[Story] The Confessor

[[ Yay new characters! This is the first thing written on my new laptop too! ]]

Confessor Morthorn hadn’t been expecting anyone in the chapel that afternoon. In truth, it was generous to call it a chapel at all, as it was hardly bigger than a broom closet. In the years past, it had actually been a gardening-shed, tucked into the brush behind the inn, now overgrown with twining thorns. But they had indulged his request to make it into a personal project, and he had replaced the broken windows and the shattered tiles. He’d carefully painted the trim a bright golden color to match the inn, and planted flower boxes around the doorways. Inside, he had salvaged a handful of chairs — they weren’t a matching set, but they were comfortable and respectable enough once he had mended the cushions and replaced the broken pieces.

All that the little chapel wanted for now was an audience, and the confessor did his best to make them welcome. He lit white candles and kept a pitcher of wine at the table near the doorway, should anyone arrive thirsty. He found that it often tempted visitors to linger longer, and wine was famous for loosening the tongue. It wasn’t very good wine, however — he could not afford the best anymore, but it was suitable. And here in the Ghostlands, one was happy with what was available.  Most days, not a single soul walked through the doorway, which he kept open as long as he was awake — which was most of the time.  He had never been a particularly sound sleeper, and he found sleep difficult these days. The confessor did have a handful of regular visitors, though he didn’t see them often. People still clung to their old houses in the darkened hills, but the estates were far apart and the roads were dangerous. It wasn’t always possible to make the trip into the town. Morthorn understood, and he would travel to call on them at home when he could.

Other times, people would cross his threshold quite by accident, and would stand there blinking in surprise once they realized what they had found. “I didn’t know there was a chapel here,” they would nearly always say. A few would call again, but most would not. Though the Light was needed more desperately here than anywhere else he could think of, it seemed that people had forgotten it. Or maybe they felt abandoned, the confessor could certainly relate to that. So when the mage and his apprentice found himself at the chapel that afternoon, he didn’t give it much thought. He greeted them and offered them a drink, as he always did. He hesitated at the girl — she looked too young for wine, too young to be out on her own at all. The young man didn’t appear to be her brother, and by their demeanor they did not appear to be married. It wasn’t until they were introduced that the confessor understood the girl to be his apprentice. They were making mages younger and younger these days! That, or he was finally getting older. He felt very old some days, but not this one. The young man lived in the ruined estate up on the hill, and Morthorn felt the familiar pang of loss that he often did these days. Yes, he knew the place, he answered politely, it was quite a lovely house, wasn’t it? The young mage — Hethurin was his name — seemed eager to speak with him. He had actually been searching for a priest, and how fortunate that he had stumbled across the chapel’s doorstep. Morthorn suspected that someone in the town might have mentioned it to him — there weren’t any other priests working in the countryside that he was aware of.

Morthorn agreed to call at the house on Sunday afternoon, so that the magister might feel more comfortable speaking at home. It would be more private as well, where no one might overhear their conversation.  Hethurin said there were others staying at the house — besides his apprentice, there was Tik, the butler. That was another name he know, and he wondered if Tik remembered his as well. That had been a great many years ago, but he remembered Tik’s unusual nickname — no one knew his proper name — and that he was a skilled gardener. According to the young mage, he was quite the cook as well. The idea of a warm, proper meal appealed to him greatly, and he was happy to accept the invitation. Most nights he had old bread and dried meat — if he remembered to eat at all. Sometimes the mages passing through would conjure him something, but that was rare. Tranquillien had few visitors these days.

It felt good to have work again, to have some goal to reach for, some good he felt he could do. The confessor took out his prayer book and began to read.

 

[Story] Xanaroth’s Notes

* Yesterday afternoon we took dragonhawks out to the little orc village in Blade’s Edge. I don’t know that “village” is the proper term, it was a jumble of mud huts and bad smells. Enormous, fly-ridden animals roam freely around the area, leaving their mess wherever it pleases them. I’m appalled at the thought of staying here for minutes, let alone overnight. I really should practice my portals more, but at least Vallindra will be here to provide one.

* The circle itself is in a remote area of the mountains, I did not see any paths leading to it — we arrived by dragonhawk, but a portal could have been used as well. The nearest settlement is far to the north, and houses primarily druids. They are very unlikely to be involved with the circle or its creation. Whatever came through it was large, and powerful. There are pillars of stone around the outer edges, and these appear to have been melted by some strong source of heat. The ground itself still smoldered.

* Aeramin insisted it was safe to approach — he had brought the blood knight here not long ago. I’m finished lecturing him about being reckless with his companions. That, and it bothers me much less if one more blood knight should disappear mysteriously. Approaching the circle was incredible, the power radiated from it. It’s something akin to the stronger ley-lines, but not exactly. Vallindra could feel it, too.

* We saw no immediate sign of the circle’s creators — or whoever might have used it. They may not be the same, though attempting to use a tool of such power without understanding it or its limitations would be the very definition of foolishness. Aeramin and Kestrae are certain that the stones were placed intentionally, as clues — or perhaps a trap — for us. But for what reason? And why us? Unfortunately we are no closer to knowing those answers. I suggested that we leave eyes to watch the area from afar, but Aeramin has a pair of enchanted mirrors that are linked to one another. I have to admit, they would draw far less attention and will require less effort on our part. One will be propped atop one of the shattered pillars, so as to give a view of the entire area. It won’t show anyone close up, but any information is more than we have at this point. I will take the other, and watch for anything to appear in the mirror.

* It seems Aeramin and Kestrae are making a token effort to keep all of this hidden from their respective companions. That’s the reason I was given the mirror, and not either of them. It’s not that Vallindra is safe from danger, either. I’m well aware of that fact, and it’s not remotely the same thing. She isn’t my latest distraction or the hired help, I waited decades for her.

* Aeramin brought the mirror by, and one of the books as well. I’m hoping it will have something that relates to our research here — it must, or I can’t imagine he’d have wanted to show it to me. I have some reading to do today.

 

[Story] Imralion’s Notes

I guess I was more tired last night than I thought, from practice and everything else. I must have fallen asleep on the couch because when I woke up, I’d missed dinner and it was pretty late in the evening. But Aeramin brought me home some food, he even got extra of the spicy vegetables. I really need to find out what those are called! I wonder if they are hard to grow. I bet I could make a little planter outside of the window, but of course I’d have to stay in one place long enough for them to grow. We’ll be going out to Netherstorm in the next few days, the Captain at least told us that much this time. I’m excited to see a new place, but the descriptions of it make it sound a bit ominous. Mostly I want to see the domes that Aeramin told me about with all of the animals and plants in them. I really hope we can go swimming in them, although if they’re full of animals it might not be safe. I’ll find out though.

He told me that he and Kes are going on a trip to Blade’s Edge to look for clues about the stones. It was kind of weird, like he seemed to be kind of evasive about it. He said I couldn’t go along because some of the people he was going with had bad experiences with blood knights or something. It just sounded a bit fishy to me. Whoever these people are don’t have any bad experiences with -me-, and I said maybe I could wear robes so I look like a summoner too. It would work as long as they didn’t ask my any questions — though I could answer some of them I guess, thanks to my studying. Aeramin didn’t really think that was a good idea though, he’s sure it will be perfectly safe and I’m worrying for no reason. All I can think about is what might come out of a summoning circle that big and how I won’t be there to help him if it does. He just said it would be better if I didn’t go, and I’m sure he didn’t mean to hurt my feelings but it did, a bit. Like he was embarrassed to have me around his summoner friends or something, I don’t know.

They aren’t leaving until tomorrow afternoon, so he’ll have a bit of time at least. He needs to work and I have to try not to interrupt that too much. He’s working on some flyers for the Scyers or something, I said he ought to draw a little design on them to make them look more interesting. More people will look at a flyer with a picture on it. His mother was a really talented artist, so he must have inherited some of that. I finally talked him into trying to a sketch of me, it wasn’t so good but it was better than I can do. Anyway he just needs practice, I think it would be kind of fun but he didn’t seem so enthusiastic about it. Maybe because it reminds him of her, I don’t know.

I asked what if he doesn’t come back, and he said at least I would know where to look. Really? That doesn’t make me feel any better. Blade’s Edge is a harsh place and dangerous too, even if you aren’t looking for demons. I have to find something to occupy me this evening, otherwise I’m just going to worry non-stop. Maybe I can find something interesting in the library.

[Story] Sath’alor’s Reflections

Feelings aren’t just feelings here, they are something alive. They get down inside you like a living, writhing thing and wind their coils around your heart. Now that the bear explained it to me, I’ve become more aware of it. And he says it’s gone — for now — but there’s always the chance that it could return. That’s what he is trying to teach my now, to keep my mind balanced to protect against it. I don’t think I can do it on my own, I tried that and it didn’t work. So I had to tell him some things. Not everything, but some. I told him about Dalaran and that I didn’t know what happened to people there that I care about.

He said that I was right to come to him, that doubt would surely find its way back in if I was thinking like that. I have to find out what happened, whether good or bad, so I can figure out what to do next. That means going back, or at least writing. I’m afraid of that too, and I said so. I don’t know why I’m telling all of this to a bear. But he said he understands, and he didn’t ask for any details. He did say that I should write about it in this book, though. I’d rather not, because I don’t want to cause any trouble for Kes if she’s. They have to be alive, maybe she went on one of her trips with Aeramin. At least then she would be safe. And maybe Isandri was at her classes in Silvermoon when it happened, and Thero was waiting outside for her. Maybe they’re all fine, like nothing happened at all.

I know they’ll be angry with me when they find out, I have to deal with that too. I don’t really have an explanation. I haven’t figured out any great mysteries, I’m still the same person I was before — mostly. I guess I’m hoping the bear can help me with that. I think it has, a little.

Hopefully they can get mail here. I haven’t seen any boxes, but I haven’t really been looking. I know they take it down at the grummel camp, at least. I’ll write to Mother and Father and ask about Isandri, and if she’s all right she’ll know something about Kes.

[Story] Xanaroth’s Notes

* The Black Harvest. That’s the name of the group that Aeramin believes is behind the circle that he’s found. He says it’s a recently formed group, yet there was mention of it in one of the books he’s found. That to me suggests it’s not so new after all, or it is named after another such group that existed in the past. He won’t give any details of the book yet — where he found it or what it might entail, other than saying it has some new spells. No doubt he’s holding it over my head like a dog eager for a treat, but I don’t suppose I can blame him. And he has said that he is finishing another copy, so I can be patient — for now.

* If it is this group, I am amazed that they have been able to operate essentially under our noses without notice. A group of summoners would attract attention here, if only for their numbers. Outland is a very desolate place these days, and outsiders will inevitably be noticed. Aeramin suggested they may not be elves, which is likely of course. A mixed group would stand out even more, I think. Tonight I will go over my own books for any information on this group, but if it truly is new, there may not be much to find. How fortunate that we chose to come here, rather than Silvermoon!

* We leave tomorrow for Blade’s Edge, to locate the circle that Aeramin spoke of before. It is near a town of orcs, which troubles me somewhat, but he assures me there will be no danger. With orcs, I feel there is always the possibility of danger. Thankfully, he suggested making portals back each evening so we don’t have to sleep in mud huts amidst the dung piles. Just another reason to be grateful for Vallindra’s mage training. My portals never were very good.

* I’m not certain if he’s bringing the blood night along or not. Aeramin claims that he’s told him the truth of what he is doing, but it could very well be a lie. He seems sure of his friend’s loyalty — which may be true enough, but it isn’t him that concerns me. His fellow blood knights and their captain are not fools, they are observant and sensitive to any demonic presence. They may start to ask questions, and I have no doubt that the boy would talk. Blood knights aren’t very good liars. Moreover, I told him to imagine the reaction that a secret group of warlocks would have if they discovered a blood knight among them, even one still in training. Even I would rather not witness that.

* I am looking forward to working with  Vallindra again, it’s been far too long. I worry about her out there alone, though she tells me not to. Yes, she has the voidwalker, but the things that roam Shadowmoon are powerful. I’ll feel much better if I can see for myself that she is safe.

* Kestrae was asking about the wedding. Yes, I’m certain there was a hint of jealousy there. I’d rather not have anything elaborate, I haven’t any family to speak of and I’ve already done this once before. But I know she hasn’t, and I want everything to be the way she wants it. I should have my robes made, though I’m not sure what colors to use. I was surprised that the tailors here seem to have comparable skill to those in Silvermoon, and their prices are far lower. I was there when she bought her dress in the shop in Silvermoon, but she wouldn’t let me see it. Most of them are fussy, fluffy things. I am much more interested in the one she’ll wear for the party after.

[Story] Shadows of Shattrath 4

Uldred hadn’t heard his father’s nagging voice in his head for some days now. In fact, he hadn’t heard much of anyone at all, deeply engrossed in the books he had found at the ruined academy. He’d seen much that intrigued him on his first trip, but had been unable to bring much of anything back with him. This time, he had not been alone to face the ghosts and strange sounds in the darkness.

There were things he had expected — dry histories and charts of components to various fire spells, along with summoning circles and bindings, things he had already discovered in his first years of research. And there were some more amusing finds too; various uses for common herbs and strange ingredients like garden slugs and frog’s eggs. As students tend to do, there were notes and sometimes doodles scribbled into the margins and blank places on the pages. Some of these proved more interesting than the texts themselves. But there were also new books, filled with concepts that had never even entered Uldred’s mind. He found a very detailed (and highly technical) book outlining the process by which the dragon whelps had been created. It did give him some insight into the way Naxitarius might behave, though of course the book had not been fully completed. He took it upon himself to write his own observations in the blank pages at the back, any sort of detail he thought could possibly be relevant.

It was easy to see why the academy had operated under secrecy; to even mention some of the magic found in these books would likely be grounds for arrest. Most of them, he had never even conceived of before — like the one that lay open before Uldred now. It was, he thought, a bit extreme for his own liking. The ritual described taking on a demon’s essence and absorbing it within oneself to alter the binder’s appearance and enhance his magical powers. It might sound tempting to an ordinary person, but Uldred knew first-hand the danger of allowing something in that might not listen when you told it to leave. He, and all of his former countrymen. Uldred was better at controlling it than most, but he had worked very hard to do so. He had some small progress in dampening the bestial urges — certain potions seemed to help — but nothing ground-breaking just yet. The moon here was different than the one back on Azeroth, so he could not be sure how long it had been since he’d lost control. Uldred never allowed himself to forget that it could happen at any time, full moon or not.

He’d stopped going to the inn to eat; he hadn’t seen any of the elves there for some time now. Of course they were busy with their own business, and had no time to see him. He was neither very surprised nor upset by this, though he felt a gnawing sort of disappointment that perhaps this time would have been different. But why should it? He was still the same person that he was before, even if his surroundings had changed. In the library, he had seen a young elf girl sometimes. Usually she was alone, but once he saw her with Kestrae, the dark-haired elf. He’d wanted to go over and talk to her, but she looked very busy, and he couldn’t think of anything to say. He thought of writing to Aeramin and telling him about what the book said, but he was afraid to bother the elf. And he was afraid that something might happen like the last time he had trusted someone. It gave him a small degree of pleasure to know that his father had been wrong about Kor, at least.

He had to go to the front desk and pay for his room again. Last night the innkeeper had come to knock and tell him that he was overdue. Thankfully, he’d had time to hide the imp. If he was going to experiment, he couldn’t have any interruptions.

 

[Screenshots] Uldred’s Book!

I took my warlock to the island to start hunting for the book that begins the green fire quest. Either they improved the drop rate or I got lucky, because I got it on my fourth rare!

uldred_tome
That or maybe the game wants to punish me… hmm. So I talked to my demons, and then showed the guys in Stormwind. (Why? They’re lame.)

uldred_sixmasters

Then time to collect soulstone fragments.

uldred_bladefrag
uldred_netherfrag
And go to the Black Temple and find this totally subtle mark.

uldred_shadowmark

Omg hi!

uldred_akama

I got as far as the ghost room before I had to log off for time reasons. I’m more than a little scared, seeing as I’m a terrible warlock and his item level is only 477 right now!

First of many, I am sure.

First of many, I am sure.