t the end of The Lion’s Roar’s office hours Thursday evening (they run from 19 to 21 each Tuesday and Thursday for those wondering) two visitors showed up with a letter. One of them introduced himself as Lonnel Morton, a squire to a Sir Wendell Balfour, I unfortunately did not get the other man’s name. I was in the middle of closing the office and worried about being late to cover a meeting about the upcoming Stormwind Census. In other words, I, was in a bit of a hurry and did not have time to start interrogating the two men. Much to my regret later. The squire and courier proclaimed he had made haste to Stormwind with his master’s letter, and the intent of getting us to publish said letter, he even offered to pay for such. This was the first time my suspicious was raised, if it was of such import as the squire claimed, then there would be no need to pay as it would be news important enough for our readers to know about. The squire went on about it concerning an “insane scandal within the Alliance ranks” and his companion added that it was “quite the saucy number”, a quite strange expression to use concerning a scandal and betrayal within the ranks of the Alliance. A bit too gossipy, and it made me wonder what was really going on. Unfortunately, I was in a rush, I accepted the letter, promised to read it – and potentially publish it – and waved goodbye to the two men and rushed off to my meeting. It was not until later that evening I had a chance to sit down at the Golden Keg with an excellent mug of coffee and a slice of apple pie (with whipped cream of course) and actually go over the contents of the letter.
Contents of the letter: With great sorrow, I have to raise awareness of utmost importance, as our continent stands on the brink of war once more, and not without the help of our long-standing “allies”. A few weeks ago, I witnessed an insane travesty and blatant betrayal from the Wildhammer dwarves, originally from Kirthaven. In Northrend, clan Stormheart made a spineless pact with the trolls of the Horde to betray the high elves of Quel’Danil, who have been on an operation with them as a supportive vanguard. Not only have dwarves deliberately stated that they - and I quote - “brought elves on a slaughter to the trolls”, but they also committed various assaults themselves, lacking not only the spine but also strength, as they failed utterly. Hear me now, Kingdoms of the Alliance, and remember that such treachery only divides our unity and gives way to the Horde. In peace, we have to prepare for war, and it is looming over the horizon as you read this. Signed, Sir Wendell Balfour Knight of Stormwind
As I turned the letter over in my hands, pondering the contents i noticed the letter had no sigils or wax seals which struck me as strange, a Knight of Stormwind would have a signet ring, and would surely have used it for such important correspondence. Another reason for suspicion. And again, not the last. At the Lion’s Roar we don’t just publish things without looking into it, and feeling somewhat sure that we aren’t taking part in smear campaigns or other manipulative tricks, so the next morning I set out to find out more about this Sir Wendell Balfour, see if anyone knew of past quarrels between him and Clan Stormheart, of it the man was a pillar of integrity and trustworthiness. Alas, this proved quite a task. I started in the keep library, with the promise of securing the head librarian with one of the new pens out of Tinkertown with an internal ink cartridge I managed to convince him and his staff to dig deep in the annals. Knighthoods bestowed, family crests, military records, and everything in between. But all for naught. No record of the man could be found, I even asked a few nobles and knights, but they all gave negative replies, no one heard of the man. Suspicious couriers, no seal on the letter, and apparently the man did not exist, or if he did, then not as a knight in Stormwind. Curiouser and curiouser. I was starting to think someone was playing a prank on me by this point, but still, it seemed like a lot of work just to see me run around like a madman trying to solve this little puzzle, but as I was discussing the case with a friend (who shall remain nameless, they are not fond of publicity) they said that “If he does not seem to exist, maybe he is dead?” – that of course makes little sense unless you are an Ebon, but I still decided to check it out. At the Argent Tournament Grounds in Icecrown one can visit the final resting place of Sir Wendell. His grave is there, according to records. Alright, so the dead man clearly did not write the letter, and this led to a dead end – pun intended. It was time to look into the content of the letter. The betrayal. As luck would have it, Clan Stormheart are – this very weekend – hosting The Annual (sometimes more than annual) Highland Games. A series of competitions between representants of the three major dwarven clans (Bronzebeard, Wildhammer and Dark Iron). Sometimes gnomes participate as well – also being from Khaz Modan. Anyway, next stop, Twillight Highlands. The Wildhammer dwarves greeted me with great hospitality (and later alcohol) and I found myself enjoying the games while I waited for a socially acceptable opportunity to ask about the contents of the letter, and the claim that Clan Stormheart had betrayed the alliance on a recent mission. I found myself shouting “Thumper! Thumper!” as clan after clan failed at emptying the huge drinking horn made from a massive ram (named Thumper!). I was laughing along with the rest as dwarves tried to roll barrels down a hill while standing on them and found myself impressed at the teamwork and prowess displayed in the game of tug-o-war. There is a whole cultural reasoning for the games, trials from a keeper, bonding across clans and much more. But honestly? It was just good fun and despite banter and light-hearted insults then everyone seemed to enjoy themselves. After hours of distraction, I finally managed to ask about the letter and the accusation of betrayal. H.Lester: I got a letter by messenger a few nights ago. Claims Clan Stormheart made a deal with trolls on a recent campaign? I assume it is all nonsense of course, and someone is just looking to stir up trouble Khuzan Hornbellow: That was done by a lass whom we -trusted-, but she -betrayed- that trust and was cast out for it. H.Lester: Oh? So something like that did happen? Grongul Stormheart: She be worse en Trolls te us nae. Khuzan Hornbellow: It did. And it was not Stormheart who made a deal, 'twas a misguided lass who couldnae see right from wrong. H.Lester: This woman have a name? Khuzan Hornbellow: She does... And she is here. I shall not speak her name, but what -others- might say however... I shallnae hamper. H.Lester: Understood, I respect that, the important part is that is was not Clan Stormheart? Khuzan Hornbellow: Hrghm... It wasnae, on me honour. Grongul Stormheart: whos yer source big lad? A'll feed em te mi Gryphon H.Lester: A courier, who claims he came from Sir Wendell Balfour Grongul Stormheart: Nae a name a recognise H.Lester: No one does.. which is what made me decide to look into it before printing anything Grongul Stormheart: A appreciate tha H.Lester: Far too many people trying to use the paper to stir up trouble. I try to weed out the most of it. Grongul Stormheart: Ef ye find oot who et were ad appreciate ye passin et ye us. A'll feed em mi hammer heads H.Lester: While I can't condone such violence, then I find it fair you get the name if I find the person And that was the end of it. After the conversation me and two dwarven gents slinked down into the basement of a large hovel and had a taste of something called “Galewind Whiski” – while talking about large rams, horns, and the tradition of the Highland Games. If you have not yet visited, then consider giving it a visit, the games ends tonight so you can still see the conclusion of this years Highland Games - or at least the spring edition. It is held in Kirthaven in the Twillight Highlands. So where does it leave us? I do not know. I feel confident Clan Stormheart did not betray anyone as a whole, but seems someone in their ranks did and was cast out for it. Did the dead knight get it wrong? Or did someone use half-truths to spin a lie, and if so, what was the goal? To sow turmoil and dissent within the Alliance? Was it horde operatives? And if so, was it sanctioned by the horde leaders? I have no answers, if I get some, I’ll let you know.