[Story] Story a Week – Imp

Xanaroth held his breath as the portal opened, fel-green smoke swirling through the room. Though Elara was safely upstairs, there was always still that moment of danger before whatever it was stepped through the portal. Felarius wasn’t powerful enough to open large portals, but that wouldn’t stop something that was really determined to get through. Most demons, though, preferred to stay in their own realm. Imps were generally a bit easier to coax over — and they never seemed to guess ahead of time what lay ahead of them.

Felarius, his summoning student, shook faintly with the effort of maintaining the spell, his eyes fixed on the demonic portal. He had made great progress in the past few months, and Xanaroth felt he was ready to work with his first demon. Of course, that meant he had to summon it first. For a few long seconds, he believed nothing would happen. Though the portal had opened, perhaps there was something wrong; a rune slightly smudged or the angle just slightly wrong. But Felarius’s rune drawings had been immaculate. He’d copied them over and over in his books and was meticulous about his work — more so than Xanaroth himself had been at that age. The Twisting Nether teemed with demons, especially the little imps, which traveled in swarms for protection from their larger cousins. Was it possible that they were all in another spot?

A tiny hand appeared from the portal, followed by a wobbly oversized head. The imp stepped warily out of the portal and into the rune that Felarius had drawn on the workroom floor.

“Now,” Xanaroth said, and Felarius let the spell drop, the portal collapsing in on itself with an audible fizzle.

The imp, now alarmed, attempted to flee, but the magic circle held it in place. As it realized this, its panic grew and it began to shriek, flinging itself against the magical barrier.

Felarius frowned faintly. “Is it supposed to do that?” he whispered to Xanaroth.

The older summoner nodded. It wasn’t unusual at all for demons to resist binding. Once it accepted its fate, however, it would be easier to work with. And for imps, the protection of a warlock was preferable than being eaten by a larger demon. “Ask for its name,” Xanaroth reminded Felarius quietly.

“Imp,” Felarius announced. “You will give me your name.”

The imp cowered at the edge of the rune, its little clawed hands over its large ears. It wouldn’t matter; the rune that Felarius had drawn compelled it to obey. “D-dagtuk!” it screeched. Xanaroth hoped it wasn’t going to scream like that all of the time. It hurt his ears, and it would likely wake Elara.

He had also had Felarius practice the binding spell repeatedly. Any error there could cause the binding to weaken over time, putting the summoner at risk. As Felarius recited the binding spell, shadowy shackles formed around the imp’s wrists and ankles. “Dagtuk, I bind you to my bidding,” he said, and the imp whimpered quietly, but seemed to have calmed down, at least.

Xanaroth walked the perimeter of the rune, checking for any errors and inspecting the imp’s bindings. He was well aware that any mistake he overlooked would put his student in danger, so he took his time to see that everything was done correctly. Felarius watched him anxiously. At last he nodded. “Break it,” he instructed Felarius. With his boot, he smudged away one of the runes of the binding circle on the floor. Dagtuk crept warily to the spot and stuck his arm out tentatively. When nothing happened, the imp crawled slowly out of the circle to crouch at Felarius’s feet. For the first time, his student allowed himself a smile. “It worked,” he said, sounding a little amazed. “Can I pick it up?”

“Of course,” said Xanaroth. “Don’t lose it. Or if you do, you remember the recall spell?”

“I won’t,” Felarius said, touching the imp’s head gingerly. “And I do.”

As Xanaroth had expected, the imp calmed down once it realized that it wasn’t in immediate danger. It would still be curious about its new surroundings, and cause trouble if not supervised, but in time it might even grow fond of its master. Once it got a taste of proper food, it would never want to leave.

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[Story] Xanaroth’s Journal

Felarius’s lessons have been going well. Fortunately I’ve been able to keep Elara with me much of the time, in the same way that I imagine Hethurin must. I feel safer having her there with me rather than leaving her alone in a room during that time. Though I take her out any time we are summoning, even with imps. I’m not taking any chances. If she shows interest when she is older, that would be another matter, but I won’t take the risks I did in the past. It isn’t worth it. Nor will I put Felarius at risk. He’s so curious and eager, and I don’t want to dampen that, but at the same time I want to ensure he really understands the dangers of what he is working with. Like any tool, demons can harm the user if used incorrectly or carelessly.

He’s copying and studying bindings, and learning about the various types of demons. Sometimes he has questions that I don’t know the answer to — like last night, he was asking me about imps. I’ve never given imps much thought, they are just simply there most of the time and taken for granted. But he asked me about where they come from. I explained that they are born in great litters? Clutches? From broodmothers, something like a queen bee will give birth to all of the bees in a hive. And like bees, individual imps are simply workers who exist for the greater good of the swarm. Who fathers them? That question stumped me. Something  must, assuming that demons work in the same way that animals do. But perhaps they do not, perhaps the female doesn’t require a male at all. Or perhaps she finds a mate before she becomes so large. There is much we still don’t know about demons and their lives, given their secrecy and ability to hide away in the Nether. Maybe Felarius will be the one to discover it one day. He also asked if they miss their families. I said that they didn’t, because they don’t form familial attachments in the way that we elves do. Doesn’t the mother miss her children? I doubt she even knows how many she has, but it is true that imps form attachments easily to their masters. Perhaps they do seek some sort of parental figure, though I had always assumed they wanted protection from the Nether’s more dangerous residents. It’s an interesting thought, one I am glad that he brought up. A student who challenges the teacher is sure to go far in his studies, and in turn should make me a better teacher.

I do worry a bit that he’ll fall behind in his fire lessons. Aeramin is away, so his assistant Maerista is taking over his classes for the trip. Normally, Felarius does his private fire lessons with Aeramin, but it seems that he’s been studying his summoning instead. I don’t want to discourage that, of course, but nor do I want him to fall behind in fire. Not only is it incredibly important to have a good fire foundation, it would look awfully suspicious if he’s taking private lessons off site and still not doing well. I don’t want to raise any questions.

I think he’ll be ready for an imp soon. Obviously he can’t keep it at the school, but I could probably set up a place in the work room here. It will be easier than constantly summoning it, and I will also be able to keep a closer eye on its behavior. I’m somewhat relieved that he doesn’t seem to have any interest in a succubus. Those are nothing but trouble.

[Screenshots] Class Mounts

I’ve been keeping up with my weekly chores on the alts, so I was able to start working on getting class mounts Tuesday. I haven’t finished them all yet (more about that in a second), but I thought I’d post the ones I have so far. I do like the little cut-scenes you get at the end where you actually get the mount, some of them are pretty cool.

Like the class campaigns, though, they vary widely in difficulty. Most of my alts are around 850 ilevel, so they’re not especially well geared. Monk was really easy, and didn’t even have an elite to kill. The only one that’s really given me trouble so far is Warrior, even at 862 in Prot spec I’ve been unable to kill even the first challenger. I need to wait for a nerf or for him to get more gear, I guess. Warlock had to get an item from a Legion invasion, so I had to wait 7 hours for that. He also had to buy expensive crafted things from the Auction House. But hands down the worst is Rogue. They have to assassinate a target in each of the enemy faction cities. Which would be okay if they were scenarios, but nope, they’re on live. From what I’ve read, the Silvermoon target (the first one for Alliance rogues) also has a super long respawn time. I’m hoping for a nerf, otherwise it’s going to be a very long time before I get the rogue mount, which is disappointing because it’s one of the ones I actually liked.

Druid is very underwhelming, too. Not only do I find it incredibly ugly, it’s not actually a proper mount, it’s just a change to flight form. If you bought the very expensive Glyph of the Sentinel, you have to pay to switch back and forth between them. It also lacks an idle pose, a perch pose, a walking/ground pose, uses the old form sounds, and cannot be used in no-fly areas.

All the mounts (that are proper mounts, not druid form) can be used by other alts of the same class, however. I’ve read that druids can use the new owl if they have flying learned, in Moonglade. I haven’t gone to test it though, because in all honesty I don’t want to use it.

Visually, I think I like the Death Knight one best so far. Their movie was really cool too. (Though the actual quest I didn’t like! You’ll see why if you do it. I corpse ran rather than follow orders.) I also really like the Monk cat because he talks to you!

[Story] Xanaroth’s Journal

I brought Vallindra into the healers’ office, I was worried that something might be wrong and I thought it best that they see her. Everything seemed normal to be, but of course I’m not a healer, and she was well past her due date. I suppose the little one was warm and comfortable and wasn’t in any hurry to be disturbed! They decided to give Vallindra something that they said would hurry things along, she said it tasted really terrible. We waited there for quite a while, but nothing had happened yet. Esladra went home for the night, though Lani was still there, seeing to her father in the next room. Vallindra was worried because Lani doesn’t have much training in the area of babies — though she does have one herself so she must have some idea. Still, I had a hawkstrider outside ready to go and fetch Esladra at a moment’s notice. Vallindra slept, I had meant to stay awake but I fell asleep in the chair, until she woke me later that night. I wasn’t sure of the hour, but it was certainly late. Or early. I felt a little guilty waking Esladra at that hour, but then it was her job, wasn’t it? She was dressed and had her little bag ready much more quickly than I expected.

Once things started to happen, it went quickly. Lani came to assist so I did my best simply to stay out of the way. I wasn’t especially eager to see Vallindra in pain either — not to mention that she might rightfully blame me for being in this situation. I’m not the one who had to go through all of the discomfort, hopefully I can make it up to her later on. The baby is a girl. Vallindra said I could choose her name, and though I had a whole list ready it still wasn’t easy. Their name is something they have for life, it has to be nice and should fit them. I chose Elara, it’s short and pretty and it goes nicely with Embersun. I got to hold her, she’s so tiny that I was afraid I might drop her. Everything about her is tiny — her little fingers and her little ears and nose. And she’s cute. Of course I’m biased, but I think she’s one of the cutest babies I ever saw. No doubt she’ll grow up to be just as beautiful as her mother. She mostly sleeps now, and eats. I bring her to Vallindra for that, though sometimes I make a bottle if I want to let her get some rest. Esladra said that’s all she will do for a couple of weeks. I wonder about what she’ll be like, what her interests will be, what she’ll like in school, whether she’ll want to study summoning or not. I wouldn’t deter her of course, but I admit that it would worry me.

I had to skip Felarius’s lesson that week, because there was just too much to do. I felt bad about it, so we had an extra the next. He’s a good student, he has been keeping up on his reading and did all of the practice circles that I asked him to do. He asks questions but he doesn’t challenge me. I think he’ll do well. It’s been nice having a student again. I tried to explain it to Vallindra but I’m not sure she really understood. There’s nothing quite like seeing the student that you taught succeed and grow. Though I expect it must be similar to be a parent.

[Story] Xanaroth’s Journal

I stopped by Magister Firewind’s house to meet his new student. He’d been caught with certain books, and Hethurin agreed to allow Aeramin to instruct him safely, rather than expel him altogether. Many people aren’t so understanding, so I’m grateful that he allows his students to explore subjects that he may not agree with. However, he’s not to study or practice on the school grounds, which is where Aeramin came in. It’s far safer this way, he can learn the foundations required to summon safely and without putting others in danger. But then Aeramin said he thought I should take over his lessons, for what reason I do not know. I was surprised by the suggestion, but quickly agreed. It’s been far too long since I’ve had a student, and I look forward to watching him learn and progress. He’s studying fire magic currently, which is a good starting place. I intend to begin with the classification and attributes of various types of demons. He has a few books, but I can loan him more. It’s difficult not to give them all at once, I have to remember that he’ll be easily overwhelmed by too much information too fast. I can hardly believe I was once that naive and eager.

I intend to organize my work-room and give him his own corner to use for study and practice. Most of what’s down there are my notes for the book, but it’s been overdue for organizing anyway. I am a little concerned that Vallindra might not be pleased, but she shouldn’t see or hear him at all aside from when he arrives and leaves. That, and the baby will be here any day now. I know Hethurin teaches his classes with one (or two, sometimes) in a sling, and I expect that would work well for me. But later on, once Felarius actually begins summoning, we will have to find another arrangement. There’s no way I would expose my child to even an innocent looking imp; too much can go wrong. But I suspect that is quite some time off, I suppose how quickly Felarius learns and where his individual strengths lie.

I’m uncertain of Aeramin’s reasons for giving me his student. I’m not complaining, of course. On the contrary, it was a pleasant surprise. He did make a remark about not wishing to make Imralion jealous, which I found rather strange. Would he really be jealous of Aeramin spending time with a student? He did say there had been issues in the past, not necessarily with Imralion, but others. I suppose if Vallindra had a very handsome young blood knight wishing to visit her often, I might not like it very much. Whatever the reason, I look forward to it. And to finally meeting my son or daughter as well.

[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.