Episode 04: A Beryl Problem

The Beryl sorcerers outpost, known as “Beryl Point”.

      The first thing to learn about the Beryl sorcerers, was that they were working with the Blue Dragonflight. I didn’t know much about the dragons or their kind, but what I did know was simple enough.

      You were always supposed to stay away.

      Now, here I was watching a patrol of dragonkin walking by.

      Dragonkin, as you probably know, are creatures that look humanoid from the waist up, but retain dragon-like features from the waist down. They’re like a scaly centaur. Their strange stature and terrifying faces make them more than intimidating to hear about, much less see in person.

      “I didn’t know about the dragons,” the elf said, looking nervous. “We should return to Amber Ledge and get help.”

      “No time,” I replied. “If Lady Evanor is in danger, we need to bring down that forcefield and get her out of those prison things. Do you know anything about those?”

      I heard nothing. I looked back and saw that the elf had already mounted his nightsaber and was quietly fleeing the scene. I couldn’t really blame him, but I wasn’t too keen on where that left me. I was alone, unprepared, and heavily outnumbered.

      I decided a mana bomb was my best tactic. I could drain the forcefield enough to get inside, then assuming I survived long enough, I could try to locate and free Lady Evanor. If she wasn’t mortally wounded, there would be two magic users now. We’d still be outnumbered, but escape would be our only objective at that point.

      A mana bomb was going to be loud and flashy, but it would do the job. I conjured it up a discretely as I could, hiding behind my little rock, and when it was ready to go, I carefully took aim and chucked it right at the force field’s edge.

      There was a flash of purple light and then arcane magic crackled and hissed through the air. The magical blast stripped the field of its power, and I didn’t waste the opportunity to charge through. It felt tingly to pass through, but at least I didn’t get flattened by it.

      I made it about two steps inside before I heard a woman’s angry voice.

      “Who dares interrupt Mistress Saldrand!?”

      I froze, but I doubt it did any good. A moment later there was a much smaller flash of light and a woman appeared right in front of me. The woman’s face, while contorted with anger, was still human. Her clothes were tattered and torn, her hair at least as matted and dirty as my own. She looked awful, and smelled it too.

      I stood my ground, locking eyes with her for a moment so that she could really gauge my own determination. I wanted her to know I wasn’t some fresh recruit from Stormwind. I had faced dangerous people before, and frankly, she failed to shock me.

      “What do you seek, mage?” she asked with a hiss.

      “I’m here for someone. A young man died in my arms today. I want to speak with whoever is responsible.”

      “It’s rewarding to know a job is done,” she said, smiling at me as she pulled a dagger to display, still stained with dried blood.

      “Release your prisoner. Then we’ll talk about your guilt.”

      The woman looked shocked. “I’m not releasing anyone.”

      “I’m going to kill you,” I proclaimed. “If you release your prisoner. I can make your death a kind one. If you resist…”

      “You’re outnumbered ten to one,” she explained, waving her arm to show me the gathering dragonkin guards. “Do you honestly think you can defeat me?”

      “Is that how the man died?” I asked. “Stabbed by your guards?”

      “I killed him myself,” she said angrily.

      “Then call your guards back. Fight me alone.”

      The woman contemplated this for a moment, then raised a hand. The dragonkin stopped approaching. I waited for her response, but she answered with action instead of words. She came at me like a bolt of lightning. I reverted to instincts, forming an ice shield to protect myself. She smashed through it with a devastating attack, but it slowed her enough for me to dodge.

      I threw a couple quick frost bolts her way, but she dodged each one, growing closer with every maneuver. She knew how to fight the ice magi of the Kirin Tor, and I quickly determined that I wouldn’t be able to best her with docile magic.

      “Come now mage,” she said through her sharp laughter. “I thought I might have a real challenge here! Your letting me down.”

      “If you insist,” I said, slowly conjuring my first fire spell. “Let’s try something new.”

      I slammed my hands together and called upon all of my energy. I used it to build a complicated pyroblast, fire weaved within fire. The raw power and heat of this spell could singe the uniform off a Kirin Tor mage from across a room. It tried to lash out at me, but I contained it long enough to give it a better target.

      The sheer speed of the spell made it impossible for my foe to deflect. It slammed into the ground not far from her side, my bad aim to blame. The eruption was still potent, and my opponent was thrown several yards before she landed on the ground. She was likely in agony and in need of healing, but this was a duel, likely to the death, so I couldn’t let up.

      I threw several fire blasts at her, one on top of the next, and while she managed to deflect the first one, the second nicked her, and the third dug in deep. She laughed at first, but then her armor, super-heated from the spell, began to burn. The laughter turned to panicked screams. She blasted the armor plating off with her own spell, and the time it took for her to accomplish this was enough to me to close the distance between us.

      I wrapped my hand around her wrist and the two of us froze in place.

      “The fight is mine,” I said proudly. “I can cast a spell that will burn you from the inside out. Call off your guards, give me the prisoner, and if you honor your word, I might spare your life.”

      The woman’s eyes darted widely from me to her guards. She probably wondered if she could fight her way out of this, calling on them to aid her. I had already considered that, and I wasn’t bluffing. I’d likely die, but she’d be dead long before the guards reached us.

      “It is not over,” she said at last, looking at me with crazed excitement. She twisted her arms, pushing her hands up and around so that she could grab a hold of me as well. She locked her grip as tightly as I held onto her and she smiled at me, looking very unstable.

      “I won’t go down because of you,” she growled. “If you want to see some fire, get ready for what I can show you. I’ve turned myself into a bomb, mage. You and I are going to burn to ash right where we stand.”

      I could feel her hands growing warm, then hot, and I couldn’t help but wonder how I planned to wrench my arm free from her grip. She was digging her nails into my flesh and the heat of her body was growing immensely. I knew I had to escape, and a brutish idea popped into my head.

      I threw my head forward, slamming my forehead into her nose. It cracked with a satisfying sound, and she recoiled appropriately, releasing my arms in the process. I used a spell to transport myself, landing less than twenty yards away, but out of the circle of guards that were closing in before.

      I heard her scream with a mixture of rage and extreme pain. I put up a mana shield and ducked down as best I could.

      A moment later, she exploded.

      I don’t know if the dragonkin guards were simply unaware of her intent, or they knew and underestimated the blast. Either way, they were engulfed in the flames that erupted and I was knocked back by the blast, but my shield held.

      In the aftermath there was only silence. I stood, looked around, and then cautiously approached the crater where the woman had stood. She had transformed her entire physical body into fuel for the magical blast, but tattered remains of her clothing and a chain necklace remained where she had once stood.

      On the chain was a magical crystal.

      I looked around, and noted there were several hexagon shaped cages that littered the area. I didn’t see any other dragonkin around, so I walked to the first cage, held the crystal close, and it popped open with no problem.

      Inside, a clearly famished dwarf warrior looked up at me, confused.

      “You’re free,” I said. “Can you walk?”


      It took nearly an hour to walk around, opening cage after cage. I organized those that were able to move into helping with those that could not. Some of the cages were empty. Some had corpses, and others had fresh prisoners.

      Finally, as I opened the very last cage, I was relieved to see a tired and dirty, but otherwise unharmed, Lady Evanor. She was chained, unlike the others, but the magical key opened the cuffs with ease.

      I hadn’t seen Evanor in years, but she hadn’t aged much at all. She still had long black hair that rested well past her waist, and her bright blue eyes glowed with magical energy, almost as though she had long ago enchanted them to do so.

      She started to utter her thanks as she stood, but then she stopped short as recognition took hold. She smiled, ever so slightly, and her hand reached up to touch my face, though it was mostly my nose. I couldn’t blame her, my nose is an easy target.

      “Sonis?” she asked. “Sionis Sepher?”

      “Hey Evanor,” I said. “You okay?”

      “I… how did you get here?”

      “Adventure called,” I answered sarcastically.

      “Always showing up in unexpected places,” she mumbled. “I’m glad to see you.”

      “I would hope so,” I replied. “I just saved you from certain death.”

      “I could have taken ’em,” she joked.

      She leaned forward, weakly taking hold of my shoulder and letting me help her out of her cage. I guided her over to the area where the other prisoners were resting. I knew we still had a bit of a trek ahead of us to get to real safety, but everyone seemed grateful to be out of their prisons.

      Evanor, having taken a seat, soon fell asleep on the ground.

      I took a few deep breaths and then started trying to remember the spell for conjuring a portal. Amber Ledge was too far to walk for many of these prisoners, and the sun was setting, which meant it was about to get very cold outside. If they were going to survive, this was the only way.

      “Hold on everyone,” I said, taking a firm stance far enough back from everyone to avoid any magical overlap. “Let’s hope this works…”

      I was blown away when it did, indeed, work.

      I ripped over a portal through the twisting nether, and it was impressive. One by one the prisoners stepped through to the mage tower on the other side. As they did so, a few Kirin Tor on the other side saw that I was struggling and they empowered the portal with their own magic, which gave me a chance to relax.

      When it was all said and done… I saved twenty-five prisoners that day.

      Two of them were Kirin Tor mages.

      With any luck, I would be in Dalaran by the end of the week.


TO BE CONTINUED…

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