The last time we spoke, I talked about the life changing day I had in Stormwind, suddenly discovering that I had great wealth, a surviving uncle, and even my own mansion! It was a lot for a young boy to take in at once, but take it all in I did. Ushered on by the Loremasters, I took the simple directions given to me for navigating New Stormwind and made my way toward what I assumed was the Mage Quarter.
In some ways the Southern Kingdoms had come to dislike the use of arcane magics. After all, if we hadn’t meddled in their darker powers we probably would have never ended up with a portal that allowed Orcs to invade our homeland. That being said, the powerful individuals knew that magic was essential to maintaining our hold over the land, so the Mage Quarter was created as a safe haven for those who practiced the arcane arts. They could live in this quarter safe from harm or taunting by other citizens of Stormwind. It was a fairly small location near the city park and it wasn’t too hard to find. Many of the newly constructed buildings had purple shingles on their roofs, a clever point to the Kirin Tor’s brilliant purple color scheme.
Just inside the Quarter I came to a small Inn. My Uncle and Lady Sonea were supposed to be meeting me in this area and what better place than an Inn?
I stepped inside and felt suddenly cold. The entire entryway was at least ten degrees cooler than the outside, which was already much cooler than normal for this time of the year.
At the wooden bar, a young man stood, drying a glass bottle with a clean towel. He looked up at me and then back down at the bottle like I wasn’t even there.
“Hello,” I said as I stepped up to him. “I’m looking for a few friends.”
The bartender said nothing. He simply looked forward while his hands continued to wipe the glass bottle that looked plenty clean in his hands.
“Hello?” I asked again.
“You’ll have to excuse him,” a new voice said from behind me. “He’s not the brightest these days.”
I turned, startled by the new presence, and found myself staring at a young woman, or at least she looked young to me. She was dressed with a black robe and her skin was the color of a deep maple. Her eyes practically glowed a vibrant red and she wore a dark coloring around her eyes that only served to make them stand out even more. Her fingernails looked sharp enough to cut flesh and her robe had a shape that showed off an ample bosom.
Aside from her surprising beauty, she was surrounded with a daunting dark aura.
“You said you were looking for some friends,” she continued. “Do you know their names?”
I stumbled over my words. “Yes, uh, Lady Sonea is—”
“Oh, you’ve come to meet with the Kirin Tor?” she asked, looking disappointed. “You’re at the wrong location, I’m afraid.”
“I am?” I asked. “Is this not the mage quarter?”
The woman grinned. “It is the Mage Quarter, but not all magi serve the Kirin Tor.”
“Oh,” I said. “That makes sense. I apologize.”
“You’re looking for the Blue Recluse,” she added. “The owner of that establishment is much more to your liking.”
“I didn’t mean to come across as surprised,” I said, slowly regaining control of my shock. “You’re just not what I’m used to seeing when I talk to a mage. I’m from Dalaran you see, and well, the term mage is synonymous with Kirin Tor there.”
“Indeed,” she said with a nod. “You attend their arcane school then?”
“Oh, not yet.”
The woman’s face brightened somewhat, as if I’d sparked some glimmer of hope. “Tell me then, young one, what’s your name?”
“Sionis Sepher,” I answered firmly.
“It’s very nice to meet you, Sepher,” she said with a gentle voice. “My name is Kaellax.”
I tried to respond, but as I reached out to take her hand, the room grew immeasurably colder around me. I watched as her face turned concerned and a moment later my world shifted into a twisted nightmare.
I stood in the middle of a road, rain falling and screams echoing all around me. In front of me I saw a woman with a knife in her chest, she looked terrified, yet somehow strong in her determination not to show it.
“Run, Sionis Sepher,” she said. “Go as fast as you can!”
I didn’t want to go. I felt my heart aching and agony filling my body. I wanted to cry, to scream and resist, but staring at her face I knew I had to do as she said. I turned to run, to escape, but the agony continued to grow.
Then, as quickly as it came, the horrible nightmare ended.
I stumbled to the floor of the Inn and I felt someone’s cold hands taking me by the shoulders to prevent me from slamming my head on the ground. I saw the sharp fingernails and knew that I was back with Kaellax now.
Embarrassed and concerned, I quickly rolled over on the floor to stand back up, but that was when I saw it. It was a creature created of shadows and blue swirling energy. It stood with a roughly humanoid stature, but everything about this creature felt off, twisted with a kind of magic that I had never felt before.
“I’m terribly sorry,” Kaellax said with a frown. “I didn’t realize that my pet had joined us in the main lobby. I normally keep him downstairs.”
“What happened to me?” I asked through my chattering teeth.
“You were touched by this Voidwalker,” she explained. “Their touch recreates your darkest emotions and forces you to relive them in your mind’s eye. It’s a way to break the concentration of your enemies, you see.”
“I see,” I said as I slid a little further from the creature. “I didn’t realize I was an enemy.”
“Well, of course you’re not,” she said with a laugh. “It’s just that Voidwalkers aren’t exactly easy to train. Sometimes they get a little ambitious.”
“I’ve seen a frost elemental before,” I said, trying to hide my fear. “Is this conjured in the same fashion?”
“Not exactly,” Kaellax replied.
“What is it?” I asked, curiosity growing. “I’ve never felt that kind of magic before.”
“This voidwalker is not a simple trick of arcane magic,” Kaellax responded. “It’s a creature; a real creature summoned from a place known as the twisting nether.”
My pulse quickened, but I dared not express the horror that those words had injected into my body. I had heard about the twisting nether. Lady Evanor had shared the dark stories of the twisted magi that had fallen away from the Kirin Tor to become users of a dark energy from the twisting nether. I thought about feigning ignorance, but I was terrible at lying. I had no choice but to roll with what I knew.
“So, it’s a demon,” I said aloud. “A demon summoned with fel energy.”
Kaellax, surprisingly, smiled. Her teeth were white and perfect, but her lips were dark and covered with what must have been lipstick. “Very smart, young mage.”
“Isn’t demonology forbidden?” I asked, trying my best to make it sound like it wasn’t a threat. The last thing I wanted was for this woman to decide I was dangerous.
“It was, but it wasn’t,” she replied with a wave of her hand. “The King and all his men shun our kind from on high, but when blood is being spilled on the battlefield no one argues if my Voidwalker saves them from death.”
“So you’re allowed to exist, but only in hiding?”
She nodded. “A less than glamorous existence, but an existence none the less.”
“Isn’t it dangerous?” I asked.
“Very,” she replied. “Dangerous and exciting. Powerful. Wonderful.”
“Does the Voidwalker obey your commands?”
“Oh yes, everything I say. It is totally obedient.”
The creature did not speak, it did not move really. It was silent and terrifying as it stood there, simply… existing as it were.
I was about to say something else to the woman when suddenly I felt a presence in the room that had not been there moments before. The ripples in the dark magic that filled the room was like a breath of fresh arcane air.
“Sionis?” the familiar voice of Lady Sonea asked.
I turned and saw the mage in the doorway. She looked like she was ready for battle. Her staff was in hand and the friendly smile was gone. I was looking at a mage that was facing a great danger. I looked back to Kaellax and saw the exact opposite. She was relaxed, if not disappointed, with Sonea’s sudden appearance.
“Welcome, Lady Sonea,” she said with a casual smile. “So great to see you again.”
“Stand down,” Sonea said. “Send it away.”
Kaellax frowned. “Oh come now, he’s not bothering anyone.”
“Did it touch you, Sionis?” she asked.
I nodded. “Yeah, but it was an accident.”
“Nothing is an accident with this one,” Sonea replied. “Come on Sepher, let’s go.”
I actually hesitated. I don’t know for sure if it was because I actually wanted to stay and learn more about demons, or if I was just worried moving might cause Keallax to lash out at me, or perhaps she had me bound there with some kind of dark magic, but I know that I did not move at first.
“Oh, come along Sepher,” Kaellax said calmly. “You should be on your way.”
With her words, I felt like I was free to escape. I walked forward, tried to thank her for… not killing me I guess, and then headed outside with Lady Sonea next to me.
We didn’t talk for several minutes as we walked, but when we were a good distance from the Inn, I felt Sonea slow and start to look me over.
“I’m fine,” I said.
“You’re lucky,” Sonea replied. “Warlocks are dangerous. They’re not to be trusted.”
“Because they use Fel-energy?” I asked.
“Because they enjoy using it,” she corrected. “We all do dangerous things and meddle in power we don’t fully understand. That is what makes us stronger and more dangerous as a magical entity. The difference is discovering when something is too dangerous or too unstable. When you understand that more harm than good can come from your decisions, that is when you step away from what you are using. Warlocks don’t do this. They find comfort in the dark powers they manipulate. In time, they become twisted by it. I can guarantee you, young Sepher, that Warlocks do great and powerful things to aid us, but if you deal with a warlock long enough, they will betray you. You may be lucky and only suffer a small wound, but other mages have fallen to their tricks and lost their lives in the process.
“Why are they allowed to be here then?”
“Technically, they aren’t, but they are powerful and deadly. The Lords of Stormwind know that trying to root them out will only lead to more damage than good in the the magic-using community. They are, for now at least, a necessary evil.”
“Does Dalaran have warlocks too?”
“They do,” she admitted. “The Kirin Tor make it uncomfortable for a warlock to thrive in Dalaran, however, so most of them have moved to Lordaeron and New Stormwind in recent years. You must be careful for them, Sionis. Many magi in the Kirin Tor fall to the temptation of power through the use of Fel magic.”
“Did that happen to Kaellax?” I asked.
Sonea deflated. “Yes, it did.”
“I’m sorry,” I said, realizing I had asked a personal question. “I didn’t realize—”
“Don’t be sorry,” she replied. “Come, Sionis. It’s time you met your Uncle.”
We walked a short ways through the Mage Quarter until we came to another Inn. This one looked much better from the outside and once we were inside we were greeted with the warmth of a fire and voices laughing and chatting all around.
“What is his name?” I asked.
“Maron,” Sonea said. “Maron…uh, Sepher.”
We marched through the crowd of the inn and up a set of stairs to where several tables were empty. At the back corner we found him, an older man with thick black hair and a scruffy beard. He was dressed like a worker of the fields, not like a mansion-owning business man, but when he smiled and waved to me I felt my fear and tension melting away. The icy cold experience with Kaellax had made me think that my Uncle might also be a dark and twisted individual.
I could not have been more wrong.
TO BE CONTINUED…