On a rocky ledge, not far from the temple of Karabor, an orc and draenei were laying flat against the ground. The draenei’s eyes were closed and his palms were flat against the rocky soil. The orc was looking toward the temple with a spyglass.
“You know, Wave, if they spot me I’m as good as dead,” the orc said.
“They won’t spot us, Kar,” the draenei replied. “We’ve got this.”
“I’m just saying, if they see us, after what the Iron Horde did here?”
“We won that battle,” Wave said, reminding the orc. “And you aren’t part of the Iron Horde.”
“Sure thing,” Kar said. “We’ll see how forgiving they are.”
“We won’t get caught,” Wave repeated. “Now, how many guards are blocking her path?”
“Not many. Two at the main entrance, a half dozen between her and the target.”
Wave smiled. “Excellent. How is she doing?”
Kar took a moment to move the spyglass until he locked onto his target. A draenei paladin named Iliera was casually strolling toward the temple on her steed. This was, of course, all part of the plan that she had put together with Wave and Kar earlier.
All part of a very elaborate plan that was going to get them all into a lot of trouble if anything went wrong. Kar Gravesteel had been fighting alongside Wave’s side for years now, ever since they had met in the dungeon of that Iron Horde encampment.
They had fought to keep Draenor safe, and more importantly, they were a beacon of hope to both the orcs and draenei that peaceful relations could continue now that the Legion was pushed back.
Not many agreed, and the Lightforged had their own way of viewing things, which made them heretics if they were brutally honest. Kar was likely the only orc anywhere near Shadowmoon Valley and he knew he’d pay a terrible price if he was captured here.
He just hoped Wave was aware of that danger as well.
“Okay,” Wave said. “It’s almost time. As soon as Iliera’s in the temple, we move.”
Down near the docks of Karabor, a single shadowy figure slipped silently through the night air. She held her bow tightly and carried only a small quiver with two arrows. She had a single job to do and she was ready.
She worried, of course, about the dangers of actually attacking the temple, but her sister had explained the situation to her and Vaeliera agreed with the path forward. So, she reached the right spot, a beautiful topiary that would hopefully cover her escape, and knelt down, ready to do what she must when the time was right.
At the main entrance to the temple, Iliera gave a courteous bow.
“Welcome to Karabor, Iliera of Embaari. We have heard much about you, your travels, and your heroics.”
“Thank you,” she said, offering another bow of respect.
“How can we help you?”
“I have come to pay respects to K’ara,” Iliera said. “I owe a great debt to the Light.”
Standing before them, Iliera took a moment to lift her head ever so slightly, so that the bright rune of power shown toward them.
“Of course, we welcome you.”
The first step was in place, easy enough, she was glad that they had opted to let her into the temple grounds. That would make the next part a little easier. She knew that Wave was listening in on the whole situation using the power of the elements. Whenever she was ready, her plan was in place.
“She’s in the front gate,” Wave said.
“Wonderful news,” Kar replied. “So now what?”
“We wait. Iliera’s going to keep following the formal process to get to K’ara.”
“What is all this hubbub about, then?”
“We’re here to help Iliera get to K’ara. If she can already do that, why are we here?”
“She can see K’ara. She can’t speak to her, definitely not without dozens of Draenei guardians around. She is paying us to get her an audience with K’ara… alone.”
“So, how will we know when we’re up?”
“We’ll know,” Wave said. “We’ll know.”
Iliera smiled as one of the grand priests of the temple approached her. “Hello, hero of the Alliance and child of Draenor! My name is Na’niah of Shattrath.”
“Hello, Na’niah. It is a pleasure to meet you.”
“So, you say you have come to pay honor to K’ara?”
“That is true,” Iliera said. “I would like to have an audience with her, if I could.”
The priest frowned. “You wish to speak with her?”
“My child, K’ara does not speak with anyone.”
That news was not what Iliera had expected. “What do you mean?”
“K’ara hasn’t spoken to anyone since before the end of the fight against the Iron Horde. She spends all of her days in silent reverie.”
Iliera danced on the idea of simply telling this priest the truth. That K’ara had reached out to her in the moment she had touched the Light, calling her back home to speak with her here… warning her that the temple was not what it seemed.
This priest seemed kind, seemed honest, but how could Iliera know for sure?
“Perhaps, you might let me try anyway?” she asked, hoping for a chance.
The priest shook her head. “I cannot allow that. We cannot risk letting unknown travelers approach K’ara. Not when we heard about what happened on Argus.”
So they knew about X’era. That was unfortunate.
Iliera thought about trying to press the issue. Maybe she could convince them that she meant well and that K’ara had spoken to her. Or, perhaps they already knew that and simply wanted to get rid of her.
Regardless, Iliera needed to move forward, and the priest was no longer helping.
“Can I at least visit her?” Iliera asked. “Maybe—”
“I’m afraid not,” the priest replied. “If you’ve come to pay your honors we have constructed a number of alters that you can used to give your blessings.”
“I see,” Iliera said.
With that, she tapped her heel three times on the beautiful tile floor.
Wave got the signal loud and clear.
“It’s time,” he said, gesturing to Kar. “Signal to the first group.”
The Orc slid a little to his right and then used a small glass mirror to reflect the bright moonlight down on the valley, near the least fortified wall of the temple. A moment later he got a flash of light back.
The signal had been received. The plan was in motion now.
“Okay, I’m signaling number two now, then we’ll do our thing.”
Wave reached into the soil and extended his reach all the way down to the docks where he found Vaeliera waiting patiently. He playfully scrawled the words “go time” into the soil and felt the vibration of her gentle laughter.
Wave pulled himself back to the rocky cliff, resting next to Kar a moment longer, and then he watched as it all went down.
A green explosion erupted on the docks of the temple. Fel-infused energy. The Draenei would think it was an attack from the Legion, without a doubt. Wave couldn’t help but feel a little uncomfortable with all of this, but he believed Iliera when she told him it would be necessary.
Now, to the east, he saw the Felguards marching out of the woods toward the temple wall. There were at least a dozen of them, large and imposing, and Wave was impressed with the magical talent that must have been required to summon and maintain the visage of those creatures.
The alarm was sounding in the temple now, and all of the guards were rushing to their posts. Now the most important part was upon them.
“Kar,” he said. “You ready for this?”
“You’re sure we can undo this, when we’re done?”
Wave nodded, nearly certain.
“Okay then, let’s tear a hole in your people’s holy temple!”
Kar put his hands to the soil and Wave repositioned his own. From the very rocky outcroppings, creatures began to assemble themselves. They looked like elementals, somewhat, but they were nothing more than rocks and wind controlled by the two shamans.
The Draenei at the western wall wouldn’t know that. They would see rocks smashing against their defenses and get to work on destroying them.
All part of the plan.
It was up to Iliera now.
Inside the temple, everyone had lost their minds.
They were reporting attacks from all sides, demonic elementals, demonic armies, and at least one fel-bomb. Hundreds were being called to every location to help defend against the onslaught.
The priest, for what it was worth, remained relatively calm, though Iliera could see she too was quite concerned. “It’s been years since we’ve been attacked,” she told Iliera. “I am sure all is well, but we just—”
“No need to explain,” Iliera said, acting as cool and casual as she could. “Where are the attacks coming from?”
“Three sides,” the Priest replied.
“Then we must move to the fourth side.”
“I know the Legion well,” Iliera said, putting pride in her voice. “I helped defeat them.”
“So you think they will attack our most fortified defenses?”
“They seek to lure you away from their true target.”
The priest looked concerned. “I need to warn someone.”
“Stay here, Iliera of Embaari. I will return with others and we can move to the open area.”
The priest rushed off, and that was when Iliera jumped into action. She had studied the layout of the temple ever since deciding to come to Draenor and now she was thankful. The chaos of the whole situation made trying to figure out where she was located all the more difficult.
The building shook a little bit.
That was Valiera’s second shot. She would be retreating now and the guards would put out the fel-flames with relative ease.
She had to hurry.
Vaeliera dashed through the woods with lightning efficiency. Even if she had been spotted she would have thrown off anyone that tried to follow by now. She made a few extra twists and turns along the way, then doubled back along the edge of the forest to the rocky outcroppings where the two shamans were currently busy attack the temple.
She didn’t say anything to them when she arrive, other than a simple. “It’s me.”
She fished her real quiver from a nearby bush and checked her supply. She had several arrows tipped with tranquilizers that she could use to down any trackers that might find their way out here during the attack. She hoped it wouldn’t come to that, but it was better to be prepared. She stepped back into the shadows, hidden away, so that she could protect the other two if it came to it.
Ilera punched through the last door and found K’ara.
The Naaru was floating gently in the open air of a large courtyard. There were two guards on either side of her and they both pulled their weapons when they saw Iliera approaching.
“I do not wish to fight you,” Iliera said, lifting her own mace. “I must speak to K’ara.”
The guards moved to intercept her. She didn’t have time for this. Before anyone could kick off a fight, however, golden energy reached out from K’ara and gently touched the two guards. They fell to the ground instantly.
“Approach me, child,” K’ara said.
Iliera did as she was told, and the two beams of golden energy that had just taken down the guards moved together and enveloped her.
“Welcome, Iliera, Protector of Two Worlds and hero of Argus.”
“Why have you called me here?”
“You performed a ritual, an ancient tasking, and with it you joined with the Light.”
“Then it is my duty to warn you of the risks you have taken.”
“What do you mean?”
“The Light. The Void. There are few who have seen the truth as I have seen it. For a time, Iliera, I fell to the void. I was called the Dark Star then. It is a fate I would wish on no other, but I have recovered from that terrible poison with a truth deep inside me that I will carry for eternity. The Light carries its own weight. It will pull at you, Iliera, just as the Void will pull to those who harness its power.”
“But I would willingly embrace the Light,” Iliera said. “It has aided me in so many ways.”
“The Light knows only one path, Iliera. One truth and no others. I have seen so many other truths shared to me when I was filled by the Void. Many of them were chaotic and others were nothing more than fabrications of the mind, but I know now that the Light cannot see all. It cannot fully understand creation for it is blind to anything beyond.”
Iliera couldn’t believe what she was hearing. To have a Naaru speak of the Light in such a manner was almost terrifying. The Light was infused within her body and there was no doubt that it took offense to the words K’ara now spoke.
Traitor. Liar. It called these words to mind, but Iliera was not so easily convinced. She had seen the power of the Dark Star. She had seen K’ara purged of her Void energy. If anyone knew more about the two sides, then it would be this naaru.
“What should I do?”
“You must reach out to all those who become forged by the Light. Tell them the truth as I have shared it here with you now. Do not close yourself off to the world. The Light is a part of you now, but it must not consume you.”
“I understand,” Iliera said. “I will take what you have said to heart. Should I attempt to stop others from becoming Lightforged?”
“No,” K’ara replied. “The power you wield increases exponentially now, but without guidance you can become a zealot of the Light that has no home in this physical realm.”
Suddenly, two doors to the open courtyard burst open and several draenei rushed through. They had their weapons drawn and while seeing Iliera wrapped in golden energy gave them a brief pause, they were soon rushing toward her anyway.
“How will I escape?”
K’ara said nothing. Instead, a holy energy erupted from her, a bubble that spread far and wise until it had encompassed almost the entire temple of Karabor.
“Go now,” the Naaru said. “I will hold them here as long as I can.”
“K’ara. You said this place was not as it seemed?”
“Devotion to something without truly understanding that thing, it can lead to terrible decisions. I understand this now, but these people do not. In time, perhaps, I can teach them, but for now, I am confined. They fear my words are tainted by the Void energy that once lived within me.”
“Why not leave? Come with me. We can take you to Azeroth.”
“My place, for the time being, is here. Thank you for granting me an audience, Iliera. Now, you must go. I cannot hold them for long.”
Iliera gave a final bow of respect to the naaru and then rushed out of the courtyard, through the twisting halls of the temple, and out the front entrance. Her mount awaited, ready to go, and she leapt on his back and rode up the pathway away from the temple.
Kar watched as the golden energy enveloped the temple, freezing all of the draenei soldiers in place. He released his hold on his fake elementals and they crumbled back into dirt and debris. Likewise, the visage of demons marching on the temple vanished into thin air. It would take the draenei a few hours to clean up the mess, but Karabor was no worse for wear.
Out of the front entrance, a single draenei emerged. She jumped on her steed and started riding their way. A snap and fizzle sound made Kar spin around, but he relaxed when he saw it was the night elf mage, Syanna, who had been responsible for conjuring the images of the demons.
“You all ready to get out of here?” she asked.
“Absolutely,” Kar replied. “Wave, you ready?”
“Yeah,” he said. “Just making sure Iliera gets here too.”
“She’s fine,” Syanna said, already busy at work on weaving another portal. “Oh, you two are in for a real treat.”
“What treat?” Kar asked.
“We can’t stay here on Draenor. Those temple guards are not going to be happy with what went down here today. Best option is to lay low for a little while.”
“You’re taking us to another planet?” Wave asked.
“Yeah. Just for a little while. If you want, I can get you back here no problem in a few weeks. We just want to make sure they don’t link anybody to the attack before we come back.”
Kar frowned. “I can’t say I’m too eager to go.”
“Ah, because of the horde and alliance stuff? Makes sense. Don’t worry about that. We’re going to Dalaran. Totally neutral city. You’ll be fine.”
“Wave?” Kar asked. “Are you okay with this?”
“Iliera says it is the right thing to do?”
Syanna nodded. “Yup.”
Hearing that, Wave nodded to Kar. “We should go. We can figure out what to do after that.”
A loud thunderclap drew their attention back to Karabor. The Light bubble was breaking away and the draenei guards were beginning to move again. The guards that had been attacking were gone now, and the elementals were nothing but dirt.
“Mission successful,” Iliera said as she rode up to the others on her steed. “I’m really proud of all of you. This has been an amazing day.”
“Almost got the portal,” Syanna said.
“Wave, did he talk to you about leaving for a while?”
“Are you on board?”
The two shamans looked at one another and then nodded in agreement. “We’re going.”
“Glad to hear it,” she replied.
The portal stabilized and Syanna clapped her hands. “Alright people, let’s move!”
The two shamans went first, followed by Vaeliera and Iliera. Syanna took a long moment to look out at the temple again and then she too stepped through into one of the many alleyways in Dalaran. She took a moment to seal the portal and then took in a breath of fresh air.
“Ah, lovely,” she said. “I love this place so much.”
She turned around to see the others standing there. Iliera held a piece of paper in her hand and her face looked like it couldn’t get any more pale.
“What is it?” she asked.
“I found a newspaper,” Iliera said, handing it to the mage.
When she looked at the front page, she too gasped.
The bold front page read: Fighting Erupts at the Seething Shore!
TO BE CONTINUED…