[Story] Xanaroth’s Journal

Work proceeds on the manuscript, though not as quickly as perhaps it could. I admit I have been distracted enough with Vallindra’s discovery. She went to her sisters’ clinic to be certain. Though it’s still yet a long way off, there’s a lot that must be done to prepare, and I am the one who fulfills any requests she might have. Normally, there are quite a few, and it can be difficult to get work done, but I don’t mind. The manuscript can wait, if it has to. I know I’ll have even less time once the child actually arrives, but I won’t mind that either. I promised Vallindra that I would see to as much care as possible. We’ll likely have to hire someone to help though, which will further complicate our research, unless it’s another student of the fel arts. I doubt there are many nannies who study demons, however. I should have a very rough version for Aeramin to look over soon, I need to meet with him and Kestrae to discuss the book in more detail. Until this point it has primarily been organizing our notes and research, but it must be laid out in an organized fashion in order to be useful to others. I know Kestrae has been busy with their little one, and Aeramin is teaching at the school which must consume a great deal of his time.

I do stop by from time to time to visit, primarily to bring dinner back but also sometimes to visit with Hethurin. I know he has no particular affection for Vallindra, but he has always been polite to me, so I make an effort to keep in touch. The students should have their spring holiday soon, and it should afford both of them more time to meet. The cook is also preoccupied, so the meals aren’t perhaps quite up to their usual standard, but still quite tasty and certainly better than my own cooking. I do what I can when she requests something late at night, I am considering asking Hethurin to help me learn conjuring so I can at least do that. It seems it would be perfect for fulfilling odd late-night snack requests, but I was never very good at it.

I wonder as well if there are any students there interested in summoning. I’m certain it’s not permitted, but we all did it anyway. Students are curious, they want to know more – especially things they’re told they can’t know. It all ties in so well — fel magic can amplify and empower your ordinary fire spells, it’s a natural progression. When I speak to Aeramin, I’ll ask if there are any who might show potential for it. Of course it would have to be after they graduate; I don’t want to bring any trouble to Hethurin’s school, but just to sow the seeds.

Keeping busy helps with the worry. If I’m painting the room or fetching something for Vallindra, I don’t have time to be afraid of what might happen. At least, not as much. It’s still there, I can’t banish it completely. I’m a great deal older now and I am more careful, but I was careful then too. I hate being afraid and vulnerable, it’s an unpleasant and unsettling feeling. I’ve strengthened all of the wards again, just to be certain. I’ll ask Hethurin if he has any suggestions for them, as well.

[Story] Story a Week 10

[[ Prompt: Obsession ]]

Uldred removed his spectacles and rubbed his eyes. They ached, and the pages in front of him were swimming. Perhaps it was time to turn in for the night. Only a little oil was left in the lamp, and by its struggling light he could see that the hour was well past three. Sighing, he gathered the papers up into a stack on the desk and placed a book on top so they wouldn’t blow away if he opened the window later in the morning. He’d just have to continue then, once he’d slept and had something to eat. The most frustrating thing was that he knew he was close — he had to be — it was only a matter of untangling the complicated web of spells before him. If a spell could be cast, its reverse could also be cast. It was a fundamental principle of magic.

That boy is obsessed, he recalled his father saying, when he first got his hands on magical theory books. Uldred used to read them by a lamp very similar to this one, sitting before the grey window-panes streaked with rain, a warm blanket all around him. He remembered the awe and wonder those books brought to him, the eagerness to learn and experiment for himself. Maybe he had been, Uldred conceded, because he couldn’t go to proper lessons. The books were all he had then, and proved a valuable resource now. Though of course he’d graduated to much more advanced subjects than magical theory.

The Stormwind streets were empty and quiet at this hour, but Uldred knew things still moved there, out of sight. Rats and stray dogs, thieves and cut-purses stalked the shadows, hunting. In Shattrath, Uldred hadn’t had to worry about such things, at least as long as he stayed on the upper tiers, but Stormwind was a much different place. It had taken some time to get accustomed to a city again. His room was on an upper floor, so he could leave the window open for air most of the time, though a truly dedicated thief could get in — if he’d had anything worth stealing. Rumors of elves infused with demonic magic had brought him back here, but thus far he’d been able to learn very little about them. He’d not seen one himself, nor found any books on the subject. Even if he did find one in the flesh, Uldred rather doubted he’d be allowed to conduct the sort of experiments necessary to learn what he needed to know. As they were elves, he might have more luck in one of their cities, but it was more likely they were driven into hiding, as he and his fellow summoners had been. Walking about the city stinking of fel energy was not a wise plan. But he had to find one. All of his years of study had moved him forward, but not far enough. There was a piece of the puzzle still missing, only Uldred wasn’t exactly sure what shape it was, or what it looked like. At this point, he wasn’t entirely sure what the end result was even supposed to look like.

He changed into his sleeping robes, and blew out the lamp. Even if he was able to finish his work, what was it going to accomplish? Would he not be the same person he was now? Would he be hailed as a great scholar and recognized for his achievements? Likely not. Would it bring his homeland and his mother back? Certainly it wouldn’t. But he persisted because he had to, because he had seen it this far and had worked too long to stop now. And partly out of habit. Without his work, what else did he have? On another night, this question might have kept him awake. But Uldred was asleep nearly as soon as he pulled the blankets up over himself.

[Story] Xanaroth’s Journal

I had a visit the other evening, from Vallindra’s brother. We don’t often get visitors, and we hardly ever see him, so it was doubly unusual. She wasn’t home at the time; she was in the city shopping for winter gifts with her mother (and that boy).  I suspect Hethurin might have known somehow — maybe he’d been watching — and that’s why he chose that evening. He wanted to tell me that the wards at the school had been working well, though Firewind was the one who made them. I’ve never been very good with wards — bindings are another matter, but of course that isn’t what they needed. The research from the new Tanaris species has been helpful, he said. I wish I could have had more time with them. I’m still sorting and compiling notes, and doing tests on Firewind’s over-sized imp when I can, which isn’t as often as I would like. While we know some things about them, there’s a great deal we don’t know, such as resistances or weaknesses to specific spells, their reactions to various herbs and magical compounds, things like that. All the sorts of things you would expect in a demonic compendium. Vallindra did the wards here, though in truth they’re more to keep ours in than to keep anything out. Any wild demon who stumbled through our roof might be unpleasantly surprised.

He had a great many questions about the demons here, primarily how they might be getting here. I explained that they could not come on their own, they would require a portal to be opened into the Ghostlands. I thought it best not to mention the flying structures — if one of those was here, it would surely have been noticed and I thought it best not to scare him. There aren’t any here, nor have there been. We would have seen them. I explained that portals of that size and power would require an immense amount of energy to maintain, the ones that we observed in Tanaris were set on leyline crossings. That would amplify the power of whoever — or whatever — is keeping the portal open. Hethurin wanted to see Vallindra’s maps, which I showed to him. There are only a few ley crossings that I believe would be large enough, and I pointed them out. He seemed thankful for the knowledge, but I can’t help but wonder what he plans to do with it. Does he intend to try to close them? Doing so would be both difficult and dangerous, especially for a mage untrained in demonic magic. Perhaps ward the boundaries, so the demons are trapped within? It might work, though it would likewise require an immense amount of energy and it would be impossible for him to maintain them alone. Perhaps he could place a second portal directly at the exit, so that the demons step from the Nether into the bottom of the ocean, or something like that. It’s an amusing thought, but again, would require a power source.

Hethurin said that the school is doing well, and that I ought to visit for the winter ball. I’d very much like to, but I know he still mistrusts Vallindra, and I’d rather not leave her home alone. Unless she has plans already that night, I suppose. I just hope she doesn’t gain any ideas from her mother about leaving me for a boy who works at the pool. I don’t think I’m that old just yet.

[Story] Xanaroth’s Journal

This place is awful. It’s my own fault for suggesting it, I know. Vallindra wanted somewhere warm, well it’s certainly that. “Warm” is misleading. It’s so hot that I can feel every part of me sweating in my robes. Sand gets into every conceivable crack, whether you want it to or not. At Hethurin’s suggestion, I bought a hat to protect from the sun, while it looks ridiculous I am glad I did. Magister Firewind’s doesn’t cover his ears, and already by the first night they were painfully burned. There are snakes, scorpions, and massive spiders. I’m told they seek shelter in shoes at night. In sharp contrast to the heat of the day, at night it’s quite cold and we need heavy blankets. The only food we have to eat are dried fish, which is tough and salty and terrible. Vallindra thought to bring some fruit, but it won’t last long. Hopefully some traders will pass by the outpost soon. It is my hope that all of this discomfort will be worth it in the end, and so far it seems promising.

We sleep during the hottest hours of the day, and venture out in the cool of night. It’s a bit more dangerous, due to the sand worms, but they haven’t given us much trouble yet. Magister Firewind suggested that we butcher and eat one if it should attack us. I can’t even imagine what worm meat must taste like.

While we couldn’t see any demons from the Reliquary camp, it did not take us long to find some. More interesting are the structures, because they are large enough that they appear to have been present for some time, but I don’t see how that is possible. Do they have some means to move them via portals? It’s something I’ve never seen before. I made sketches of the structures; there are also large flying air-ships overhead. It’s difficult to see them well in the night sky, but I have done my best to sketch them.

And there are new species, as I had hoped. There are slender, robed demons that are skilled casters and appear to keep lesser demons enslaved. I suggested that these ones be named after Vallindra, but I can’t tell if she was amused or not. We observed a larger species of imp, apparently similar in all ways to its smaller cousins, aside from size. Though slighter of build, they stand as tall as an elf, which is unsettling to say the least. After a few failed attempts, we aided Magister Firewind in binding one. Its name is Grembahl. I do not know if he intends to bring it home with him or not; if so I suspect that his present imps will not like the arrangement very much. I have selected some larger species that I would like to study more in-depth, in addition to the Vallindra demons of course.

I dislike having the blood knight here, aside from possibly exposing our studies, there is the very real danger that he will carelessly kill something I’m in the middle of studying. That’s the reason they agreed to send him here, so he can learn how to kill them and report back to the others. I don’t see what’s so complicated about it, but that’s blood knights for you. Binding and guiding them is much more rewarding, and delicate. Our knowledge will also help strengthen the wards back in the Ghostlands, to keep the school and rangers safe. As much as I enjoy studying them, I’d prefer demons weren’t roaming loose all over the Ghostlands.

[Story] Story a Week 32

[[ Prompt: A story about a curse ]]

A screech like metal on stone announced the drake’s arrival into the clearing. Uldred watched it descend anxiously, the great leathery wings folding up over its back. Its prey was alive — stunned, but still moving. He’d made that mistake the last time he sent it out; the drake had swallowed it whole like a snake. This time, he’d waited until after the drake had fed before trying again. They shouldn’t be disturbed here. Uldred had searched for days for the right place in the forest. He hadn’t seen any of the giant insects here, nor the stalking reptiles, and there were no paths or villages close by. And there were small trees to tether the subject to, just in case.

The drake stood over its prey, its burning eyes watching Uldred intensely. He rubbed the smooth scales of its forehead. “That will do nicely. Thank you.” The drake was so huge now, grown rapidly from feeding off the creatures in this very forest. It was hard to imagine him as the weak, scrawny whelp he had been, on the edge of death. He still couldn’t understand how a creature that appeared to be undead could grow and thrive, either — but that was research for another time. Uldred’s subject was finally here.

Book knowledge and practical knowledge can be much different, and curses in particular were something that must be studied first-hand. But Uldred had little luck cursing small animals — often, they didn’t work as expected, and of course he could not ask the subject to describe what it felt. An aware subject, capable of speech, was required. Certainly there were dozens of people that Uldred would have liked to practice on, but most of them still lived back in Stormwind. Someone would surely notice if something happened to them, and he didn’t have a suitable place to work, either. For all its quirks, Shattrath was much better. Especially out here in the woods, away from the guards and the prying naaru. Uldred still wasn’t sure if they could know everything that happened in the city, but it was better not to risk it.

Seeing the bird people in the market had given Uldred the idea. He knew they had small settlements all around the walls of Shattrath. They were capable of speech, though rough, and no one would blink if one of them were to go missing. He wouldn’t even have to capture it himself and worry about being seen or attacked, the drake was large enough to carry one off — they were much lighter than they looked. The one that the drake had brought looked thin, too, or perhaps that was an illusion caused by the disarray of its feathers. It was alive, but the trip in the drake’s mouth hadn’t been easy. It stirred and, seeing the drake again, moved to get up. Its broad snakelike head struck and seized the bird again in its teeth. “Hey! Easy now,” Uldred said, frowning. He didn’t want to have to find yet another one. Quickly, he picked up the rope that he had left in the middle of the group of trees, and bound the bird’s hands with it. He’d had to research that too, and Uldred still wasn’t sure he’d got the knots properly, so he tied extra, just in case. The bird’s claws and beak looked sharp enough that it could probably cut through the rope, given enough time. So Uldred had to work quickly. The drake snapped its jaw and tossed its head before lifting off again, probably to find something else to eat.

The bird person’s small black eyes fixed on Uldred with a harsh glare. “Why,” it hissed, the feathers around its head rising. “Let go!”

Uldred didn’t answer, picking up his small notebook. Which one should he start with? There were so many, it was difficult to choose. Fireos? No, that would be too dangerous with trees around. Petrifesco? Maybe, but the subject would be unable to speak. Horribilius? Too loud, would surely attract attention. Arachiteus? Uldred scratched his chin thoughtfully. Hopefully it would attract only normal-sized spiders, and not the immense ones that lived nearby. It was worth a try. Carefully, Uldred recited the spell, sure to get every syllable correct. All magic was dangerous if done improperly, but especially curses.  He held his breath, watching.

Nothing happened.

Frowning, Uldred read over the spell again. He was sure to speak clearly, and in a firm tone. That was important for spells involving demons, it couldn’t hurt here either.

Still nothing. The bird’s eyes flashed, as if it was laughing. As if it knew.

Flustered, Uldred tried the spell on the next page. Then the next. None of them would take. Did the bird have some kind of magical protection? Or — the thought came to him with sudden clarity. Was the bird already cursed? It seemed fine, in fact it seemed to be gloating in Uldred’s frustration. Uldred snapped the notebook closed and stuffed it into his pack. All that research, wasted. He would have to find another subject, but he didn’t know where. He called for the drake, Naxitarius. This one would have to be taken care of.

[OOC/Screenshots] Legion: Definite Maybes

I haven’t spent very much time on the beta alpha at all. I feel overwhelmingly negative about most of the changes, and I’ve just really lost interest in WoW in general. On top of that, Legion runs really poorly on my potato of a computer and I’m not sure what I’ll do about that. But, since I read that Marksman hunters will be getting the option to have a pet back, I fired it up again and tried out a couple of the other classes that interested me, but weren’t in last time I played.

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[OOC] Legion Alpha – Affliction Warlock and Prot Warrior

Tried a couple more scenarios out.

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