Update from August 25:
As of today, the German version of the WoW novel Rise of the Shadows is finally available.
- Amazon: Softcover, for 15,00 Euro
- Amazon: Kindle version for 11,99 Euro
A German reading sample for the novel can be found in the original announcement.
Original news from July 28:
What's next for the Horde and Alliance? Will the peace that both factions made at the end of Battle for Azeroth hold? What is the Banshee Queen up to after her escape? And how did the death loa Bwonsamdi end up on her death list? The story of BfA leaves many unanswered questions and several months will pass until the release of WoW Shadowlands. If you want to bridge this annoying waiting period in a meaningful way, you can do so with the new WoW novel Rise of the Shadows. In this book, author Madeleine Roux links the turbulent end of Batlle for Azeroth and the beginning of WoW Shadowlands. The novel will be published in German on August 25. At Amazon you can find the original version in English for Kindle, among others. I hr can also pre-order the German book edition at Panini.
Are you as excited about WoW (buy now 14,99 € ) Shadowlands as we are? Here is the first reading sample from the German version of the novel Rise of the Shadows.
WoW: First German reading sample from the novel Rise of the Shadows (1)
Anduin Wrynn rode as if a thousand howling servants of the Void were breathing down his neck. Thunder rumbled in the sky above him, and beneath him the hooves of his horse drummed hard on the ground as it carried him across the wounded plains of Westfall. There was no one behind him except his loyal friend, the master spy, but that was unimportant. The darkness was licking at his heels, and he would do anything to keep it from catching up with him. At least for the moment. At least for a moment. "Sire! Sire! Damn, my horse is about to lose a horseshoe!" Mathias Shaw's voice drowned out the rumbling in the sky and the noise of the horses. Anduin ignored him and clicked his tongue to urge Andacht on even further. Faster, faster and faster. He couldn't lose speed, no matter what the cause. In the distance, a tower of debris and energy rose like a crystalline thorn from the rolling hills of pastureland. Anduin could not take his eyes off of it as the clouds gathered and rolled closer, bathing the land in their shadows. He remembered, once upon a time, he had thought it impossible that Westfall could change so dramatically, but then the cataclysm had raged here, and he had paid no heed to a young man's nostalgia. Now his childhood - 12 the memories he carried in his heart - appeared to him in a completely different light. He had been an innocent boy then, but by now he was sharpened like a blade. That innocent boy had believed that some things would never change; now he knew how childish such notions were. Nothing lasted forever. Any city could crumble, but at the same time any enemy could become an ally, even a friend. Cynicism, after all, held no more wisdom than optimism.
"Sire!" Now he gave in and gently pulled on Andacht's reins. The graceful white horse slowed to a gentle gallop, allowing the master spy to catch up and keep pace with Anduin. "Forgive me," Anduin sighed as he brushed back the hair that had fallen sweatily and distractingly in front of his eyes. "That must have been an exhausting ride for your old bones." "You didn't mention this was a race," Shaw grumbled. Despite Anduin's teasing, the older man wasn't even out of breath. Life had left its mark on him, but he was still strong and wily. "Had I known in advance, you'd be swallowing my dust right now, Your Majesty." "Would you?" Anduin turned his horse so that it faced the dense forest of Elwynn, beyond the river behind them. "Let us see ..." "Perhaps you would first like to tell me why you are riding like a man possessed today. You getting thrown off and breaking your royal neck is about the last thing we need right now." Shaw had a gruff manner about him, and his voice was no less harsh; it sounded as rough as if he gargled sawdust every morning. But to Anduin, there was also something comforting about this gruff, direct manner. Most at court bowed and crawled on their knees in the king's presence - Shaw, on the other hand, always said straightforwardly what he thought. The clouds above them were massing, threatening them with a downpour, but Anduin ignored the omens and leapt out of the saddle with the light-footedness of a practiced horseman. Andacht looked restless, tossing his long white mane from side to side as he gnashed his teeth. The king went to the horse's head, took a couple of apple slices from his pocket and held them out to his mount. Ah. The bridle had slipped. The horse nuzzled his warm, soft nose against Anduin's shoulder as he adjusted the bridle, then leaned his forehead against the spot between Andacht's eyes. "You know, when I was very young and just learning to ride, my father took me to the stables and gave me my first pony. A pinto. Gentle. Thirteen hand spans long. And I asked my father why they measured the length of horses in hand spans." The faded memory elicited a thin smile from Anduin. "He just grinned and said he didn't know. Then he went on to ask the stable boy if he knew. But no one could answer the question. I think the stable boy wet himself, he was so embarrassed - the poor fellow was hardly older than I was. Marvin was his name, if I remember right." Shaw was still sitting in the saddle. Now an absent expression suddenly came over his features. "I didn't know that boy."
But Anduin knew Shaw was holding something back.
ContinueReading Certainly he had known Marvin, and something had happened to the boy - died in some war, either by the axe of an orc or the poisoned blade of a Forsaken. Or his house had collapsed during the cataclysm, and the ground had swallowed him up. Anduin suppressed the bitter thought. "I was shocked. My father, the king of Stormwind, had just admitted his ignorance to a servant 14 ago. I then pointed that out to him. And do you know what he said?" Shaw shook his head. "He said, 'Only a fool thinks he's an expert on everything.' The wise man stands by his limitations and tries to learn more." For a moment they were both silent, listening to the storm blowing north over the Dagger Hills, straight toward them. "Serving him was not easy, but it was always a satisfying challenge. You can't say that about all rulers." Anduin screwed up his face. "Ouch." "Oh, serving your crown is satisfying, too, but it's also ... a bit more of a challenge," Shaw replied with the imperceptible hint of a smile. The enigmatic master spy never revealed more feelings. "For example, when you try to dodge a question." "I didn't dodge your question, Shaw. I answered it." Anduin held Andacht's reins loosely with his left hand; with his right, he pointed to the forest and to the towers of Stormwind rising in the hazy distance beyond. "I am well aware of my limitations. Today was ... It was ..." Anduin searched in vain for the right word. Difficult? No, that wasn't enough. Terrible? Depressing? Oppressive. Tyrande and Malfurion had fled to the World Tree, and all his letters to them had gone unanswered. So he had sent a messenger, who had returned that morning - with an unopened letter. The man had trembled, even more so when Anduin told him to travel once more to the World Tree and try again. Anduin sought comfort in the thought that the gulf between humans and night elves could be bridged, 15 but the mere existence of that gulf was enough to discourage him. They should stand united, side by side. But he could not blame them for their resentment. If Stormwind had burned to the ground under their rule, would he be able to forgive them just like that - or at all?
He was not sure. Immediately west of Saldean's farm, a cloud of smoke rose seething into the sky. The accompanying bang might have been mistaken for a clap of thunder had it not been accompanied by the unmistakable sound of splintering wood. And the scream of a man. "What was that?" muttered Anduin. He hurried off in the direction of the noise and smoke, and Shaw followed him, grumbling. "Careful," the old spy warned. "It may be an ambush." "These are my people, my country ..." "That doesn't change the facts." But Anduin had heard pain in the cry from the direction of the barn, and he did not want to stand by helplessly while one of his subjects suffered agony. They reached a wide field where hay was rolled into round, man-sized bales. Chickens scattered as the two approached and slipped through a gap in a broken fence into the field. They left their horses there, the animals' reins tied loosely around the jagged posts. "Was it an explosion, maybe? I hope no one is hurt ..." Anduin quickened his steps as the loud voices became more distinct and polyphonic. The wind shifted, enveloping him and Shaw in the acrid smoke. Anduin waved a hand in front of his face and squinted up at the remains of the barn roof, which had collapsed in on itself. In front of it, three men were engaged in a heated discussion. One of them, the tallest, wore little more than rags; his hair was dull and dirty, and splinters from the explosion hung in his beard. The other two men wore the simple, homespun clothing of 16 peasants, littered with patches and grass stains. Their faces were also drawn from their labor. "Iago, you miserable dumbass, I said you could put your stuff in my barn, not use it for your crazy experiments!" Now that they were closer and the smoke was clearing, Anduin could see that the two farmers were related: Father and son, the latter a smaller spitting image of the former, right down to the reddish beard - only with fewer gray strands. The older peasant lunged at Iago, hands clenched, ready to strike. The unmistakable sound of steel sliding from its sheath gave him pause.
The man whirled around, but he was not confronted by a blade, only Mathias Shaw's stony countenance. The sword had never left its sheath; the suggestion that it might come into use was enough to make the farmer think. "Gentlemen," Anduin said softly, his hands raised. "Is there a problem here?" "He's not a gentleman!" the farmer blubbered. "He's a lousy drunk who uses my barn to distill his cursed liquor. Look at my roof! How am I going to pay for the repairs?" It took him a moment to realize to whom he was speaking, and even then he made only a half-hearted attempt to bow his head respectfully. His son, on the other hand, turned as white as a bedsheet. "I would like to hear his side of the story as well," Anduin declared, turning to Iago. The latter's only reaction, however, was to spit loudly and wetly on the floor in front of his king. That alone was enough to make the man almost fall forward. His hiccups were so loud that they could be heard even in Stormwind Castle, and not even the smell of burnt wood and alcohol could mask the telltale, sour ale stench on his breath. 17 "There," Iago slurred, his finger pointed at his drying saliva. "That's my side of the story. That's all I have left in this world. My bones, my blood and my spit. Nothing ... I have nothing left." Briefly, his eyes widened, and his face under the thick layer of soot turned red. "Nothing." Awkwardly, he leaped toward Anduin, yet Shaw was on hand to intercept him. In a flash, the master spy reared up in front of his king, his weapon still half-drawn, and his free hand dug into the drunkard's shoulder. "I'd leave that alone," Shaw growled. "Do it! Use your sword," Iago hissed. Over Shaw's shoulder, Anduin met the gaze from the man's tear-filled, bloodshot eyes. The longer he looked at the guy, the more familiar he seemed. "I was there! I was there when the Queen of the Forsaken turned on her own!" Anduin froze as Jago's legs buckled beneath him and he slumped to the ground. The scorched ash flakes in the air trickled down all around him like black snow. "Arathi ... I went there. I went there. My Wilmer. He was there, and ... He was different. One of them, all rotten and twisted, but still Wilmer. Still ... still the best guy I ever knew and loved."
Once more anger took possession of Iago, and he hissed, pointing an upraised finger at Anduin. "You could have stopped her. You could have saved them ..." Shaw gently pressed Jago's hand down. "That's no way to speak to your king." "My king? My king?" Iago laughed shrilly and half-crazed. "He's not my king. At most, the king of fools." Anduin forced himself to keep his tone calm as he stepped up beside the master spy. "It's all right, Shaw." He knelt down, trying to cover the trembling of his knees. The 18 memory of that day, of his failure then, still filled him with shame. He had gone to the Arathi Highlands in good faith to close the gap that had opened up between those who had become Forsaken, the undead, and the human family members they had left behind. The reunion had started well, but then... Then the Queen of the Forsaken - Sylvanas, now the most hunted person in all of Azeroth - had murdered her own people and slaughtered all the members of her faction who had chosen this reunion and wanted to stay with their human loved ones. "I'm sorry, Iago," Anduin said. "I ..." Iago shoved him hard aside, then struggled to his feet and ran a few steps out into the field. Shaw whirled around to go after him, but as it turned out, there was no need: Iago fell face-first into the dirt, arms out at his sides, and landed a few fingerbreadths away from the pointed leather boots of Alleria Windrunner. Anduin had not heard her approach, nor was there a waiting horse beside her; on the other hand, the ranger usually undertook journeys in rather unconventional ways. She nudged the fallen man with her boot and hunched her shoulders. "He's still breathing." "What a relief," the farmer commented dryly. Anduin rose and walked resolutely toward Alleria, while the farmer held Shaw back to continue complaining about his destroyed barn roof. "How am I going to pay for this? Iago doesn't even have a copper piece in his coffers." "Talk to Captain Danuvin," Shaw instructed him coolly. "He'll send you a couple of fellows from the garrison to repair the damage." "Yes, yes," the farmer grumbled. "I'm sure he will ..." Anduin stopped close to Jago's feet and stared at Alleria across the drunkard's sprawled body. 19 "You're back early," he said breathlessly. He could not ignore Iago; every subject in his kingdom was important. But Alleria's appearance had to do quite directly with Jago's suffering. The murderess who had his Wilmer on her conscience had to be found, after all, and brought to her just punishment. Alleria had been sent on an urgent mission - to track down Sylvanas Windrunner. But the king had not expected to see her again so soon.
Wilmer's death was only one of Sylvanas' countless crimes. Anduin took Alleria by the arm and led her away from the field, back to her restless horses. "I hope it's a good sign that you're back already," he said. Alleria Windrunner's graceful, pale face was half hidden under her hood, but Anduin could clearly read her disappointment from her compressed lips. She kept her eyes fixed on the ground, and her stiff posture also spoke volumes as they walked side by side. "No," Alleria whispered. That one word was enough to make her voice tremble with emotion. She looked exhausted, haggard, and the dark circles only made her eyes, touched by emptiness, gleam all the brighter. "No, my king. Today I bring you no good news." They had reached the fences. Anduin closed his hand around one of the posts and squeezed until the old, splintery wood crunched. He wanted to crush it. He wanted it to break. A surge of anger came over him, and he closed his eyes as if afraid of what they might reveal to Alleria. "My sister is not a lazy boar walking across the open fields," Alleria continued. She backed away from him a little and crossed her arms in front of the green and gold cuirass she wore under her cloak. "She is cunning, and she uses her dark powers to keep herself hidden." "And you are the best huntress I know," 20 Anduin countered between clenched teeth. "I didn't expect you to fail. After all, you know her better than anyone, Alleria. You were our best hope." Shaw joined them wordlessly, his gaze fixed on the elf. For a moment, no one said anything; there was only the storm, whipping up the wind as it continued to approach the grasslands. A small herd of drool-fangs squealed in alarm and galloped away from the fields. Above their heads, a griffin passed overhead, certainly heading for the scout hilltop. The wood, still crunching under Anduin's grip, shook, yet he willed it to continue crunching. How liberating it would feel to destroy something. They had defeated the Legion, the terror of Sargeras. Though he rained fire and destruction down upon their world, they had prevailed in the end. How many had fallen at the hands of that legion? How many beings had been corrupted and torn apart by the madness of N'Zoth? And yet they had brought even the Old God to his knees. But one woman ... One woman had so far escaped her just punishment. The search for her seemed little more than a trifle, and yet it had proved a costly - and perhaps impossible - task. "We'll keep trying," Alleria declared with soothing conviction. "She can't hide forever. Soon she will have to show herself, and when she does, she will feel the full force of her enemies when we come for her." Anduin slowly opened his eyes and turned his head around to face the blonde elf. As their eyes met, he felt a brief twinge, an unpleasant whisper from the dark corners of his memory. Once, Alleria had suggested to him that Sylvanas face N'Zoth. She and her sister Vereesa had been convinced that this was their best option. To Anduin, however, the suggestion had sounded 21 ridiculous, and it still did. Sure, blood was blood, and they had had every reason to trust in their sister's abilities. So why not let their worst enemy fight another enemy? The power of Sylvanas' forces could not be shaken, of course, yet Anduin had refused. But now... Now... He thought he heard his name from Shaw's mouth, but he was lost in the dark power of that memory. Why had Alleria asked him to do such a thing? How could she have been so blind as to want to give such a cunning person as Sylvanas Windrunner a chance? And now she had failed in her one, explicit task of finding her sister so they could serve justice. Was she perhaps hiding something from him? Was there perhaps more slumbering behind the golden gleam of her eyes than just the endless mysteries of the void? How could he be sure that Alleria was truly loyal to him? Was it a risk, a foolish, reckless risk, to keep her by his side? Trusting Sylvanas in the Arathi Highlands had been foolish and reckless, in any case.
Back then, a naive, childlike king had trusted the word of a snake ... But no. Alleria had proven herself more than once, and what she said was true: Sylvanas was no easy prey. The hunt would go on, and he as king had to find a way to keep believing in her chances of success. That was his duty. A man had to know his limits, and he could not let himself drift beyond them. Too many people were relying on him. The fence post was splintering. One more thing that needed to be fixed. Another item on a long, long list. "Come on," he said quietly as he turned away from the two. "The storm is almost here. Let's return to Stormwind. We must plan our next steps. Sylvanas will not rest, so neither will we." Orgrimmar
As much as it surprised him, he felt at home in the dry heat and endless noise of Orgrimmar. Perhaps, after all, this really was like returning to a wayward, twisted family, a family Thrall had not necessarily chosen, yet had learned to respect. Thrall, the son of Durotar and former warchief of the Horde, had expected the familiar smells and chaos of the Horde capital to repel him; instead, he fit into its rhythm with surprising ease. In a way, it frightened him, this familiarity, this matter-of-factness. Of course, many things had changed, including the horde. She had had no choice. Today, a single war chief could no longer rule over them all. No, the Horde had evolved like a family: it had suffered, grown, and then shrunk again, and now, finally, it began to see itself no longer as a confederation of nations led by a single voice, but as a chorus of strong voices united as one.
Wolves were strongest in packs - when they banded together - and here, in the stronghold of Grommash, surrounded by the Horde Council, Thrall saw numerous strong wolves gathered. Don't worry, he thought, as he looked around the circle. No one here considers you a leader. You are merely sitting in a round of peers. 23 His pride was not hurt by this thought; on the contrary, he welcomed it. Thrall placed his hands on his knees and leaned forward as the two young Tauren warrior heroes in the center of the circle completed their report. They had spotted two dark rangers on a ridge in the Northern Barrens and alerted a patrol in the area, which had then tracked down and captured the spies. The Rangers had swallowed some foul potion and died before they could be interrogated, but at least the Dark Lady would now have no eyes in Durotar. Short applause filled the room, and the two Tauren straightened to their full height, their fur-covered chests thrust forward, their spears raised bolt upright. Thrall couldn't help but wonder how long they would live. What cold, desolate, faraway place might become their grave? What kind of family would they leave behind when they plunged into the meat grinder of war? No. No. They were working to put an end to all that. That was the purpose of the council: to quell the bloody appetites of individuals and ensure a more level-headed approach. More than a few still winced at the mention of the word truce, but Thrall was convinced that the Horde was in dire need of a breather. "Well done!" exclaimed Lor'themar Theron to the two Tauren. The blood elf leader, with his long, pale hair, roguish eye patch, and carefully trimmed beard, raised his goblet. "You have done exactly right. Hail to these fine warriors of the Horde. Lok-tar!" "Lok-tar!" Thrall raised his own cup, but his gaze lingered on the empty seat beside the red-robed chief of the blood elves. Over the course of that afternoon, a number of eyes had already turned to that seat - including Lor'themar's own, healed eye. It seemed almost too paradoxical: here 24 they now sat, their council a direct response to Sylvanas Windrunner's controversial actions and her self-imposed exile ... but no one sat in their place to speak for the Forsaken. Even the new Queen of the Zandalari, Talanji, had traveled from her distant homeland to attend the council meeting. In the circle of chairs they had set up here in the fortress, she sat almost directly across from Thrall, but so far she had said little. Something that was highly unusual for the impetuous young queen, as Thrall knew. Next to her, closest to the entrance, sat the Trade Prince of the Bilgewater Cartel, also recently ascended. Gazlowe might be small in stature, but his presence was larger than life, as he had demonstrated several times during the day's reports, discussions, and debates.
The goblin was pouring himself some ale when two figures burst in through the open door. The Tauren warrior heroes flinched, and Gazlowe was startled enough to spill half his drink all over his shirt. He cursed and grumbled, and his lone tuft of hair wobbled back and forth as he vigorously rubbed at the stain. The council member whose absence had attracted such attention had finally arrived. A slender undead with golden eyes hurried breathlessly into the fortress. Her eyes darted here and there, and her posture suggested that she had no intention of apologizing for her tardiness. She was followed by a ghostly pale woman, also undead, but whose demeanor seemed far more sublime. In general, the contrast between the two could not have been greater: one marked by her curse and rotten to the bone, the other shapely, flawless, and glowing from within with a fascinating light. The arrival of Lillian Voss, the current leader of the Forsaken, and Calia Menethil captured the attention of every breathing being in the fortress, and the two tauren, 25 who had just delivered their report, shifted their weight uncomfortably from one leg to the other in the sudden silence.
Calia closely followed Lillian's every move, as if afraid she would be questioned about it later. Finally, Baine Bluthuf motioned for the two Tauren to make way. The two shuffled over to him and knelt on the ground behind him. No one spoke, and no one seemed to know what to say, certainly not the newcomers. Lillian Voss adjusted the battered bag over her shoulder; her boots, greaves, and cloak were flecked with fresh mud. To Thrall's right, Thalyssra, the First Arcanist with the white hair and white tattoos, coughed discreetly into her fist. I am not their leader. But as the silence dragged on uncomfortably, Thrall finally stood up. He spread his arms and put on a warm smile to greet the newcomers. "We have missed you sorely already," Thrall boomed. "Without the Forsaken, the Horde is not the Horde." Lillian nodded, biting her lower lip so hard Thrall was afraid her teeth would pierce the skin. Her companion Calia Menethil, her face as white as her robe, stepped forward and bowed her silver head. "How gracious of you." "Please, join us." Thrall returned to his seat and gestured to the high-backed chairs reserved for representatives of their faction. "The finest food in Orgrimmar is ready for you, and as much wine or mead as you can drink. Oh ... I mean ... Whatever you wish," said the Vulpera Kiro, pawing at this kick in the pants. His people were still new to the Horde. A little more quietly, he added, "Please, have a seat.
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