Episode 8: Frost, Fire, and Holy Wrath

       There was a brief moment of silence in the small room of the Stormwind inn. Sionis Sepher, fire mage of Stormwind, stood with Iliera at his side. He was dressed in an ornate dress, Pandaren in origin, and he looked… confident.

       “Who do we have here?” the Enchantress asked. “Another Remnant?”

       Sionis grinned. He gave a flick of his wrist and the rope restraining Fÿnn fell away as fire scorched through one of the bindings. The young human jumped up and came to stand with Iliera at Sionis’ side. They were crammed in this room, four people; three versus one.

       Still, the Enchantress seemed unconcerned. “Impressive magic,” she said casually. “You certainly know how to make an entrance.”

       “Thanks,” Sionis said, his voice firm and calm.

       “Too bad you have to die now!” The Enchantress snapped her hand up and shot several arcane missiles through the air. Sionis raised an arm and a wall of flame ignited in the air between them, absorbing her attack in the process.

       She squinted her eyes. “A little fire magic isn’t going to—”

       Sionis took a single step forward. A blast of fire erupted in front of him, magically forming in the shape of a dragon’s head. The fire seared the wooden furniture, torched the bed sheets, and sent the Enchantress hurling backward. She protected herself with an arcane shield, but she barely managed to conjure it in time. She crashed through the doorway of the room, colliding with the hallway wall outside. She quickly regained her stance, but as her arcane shield collapsed, it was clear to see that a small patch of burned flesh sizzled and smoked on her arm.

       “Cheap move,” she growled, looking at her wound. “You want to be aggressive? I can do that too!”

       She waved an arm and four arcane missiles launched forward. Only two of them were directed at Sionis, with the other two going for Fÿnn and Iliera. Sionis weaved a counter on the spot, deflecting two of the missiles from his allies, but his action left him open to attack. He dodged one by sheer chance, but the last one impacted his shoulder and knocked him backward.

       Iliera caught and steadied him before he hit the ground, and he saw that the Enchantress was charging an Arcane explosion. He waved his hand, spinning up another spell, and a thick wall of ice formed between them. The arcane explosion hit hard, cracking the barrier, but not breaking through.

       “It won’t hold forever,” he said as he righted himself. “Out the window. Now!”

       The two paladins didn’t budge. “No, we stand together,” Iliera said firmly. “The Light is with us.”

       “You sure?” Sionis asked. “You don’t have weapons.”

       “We have the Light,” Fÿnn answered. “That’ll do just fine.”

       Sionis grinned. “Alright then. Let’s do this.”

       As if on cue, the ice wall shattered in a purple haze. The Enchantress was standing with a magical aura surrounding her as she stepped back into the room. She no longer looked entertained. Things were serious now and she definitely looked the part. “I don’t know who you are,” she said angrily. “I don’t care, either. You will die all the same.”

       She lifted her arms to hit the group with a powerful arcane blast, but before she could fire the spell, a cascading wall of freezing ice crashed through the wall of their room, slamming into her side and smashing her into the wall on the other side of the room so hard that it pushed all the way through to the outside of the building, knocking the Enchantress into the open streets of Stormwind.

       “Nice one, Sionis!” Fÿnn shouted.

       “That wasn’t me,” Sionis replied.

       Syanna charged into the room behind the icy blast with her staff in hand. When she saw the three of them standing there she froze in place for a second. “Sionis?”

       “Hey,” he replied.

       “Alright,” Syanna said. “Sure. Everyone alright?”

       “Better than she is,” Fÿnn said, gesturing outside.

       “Come on,” Iliera said, stepping toward the hole in the wall. “We have a fight to finish.”


       The Enchantress had stumbled back to her feet by the time her foes leapt down from the hold in the inn’s wall. There were four of them now. The frost mage, the fire mage, and two paladins. She thought about her chances of survival and knew the odds. She was going to need something more if she planned to survive this confrontation.

       “It’s time to surrender,” Iliera announced. “You don’t have to die here.”

       The Enchantress laughed. “Die? To you fools? I’m not worried about that.”

       Iliera took another step forward and her world went white. The Enchantress used an explosion of arcane energy with almost no warning. The instant cast of the spell caught the entire group off-guard. Her skills in the arcane arts were truly impressive if she didn’t need any time to pull off something like that.

       Sionis and Syanna were the first to recover, jumping forward in an awe inspiring show of frost and fire magic. The night elf hit the Enchantress with a frostbolt while Sionis’ fireball was close behind. The Enchantress absorbed the first hit, but the second made her slip. She rolled backward to avoid the worst of it, but she still had to pull off a scorched shoulder piece to avoid getting burned.

       Syanna went for a physical attack with her staff, and that was when the Enchantress saw an opportunity. She sidestepped the swing, then grabbed the night elf by the arm and whispered an incantation that immediately silenced the frost mage’s magic.

       Sionis pulled his own weapon, a sword that ignited in flame, and he brought it down with full force, but the Enchantress released Syanna and used her blink ability to dodge the blade. She made another attempt to silence Sionis as well, but the mage brought up the hilt of his weapon and caught her in the wrist. It didn’t do any damage, but it hurt enough to make her recoil.

       As the mages engaged in combat, Iliera, realizing she had no weapon, rushed to the nearby blacksmith shop. A few customers were watching the fight unfold in the streets and were more annoyed that she was getting in their way.

       “Hey, give me a mace!” she shouted in the doorway. “No wait, two maces!”

       The shop owner didn’t hesitate. He lifted and threw her a heavy mallet on demand, followed by another. “I’ll pay you back,” she replied as she rushed back into the street just as the Enchantress sent Sionis crashing into the canal with another arcane spell. When he slipped under the surface of the water the Enchantress was quick to act, jumping down and using a frost spell to freeze the water solid, with Sionis trapped inside.

       “Sionis!” Iliera shouted, closing the distance with a powerful spell and throwing a spare mace to Fÿnn as she ran.

       The Enchantress jumped off the frozen ice as Iliera arrived where the mage was trapped. The paladin called upon the Light and brought her hammer down on the ice, sending wide cracks through the whole frozen block. She would have done more, but the Enchantress fired another barrage of missiles at her, which forced her to roll out of danger and back onto the city street.

       “Stay on her,” Syanna yelled, heading toward Sionis. “I got this.”

       Iliera nodded firmly and gripped her mace. Fÿnn was at the ready and the two of them started closing in on their target together. The Enchantress practically rolled her eyes before she threw out a polymorph spell that turned Fÿnn into a small turtle. His mace fell to the ground beside his new form and Iliera couldn’t help but feel sorry for the paladin’s luck. Fortunately, the Enchantress had chosen to morph the wrong paladin. Iliera was within striking distance in an instant. She called upon the Light to aid her and and it answered, shining so brightly from her armor that it blinded the Enchantress.

       Iliera’s hammer came crashing down on a barely stabilized arcane shield, which promptly shattered, sending the Enchantress sailing through the air. She landed on her side, rolled several times, then fell still.

       “Yield!” Iliera shouted. “The Light demands it!”

       The Enchantress got to her knees, clearly growing exhausted. “Never!”

       Iliera had enough. “Very well, then suffer the wrath of my righteousness!”

       Her armor began to spark with blinding Light. The Holy energy radiated so brightly the entire area began to look as though it was lit by another sun. The Enchantress gave a wicked smile and then snapped her fingers. All the sudden, from multiple directions, whales began to appear. They surrounded the Enchantress, filling the streets until they were thoroughly blocking the path to her foe.

       “Come now,” she said, her face a mixture of hatred and glee. “Smite me and my followers with your Holy Light. We deserve your punishment.”

       Iliera began to reel back her power. The Light within her called for vengeance, but she knew she could not harm the innocents that now protected her enemy.

       “No?” the Enchantress asked. “Nothing more from the mighty paladin?”

       Iliera was about to speak, but her words were silenced by a blast of hot steam from the Stormwind canals. The water turned from ice to liquid, from liquid to steam, and from the canal, Sionis Sepher emerged, his body transformed into pure flame.

       Iliera could sense the powerful aura around him and she was impressed. She had seen Sionis use his fire magic many times over their years together, but this was a demonstration of both power and control.

       “Will you assault me then?” the Enchantress asked. “Will you burn the children?”

       “No,” Sionis replied.

       A second later, every single whale vanished.

       The Enchantress barely had time to react.

       The Light surged forward from Iliera the moment she realized the opening. A wall of flame and brimstone erupted from where Sionis stood in the same moment. The two attacks converged on the exposed Enchantress and she was left with no options. She shielded herself and the shield did a decent job of repelling the fire magic that Sionis had unleashed on her, but it wasn’t enough to finish the job. As the flamestrike spell brought her to her knees, Iliera’s righteous fury landed on its mark.

       On the charred city street, the Enchantress was on her back, smoke rising from her scorched clothing while blood pooled from an open wound. Still, she started to stand once more.

       “Stay down,” Iliera commanded. “It’s over.”

       The Enchantress, on her knees, looked up to see that Syanna had rejoined Sionis and Fÿnn was back at Iliera’s side. She’d done her best, but the paladin was right. The enchantress sighed. “I suppose it is.”

       Iliera’s spirit was lifted by those words. “We will make sure that you are—”

       “Silence,” the Enchantress said, cutting Iliera off. “It’s over. I didn’t say I surrendered.”

       “What?”

       The nightborne pulled a small hearthstone from her robe and tilted her head. “Oh, the simplest magic is sometimes all we really need.”

       Sionis and Syanna both snapped to action, attempting to conjure a spell that would stun her, but it was too late. With a simple squeeze of the magical stone, she was enveloped in blue magical energy that teleported her away from danger.

       “Can we trace that magic?” Fÿnn asked, hopeful.

       “No,” Syanna replied. “That’s impossible. She’s gone.”

       Just like that. It was over.


       As the dust began to settle, Iliera released her Holy energy in a pillar of Light that shot skyward. It drew the cheers of several of the onlookers as it erupted. Once that was done, she stepped over to Fÿnn and wrapped him up in a big hug before she turned toward the fire mage. Sionis’ flames died away, leaving him smoldering, but still fully dressed. Fÿnn and Syanna came over to join them with smiles on their faces, clearly comfortable with the outcome of this confrontation.

       “All’s well that ends well,” Syanna said cheerily. “The Enchantress is gone, her prisoners are safe, so I would say good job done, everyone.”

       “Where are her prisoners?” Iliera asked.

       “Teleported them to the stockades,” Syanna replied. “Seemed like the logical thing to do.”

       “That’s impressive magic,” Iliera said.

       “It’s not far away, and I was pretty pumped with energy,” Syanna added. “I wouldn’t do it every day.”

       “Uh,” Fynn started. “Is anyone going to address the elephant in the room?”

       “What’s that?” Iliera asked.

       Fynn waved a hand wildly at Sionis. “He’s back! He’s using magic!”

       “Oh, right,” Iliera said, stepping closer to the fire mage. “Come here, you.”

       The two embraced and then kissed for what must have been a solid minute.

       “Get a room,” Syanna said jokingly.

       Iliera finished her hug and then stepped back. “You look good, Sepher.”

       Sionis raised a brow at her. “You look good too. Different… but good.”

       “We do have a little ground to cover,” she admitted.

       “I’ll say,” Sionis agreed. “For starters, maybe tell me why we were fighting a Nightbourne?”

       Fÿnn winced. “Right. You really have been out of it for a while.”

       “What about the prisoners?” Iliera asked Syanna, changing the subject. “If they still think they’re whales, how will we be able to break the spell without the Enchantress?”

       “That’s not a problem,” Syanna replied. “That spell is so complex that it requires constant upkeep. With the Enchantress gone, the spell will likely wear off over time. They’re going to think they are whales for a few days… maybe a few weeks, but eventually they’ll snap out of it and realize they were being brainwashed.”

       “Good to know,” Iliera said. “So, I guess… that’s that?”

       “FREEZE!”

       The group did as they were ordered. Iliera leaned over to look past Syanna and saw SI:7 agent Chip Stone coming toward them with at least a half dozen soldiers, crossbows and swords at the ready.

       “Agent Stone,” Iliera said. “We can explain.”

       “Oh, you’ll be explaining alright,” Stone said angrily. “Once I have you behind bars. We found the manifesto your friend wrote here. It was in the burning rubble of the building he brought down in the dwarven district.”

       “I didn’t do that,” Fÿnn argued. “That was the Enchantress.”

       “We can explain everything,” Iliera said calmly. “I promise.”

       It was only in this moment that Chip Stone seemed to take note of the massive hole in the inn and the wreckage scattered through the street. “What happened here?” he asked.

       “The Enchantress!” Fÿnn shouted.

       “You want me to get us out of here?” Sionis asked, clearly ready to teleport them away.

       “No,” Iliera said. “This is a slight misunderstanding. We’ll get it sorted out.”

       Chip Stone didn’t seem as optimistic about it, but he at least waved for his soldiers to lower their weapons. “Let’s take a walk to the stockades. We can talk more there.”

       Iliera frowned. She had hoped to get a little bit of support from the SI:7 agent, but she recalled the Enchantress’ plan and realized that there was probably more to the story than she had revealed. Still, she took a deep breath and reached out to take hold of Sionis’ hand.  He took hers and gave it a gentle squeeze, which she found invigorating.

       Everything, she reinforced, was going to be fine…


TO BE CONTINUED!

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