Episode 9: Catching Up

       Chip Stone was not a young gnome. He’d lived a long time, seen a lot of war, and heard a lot of crazy tales over the years. He would be lying if he said he had not heard the stories of the famed mage of Stormwind… Sionis Sepher. A hero, sometimes an anti-hero, and now a criminal. He had his sources verify the mage’s identity after they picked him up at the canals. It was a plot twist he hadn’t expected. So, now he had the mage in his custody, sitting across from him at headquarters, looking far too calm for the trouble he was in.

       The mage was wearing an ornate robe dyed with vibrant reds and jeweled with blue crystals. He looked like he had jumped right out of some kind of pandaren adventure and into the streets of Stormwind, which was already odd enough for this whole twisted tale.

       “So, Sionis Sepher, how are you involved in all this?” Chip finally asked.

       “Iliera,” Sionis replied. “I felt her experience great pain. It was intense. I feared for her life, so I opened a portal and I came to save her.”

       “That was when you encountered the Enchantress?”

       “Sure,” Sionis said. “Is that what we’re calling her? She was a Nightborne. One of the elves from Suramar.”

       “We have reports she’s a Night Elf.”

       “Same thing if we’re honest,” Sionis replied.

       “Right. Okay, so then you showed up and just fought this woman?”

       “I saved Iliera from being fed to the Void, then we all fought her.”

       “All of you? Four against one?”

       “Indeed,” Sionis replied. “She was pretty powerful.”

       “What do you know about the Pod?”

       “Nothing,” Sionis answered. “Seriously. I have no insight on this story. I showed up, fought the Nightborne, then got arrested. You are up to speed.”

       “And before you showed up?”

       “I was at a lovely dinner where I was showing off a new dish I cooked.”

       Chip sighed. “So, nothing useful then.”

       “That depends on how much you like roasted carrots and asparagus.”

       “Well, here’s what you don’t know. I lost five agents today. They went into a building that your paladin friend led us to and that building blew up. It was a trap. A trap that we only found because of him.”

       Sionis paused for a moment. “Fÿnn was tied up when I arrived. The Nightborne was holding him captive. Are you suggesting he was working with her?”

       “I’m asking you.”

       “Fÿnn doesn’t do evil. The kid doesn’t have a bad bone in his body.”

       “So you’re saying he was framed?”

       “That’s what I’m saying,” Sionis answered.

       “What about your other friend, the space go—”

       “Tread carefully, Agent Stone,” Sionis said, his brow raised. “Tread very carefully.”

       “Her name is Iliera,” Stone remarked, not finishing his offensive term. “She says she only came here to help Fÿnn after he was reported missing.”

       “Sounds believable,” Sionis offered. “I wouldn’t know. I didn’t have contact with them before this all went down. I might have mentioned that I showed up—”

       “Yes. I have your story.”

       “Good.”

       “So, Iliera is with us. A hero of the Alliance. That’s right?”

       “Yes,” Sionis said confidently. “We fought on Argus, Agent Stone.”

       “You also fought alongside the Nightborne, is that correct?”

       “That is correct.”

       “Are you aware that the Nightborne have sworn allegiance to the Horde?”

       The mage paused for a long moment, then shook his head. “I was not aware of that,” he admitted.

       “You would say you know Iliera pretty well, though, yes?”

       “I would.”

       “Then please, explain this.”

       Chip placed a note on the table. A note clearly sealed with the Horde emblem.

       “I’ll need more detail,” Sionis said.

       “We found this note on Iliera. Correspondence with the Horde.”

       “Have you asked her about it?”

       “Obviously.”

       “So why ask me?”

       “We just thought it might matter for you to know your friend is communicating with the enemy.”

       “May I read it?”

       Chip Stone frowned. “I don’t see why you would need to do that.”

       “So that I know what it says,” Sionis replied. “Come on. It’s called context.”

       The agent thought for a long moment and then nodded. “Go ahead.”

       Sionis opened the letter and quickly read through it. The names were clearly made up, and the tone of the message was shady at best. A mysterious figure, clearly someone in the Horde, had reached out to Iliera to speak about a matter of the utmost importance. The letter was even dated just a few days ago. Iliera had read this letter and almost immediately come to Stormwind. Even Sionis had to admit he understood where Stone’s suspicions were coming from, but he also knew Iliera too well to think she was working with the Horde.

       “So you think she was communicating with the Enchantress?” Sionis asked.

       Agent Stone shrugged. “I don’t know anything. I only have that letter and an attack from a terrorist. The Horde says they didn’t authorize any Nightborne to be running around our city. So the only lead I have telling me it was a Nightborne is you and your friend, Iliera. Iliera, the one who gave me information that led to the death of five agents.”

       “Iliera,” Sionis countered. “The one who fought a powerful mage in the streets of Stormwind to save innocents. A conflict that was no doubt witnessed by dozens of people.”

       “We’re still interviewing witnesses.”

       “Well she fought a powerful mage that you knew well enough to nickname the Enchantress. I promise you this, Agent Stone, Iliera was one step away from killing that woman. The only thing that stopped her was the value she put on the hostages that the Enchantress held.”

       Chip seemed to relax at his words. He leaned back and closed his eyes for a long while. “I had my boys look into you,” he finally said. “You check out, Sionis Sepher. We have no reason to doubt your loyalty to the Alliance, so if you say the same about Iliera, I’m forced to believe it. Her record shows positively as well, though you never can tell with the aliens.”

       “Your prejudice is showing again,” Sionis remarked.

       “Your family was killed by Orcs. Your friends were killed in Theramore. You have a healthy distaste for the Horde. We’re not so different you and I.”

       “Maybe,” Sionis said with a shrug. “Maybe not. Do you have any more questions?”

       “No,” Chip confirmed. “You’re free to go.”

       Sionis glanced down at the Horde letter and squinted. “Does Iliera know I saw this?”

       “She knows we have it,” Chip replied. “Not that I showed it to you.”

       “Can I keep it?”

       “It’s evidence.”

       “Can I keep it?” Sionis asked again.

       The agent looked at Sionis for a long time before he finally nodded. “Alright. Keep it.”


       A short while later, Iliera and the others were processed by the guards and released from the stockades. Chip Stone walked with the group as they were led to the exit and while he looked frustrated, he didn’t seem to be upset about their release.

       “We are sorry about your men,” Sionis said as they reached the doorway. “If we had a better grip on the situation, perhaps—”

       “We charged in blind,” Chip replied, honestly. “Their blood is on my hands.”

       “Their blood is on her hands. We’ll find the Enchantress,” Iliera said firmly. “We’ll bring her to justice.”

       “Bring her to me if you find her,” Chip said. “Justice isn’t enough.”

       “Goodbye, Agent Stone.”

       “Until we meet again,” Chip replied sarcastically, walking back into the stockades. “Hopefully, never.”

       “Well,” Syanna started as the group made their way down the stone street. “I suppose that was one heck of an adventure.”

       “Maybe for you,” Fÿnn replied. “I still don’t know what happened.”

       “That makes two of us,” Sionis added.

       “We can explain it later,” Iliera said, stepping forward to lead the others. “For now, we need to get back to our guild hall and discuss—”

       “Wait. We have a guild hall?” Sionis asked.

       “We do,” Iliera confirmed. “I had just secured it before Fÿnn went missing.”

       “Kidnapped,” Fÿnn corrected. “I was kidnapped.”

       “Right,” Iliera said, giving him a gentle smile. “Anyway, we’ll go there. I have a few tasks that need to be sorted out and then we can get on our way.”

       “On our way?” Syanna asked. “Where?”

       “Booty Bay,” Iliera answered.

       Sionis’ eyes widened. “Iliera… we’re wanted there.”

       “I’m aware of my status in the area,” she replied. “We will be discreet.”

       “And why exactly are we rushing off to Booty Bay?” Fÿnn asked.

       “Not we,” she replied. “Just Sionis and I. You’ll need to stay here.”

       Fÿnn frowned. “Fine. Why are you and Sionis going to Booty Bay?”

       Iliera took a deep breath. “To meet with a friend.”

       “A Horde friend,” Sionis added, pulling the note from his robe pocket for her to see.

       Iliera pursed her lips. “I was hoping to explain on the way.”

       Fÿnn took a step back. “What?”

       “I don’t have time to explain now,” Iliera assured them. “I promise it’s important.”

       The group was silent for a moment, but then Syanna gave an exaggerated shrug. “Sure, why not,” she said, cracking a smile. “So Fÿnn and I get to stay here and relax in our new guild hall. You two go off to more danger.”

       Sionis chuckled. “Well, I’m back in it for a day and I’ve already had an epic battle and gone to jail. Might as well throw a bounty on there.”

       Fÿnn shook his head. “I don’t understand. Why are you reaching out to the Horde? After all this? After all they’re doing in Silithus?”

       “Maybe he should come with us,” Sionis suggested. “He might understand better.”

       Fÿnn hesitated, then shook his head again and turned away. “No, I’ll wait here.”

       Iliera frowned. “If that’s what you wish.”

       “So where is this guild hall?” Fÿnn asked, clearly moving on to the next topic.

       “Near the Cathedral Square,” she answered proudly. “Come on. Let’s go take a look.”

       “Is there food?” Syanna asked. “I’m starving.”

       Iliera chuckled. “Yes, there’s food. I believe there’s a certain someone there that wants to have a word with you too.”

       Syanna cracked a big smile. “Is Ailyn there?”

       “She is.”

       “Well what are we waiting for! Let’s go!”

       As Syanna rushed off, Fÿnn started to follow. For a brief moment, Iliera and Sionis were alone together. For the first time in ages. “Tell me something romantic,” Sionis said with a grin.

       “It’s good to see you,” she replied.

       “That didn’t really—”

       “We have a lot to catch up on, Sionis Sepher.”

       “Like your white hair?” he asked.

       “Like your fire magic returning?”

       “Fair enough,” he said. “Let’s follow those two. We can talk about it at the hall. Once I’m up to speed, then we can talk about the Horde.”

       He took her hand and held it close.

       As they walked toward the guild hall Iliera thought of all the things that she would have to share. Her new powers, the new allies, and most importantly, the things she had seen on Draenor when she had returned there.

       There was much to see to… much to do, but for now, for this little walk to their new hall, Iliera ignored all that and remembered what it was like to walk the city streets with Sionis at her side.


TO BE CONTINUED!

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