I returned to the inn that afternoon once the stable master kicked me out of and told me to return in a few days. Ghost had become a new best friend, second only to Appleon on the scale. When I cut through the bar to head to my bunk, I found that Lady Sonea was waiting for me at the counter. I thought admissions started at sundown, but I simply assumed she had come to get me ready a little early.
I came over to her and took a seat. She pinched her nose almost immediately.
“You smell like horse dung,” she said.
“I may have fallen in some,” I admitted. “It was a good day.”
“You met Ghost then?”
“It was kind of Appleon’s father to buy you that horse. You should thank him personally when you get a chance.”
“I will,” I assured her. “So are we ready for admissions?”
She frowned. Even now when I think about it… I hated her frown. It was a sign of doom.
“I’m afraid we’re going to have to put that on hold,” she said.
“What?” I nearly yelled. “Why?”
“Something has come up. You and I, along with a few dozen others, will be making our way to Southshore in a few days.”
“Southshore?” I asked. “What’s there?”
“A ship that is going to transport us to New Stormwind. It’s still being built, but we’ve received an invitation from the young King Varian of Stormwind. He would like some of the Kirin Tor to set up a study there.”
“We’re going to New Stormwind?” I asked.
I knew next to nothing of “old” Stormwind, aside from the fact that it had been sacked in the First War. The thought of leaving Dalaran, the city I’d known since I was a child, seemed suddenly overwhelmingly terrifying.
“We are,” Lady Sonea said. “I never told you this, but I was born and raised in the Southern Kingdoms. I moved to Dalaran when I was a teenager, about your age to be precise, because the magic users were all here. King Varian hopes that if we bring some of that magic to Stormwind we might be able to strengthen the city from any future attacks.”
“So how long are we going? Just to get stuff set up?”
“One year,” she said flatly. “If things are going well, I may stay on longer. What happens with you will be determined by my success.”
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You’re one of the first students to be admitted to the Kirin Tor of Stormwind,” she said. “I will teach you as a first year and young Evanor will continue as my protege.”
My young heart was filled with a great mixture of dread and excitement. Of course, hearing that I had just been admitted to study magic with the Kirin Tor was exciting, but hearing that I would be doing that studying in a city that I didn’t remember was less than thrilling. Dalaran had been my home for a long time now. I wasn’t sure I was ready to give that up.
“Will there be any other people my age coming along?” I asked.
Sonea gave a smirk and rubbed my head. “At least one unruly boy will be joining us.”
“Appoleon?” I asked excitedly.
“Appoleon,” she confirmed. “He’s got the heart of an adventurer and his father is a skilled alchemist that has offered us his aide.”
This news tempered my fears a little bit, so I listened in as she explained how we would take a ship from Southshore to the small docks that had been rebuilt in the harbor area. From there we would be escorted to a section of the city that would be managed and controlled by the Kirin Tor. It would by their own district in the great city, a small piece of Dalaran inside the walls of the southern kingdom capital.
When she was finally done telling me the details, she presented me with a birthday gift that I will never forget. It was a small wand, smooth oak wood with two power crystals embedded at the end for channeling arcane energy. It was rare for the adult mage to use a wand, instead turning to the more powerful staff, but for now it would be my key to the world of magic.
“When will my lessons begin?” I asked as I headed to bed that night.
“As soon as we’re in Stormwind,” she replied. “There will be plenty of time then.”