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Shadows Rising Novel Excerpt About Nathanos

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Blizzard Watch got their hands on an new excerpt from the upcoming Shadows Rising (Shadowlands prequel) written by Madeleine Roux that will be released July 14.

The novel serves as a bridge between Battle for Azeroth and Shadowlands, tying up all the remaining loose ends. We recently wrote about Nathanos Blightcaller who was spotted on Alpha, so maybe this novel with shed more light on what's going to happen in the Shadowlands pre-patch.

Shadows Rising revolves around an assassination attempt Talanji. Anduin tasks Alleria and Turalyon to bring Sylvanas to justice while Nathanos with the help of Sira Moonwarden track down and try to kill Bwonsamdi.

Here's a portion of the new excerpt:


“What a pit,” Sira Moonwarden sneered, pulling her foot up out of the mud and listening to the resounding squelch. “A blessing that this post is only temporary.”

Beside her, Nathanos stood stalk still, ignoring the visible cloud of flies gathering around his head. He often wore a subtle cologne to ward off the scent of being neither living nor dead. Many found the complete absence of scent unnerving. Sira had only just grown accustomed to it herself. She did not handle the bugs as gracefully, batting at them while they gathered in ever thickening swarms.

“Where are they?” Sira added, annoyed. “Patience, Warden. Patience.”

She had little on a good day, even less when she was forced to stand knee-deep in rotting mud, the Frogmarsh a strangely painful reminder of how undead she truly was. Here, life roared at her from every direction, from the damp trees draped with green curtains of moss to the crabs clicking their way up and down the shore behind them, to the deafening chorus of frogs and insects robbing any chance of a peaceful thought.

Life. It was everywhere there. Brash, audacious life. It probably smelled green. Not an inch of it went uncovered in vines or nests or pond scum. Through the trees ahead, a herd of riverbeasts snorted and huffed, the brass section of the teeming band of chittering, birdsong, and ribbets.

It was, in a word, loathsome.

“We’ll be eaten alive,” she huffed, swatting a dozen bugs before all the words had left her mouth.

“There.” Nathanos pointed to the same trees that concealed the riverbeasts. Long, dripping strands of moss made the beach feel claustrophobic. The four dark rangers spread about to stand watch dutifully endured the stinging of bugs and stinking of the bog.

“Do you see them?” he asked. Sira squinted.

“They move like shadows along the forest floor, and being shadows they will continue being very useful to us.”

She marked movement among the tall roots jutting out from the base of the trees. Trolls cleverly smeared in mud crept toward them, nearly invisible in the jumble of bushes and fallen logs in the swamp. Sira would not argue about their usefulness—they had already had to move the Banshee’s Wail out of deep water to avoid the deadly storms raging along the coasts.

“They can come out of hiding,” she snapped. “They called for this meeting.”

“I happen to agree.” With a smirk, Nathanos whistled with his fingers in his mouth, alerting the Zandalari rebels that he had noticed their presence. They stood one by one, their leader among them, slowly making her way to their location with a pronounced limp. Sira somewhat liked the witch, Apari, for they had both been betrayed by the one thing that had always defined their lives.

For Sira, it was her worship of the goddess, Elune. For Apari, it was her loyalty to the Zandalari crown.

For the seriousness of her injury, Apari navigated the swamp deftly. They met in a clearing not far from the sands, the Widow’s Bite leader arriving with her bulbous tick pet on her shoulder, a small entourage of twelve or so guards, and her ever-present lieutenant, the tall, black-haired troll called Tayo.

Apari’s white hair had been streaked with mud to hide her identity. None of the trolls wore the distinctive white-and-black robes of the insurrection but rather nondescript rags and bits of armor.

Only Apari and her bodyguard Tayo broke away to speak with them. The troll witch leaned her weight onto her good leg and pressed her palm to her heart. “Greetings, pale rider.”

“At last,” Nathanos replied shortly. “I realize it must have been difficult, given your limitations, but next time I expect promptness.”

Her eyes flashed. “I’ve no limitations ya need worry about, pale rider.”

“Indeed. At least you have understood our need for secrecy. We cannot risk venturing further inland. If Zandalari loyalists lay eyes on us then our plans are forfeit.”

The witch waved away his words impatiently. “Have ya brought our payment?”

“You are hardly in a position to make demands.” Nathanos snorted. “But I am eager to be out of this swamp.”

He twisted at the hip and gestured Ranger Visrynn forward. The dark-haired ranger brought forward a small enameled chest, silently placing it on the neutral ground between the trolls and Blightcaller. Aboard the ship, Sira had seen them preparing the payment, a collection of gems, jewelry, beautifully hammered metal necklace plates, small flagons of rare spirits, and daggers. It struck Sira as slightly excessive given their dwindling resources, but Nathanos had made clear that this was the price of a successful mission.

“Soon,” he had assured her aboard the Banshee’s Wail not an hour earlier, “where we will be going none of these trifles will matter at all.”

Sira slapped at another swarm of insects buzzing around her head, watching as the witch’s bodyguard knelt and flicked open the chest with one finger. No smile. No thanks for their generosity. No reaction at all. Sira simmered, looking to Nathanos, who revealed as little as the black-haired troll.

“This is not what I want.” Apari shook her head, sneering. “This is not what we agreed upon.”

Clearing his throat, Nathanos calmly signaled for Visrynn to return. She did and with equal serenity picked up the chest and returned to her sisters behind them.

“Insulting,” Sira murmured. Perhaps she should not have. At once, the witch fixed her piercing turquoise eyes upon Sira. An instant later, Sira felt a sensation like a thousand spiders skittering down her back. She shivered but refused to tear her gaze away. Just a witch’s trick, she told herself, nothing more.

“Now, now,” Nathanos intervened. “This is a simple misunderstanding. What would you have from us instead?”

Apari grinned, showing a set of yellowed teeth sharpened to points, the ends blackened by the foul, strong spirits the Zandalari distilled in charred vats. She hobbled forward, looking Nathanos up and down as if he were a prize cut of meat. Whatever came next, Sira mused, would not make him happy.

“Your messenger said ya want to kill a loa.” Apari nodded. Her eyes lit up, the idea clearly exciting her. “You want to kill Bwonsamdi, but ya can’t, not without us. ’Tis no easy thing, what ya ask. He must be weakened first. Believers and tribute keep him strong, but without faithful followers he be vulnerable. His shrines be protected by powerful magic, the tribute I need from ya will dispel that magic.”

Nathanos hurried her along, at last reaching a state of visible impatience. “Go on.”

“It will require somethin’ precious,” she continued. Pointing to Visrynn and the chest, she flapped her hand and shrugged. “That might be precious to some, but not to you. Ya must give up somethin’ painful, somethin’ irreplaceable.”

“What we offer should be more than sufficient.” Nathanos stood firm. “You are not in a position to bargain.”

The witch was stunningly bold, Sira could give her that. With a theatrical sigh, the troll witch began to turn around, avoiding her bad leg and refusing help from her bodyguard as she began rounding up the members of the Widow’s Bite. For a moment, Sira remained certain it was just a bluff, but no, the trolls regrouped and slowly disappeared back into the dense foliage of the swamp.

“A moment.”

The trolls paused, looking to their leader. Apari waited, only offering a glance over her right shoulder. Before Nathanos could relent and submit to their demands, Sira took him by the elbow, lowering her voice and tilting her head toward him. “Wait . . .”

You can continue reading the excerpt on Blizzard Watch.

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