The first day of harvest was a monumental occasion in Halfhill. Everyone would spend the day gathering only the finest selection of their yearly bounty, and then they would gather to celebrate and feast. The real work would begin a day or two later, when the majority of the crops were collected for distribution, but for today, it was a very relaxed and excited feel in Halfhill.
Sionis always hosted a big event at his farm. The house was too small to cater to any guests, so he would spend the day preparing tables and chairs that littered the area around the farm instead.
Everyone at Halfhill would show up, and the Loremaster was no exception. He had lived here for nearly a full cycle now, and at the last celebration he was only a stranger. Now, he was a friend. He was thrilled to be in such great company, and he couldn’t pretend that he didn’t have a strong desire to live here forever.
The hills sang with the gentle winds that rushed through the valley. In comparison to the busy streets of Stormwind, even the bustling Halfhill seemed like an energetic town rather than a central hub or the masses. In fact, from the main market, the Loremaster could hop on a beast of burden and ride for five minutes in any direction. At the end of the ride, he’s be in a massive open area that was free of anyone else. It was… wonderful.
The Loremaster understood what had drawn Sionis Sepher, a powerful mage of Stormwind, to live here, and he knew what was making him stay, but he still didn’t have all the answers about the mage’s life.
He had poured over his notes at length. He was confident that he now had a good record from Sionis’ humble beginnings in the foothills to his time in the frozen hills of Northrend. He even had the philanthropy and other recovery work that Sionis performed after returning to the Eastern Kingdoms…. all the way up to the Shattering.
The whole of Azeroth suffered cataclysmic earthquakes during this devastating event, when a massive dragon named Deathwing struck at the world intent on bringing doom to all the citizens. Just a few years after the defeat of the Lich King, we were being pushed to the edge of annihilation.
Unfortunately, that’s where Sionis’ trail went dark. There was an unexpected incident in a place labeled as Vashj’ir in the military records. In fact, Sionis’ file went from active duty, to missing in action, then marked as lost at sea, and eventually back to active duty.
There was a story there, no doubt, and the Loremaster was ready to hear it.
The harvest celebration would take all day, that was sure enough, and when it was over, Sionis would be left with a large mess to clean up. It was the perfect time to strike, catching the mage when he was left to do the dishes. It had worked before, so it would work again.
The Loremaster chuckled internally as he thought of his plan.
What a life he was living.
The sun set on the Valley of the Four Winds. The orange glow of the setting star was the perfect backdrop as Sionis began his tradition of tackling a massive wall of dishes. The food had been amazing, as it always was, and the mage seemed pleased with the day’s event. It was the perfect time to strike.
“Hey Sionis,” the Loremaster said, stepping inside the farm house and holding up his satchel. “I’ve got some blank sheets of paper that need to be filled.”
The mage turned to the young Loremaster and smiled. “Did you eat?”
“I did,” he replied. “It was delicious.”
“How did you enjoy your second celebration? More exciting than the first?”
“Very much so,” the Loremaster said. “I’ve learned so much about all the people here. Old Hillpaw, Ella, Fish… they’re all quite wonderful.”
“Old man Hillpaw is quartering up some of his land to sell off as farmsteads. I’m curious if you heard about that?”
“I hadn’t. That seems like a big deal.”
“Huge,” Sionis replied. “Rumor has it you might have a shot at one of the plots if you want it.”
“Certainly. I shared the impact you’ve had helping me over the last year, and you’re still staying up at the tavern nearly a year in. He seemed impressed with your dedication.”
“I… well… I find that quite flattering,” the Loremaster stammered. “Truth be told, however, I’m only supposed to be here for your story. Once I have that, I’m meant to return to Stormwind. There will be a lot of work involved, obviously, in getting everything published…”
“Of course, of course, think nothing of it,” Sionis said, picking up his first big pan. “Oh my, this one will need to soak for a bit.”
“Speaking of my task here,” the Loremaster added. “Do you think we might continue?”
“I suppose I owe you at least that much,” the mage said, without looking back. “You have done some good work here on the farm, Aier.”
“So, where do we pick up? I came back from Northrend, I did my relief work…”
“Actually, I have most of that on record. In fact, there’s a very specific place where I think we should begin. You were called to active duty by the King, assigned on a mission to secure a chain of islands near the Eastern Kingdoms that the Horde might capture for an advanced base. Most of the mission details are secured by SI:7, which means I’ll never see them, but your file is available. There’s not much there. I was hoping you could… elaborate?”
Sionis finally turned to face the Loremaster, his face deep in contemplation. “I know of that time. Oh man, that is an adventure indeed. Yes, I suppose we can start there, if that’s what you want. I must warn you though, the tale is fraught with danger and despair.”
“I wouldn’t expect anything less.”
The mage laughed. “Very well then. Let’s see…. where to begin…