Episode 19: Time to Rest (Intermission)

The Pandaren town of Halfhill.

      Sionis Sepher’s eyes looked almost watery as he leaned back in his chair. He looked burdened by the weight of the memories he had just allowed himself to recall. His simple chair creaked as he shifted position, and the noise broke the trance the Loremaster had been locked in this entire time.

      The Loremaster looked outside and saw that the sun had set long ago, whatever errands he might have planned to run would have to wait now. It was clear that this latest session had stretched on longer than either of them had originally intended.

      “Did you ever see Kaellax again?” he asked.

      “Hmm?” Sionis asked, slowly pulling himself together. “What was that?”

      “Did you ever see her again? The warlock?”

      “Kaellax? Yes. We still crossed paths a few times, but it was under different circumstances. You must realize the time frame we’re approaching?”

      The Loremaster gave a solemn nod. He knew all too well what Sionis was referencing. They called it the Third War, but many who lived in Lordaeron still refer to it as the end of the world. After all, for so many, that’s exactly what it was. Sionis Sepher was no different. As a student of the Kirin Tor in Dalaran… it was inevitable.

      “I’ve overstayed my welcome,” the Loremaster said. “I’ll go.”

      “You’ll need your rest,” Sionis said. “You’ve got another work day ahead of you. I want to make a list of items for you before you go. You can pick them up at Halfhill market for me.”

      “Sionis…” the Loremaster said. “If the story… if it’s too hard…”

      “Nonsense,” Sionis said, smiling at him. “I will want to be rested if I am going to walk you through those dark days, there’s a lot to be mindful of there, both then and later again, if you understand my meaning.”

      “I’m not sure that I do,” the Loremaster said honestly.

      “Ah, well, in time you will.”

      Sionis snapped a finger and a few pieces of paper flapped over to him, while a quill whipped up and started writing out items in an orderly list. He checked it over as it wrote and then handed them over to me, the ink still drying on the parchment.

      “Pick this stuff up when you wake up, and when you get here, expect a long day. If you don’t mind, I think I’ll want to do it all in one go, at least through the… loss.”

      “Of course,” the Loremaster said. “I understand.”

      “Good on you,” Sepher said. “Now, head on out.”


      When the Loremaster reached the Lazy Turnip that night, he quickly locked himself in his room and pulled out all of his scrolls from the day’s work. He always liked to work on revising his notes while it was still fresh in his mind. The truth of the matter was that he had expected to hear of Sionis Sepher’s grand military career, but the man’s youth was far more invigorating than he could have ever expected. There was no doubt that all of this knowledge, this story, it would be well received by the Loremasters. He would make his mark on the libraries of Stormwind, but if he was honest, the concern about his own recognition had started to fade into a desire to truely know more about this man.

      He was invested in the story, to be sure, and he couldn’t shake it.

      He fell asleep in his room, still pouring over the notes, and he was certain he had dreams of warlocks and unfair trials.


      The morning market was busier than usual, and the Loremaster felt so out of place here. The native Pandaren were quite kind, but the other travelers in the area pushed through way through the market or caused a ruckus with the local guards. It was difficult to navigate the scene, and the Loremaster had never been around so few people that could speak his own language. Still, he got the ingredients on the list, even the difficult to find ones, and reported to Sionis Sepher’s hut as the sun was peeking over the horizon.

      He found the mage already working in the field.

      “When do you wake up?” the Loremaster asked as he approached with the bags of goods.

      “When I’m not sleepy anymore,” Sionis replied with a smile. “Thank you, Aier.”

      The Loremaster was surprised to hear his name. He shrugged it off.

      “Did any of the travelers give you any problems?”

      “No, it was fine.”

      “We get some rowdy folks out this way,” Sionis explained. “The Pandaren have always encouraged a neutrality, which means the Alliance and Horde governments don’t have much oversight here. If you can get to Pandaria, you can avoid those legal issues you might have back home.”

      “Is that why you’re here?” the Loremaster asked. “Are you hiding?”

      Sionis chuckled. “Ah, that would be exciting, right?”

      “I don’t know,” the Loremaster answered.

      “Alas, I’m just retired,” Sionis assured him. “You got all the items?”

      “I did.”

      “Good. I have always found cooking puts me in a happy mood, and I suspect I will need to be in a happy mood to combat the darkness that I must recall for you today. Come inside, we’ll talk and I will cook.”

      “Sure.”

      The pair went inside the hut and Sionis started fetching pots and pans while the Loremaster got his scrolls ready. The room was noisy as they shuffled about, but soon enough things quieted down and Sionis put some water on to boil.

      “Okay,” he said. “Now, where exactly did we leave it off last night?”

      “The attempted murder trial.”

      “Right. I was found not guilty, but Uncle Maron thought it best to send me back to Dalaran. Off and away I went. He said it was for my own safety. If only he had known what he was sending me into, I imagine he would have done it differently.”

      “So it was back to Dalaran, then?” the Loremaster asked, tapping his magic quill.

      “Dalaran,” Sionis replied. “And, ultimately, utter destruction…”


TO BE CONTINUED…

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