfectly good name. I would go by that.”

Great to see you back.
>>
>>5118805
>”...Lor’themar, Halduron and Rommath, not me. And maybe Aethas as well, his involvement is not quite as direct, but there are some very interesting coincidences involved in…”
>”Apologies, politics tend to wind me up. I’ll get off the soapbox.”
>>
>>5118805
>”...Lor’themar, Halduron and Rommath, not me. And maybe Aethas as well, his involvement is not quite as direct, but there are some very interesting coincidences involved in…”
>”Anyway, I think I’ve made my point.”
>”You look like you have a question, master dwarf. Go ahead.”
>>
“Ah…”, the dwarf meekly tried to speak up.
“...Lor’themar, Halduron and Rommath - and not, I would like to press this, me. Maybe one can include Aethas into this list - while on the surface he looks like a self-made man, with some tensions between him and the rest, one can definitely see how desperately he’s trying to sit on both, equally corrupt, chairs - the regent’s cabal and the Kirin-Tor, that is. His status definitely improved lately, and the fact that he still boasts power and influence after the Bell fiasco, it’s definitely curious. One would think there would be some controversy, but of course, the lord-regent only saw a very convenient opportunity to whip up some jingoistic fury to justify the current alliances. Not entirely unwarranted, mind you, but it’s both amusing and tragic how eagerly the elvenkind devoured the propaganda slop being fed to them, instead of asking any questions about the Sunreaver involvement in the debacle. I vividly recall the article I’ve read on the day of…”

You blinked then, only now seeing that the wildhammer has feebly raised his hand.
“Yes, master dwarf?”, you inhaled and raised your chin. “Do you have a question?”
“Aye. Ah think sae.”, Angus spoken a little bit quietly, with the tone of someone devoid of hope. “Sae, ur ye usually…”
He didn’t finish, but only vaguely huffed and looked into the distance, digging into the ground with his foot.
“I’m not clairvoyant, master. If you could, perhaps, finish the question…”
“Ah…”, the dwarf opened his mouth again. He was uncertain, concerned and most of all - caught off-guard, all three things you could feel he rarely was. “Ye know, forgit abit it. Ah dorn’t want tae ken.”
You narrowed your eyes, trying to see if he was laughing at you. Then you turned your head towards Tzerak, still towering over both of you, to make sure he was not giving you attitude either - as you noticed how the dwarf briefly looked in his direction. The demon remained stoically stone-faced - or at least adopted this expression once you’ve turned.

“In any case…”
This was it. The dwarf was too broken and too tired to resist, which meant you finally had the initiative. This was the moment. You could very well ask or say anything, and he would go along with it, as long as it rids him of having to participating in more political discourse - at least until he recovers, and remembers that you’re an unwanted guest, and he has no obligation of tolerating you.

>[Write-in]
>>
>>5120933
>"... master dwarf it seems clear to me that I am standing before a formidable fighter and while we are not terribly far away from dwarfish holdings,it still strikes me as odd to have met you here alone. Your earlier words seemed to suggest another reason for your solitude, one going beyond a simple personal preference. Now master dwarf I understand if this subject matter is perhaps a bit too personal, but given our different yet somehow I feel similar circumstances I must inquire what twist in the weave of fate could have brought you this deep into Alterac"
>>
>>5120933
Ask him if he’s to share a swill of his beer
>>
>>5120933
>"Now that we have reached something of an understanding, mayhaps we could sit somewhere before we continue this conversation. My bad leg is giving me a difficult time after today's excitement, and I would prefer to speak with you in a less confrontative setting."
>>
>>5120933
Supporting >>5120972 and >>5121056

>Briefly glance up to check where the sun is in the sky, we weren't rambling for hours were we? Sometimes it gets hard to keep track of the time.
>>
>>5121056
+1
>>
EX 2, MOV 2, TWI 1, PRU 3, MND 2, DZL 1
Stress: Unmoved
Consequences: Walking on the sunshine.
Fate Points: 1

You briefly glanced upon the sky, as you paused. The burning celestial ball has moved since the last time you’ve remembered it - so you really did lose the track of time in all of the excitement. While the roof over your head for the night was not strictly mandatory, it was desirable - and you’ve not yet decided if you’ll be returning to Strahnbrad this day.
“...I have a bad leg, master dwarf.”, you’ve spoken. Your left hand gestured to it, while your right still held onto the cane. “Could we, perhaps, sit down, so it can get some rest? Maybe we could speak more then.”
“Ye want tae come intae mah hoose again?”, the dwarf opened his mouth. There was a bit of fear in his tone, before he regained a bit of his strength and violently shook his head. “Nae! Nae efter th' lest time. An' if yoo're gonna gab again, ah am probably gonnae go barmy!”
First of all, calling his dwelling a “house” was rather charitable. Secondly…
“Then maybe you’ll talk this time, I’ll listen.”, you raised your hand in a gesture of peace. “I get the feeling that we are not so different, you and I…”
You’ve always wanted to say this exact phrase.
“...and maybe it wasn’t an accident that we’ve met. What do you say, master Angus?”
The dwarf thought on the matter for a moment - and from the fact that he seemed to lack the theatrical mannerisms, it must have appeared to be some genuine doubt in his mind.
“Ah say nae!”, he replied stubbornly, beginning to head further into your direction, or more specifically - past you.

While he did continue refusing you, you were not at all convinced his attitude was coming from a place of reason, rather than some good, old-fashioned dwarven stubborness. You’ve said a lot to mend whatever was between you. What you needed was just one final push.

>[Prudence] How do I make him finally let bygones be bygones?
>[Mind Palace] What about dwarven hospitality? Do I know enough about wildhammer culture?
>[Twilight] I’m a wounded veteran. He would never be able to live with himself, if he turned me away.
>[Dazzle] “You’ve asked me earlier, if I have kin.”
>I’ve never said that I want to sleep under his roof. Maybe we could talk outside.
>This is not a good idea.
>>
>>5123664
>[Prudence] How do I make him finally let bygones be bygones?
>>
>>5123664
>I’ve never said that I want to sleep under his roof. Maybe we could talk outside.
>>
>>5123664
>[Prudence] How do I make him finally let bygones be bygones?

This is what Prudence is for, insight and cultural knowledge.
>>
>>5123664
>[Prudence] How do I make him finally let bygones be bygones?
>>
>>5123664
>>[Dazzle] “You’ve asked me earlier, if I have kin.”
Nothing like a good sob story
>>
Rolled 1, 4, 6, 1 = 12 (4d6)

There has to be something.

(Prudence +3)
>>
Indeed, there is. In fact, the solution was so simple, it’s a mystery how it didn’t occur to you earlier. No words could mend the rift between you - it was time for action.
“What if I bring you something to drink?”, you spoke into his back, as he was shuffling towards the ruin, two baskets in hands.
That got his attention. The dwarf turned and huffed, raising his heavy brow:
“Ye think ye can buy me wi' a mug ay ale?”
You’ve thought on the trick question for a second or two, before bluntly nodding:
“Yes, I think so. Can I?”
The wildhammer suddenly let out a genuine, heartfelt chuckle, touched to the core by your unabashed sincerity. A piece of his picked treasure spilled out of the woven wicker, as he wiped his lips and shook his head:
“Fine!”, he shook his head, leaning in to open the trapdoor, so he could slip inside whatever dungeon he dug out in the cellar. “Gonna ponder it. But yoo're better brin' a lot mair than a mug. An' yoo're nae gonna tooch it.”
You knew it. Even if he traded with someone to get alcohol - the second most essential component of dwarven life - just after air, the prospect of getting some for free was a lot different. There was just one insignificant detail when it came to this deal…
“Well, I can’t bring it to you right now, but…”
“That's yer trooble, nae mine.”, by now, you could see only a part of the dwarf’s hairy arm, as most of him has already climbed outside of your line of sight. It closed the trapdoor with a loud noise, and that was almost the last you’ve heard of him. “Come back when yoo've got it.”

What a fruitful meeting with this most interesting dwarf. A wildhammer, even! Their exploits during the Third War were one thing, but Angus spoke true - your people were close friends until the very recent times. Maybe in these strange parts, they could be again. A dwarf friend was the best one could possibly have - their people were plainly incapable of treachery.
However, it did not seem like you were going to get much more out of him just yet. Which posed a little bit of a problem - returning to Strahnbrad would probably mean running into Mercer, and you weren’t quite sure if you were ready just yet. You weren’t sure of a lot of things, you thought to yourself, as you once again sat against the tree trunk with your spoils of war in hand.

One thing you were certain of...
>>
>His irrational hatred for me aside, we have a lot in common - we are both opposed to the Shadow Council, to start. We should be on the same side.
>He’s clearly hiding his dark knowledge, even from the duke. He’s paranoid and unstable, and there’s a great greed in him. He needs to go down for the sake of everyone else.
>I’ve never had any intentions of being his enemy - but clearly, he’s not as noble. I am through with turning the other cheek.
>I was fine with our petty rivalry, but when he involved Brooks into his schemes, he made it personal.
>It doesn’t matter what he did or didn’t do - I’ll show him to be a traitor, and then he’ll hang. He should not have crossed me.
>It’s important to stay true. My opinion, and my actions, will be largely defined by whether or not I’ll find the evidence of guilt.
>Personal feelings and silly idealism don’t factor into this. This writing will provide me an angle, and I’ll use it, no matter what it is.
>[Write-in]
>>
>>5125187
>His irrational hatred for me aside, we have a lot in common - we are both opposed to the Shadow Council, to start. We should be on the same side.
>>
>>5125186
>Personal feelings and silly idealism don’t factor into this. This writing will provide me an angle, and I’ll use it, no matter what it is.
>>
>>5125187
>I’ve never had any intentions of being his enemy - but clearly, he’s not as noble. I am through with turning the other cheek.
>>
>>5125187
>It’s important to stay true. My opinion, and my actions, will be largely defined by whether or not I’ll find the evidence of guilt.

His opposition to the Shadow Council may align his interests with ours eventually, but regardless of his experience and skill at arms, he is a petty conjurer at best and allying with or blackmailing one man of his skill isn't worth crossing our host, the duke. Justice should be our priority, especially with how we encouraged the duke to act.

If he is guilty of causing Jarad's death or that of others then he should be exposed and dealt with. If not, then perhaps we can tolerate one another. I am mad about Brooks, but it is entirely within reason for Brooks to follow her orders and for Mercer to be suspicious of us.

I doubt we'll stare down Mercer and blackmail him though, he isn't afraid of us, especially if he actually did kill Jarad, he probably will just resort to violence. Not to mention I honestly think that he has every advantage if we were to oppose him. Remember, we do not know that he is guilty yet. He is also a long serving retainer of the duke's bloodline, at least outwardly, who would the duke trust, us or him, it is an easy question to answer. Finally, in a fight, remember, he has that armour which will give him...I can't remember...but like +2 or 3, he'd fuck us up unless we fought him with our summons and no other intervening help for him - which we cannot count on as he is also a warlock and a leader of men besides - and it'd still be a tossup.

Please reconsider.
>>
>>5125264
alright I change my vote >>5125209
to this, mostly because I was already considering it and the vote seems pretty split so far.
>>
>>5125187
>It’s important to stay true. My opinion, and my actions, will be largely defined by whether or not I’ll find the evidence of guilt.

Mercer has called us a gnat, a drunk, and a lecherous whore, and only most of those things are true. Our reward for meekly offering an olive branch to that deplorable man has been hateful insult after hateful insult. He is, for lack of a better term, a bully.

Earlier we wisely walked away from a confrontation because we had nothing on him (except, perhaps, a higher total lung capacity), but we've been making steady progress on that front, and the paranoid scribbles in his journal prove that he is more vulnerable than we initially thought. Still, the time has not yet come for our sweet, syrupy, venomous, petty revenge. One day, we might finally have enough influence to throw a collar around his neck and walk him around like a dog while that woman of his watches. For now, though, the best thing we can do is act demure and try to win the duke's favor.
>>
>>5125419
Well said.
>>
>>5125419
>Mercer has called us a gnat, a drunk, and a lecherous whore, and only most of those things are true.
lol, great line

>>5125187
>>Personal feelings and silly idealism don’t factor into this. This writing will provide me an angle, and I’ll use it, no matter what it is.
>>
>>5125187
>>It’s important to stay true. My opinion, and my actions, will be largely defined by whether or not I’ll find the evidence of guilt.
>>
…is whenever you were unsure what to do, you could always rely on the teachings of the greats - two men, who have never once in your life steered you wrong. One of them was, of course, was his majesty, the Sun King - while the other was your uncle.
You remembered one time early in your life, a rare occasion when you’ve seen your brother before your adult years. He has briefly returned from the border to spend his leave with his only family - you remembered well how clean his armor was, and how cleanly shaven and groomed he looked. He ruffled your hair, asked you how is your learning going, and listened to you for a whole hour, when you rambled about this one book you’ve read, even though he could not care less about the adventures of princess Callista and her woodland friends - far from the last time in your memory, when he only pretended to care. At the dinner, he talked to you less - his other kin was the real reason he came home.
He spoke a lot with your uncle about matters that seemed immensely boring to you at the time. Even though now you knew better, you could not remember the specifics of it, no matter how hard you tried. It was something about him being wronged or passed over for a promotion… Either way, he kept nagging about it in that tone that made it clear - he expected help here, something far more than a simple word of encouragement. He was offered advice and wisdom, but Auberon seemed more concerned about getting his due - and getting even, with or without his kin’s help. In a particularly shocking moment, he huffed and loudly spat out: “I should kill him for this!”.
That part, you remembed it well. Anyone would. Your brother immediately turned away, regretful and ashamed of what he just said. But your uncle didn’t even raise a brow. He was rarely the one to openly speak judgements. He only nodded sagely and spoke in this wise tone that would forever stick in your memory, he spoke those exact words: “My boy, sometimes one can be so blinded by the desire to win, you forget about what’s truly important”. He paused for a moment, and then asked: “What of your honor?”. It wasn’t a particularly world-shattering revelation, but the context, and the sympathetic, knowing tone with which those words were said, somehow manage to make them the most powerful words in the world. Auberon only opened his mouth, closed it, pursed his lips together and nodded. He remained with you for the rest of that day, looking strangely both defeated and relieved. He never spoke of this matter again, no matter how much you asked, and you would never learn just what managed to sow such anger in his heart, that he spoke of death so easily.
>>
Mercer was, without a doubt, a blight upon your miserable existence. You’ve done him no wrong, but only made every attempt to respect his authority. Whatever slight against himself or the people of Alterac he imagined, you’ve not done it, and he knew it, yet every day, he made it ever more clear how badly he wanted you gone… Or worse.
Was that a reason enough for drastic actions? Would framing him for the slaying of Jarad, even if he did no such thing, be understandable? Perhaps. Many in your place would take the first opportunity to make sir Egmund regret every word out of his mouth, especially when the opportunity so grand presents itself. But that wasn’t you. Scheming against a fellow officer - even though you were barely on the same side - would be simply unworthy. It didn’t matter how loud-mouthed Mercer was. The land that gave you refuge was now in a state of war - and he was almost definitely a vital asset of the war effort. As long as he remained such, as long as you had no definite, solid proof of treachery, something both you and the duke would definitely believe...
Searching someone else’s quarters for the evidence of a murderous plot was one thing. Plotting murder yourself, because someone was rude to you, was slightly different. That wasn’t the way you were raised.

Still, it was difficult to believe that someone who so meticulously collected his thoughts into a journal - and took such extreme length to hide said journal - has managed to write down nothing incriminating. As you flipped through the pages of his little book of secrets, you’ve noted several things - first of all, he had a surprising love for numbers. Whole pages of his journal were dedicated to nothing but numbers in relation to names, most of which you didn’t recognize. What did they mean? Gambling debts? Bribes? Both? You didn’t know yet, but somehow you doubted that even Mercer could claim with a straight face that those were birthday dates. Secondly, occasionally sir Egmund wrote things down in what was clearly a cipher. It wasn’t often - understandably. You yourself could testify that working with ciphers could be a royal pain, even if they were your own - but one could only imagine what he was trying to hide. After all, that was the last line of defense - at this point, he assumed that his journal was already in the hands of his enemies.
>>
In part, however, you got lucky. Very lucky - Mercer has thoughtfully kept everything on the matter of a few names mostly in the same sections. All of them were particularly cipher intensive. The young duke, the old duke, lord Perenolde, lord Falconcrest, Jarad, Church, Brooks, Nagaz, as well as someone only named “Elysa”.
Another glance at the sun spared. You’ve had time to research at least a few of those names, before you needed to even consider such things as food, rest, shelter or your triumphant return to Strahnbrad. And if this matter was really only about justice for the slaying of Jarad, you only needed one.

>[Pick three]
>>
File: great game.png (35 KB, 160x160)
35 KB
35 KB PNG
>>5131161
>The young duke, Elysa, Brooks
not particularly interested in the past right now, not when what we are looking for is likely in the present or near future.
Now I don't think he is a traitor but he might have written something about the young duke we can use.
Elysa might be us, but even if that is not the case learning about a new figure in all of this could be useful.
Brooks now this is a personal matter entirely and I understand if the others decide that we have more pressing matters to attend to, however knowing definetively on whose side she is could be more valuable than petty politics at this moment.

On an unrelated note perhaps if the elves spent less time polishing their armor and actually guarding the border they wouldn't have lost Quel'thalas in the first place.
>>
>>5131161
>Jarad
>The young duke
>Elysa

Tempting as the idea of reading gossip to get dirt on people we know is, it might be more prudent to look for any clues that can help us decide what to do next in our investigation. Learning about Jarad is a must, since we still know precious little about him, and a detailed if biased perspective can help us going forward. The duke is at the center of everything that happens here, so there could be some information pertaining to him that can help us. Elysa is a gambit, though that may be the woman that we passed over in Mercer's house, and really, the only person that we know absolutely nothing about from that list.
>>
>>5131161
>Jarad
>Church
>Elysa
>>
>>5131157
I'll admit it may not have been the wisest thing for me not to vote for Detective Dawnstrider but in fact The Nail when I chose to pursue truth, but as I said then and will say now, you'd want those bonuses more when lying and sabotaging then you would investigating, probably.

>>5131161
>Jarad, the Old Duke, Elysa

The core objective, the trusted friend he might've had a hand in murdering, and the mystery box.

I think Jarad holds some of the same benefits that looking up Nagaz might reveal if he has Shadow Council connections and his hate for warlocks is feign or more complex than it appears. Looking him up is also the most immediately important.

There have been some hints that he may have betrayed the old duke to the Alliance or helped kill him, at least if I remember correctly. If so, it would help us persuade the young duke to take action against him with a personal connection, or it could show Mercer to have been steadfast, at least in the past, which could help us trust him more assuming he isn't a murderer or doesn't try to kill us.

The mystery box could just be his thoughts on his lover(?) and thus entirely pointless, but I think it is something interesting.

I think looking up Church, Nagaz or Perenolde could hypothetically reveal information about Mercer's potential associations, or it may not. It'd also just be nice to know about these figures from another point of view.

I think we already know he hates Falconcrest and that there isn't anything more there. I think Brooks and his relationship is simple, that of commander and loyal soldier, though obviously the Brooks connection is personal to us, it isn't as important in this limited time we have.
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>>5131204
>perhaps if the elves spent less time polishing their armor and actually guarding the border they wouldn't have lost Quel'thalas in the first place.

That's fuckin' slanderous nonsense anon, are you some kind of traitorous fake-elf? I swear on me mum, you've got sum nerve bruv!

But for real, did the elves not have good border security or something?
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>>5131342
I'll change my vote to >>5131457 as it has the same general idea and the votes seem to be split.
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>>5131467
>That's fuckin' slanderous nonsense anon, are you some kind of traitorous fake-elf? I swear on me mum, you've got sum nerve bruv!
Just capable of self reflection, but I understand if that isn't viewed as a very elfish trait.
>But for real, did the elves not have good border security or something?
Given how they ditched their allies and bunkered down in quel'thalas and still lost both wars I would say so, can't even blame the incompetence of a certain ranger general on this one.
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>>5131161
>Jarad
>The young duke
>the Old Duke

Elysa might be the woman we saw sleeping, but it could also be his secret mistress. I think it is ultimately irrelevant to our investigation or interests.
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>>5131161
>>Jarad, the Old Duke, Elysa
>>
Rolled 6, 3, 4, 1 = 14 (4d6)

Deciphering the Jarad section...

(Mind Palace 2)
>>
Rolled 3, 4, 4, 3 = 14 (4d6)

Sir Richard Dryden...
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Rolled 4, 2, 6, 6 = 18 (4d6)

Elyza...
>>
You’ve spent enough time contemplating unraveling this conspiracy, or reflecting how you feel about it, or preparing to do it. It was time to get some answers - was there evidence that Mercer conspired against his betters or not? And if he didn’t - after all, you’ve long suspected he has no actual direct involvement in Jarad’s death - did he actually investigate the matter, and if so, what were his findings? And what of the old duke, sir Richard Dryden, this good friend of his? Admittedly, this particular suspicion might have been born of the more petty side of you, the one that wished sir Egmund would be guilty of at least something… But the fact that there was some writing on the duke’s father there was incredibly suspicious on its own. The fact that Mercer felt the need to write in cipher was even more incriminating. Men who have nothing to hide don’t even know what a “cipher” is. And it was awfully convenient how the death of the old duke left sir Egmund with an easily influenced child lord in tow…
Could you, or could you not, make a case that sir Egmund was a traitor? Not merely to the duke, but to yourself?


Jarad. Or rather “Jarad?” - sir Egmund seemed to be very much uncertain as to whether or not it was his real name. There was plenty of writing on his matter - chaotic and disorganized as it was. Endless lists of names and places shared the page with conspiracy flow charts. Between the lines, Mercer kept notes of what Jarad said at different times, whom he shared dinners with, and he even wrote an occasional quote, much like he had with you. “New army!”, one such note threatened in a rather cryptic manner. Almost right after it, there was a date - just a few months ago, according to the human calendar - and an explanation next to it: “Disappears again w. Church”. A few lines later, another date: “Dined with the boy, 2 hours” - you required no explanation as to who this boy could have been. “Nagaz visits”, about a week later: “Area surveyed”.
It looked like Jarad was quite the busy bee, starting from the moment he arrived about two years ago: “SC sends theirs, named Jarad”. Almost from the very beginning he’s been doing something that frustrated Mercer to no end - either tending to some affairs in town, buttering up the boy duke and his court (in particular, he seemed to be quite chummy with Halligan, it was just one private meeting after another), or attending to some secretive business that Mercer clearly did not know much about.
>>
As for the former, Mercer couldn’t hide his annoyance over how influential Jarad was getting (“ANOTHER ONE!!!”). And as for the latter… Often, he would have at least some idea as to who was involved - “Wake”. “Church”. “Nagaz”. “Church”. “Lerent”. “Church”. Those repeated again and again. Unlike you, Jarad seemed to be very involved in the Wake’s day to day business - which could have pointed towards him either being a true believer in the cause, or using the organization for his own ends far more effectively than you, and being far closer with the leadership. There were other names there too - but those were local, alteraci, and you assumed that they were syndicate men. Maybe even the very same that perished in the unfortunate inferno together with him - when it cams to these gentlemen, sir Egmund did not seem to have much of an emotional response to their tight friendship with the warlock. Highly curious.

Another curiosity was the aforementioned vertical list - a list of names. You vaguely recognized a few of them, in fact, but you didn’t even need an overt familiarity with these figures to know their exact nacture. “Sharharost”, “Kuprin”, “Ardalilah” - these were demonic names, belonging to the otherwordly creatures of different breeds and calibers. A large number of them were crossed out, and you had a nagging feeling that if you were to take a closer look at Jarad’s grimoire, you would encounter them again. What could this mean? On what basis was he eliminating them? You've had a suspicion, of course, but for now it was just that - a suspicion.
Then came the flow chart. Jarad was in the center of it, of course, and various incomprehensible lines were leading to and fro. The demons whose names you’ve just read did not factor into it - but local political figures have, extensively. Some lines were straight, others zig-zagged, some were composed of unconnected dots (which your gut told you probably meant something Mercer was not certain about). While it was an exciting look at how sir Egmund’s paranoid mind worked, it told you utterly nothing, except confirming again whom Jarad could have been possibly connected to, without lending you any information as to what the connection was. It contained nothing unexpected as well - there was Church there, and Nagaz, and the three of his high-ranking officers, Lerent being one of them. Falconcrest and his vassal lord, whom you knew Church served. A wavy line connected lord Falconcrest and Jarad, but a straight line connected Falconcrest and Lerent. Church, Jarad and Lerent formed a triangle - and all corners of this triangle were connected to Halligan somehow. The tomes on the nature of the Old Gods had nothing on this endless web of interconnecting lines, as this mess was enough to drive the sanest elf alive to the brink of utter madness.
>>
In short, if sir Egmund really did write something along the lines of “I’ve finally killed the damn bastard”, you would not find it in the plain text. In fact, he did not write anything on the matter of his death at all - nor on the matter of the aftermath, or the implications, or anything of the like. If the only knowledge you’ve had of Jarad came from this little book, you could very well reasonably come to believe he never died at all - and the only clue you could have possibly had, pointing otherwise, was how after a certain point Mercer simply stopped writing about the man’s daily routine, as if he just lost interest. Quite interesting behaviour from someone, who reportedly believed that Jarad was murdered by a third party.
It was very likely that anything truly interesting would be hidden in the block of cipher. Alas, all your initial attempts to break it were met with failure - it was clearly a bit more complex than the simple substitution kind you’ve been hoping for.

>[Fate Point] I’ve come this far, I can’t give up now. Think!
>Book of lies, I have a specific question about Jarad. Do you have an answer?
>It’s a fight I’ll win another day. I can draw enough conclusions from this already, let’s move on to the old duke.
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>>5138842
We should regain our Fate Points upon resting yes?

If so, then it may be worth using it here. On the other hand, it may be worth preserving the Fate Point in case we are intercepted upon our return to the castle by Mercer or the Duke. Either for lying or for a fight.

After all, we should be able to return to this entry later in we preserve possession of the books, or we can ask specific questions.

I think Halligan is our next suspect after Mercer, though Mercer's books are still worth investigating as they seem to be a treasure trove of info.

>Book of lies, I have a specific question about Jarad. Do you have an answer? Are there any specifics on Jarad's and Halligan's connection or for that matter any specifics on how Mercer knows Halligan is connected to the three points of the triangle relationship?
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>>5138842
>[Fate Point] I’ve come this far, I can’t give up now. Think!
>Book of lies, I have a specific question about Jarad. Do you have an answer? How much time elapsed between Jarad's last private meeting with Halligan and his demise?

Fortune favors the bold - or in Lynestra's case, the stupid. We can get fate points when our flaws make our life more difficult, so we should be able to net at least one if it comes down to a sweaty lethal confrontation, though I seriously doubt it will.

As for what we've learned so far, I'm curious about just one thing. Even though it wouldn't mean anything on its own, it would be incredibly sus if Jarad decided to go through with his big ritual shortly after one of his regular Grindr hookups with Halligan.
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>>5138842
>[Fate Point] I’ve come this far, I can’t give up now. Think!
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>>5138842
>>[Fate Point] I’ve come this far, I can’t give up now. Think!
>>
Rolled 2, 2, 5, 1 = 10 (4d6)

Will hitting your head help?
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>>5140383
No. Only alcohol can.
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>>5140383
>>
You stared down the endless string of letters and numbers until they’ve started floating before your eyes and blending with each other, yet still refusing to give up whatever method guided this chaos. Barely audibly growling, you’ve raised your hand and slammed your palm into your forehead. The clarity still refused to come - and also, now your forehead hurt. You couldn’t solve this riddle right now - not here, without a comfortable chair, a light and a large supply of ink and parchment to test out different theories. You’ve briefly glanced over the ruined hut - and then shook your head. Even if Angus wished to provide you with what you needed, he almost definitely didn’t have it.

The only thing that you could do now was try and figure out what you could from what Mercer was kind enough to write outside of the cipher. It was clear that he believed that Halligan and Jarad shared some sort of connection - but what sort of connection was it? You narrowed your eyes, as you tried to spot as many instances of “Halligan” or “H.” as you could - and indeed, there were many. Almost every time Nagaz or Church came to visit, Halligan was mentioned as having had a chat with them - what were the contents of those chats, Mercer never mentioned, which suggested that Mercer either did not know, or it was so blindlingly obvious to him, he didn’t feel the need to put it into writing - after all, it was important to remember that Mercer was keeping those notes not for you to discover, not even for a spy network, but purely for himself.
You momentarily abandoned reading this particular chapter of Mercer’s ramblings and quickly flipped through the pages - was there a Jonas Halligan chapter that could shed a little bit more light on his role in the events? No, you discovered a few moments later, and were a bit surprised by the notion. Mercer even kept notes on the Stormpike clan and the Frostwolves orcs that battled it out in the Alterac Valley - mostly their troop numbers - but he did not consider Halligan to need his own section. It was strange, and it bothered you immensely - that was not how you would behave, if you were in his shoes, but perhaps it made sense somehow.
>>
After flipping the pages back to Jarad, you once again began looking into various times Halligan popped up - only to discover a few times where sir Egmund did provide you with some bits of information. First of all, there was one time when Jarad was out of town, but Church still came to visit - and he seemed to seek out Halligan specifically. Once again, Mercer was frustrated enough to put his grievances into writing: “Fucking traitor!”. It was quite easy to guess both who Halligan was supposedly betrating, and for whom - it was beginning to look like Halligan was the Shadow Council’s very own t…
“FUCKING FALCONCREST!”, you could almost hear Egmund growl, as you’ve spotted another outburst of rage on the page’s side. It seemed to relate to another one of Church’s visit, this time with Lerent of all people - and this time the entirety of the duke’s council dined together, discussing “5-7 new shadow cunts”. So Jarad - and possibly the others - lobbied for the expanded presence of the Argus Wake in Strahnbrad? And apparently, Mercer blamed lord Falconcrest for it - which made sense, if Lerent and Church were involved, they were probably there to represent him, as well as the Shadow Council. Obviously, it did not end up happening - to your knowledge, you were the only representative of the Argus Wake in the young duke’s domain. Even if there could be some others - outside of Strahnbrad, in one of those smaller villages in his fief - one would expect one of them receive a promotion, instead of you ending up with the job after quite literally falling into it by pure accident. Still, it was interesting, and very well shed some light on how Mercer believed Halligan to be connected to the two warlocks from the Falconcrest’s half of the kingdom. As far as he was concerned, Falconcrest and the Shadow Council were plotting to take over the duchy together - and Halligan and Jarad were their voices.

Could have sir Egmund murdered Jarad to prevent the takeover, or to send a message? Possibly. But as far the other suspects went… Could anyone else with their fingers in that pie kill Jarad over a disagreement about how the power should be divided? Quite possibly. You took another look at what should have been Jarad’s last days - a meeting with Halligan about four days earlier. No details.

With all this newfound information…

>I’m starting to think it could actually be Mercer.
>I knew Halligan had to be involved in something.
>I did ponder that Church has his own agenda…
>Falconcrest or Shadow Council. One of the two. He overstepped his bounds and paid the price.
>There’s all sorts of motives, yet still no evidence that Jarad’s cause of death was anything but his incompetence.
>I don’t know what to think anymore.
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>>5140462
>I knew Halligan had to be involved in something.

I don't think it is Mercer. Now, to be fair, him being mad at Falconcrest or Halligan doesn't mean he isn't part of the Shadow Council, he could just be mad at their faction and mad that his faction is losing ground internally, but I doubt it. It is still possible he killed Jarad, but at the very least I don't think he is a great fan of the Shadow Council, regardless of his budding demonology interest.

It could be Church, but despite his sleaziness and how little we know about him I'm inclined to take him at his word that he and Jarad were friends. I don't think he would try and lie to us in anticipation that we would suddenly take an interest in Jarad's death and seek to expose the truth without any sort of ulterior angle.

Halligan may have been chummy with Jarad, and depending on how genuine their friendship was the mere timing of his death may not be enough to determine that Halligan wanted a bigger slice of the "pie" but we should at least investigate him considering Jarad's recent meeting with Halligan.

Also...
>Is there anything about the Wildhammers in his diary?
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>>5140462
>I’m starting to think it could actually be Mercer.

We're not in front of the duke making an accusation right now, so speculation is still okay. With this new information, the case against Mercer becomes rather compelling.

Not only did Mercer have the most to gain from Jarad's murder, but Jarad's continued existence was a threat to the status quo he wants to uphold. Together with Church and Halligan, it seems the three have been working diligently to expand the influence of the Shadow Council in Alterac (the two of them are likely in it for themselves, an important though not immediately relevant fact).

From what we've read of Jarad and seen in his grimoire, he was industrious, intelligent, powerful, and had deep connections with the Shadow Council. He was their main man in Strahnbrad, and eliminating him cleanly would deal a harsh blow to the organization on top of throwing a wrench into Falconcrest's plans. Not enough to stop them, obviously, but it would take time to replace a man like that. Time enough for Mercer to clean up some of Jarad's influence and prepare for the replacement.

I could write a novella on why I think Mercer has a strong reason for wanting to summon demons, or why Lynestra's got put on the fast track to the Wake's inner circle, but I think I'll hold off on that for a while.
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>>5140462
>>I did ponder that Church has his own agenda…
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>>5140462
>There’s all sorts of motives, yet still no evidence that Jarad’s cause of death was anything but his incompetence.
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>>5140462
>There’s all sorts of motives, yet still no evidence that Jarad’s cause of death was anything but his incompetence.
The lack of solid evidence or red herring despite all the work and leads we chased makes me think that it was simply bad luck and incompetence.
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>>5140462
I'll switch to support >>5140599 as you've convinced me after I did a closer reading of the recent story posts.

>>5140980
I wouldn't give up on Mercer yet. Certainly the stuff we just read at least gives Mercer a motive, and if I understand that the implication of us having to use a fate point to try again correctly then we have failed to properly decipher or analysis the Jarad section entirely. There isn't so much a lack of evidence per se as that we just plain failed the roll twice.
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>>5141123
The mind palace rolls relate to understanding the cipher. How you interpret all other evidence is up to you, not the dice.

On the side note, this is something I considered before. Do you think this quest needs a glossary of characters and maybe even terms? If so, what kind of information would you want there?
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>>5141132
Ah, yes, I understand, I'm just tired. I meant to type "failed to properly decipher the cipher or analysis the Jarad section entirely".

I think a glossary of characters would be good, I personally don't have trouble keeping track of who is who but then again I've reread each thread multiple times. For other anons it would be good, and while I can remember who is who, I certainly have started to forget relevant details of any number of things besides names in the wait between threads.

Regarding what information should be there, I think any information that makes WoW a unique fantasy setting or is different from the norm should probably get an entry. Important bits of history specific to Lynestra's past or Blood Elf history or the history of Lordaeron (the continent not the country) or the recent wars should probably be included. Maybe relevant stuff regarding cosmology, magic, technology, organizations too. I could go on and on.

The point is not that you need to explain everything about WoW, the point to to explain terms that are relevant to this quest, Lynestra and her current situation. That probably means that in the character section you might want to include aspects of our relationship to said characters, what Lynestra has observed about them and any relevant plot points we may have forgotten involving them. So, we've done a lot of character exploration regarding her past, defining the terms involved in that may help. Terms relevant to Alterac may help, as well as stuff related to Warlocks or the Shadow Council. Stuff that would help new players interested in your quest get familiar more quickly.

A big part of why I did my initial wikia dive and infodump back in the first thread was because I didn't understand a lot of the terms or know what was going on and a lot of the stuff from Warcraft 3 no longer felt familiar to me nor came to my memory easily.





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