The Iron Lion
Carith Halfien is, and perhaps, will forever be known as a soldier of the Alliance. Her loyalty to Stormwind is unquestionable, as well as her stalwart diligence to the cause of the First Regiment of the Stormwind Army. Known for her strength and prowess as a warrior, she has become a staple of the military history and is known, even in the ranks of the Horde, as a ferocious adversary.
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 Early Life: Hearthglen
- 4 Fleeing Hearthglen
- 5 The Pit
- 6 The Lion's Call
- 7 Vendetta: The Cult of Ner'zhul
- 8 Death and Vengence
- 9 A Soldier Once More
- 10 The Pandarian Front
- 11 A Monster in Soldier's Armor
- 12 Back to the Frozen North: Old Wounds Do Not Heal
- 13 The Iron Lion
- 14 Warlord
- 15 Broken
- 16 Reforged
- 17 Juggernaut
In no sense of the word is Carith beautiful. At some point, perhaps she was at least homely, but certainly such times have past. When asked to describe her, many simply note her scars. From head to heel, she is covered in them, along with bruises and the remnants of old wounds. Her square, strongly-lined face is crisscrossed quite dramatically with deep scar tissue. Her ever calculating, hazel eyes too, are accented by scars running from brow bone to cheek, narrowly missing them. Most notable of these scars are those of words that seemed to be carved into her flesh with a wicked blade. When stared at long enough this horrific etching reads, "The Cult of Ner'zhul."
Carith is short for her strength, but no less imposing. The pure, rock-hard muscle that makes up her bulky appearance is truly a feat for someone of her age. Though fuller of chest than one might expect with such muscle, her body shape is, more often than not, swathed in armor. Her posture is absolute in a soldier's straightness, which makes her seem slightly taller than she actually is. Likewise, her short-cropped hair is immaculately kept at a suitable, though crudely shaped, military-issue cut. Though deep brown in her youth, her hair has since become tipped with white and laced with gray. Pieces of her ears are missing, as well as a good many burn scars around her neck and back.
As for body adornments, Carith sports two Alliance-themed tattoos. One, an Alliance sigil, rests on her right shoulder blade. Her right arm is likewise covered in an intricate sleeve depicting soldiers in pitched combat with demons, Horde soldiers, and scourge. On her left arm, another sleeve of delicately intwining threads are inked in simple black, following in the Vry'kul style. All of Carith's tattoos, though hidden by her armor, are rumored to be enchanted, and blaze gold when soaked in the blood of battle.
Carith's armor is meticulously kept, both in uniform and her more preferred, heavy juggernaut plate. Her Alliance uniform shines with dutiful care, even if it looks worn from sheer overuse. Her heavy plate, on the other hand, seems hand forged and lovingly made. Its many spikes are sharpened to deadly points and could clearly impale an unaware foe. Her swords are also impeccably sharpened, oiled, and honed. The heavy instruments of death are large and look quite heavy, but the warrior is known to wield them with incredible and frightening grace. To witness her in battle is said to be both horrible and disturbingly beautiful.
Carith Halfien is a simple soul. She has a big heart, but one guarded by armor too thick for many to get through. Emotions come hard to her and if they do, she is often utterly confused by them. What she best understands is rage, anger, and loyalty. Unwavering in courage, and perhaps a bit of recklessness, she faces all challenges with a can-do attitude. If she can't get it done, she'll figure out a way to get it done. Incredibly disciplined, it takes a lot to break Carith. Though many have tried, it's only seemed to make her stronger.
Carith has made many friends over her long years as a soldier. She is loyal and trustworthy to all of them, even unto death. Due to both her mother's severity and her simplistic life, Cari has a natural mistrust towards those of the nobility. She frowns upon women who cannot fight for themselves and those who are vain rather than strong.
Obedience comes naturally to this warrior, but that does not mean she is some brainless thug. She has a quick mind, especially when it comes to military strategy and can be relied upon to think of solutions in even the most dire situation.
Braver than a lion, stronger than a bear, and fiercer than a wolf, it could be said that Carith is more animal than human, but a firm grasp on reality gives her a distinctly human way of thinking. She just simply never gives up.
Early Life: Hearthglen
Daughter to Gydfred and Marlena Halfien, Carith was born five years after her elder brother, Sardriel. The family owned a small, cozy home within the walls of Hearthglen in Lordaeron, where her father was a part of Tirion Fordring's defense of the city. As a paladin, Carith's father hoped that both his son and daughter might follow the path of the Light and trained both equally in arms. Her father liked to joke that moments after being born, Carith only stopped crying when her father put his sword down to hold her. Her brother followed in his father's footsteps as a paladin, taking an affinity to using the Light and fighting with it. Though Carith, try as hard as she might, could not harness this power. Frustrated with her failure, she turned to training day and night in the practice of sword and shield, dual weapons and physical fitness.
Carith's mother a small, though cruel woman, disliked that her only daughter was being trained to fight. Her constant attempts to restrain her daughter within the walls of their home and teach her to be a noblewoman failed, miserably-- often times with Carith fleeing for days or more until her father could coax her to return. She spent many years avoiding her mother's influence, instead making friends among her brother's fellow Paladins, and the soldiers that defended the city. Though Tirion Fordring was exiled, her father remained at Hearthglen serving under Barthalias. Years later, the rumors of the Scourge and Plague became truth as they infected Lordaeron.
Now into her early teens, Carith had grown into a remarkable young woman. She had trained herself to the peak of physical fitness and was a match for any of her father's men, paladin or no. Close to her brother, they often sparred in the training yard, drawing crowds to watch their endless dance. When the Plague reached Hearthglen via grain shipment, Carith, her brother, and their father were luckily, unaffected. However, the two children were both forever scarred as Prince Arthas slew friends and loved ones to protect the town from the Plague. As the Scourge marched toward Hearthglen, Gydfred Halfien made the decision to send his children south-- away from the undead hordes.
As they prepared to leave, Carith's mother, Marlena, grew near inconsolable. Surprised by the sudden affection from her otherwise distant mother, Carith decided to indulge her mother's wishes and put on a dress she had been given on her sixteenth birthday. Her father and brother, attending to the dire threat of the scourge as they closed in, had promised to return that evening. Carith found the pink and frilly costume stuffed beneath her bed, and in putting it on, went downstairs to find her mother.
Not finding her in the upstairs of the home, she checked downstairs as well. With her mother nowhere to be found, and feeling more than a little uncomfortable in the dress, Carith turned to hide the hideous thing under her bed forever, but suddenly heard a voice from the basement of their home. Following the voice, she recognized it as her mother's... but it was twisted, echoing with more than her usual malice. Stepping down into the basement, Carith's eyes soon fell upon the source of the chanting.
Her father, still dressed in his bright Paladin garb, lay crumpled in a heap in the corner, a growing pool of blood seeping from him. In the center of the room, her brother lay chained by corrupt magics, her mother chanting over him with a cursed blade in her palms. Before Carith could react, Marlena stabbed the blade downward into her brother's chest and twisted it until he moved no more. In more than shock, Carith gripped her father's blade, which she found leaned against the wall. She prepared to strike, already feeling red seep into her gaze, and the rage build within her chest. When she saw her father begin to move-- his arms reaching out unnaturally towards her, she knew something was horribly wrong. Her brother too, began to move, both of them with cold, blue eyes. Marlena gazed upon Carith with contempt and triumph at raising the undead knights. It was the last thing Carith remembers of that night.
When at last she woke, Carith found herself covered in blood and manacled. Making a mental check, she found that it wasn't her blood at all. Around her, she saw other prisoners-- some she recognized from Hearthglen, but others were foreign to her-- Peoples and races of all different types. Each day two prisoners would be dragged off by hooded men reeking of death magic. They never returned.
Rudely jostled awake by the hooded cultists, Carith was ripped from the room. Along with her, another young man she knew as one of her brother's Paladin friends. They were brought into a wide circular room with rising tiers, where other hooded cultists stood in silence. The floor was engraved with deep grooves and runes, clearly a summoning circle of some kind. Tossed onto it, Carith could smell the blood that seeped into the grooves. Before she could even stand, a man began to speak, telling the two prisoners that they must fight to the death, or die together.
Casting a glance at her would-be opponent, they both silently agreed to die together. They wouldn't be pawns of cultists scum. Carith spit on the ground. That was when she felt it-- pure, unrestrained agony. She convulsed, feeling dark magics fuel her rage against her will. She saw red.
When at last the agony released her, Carith saw the young man being dragged away, his blood spilling into the grooves. filling the runes and their dark magics with power. She looked at her own hands, once more dripping with blood that was not her own. The cultists seemed pleased with her, especially the one who had initiated the fight. He carted her off into a singular, stone cell and chained her there.
Weeks, months... Carith lost all sense of time. Each day she would be brought forth to fight, each day the same agony would overwhelm her. She realized they were using her rage and her opponents fear to fuel their vile rituals. Each day she would watch whoever the poor soul was-- whether orc, troll, human-- be dragged away as their blood filled the runes.
Just as Carith thought she could bear it no longer, there came the rushing sound of plated boots against stone. She heard shouting, saw cultists running past her cell, their robes all but forgotten. She clung to the bars of her cage until a shining vision danced before her-- A man, garbed in silver, blue, and gold reached out his hand, the Alliance lion emblazoned upon his chest. She was saved.
The Lion's Call
It took many months for Carith to find even a semblance of normalcy. Her physical wounds, although extensive, paled in comparison to those that she harbored within her mind and soul. After being rescued from the cultists, the soldiers took her and the other surviving prisoners to Stormwind to be cared for.
Once deemed well enough to walk, Carith began to wander the city, marveling at its beauty. She met many different kinds of people and made friends among the shop keeps and tavern owners. She frequented the Pig n' Whistle where she befriended Reese Langston, the barkeep there. Whether he felt sorry for the girl or simply enjoyed her companionship, he allowed her to stay there free of charge as she gained her feet. The two would strike up a fast friendship over their mutual love of ale, one that lasts to this day. Carith fell in love with Stormwind and made the place her home. She began to work at the docks to keep herself busy and returned to a strict exercise regimen.
It wasn't long until she found herself in love with a man. Still young, she nearly married him, but caught him in bed with another woman. Fueled with pain and the unhealed wounds of her past, she beat him within an inch of his life and left him for dead. From then on, she loved no one but her blades and her city.
At twenty-one, she became part of a mission to Redridge, bringing building
supplies and medical assistance to the King's men based there. She had heard rumors of these soldiers-- They were the best, the strongest, and the most disciplined. An elite fighting force, led by a mysterious noble who filled his ranks with only the greatest of men. It was not until she wandered into town that she realized just how great the First Regiment was.
Shy of herself and unsure, it took Carith two days to build up the courage to speak with a recruitment officer. The man was kind, though, and put her at ease. Claumn McBride welcomed her into the ranks of the Regiment. Nothing was ever the same.
Vendetta: The Cult of Ner'zhul
The first deployment Carith Halfien was allowed on took her to the nearby province of Duskwood. In the time between her acceptance into the First Regiment, she had risen through the ranks to Corporal and continued to impress her officers with her undying loyalty and determination. In the few times she had met the then, Field-Marshal Maxen Montclair, she had been awed by his leadership and attracted by his compassion. It was not until she found herself in conflict with the evils of her past would she realize just how much the Regiment meant to her.
Still a young and inexperienced soldier, Carith Halfien found herself ambushed during a patrol of Duskwood with her fellow soldiers. The cultists who attacked her group spirited her away to a nearby crypt, where she was tortured for information. She recognized their robes and the stench of their evil magics. A demon by the name of Hal'desh led them now, and took it upon himself to personally carve the Cult's name into her torso with a cursed, burning knife. One of the torturers lost himself in rage and severed Carith's jaw from her mouth, letting it dangle by a thread. The torturers sowed it back on and healed it with dark, painful magic-- if only to keep her alive to torture her further.
Nearly broken by their torture and their knowledge of her already horrific path, it was a miracle Carith retained any sensitive information from their cruel hands. Inches from death, she was dumped in an abandoned shack and left to die. Here, the Lord-Marshal Maxen Montclair found her. She remembered only being carried by him back to Duskwood, where the healers attempted to alleviate the severe wounds she had suffered, and those that arose with renewed trauma.
From that day forth, Carith knew the name of the evil that was responsible for her mother's corruption and her subsequent torture when she was a teenager. Their name was carved into her flesh. The Cult of Ner'zhul. She hunted and fought them at any opportunity. Even when she left the Regiment for a time to pursue news of her brother, turned Death Knight in Northrend, she killed many in the battle of Darrow Hill, and hunted cultists across the ice in Icecrown. She found her brother, indeed turned death knight, but free of the Lich's grasp. He died defending her from a frostwyrm reanimated by the cultists. She would mourn her brother deeply, but Carith is not one to wallow in despair. She returned to Stormwind and re-enlisted to fight until the pain went away.
She fought for the Regiment everywhere, even traveling to Kalimdor. There, she fought off an ambush by cultists, as well as the sea monsters that attacked their boats during the passage. When they landed on the shores of Thousand Needles, she fought for the lives of her comrades in single combat-- against the hostile Centaur's chief. She held her ground and defeated the chief, earning the title of Humtaur (Human-Centaur) from the now accepting tribe.
She was one of the first knighted by Lord-Marshal Maxen Montclair into the Brotherhood of the Horse -- but Carith was not one for a noble life. Though she was deeply honored by this title, she never truly accepted her knighthood. She was never called Dame and preferred to remain among her men, hot-headed and loyal as always.
After the Regiment's deployment to Kalimdor, Carith remained in Westbrook Garrison as a Sergeant-- training new recruits and filling the First Regiment with soldiers. One day, she was tricked by cultists to believe that one of her recruits was drowning in a nearby river. There, the cultists ambushed her and stole her away for the last and final time.
Death and Vengence
Carith woke once more in the clutches of the Cult of Ner'zhul, now named the Eyes of Old and led by a female warlock, Dalavesta. She, along with a young priest, were made the entertainment of the evening. They were bound, gagged and tortured, only to be brought to a final crescendo of cruelty. The priest was forced to kneel beneath the archway of the old abandoned church in Deadwind Pass and Carith was forced to stand atop the weak man's shoulders with a noose around her neck. The cultists shot the priest and shattered his kneecap, but he refused to falter-- should he hang the woman who's life depended on his strength.
In a final burst of energy, Carith Halfien could no longer watch them torture the priest. She twisted his neck with her knees-- giving him the mercy of a swift and painless death. The noose pulled taught. A roar-- one some say echoed to Stormwind-- shook the earth as she was strangled by her own weight. With a last rush of energy, she kicked Dalavesta in the face, leaving a deep gouge. As the darkness closed in around her, she only thought of all those she had failed.
Soldiers of the First arrived only moments after the Cultists had fled, but never would they forget the horrific scene. Carith's body was made a mockery of, forced into a blood-stained dress and draped upon the altar of the church.
Little did she, or anyone know, that another evil from her past lingered. The original cultist who had forced Carith to fight in the Pit lingered during the execution, carefully pulling the warrior's soul from her body as she died and stealing her mutilated body. Seeking to create himself a human weapon of destruction, he tortured her soul in a cave in the Blasted Lands. This is where Carith at last awoke, her spirit near torn asunder. Believing her spirit subdued, the powerful cultist placed it back within her body, now healed and kept stable with his twisted magics. Carith played along only long enough to wrap her hands around his neck. With her bare hands, she broke every single bone in his body, one by one. When at last she was satisfied with his agony, she ripped his throat out and left him to bleed.
Weak and mentally unstable, she wandered back through Deadwind Pass and into Duskwood, where the Night's Watch found her. She healed in Duskwood in the inn and before long, returned to Stormwind, a ghost among the city she once loved so dearly.
She still found an old friend -- Aliaes Lamente, who grew to be her brother in everything but blood. The two were inseparable, and though Aliaes left Stormwind to pursue a military career elsewhere, the two remain fast friends. He returned her to the old Carith, some would say. He gave her the will to fight again.
A Soldier Once More
It took some time for Carith to return to daily life. Many of her friends and comrades had died in Northrend or on a recent campaign in Kalimdor, leaving her return all the more painful. She sought solace in taking a trip to the content, half in bloodlust and half to find the bones of her fallen comrades. She grew as a soldier, and as a person. She found compassion where once was only rage and tempered her loyalty with thought. When she returned to Stormwind, she at last found the courage to seek Maxen Montclair out once more. It had been years since the two had seen each other, but it was if nothing had changed-- except, of course, Carith's realization that if there was anyone she had loved more than her swords, it was the Marshal himself.
She divulged such information to the Lord-Marshal, only to realize the truth of their situation. Him, a lord, and she, only a soldier, would never come to pass. Likewise, she knew from all of the torment she had gone through that she could never produce and heir to his lands. Though she could not be with the Lord-Marshal, she devoted her life to his cause and protection. Ever loyal and obedient, her love for the Lord and her love for Stormwind grew to be one and the same. She was a constant patroller of the streets, a recruiter for the army, and the bane of many a criminal. Her connections throughout the city grew and her friends grew more numerous by the day. She protected all and trained many apprentices in fighting and soldiering.
Though older now, Carith retained her strength and fighting abilities. She trained each day-- waking at the break of dawn for a jog around the city, swimming in the harbor, and sparring whenever she got the chance. For once, Carith was content with her life. If only Azeroth would allow her a moments peace.
The Pandarian Front
After suffering a near fatal-concussion in the Northrend campaign with the First Regiment, Carith remained in Stormwind for many months, up-keeping the training of recruits. However, when the call rang out for the best of the best soldiers to fight in the new continent of Pandaria, Carith took the first boat there.
The endless fighting hardened Carith Halfien. She grew more lean and vicious, called, "Fury" by her new Pandarian friends, she relished in the waves of Horde that fell upon her blade. Anger filled her every waking moment-- a fierce, burning anger that swelled within her bones. She killed without remorse or mercy, day and night. Once, out on patrol, she was separated from her group in the Krasarang Wilds. Saved by a wandering Pandaren who recognized her endless rage as the influence of the Sha, she was led to the Valley of the Four Winds. There, she rested and meditated-- working as a farm hand for the Pandaren and learning much of their ways. Fascinated by this land, she traveled to Kun-lai Summit where the challenge of a lifetime awaited her. With nothing more than a few days supplies and a sword at her hip, Carith climbed Mount Neverest. At it's peak, she remained in solitude, learning to control her rage, even in a land as vicious as Pandaria, under the influence of the Sha. Though her control over this part of her would never be as strong as it once was, she descended the mountain relieved of the burden of losing control... or so she thought.
A Monster in Soldier's Armor
Being in the first wave of soldiers sent to Pandaria, Carith returned to once more take up the cause of the First Regiment. She retained her rank of Sergeant, drilling her recruits ruthlessly, as was her custom and renown. She met new friends -- Olendir Fahennia, her fellow Sergeant, and many new soldiers among the ranks of her company. They weathered the winter months in Stormwind and kept the peace-- a new criminal order however, The Blackwolf Company sought to defy that peace. Though there were many scuffles in the streets, nothing major happened for quite some time. In this time, however, Carith learned that Lord Maxen Montclair was courting a newly-made Knight in the Regiment. Though she spoke no ill-will to her friend, a painful spark festered in Carith's heart. To suppress such pain, she became more machine than woman.
One evening, as Sergeant Fahennia and Carith stood watch near the Command Center, the two began a friendly spar. It started easily enough, both exchanging equal and opposite blows-- only something changed. Something snapped. Carith began rampaging against her friend and companion, pummeling into him with all of her power. A blood haze had descended on her. It was not until she was knocked out by Lord Levi Morne and restrained that the haze faded. She woke in the morning with the madness lifted from her, but the shame and guilt ran deep. After years of training and discipline, she had lost control and nearly killed a close friend.
The next evening, true chaos took hold. After responding to a call issued to rescue Sergeant Fahennia from The Blackwolf Company, she was ambushed by the criminal along with many of her men. At one point in the fighting, Carith was launched into a pile of lumber. Thought to be dead, she was left, forgotten. She rose, eyes black with rage, wielding a sword and a splintered piece of lumber. Her rage had broken loose once more.
She jumped back into the fray-- a bristling ball of fury. An armored scorpion attacked her, only to have the beast lose a claw. Ever, she chased after the leader of the Company -- a rogue. She was unstoppable. Even as her fellow soldiers were overwhelmed, she fought on. Only when the whole Company descended on her did she fall to the ground, blackness overtaking her.
When she woke, she was near naked and chained to a rock -- three of the Company surrounding her, asking her her name and rank. She refused. Torture ensued, but to Carith, it was only routine. She retreated deep within herself, as she had trained to do, and felt none of the horrific things done to her. To the torturers, her eyes turned black. She laughed hysterically at them as they stabbed a dagger into her upper thigh, up to it's hilt, and criss crossed her body with more scars. Though her training held, it was only just. Soon, her concentration began to slip and the pain leaked through...
Luckily for Carith, she was rescued by men sent out looking for her after her trusty messenger bird, Tarp, brought back a piece of swampmoss from Dustwallow Marsh, where she was being held. Four heroes returned her to Stormwind and a paladin remained with her for hours, healing her wounds. Though painfully sore and unsettled, Carith survived the ordeal. She swore vengeance upon these criminals and their leader.
Back to the Frozen North: Old Wounds Do Not Heal
The arrival in Northrend was bittersweet for Carith Halfien. Eager for battle against the Horde, her blood sang for a chance to defend Dalaran against their vicious masses. However, a certain heaviness of heart fell upon her shoulders. Now into middle age Carith had survived many things-- one too many, she believed. Each scar that riddled her body reminded her of all those close calls, narrow escapes and luck-filled encounters. Indeed, she believed her luck to be too far stretched to survive fighting endless Horde in open combat beneath the city of Dalaran. As the Regiment marched into Dragonblight and she saw her soldiers freezing, she reigned in her doubts and emboldened her soldiers. She found peace in telling her tales around the fire and reassuring the men.
The Battle of the Bridge
The first of the many battles came not within Dalaran, but in the surrounding area of Grizzly Hills. When the Marshal asked for volunteers-- as other leaders agreed, the fighting would be bloody and the Horde would outnumber them -- Carith and her new found friend Knight-Lieutenant Olendir Fahennia -- volunteered to lead the troops. They made their way to the Amberpine Lodge and met up with the other forces of the Alliance, few in number, but strong in courage. The army first made their way to the beach front where they hoped to intercept the Horde -- only to fall straight into the hands of an ambush. The fighting was bloody and desperate-- the Alliance forces losing near a third of their men in this confrontation alone. When the order to retreat was called, Carith followed orders, making sure to round up the Lieutenant and their men before making for the retreat point-- a small bridge in Northwestern Grizzly Hills.
The Horde, as they attempted to make their way through the Hills to Crystalsong, found themselves on the other side of the bridge opposite the Alliance forces. Spurred on by their bloody victory, they charged the bridge. The front lines of the Alliance defense held strong-- pushing forward onto the bridge to hold it. The water ran red and became choked with Horde corpses. The Alliance claimed the bridge and continued pushing forward-- a frieght train of heroic might. In the fighting, Cari and Len fought back to back. A circle of bodies soon surrounded them. They lost sight of one another as they both plunged into the bloody mists once more-- though Cari found him again, watching in horror as an orc barreled down on him from behind. She lept with all of her strength, catching the axe at the last minute across her chest. Her sword flashed up, streaming with blood. The orc's head fell at her feet. She did not let the Lieutenant out of her sight after that.
At last, the Horde forces broke and scattered under the relentless assault. The Alliance chased them through the hills, up into the once-Troll stronghold Drak'Tharon Keep. The Horde were slaughtered.
Victory was called. The Alliance was victorious.
The Battle of the Crystal Vice
It was not long before the Horde forces were able to recouperate and form again. They began their advance to Crystalsong -- coming from both Dragonblight and Grizzly Hills. The First Platoon was ordered to defend the Crystal vice-- a long, narrow chasm of ice between Crystalsong and Dragonblight. Lieutenant Fahennia, called back to Stormwind to attend to his Regimental duties, was unable to lead the troops. It fell to Carith to hold together the Regiment men and women who came to the fight. She promised to buy them all drinks that evening.
And so the First Platoon waited. The men grew restless. An hour past-- then two. No sign of the Horde force. Some even had the bravado to declare the Horde forces had fled tail back to Garrosh. And then they heard it. A rumble... growing... booming like a giant, beating like the heart of a giant, sleeping beast. Carith felt it in the air. The hatred. The power. The bloodlust. The Horde had come.
A bird flew in to the Commander-- The Second and Third Platoons had fallen. The men of the First Platoon became enraged by grief-- their friends and family slaughtered at the other choke point in Crystalsong. Their cries of rage soon became fear, as more reports came in that it was the entire Horde force coming down on them through the vice. It hit Cari that their was only one reason for this battle tactic-- complete and utter obliteration of the Alliance forces.
Carith gripped her swords tightly and lifted them above her head. In the distance, the drums exploded like thunder upon the ice. Snow fell from the sides of the chasm-- ice shards crashed. The Horde produced a chaos of noise-- deafening, endless...injecting fear into young men's hearts... yet a sound slowly began to rise among the Aliance. A single horn, then another... clear and bright as fresh winter ice. The sound lifted upon the carcophony raised, filling the whole chasm with pure sound. "DEATH!" Carith cried, her voice joining with the war cries of others. "FOR KING. FOR HOME. FOR THE ALLIANCE!" She turned to her Regiment men, raising her swords once more, "Make the snow red, boys!" And charged.
The two sides hit with the force of mountains-- each, unstopple forces, meeting an equal and opposite reaction. The lines held strong. In the center, red and blue swirled while others rushed forward, eager for blood. "FORWARD!" Carith cried as she locked her shield with an elf. His eyes shone bright and hard with killer fury. She shield-bashed his face sending him whirlling to the snow, before slamming a foot down to break his windpipe. She ended him quickly, the snow around him indeed, turning red. With no one to watch her back, Cari took many hits. She soon grew exhausted-- after hours the stalemate still went nowhere.
The rippling banner of the lion raised up over the swirling bodies, flapping in the wind-- the lion was alive, roaring, leaping over foes and ripping them apart. Carith returned to the battle with renewed vigor and slowly the tide of battle began to turn. The Alliance pushed forward. The Horde lines shattered. They ran and the Alliance hunted them into the snow like dogs. The killing was merciless. Some still say the Crystal Vice still echoes with the sounds of dying men. The Alliance won another victory, if one that stained the ice a permanent red.
The Return to Stormwind
Though the battles sated her need for fighting, Carith Halfien found something more in the frozen north: Companionship. After healing the wound she took for him, Olendir Fahennia confessed his feelings for Carith. She mutually responded, in earnest. The two were perfect for one another-- more than just lovers. They would always have each others backs. Both shy to love's feelings, it was not until the two returned to Stormwind that Len formally asked to court. Often times in Northrend, Len proposed a wish for a more peaceful life... And Carith, after years of bloodshed, chaos and running, began to seek for it herself. The two came up for a wish that should they survive their last years of service, they would open a bar together and live the rest of their lives in peace. That wishful dream gave Carith hope, though meager, for her redemption.
Back in Stormwind, the two were constantly torn apart by their duties. Carith, training new recruits to replace all they had lost in Northrend, and Len, dealing with mountains of paperwork. But as often as they were apart, a bond of true trust and understanding grew. For the first time, Carith no longer felt as if she was a monster-- but rather someone who could do something right in the world. And so they fought, loved, and lived.
The Iron Lion
Unfortunately, good times do not last. One evening as she completed her nightly run around Stormwind, a messenger approached her. He simply handed her a scroll and stared at her while she read. Her eyes went wide before her grizzled features twisted to a frown. “No.” She stated. She wouldn’t do it. Not with the dreams she had now. The messenger looked as though he had expected that response. Out of the shadows, four SI:7 units approached.
“You are needed, Sergeant Halfien. Do not make this harder than it needs to be.” The messenger spoke, sounding truly sorry for his actions. Carith tensed, expecting a trick, but none came. “Please, Sergeant. Those men need you.” It took a moment, but Carith realized that the SI:7 agents were not to force her into anything-- but rather, to protect the messenger. She sighed. Her reputation caused more harm than good these days.
She slowly folded the scroll up and handed it back to the messenger. “I’ll do it.” She growled. “On one condition.”
The next morning, she found herself on the swiftest boat to the war-torn content of Pandaria. She had only time to gather her armor and pack. Beneath her armor, she wore a diamond ring. She would forever regret never saying her good-byes.
The condition? Her own men, trained her way.
The 42nd Battalion
Your presence is required in the southern province of Krasarang Wilds, Pandaria immediately. Details concerning your deployment will follow. Make no mistake, your cooperation is of dire importance.....
It took a week for Carith to make her solitary way though hostile territory to the men she was assigned. The Horde, along with the local wildlife, had recently surrounded and ambushed a battalion of five thousand Alliance troops, leaving them with little more than two-thousand. All leadership had been taken down and only a handful of Corporals were holding the chain of command in place. The men were barely surviving the harsh environment, and though a few were seasoned soldiers, the vast majority were still green when it came to real battles.
It took her three weeks to get the men into fighting shape. Another month, and they had won their first battle. One more, and the men were taking out Horde camps, raiding caravans, and making their way home through hell, wounded and all. As the 42nd swept down upon their various enemies, all the soldiers could understand in the harsh tongues that assailed them was the word, “bastards.” They took to the name, calling themselves The Bastard Company to any and all that would listen. Carith herself was known only as the iron-willed leader of the Bastards who brought these beleaguered men home. Out of earshot, the men muttered amongst themselves, naming her “The Iron Lion.” They’re lucky she took to the name fondly. They soon reached the Alliance base in the Karasong Wilds and eager for home, Carith parted with her men. Their loyalty for her, however, would never fade.
Rumors of War
Home at last, Carith wandered Stormwind. She visited her usual haunts, hoping against hope that her old friends had not taken her for dead. It was in the Pig n’ Whistle that she learned of her oldest friend, Aliaes Lamente’s death. Though rumor, she took the blow badly. She wandered the streets aimlessly, dealing with the guilt of her sudden disappearance and the loss of old friends.
At a loss, she stared out across the Stormwind lake, drowning in her thoughts. It was then that she heard familiar, armored steps behind her. She turned, feeling her heart drop. Olendir.
The two spoke at length. Carith, shamed by her guilt could hardly believe his willingness to forgive her. She showed him the diamond ring she had kept beneath her armor always. “I made a promise, Len.” She said, “I will never break it.”
It was later that evening, as Cari drank with strangers in the Pig that a man approached her carrying a scroll. His uniform and insignia displayed that he was, indeed a Marshal. “Carith Halfien?” He asked. “You’ve been requested.” She blinked. Not this again.
Instead of being sent off again, Carith was given a chance to be a drill sergeant for the up and coming division of the Stormwind military named The Seventh Vanguard, placed to lead the attack on Orgrimmar. She took the job without another thought.
Carith lead a detachment of the Seventh Vanguard at the Siege of Orgrimmar. Although she suspected it would be her final battle, she lived and rained fiery bloodlust upon the Horde. In what most would call her greatest battle, she rallied her troops-- along with the men of the Bastard Company that refused to fight under any other commander-- to fight upon the ramparts of the city until no more dare challenge them. She returned with her men, victorious to Stormwind, only to find that they were being shipped out again.... This time, to an entirely different world.
In Draenor, Carith and her men fought relentlessly against the Iron Horde. They established footholds in all seven zones and destroyed all in their path. It was in Nagrand, however, that a small detachment of men, led by Carith herself against the Ogres, were ambushed and forced into the arena. Once more in her element, Carith defeated all the challengers they sent against her until reinforcements could arrive. The Ogres will not soon forget the slaughter that occurred when they did. She established a warcamp permanently in Nagrand and would not rest until the entire Iron Horde was eradicated... That is, until an old friend reached out to her in earnest.
Sir Ismond Laldere called upon Carith to return to the First Regiment... and when the Lion calls, she answered. Leaving her men to hold her seat in Draenor, she returned to Stormwind and donned her uniform in defense of the Alliance.
Still half a savage, and half the old Carith, she returned to Stormwind, leaving her men to defend their position in Nagrand. But the war on Draenor was fading and a new, but familiar evil came forth to threaten all she held dear.
With the discovery of the Broken Isles, Carith had to return to her once regimented self. She donned her silver and blue uniform, working once more with the Regiment to train troops to hold send to the new continent. She found simple monotony an enemy... Unused to city life, it pained her to return to routine. She wallowed in boredom, only escaping through exercise and her own training regimen.
When the call to defend the tomb rang out, and thirsting for demon blood, Carith was among the first to join the multitude of soldiers heading for the Broken Shore. Recalling her men of the 42nd from Draenor, they made their way alongside the lead airship carrying King Varian Wrynn himself, ready to bring glory to the Alliance.
But there was no glory to be found that day.
Once the King's airship crashed, chaos unleashed. Demons choked the air. Demons swarmed from the beaches. Demons crashed through Alliance and Horde lines alike like storm-whipped waves upon sand. Bathed in demon blood, Carith Halfien led her men forward, desperately trying to keep the King's own battalion in sight, but soon the fray was too thick with dead and dying to see much of anything.
Fel-fire rained from the heavens. A fel-bat, screeching with unholy rage raked its talons along Carith's back, ripping through the plate she wore. Falling to her knees, time slowed. She saw her men as they fought and died around her. She watched them die, one by one. Screaming for their mothers, for her, for mercy. The smells of blood and butchery had never bothered her before, but now she retched upon the gore-soaked ground in earnest. Now the blood upon her hands was her own.
An infernal crashed to the ground in front of her, incinerating the last of her men to ash. It bellowed before her in challenge, but she could not stand. Her blades sunk into the ash and though she scrambled for them, their weight was too heavy in her hands. Gazing up upon the infernal, she felt fel-fire blast upon her face, and knew that this was the end.
The first thing Carith felt when she woke was cold. Convinced that she was dead, she looked up into the sky, only to see the stars. She felt cold. Numb. Wet. How could she be dead? "Commander, you're awake." said a strained voice. Looking to her left, she saw a soldier hanging onto the airship debris as they floated on endless, black water. Around him, the water was darker, but he gave her a weak smile. "For the King." Though Carith tried to grab his hands, he drifted away and sunk into the water. She was alone.
When she woke once more, she felt water spewing from her lungs. Sand shifted beneath her, and, suddenly alarmed she was back on the Broken Shore she convulsed, seeing the shades of demons at every turn. Her screams echoed off the high cliffs and in the darkness, she saw a giant form approaching her. The next thing she knew, she was bring carried by giant hands, grunting in a strange language she recognized, but couldn't understand.
What happens next is strange, and fever-tinged. A series of events Carith tries hard to remember, but often fails to recount in words. She was cared for, wounds healed and nursed back to health by an elderly Vry'kul woman. It took many months before she was healed physically and mentally, taking time to combat old and new demons that plagued her thoughts. She soon grew strong enough to venture out into the wilds of a place the old woman called Stormheim.
It wasn't long before Carith Halfien became talk among the settlements-- A weak, humanling being cared for by the old, brain-addled Eyira in her hermitage near the village of Skold-ashil. But as she regained her strength, Carith began to challenge the shield-maidens that lived there. She lost many fights she caused, but soon became quite notorious for being particularly vicious, for a humanling. They called her "the Battleforged", on account of her many scars and the strength she exhibited, even when still wounded.
It wasn't long until Carith's reputation got the better of her, and the old woman Eyira suggested she leave or be killed by those she had angered. Taking only a tiny, Stormwing drake whelp she had befriended, her swords, and a pack of food, set out across Stormheim, venturing from there to Azuna, helping anyone who was in need of a bit of muscle. Eventually, she made her way back to the Eastern Kingdoms and to Stormwind, her home.
When Carith learned of King Varian Wrynn's death, she refused to believe it. It's said she ripped the entire Stormwind training grounds to shreds in rage, but of course, rumors can be rumors. It was also said that she could be found staring at the King's tomb on more than one occasion, unresponsive to all but her closest friends.
Forever changed by her experience at the Broken Shore, it took many months before Carith Halfien wore her armor again. But, as always, the warrior found it hard not to return to the front. Journeying to Argus, she found herself once again in the heat of battle, determined to end the Legion once and for all.
Now, with the united Alliance front moving to strike the final blow, she prepares for what could be her last battle.