The fighting was fierce.
The Garothi Warbreaker laid waste to the Army of the Light’s warframes on the front line, but the Light didn’t go down without a fight. The machine was damaged by the initial attack and the Academy of Hope took up the charge.
As the heroic Iliera held the mechanoid’s attention, the assault force hit their foe with everything they had, disabling its massive weapons and eventually burning through its fel-infused core with their arsenal of magics.
When the machine finally died, the Legion sent their hounds to stop the progression of the assault, but they were no match for the heroes once Iliera got the beasts separated. Divide and conquer was the method of attack, and it worked like a charm.
But they enemy was not to be underestimated.
A young Academy student was lost when one of the hounds emitted a deadly blast of shadow magic. Fynn tried to shield as many as he could, but the priest couldn’t escape the damage. As his body crumpled to the floor, everyone knew it was only the first casualty to come in this hellish place.
The hounds were put down, and they soon stood before the Antoran High Command. A triumvirate of leaders that had ruled over the Argus landscape for eons. As soon as they realized who they were up against, Sionis saw the magic in Iliera’s shield intensify.
This one was personal for her.
They opened their assault as they had with the other creatures, but they quickly realized they were no longer facing simple machines or animals. The leaders here caught the Academy students with mines, blasting them with dark magic and shrapnel that downed six students in the first blast.
“Stay behind the protectors!” Iliera shouted. “Avoid the mines!”
The attackers fell in line.
In the skies ahead, Legion ships prepared to fire on them.
“We’ll get taken out if we don’t do something!”
“I have an idea,” Ailyn, the warlock, yelled. “Cover me!”
Fynn gave her a shield and the warlock rushed to one of the enemy command pods. She took control of the device and used it to generate a shield on the platform, a shield that deflected the enemy weapon fire with ease.
They cheered. A moment of victory.
Then they fought on.
The first of the three demons fell, and the other two grew fearful.
Their concern bolstered the assault force and solidified their resolve. Ailyn’s plan grew in scale, with both Dhespair and Kaellax, using other command pods to clear out the mines and attack the demons.
The efforts came together, and despite the growing number of Legion ships firing at them, the shields held. After a hard fought battle, Iliera stood atop the body of the final demon leader.
“For Argus!” she yelled. “For Azeroth!”
The raiders of the Antorus throne cheered in response.
Fynn and a priest named Barrus tended to the wounded, the dead were given a moment of silence and then left behind so others from the Army of the Light could retrieve them when the assault was complete.
Deeper they pressed into Antorus. They were uncertain of what they sought, but they knew that the Burning Throne was their final prize.
Then they found it.
A portal network unlike any other. It was here that the Burning Legion secured its foothold across the galaxy. If they could break that hold… the end for the Legion would be in sight.
They started coordinating with the Army of the Light, striking out at portals that they could quickly kill. Many of them linked to unexplored worlds, while others were anchored to various parts of Azeroth itself.
Their attack did not go unnoticed.
Soon, the Portal Keeper arrived to put an end to their efforts.
She was no match for the combined strength of the assault force. In her last moments, she tried to open links to other worlds, calling upon demonic leaders to come to her aid, but Iliera turned the tables on this idea, breaking the forces into small strike teams and rushing through the portals to stem the tide of any reinforcements.
The portal keeper snapped one portal shut before one group could return. Another five members of the Academy were lost in an instant.
But still, the Portal Keeper fell.
More and more heroic forces arrived. The Army of the Light, the Alliance, the Horde. Everyone was pouring everything into the fight, with new beacons being set up that could quickly pull others inside the deeps of Antorus.
“We’re winning!” the young paladin Aremadiel yelled proudly. “We’re really winning!”
“No time to stop,” Iliera announced. “We have to find Eonar.”
“How?” Macksyn, the pandaran monk, asked. “We’ve got no way to know which of these portals possibly leads…”
“The Light will guide us,” Aremadiel said proudly.
“Or, that might be where we should look,” I interjected, pointing ahead.
A large portal, not far from them, stood looming over the others. Demonic guards still stood at their position to hold it. Unlike the other portals, however, this one was covered in vines. Green plants reaching through time and space, growing in this lifeless system.
“My guess is she’s in there.”
“Seems a reasonable guess,” Iliera said firmly. “Charge!”
We used the portal and my guess proved true. When we arrived at Eonar’s location we found ourselves in a sanctuary of life, filled with cool, humid air. Unfortunately, the taint of demonic corruption was also on the breeze. The assault force hit the ground swinging.
Iliera, glowing with a brilliance of magical energy and Light, led the charge. Fynn followed behind her with a team of Holy warriors and priests to back up the protectors.
Now fully organized and tested in battle, the assault force demonstrated a show of unprecedented coordination. The members of the Academy of Hope marched together, throwing attacks of shadow, Light, fire, arcane, nature, and any other magic that they could muster. They shot arrows, guns, threw daggers and rocks, and called upon the elements to aid them. It was clear that the Legion hadn’t expected their arrival in this place.
They were caught completely off guard, and when the time was right, Eonar unleashed her energy, banishing them from her domain.
For a brief moment, the chaos of battle faded.
Everyone was able to breathe. When Fynn finally stopped moving for a moment, he wondered if it was the first time he’d actually done so since coming in. He couldn’t remember doing anything other than gritting his teeth, mending wounds, and mourning the dead.
He hadn’t been prepared for this much destruction.
In the Tomb he had been a force of destruction. In the Nighthold he’d had an army at his back. A real army. Not a small ship and a few hundred soldiers.
His gut was twisted and his heart pounded in his chest.
He knew that they were here for the right reasons. He was just worried about their chances of getting out of here alive.
Meanwhile, the life energy of the Titan materialized before them. “Thank you, heroes,” Eonar’s disembodied head spoke to them as they secured her chamber. “I am glad that you have answered my call. Unfortunately, Champions, time is short. We must save the others before Sargeras reaches your world.”
Eonar looked to her right and a portal swirled open, revealing Azeroth in the dark beyond, but swirling around the globe was a growing cloud of green and brown. Dozens of Legion ships were encroaching on the surface, having charged forward from the surface of Argus.
“He’s throwing everything he’s got at our planet!” Dhespair yelled from the back of the group. “What good will it do for us to capture the Burning Throne if Azeroth is a wasteland before we return?”
That’s when I realized he was right. I turned to Iliera. “He’s got a point.”
“The Burning Throne must be claimed,” she replied, her eyes glowing with the energy of someone fulfilling destiny and revenge in the same breath.
“I know. The assault must continue, but we have to split our forces. If some of us return to Azeroth to defend from the demonic assault, we stand a chance of holding our ground until you finish this fight. Then you and the Army of the Light can come help us clean house.”
“If we divide our numbers now—”
“If we don’t, then Azeroth might not be there for us when we finish here.”
Iliera paused. I saw a small spark of doubt in her expression.
“You’ll be fine,” I added. “We’re already at the doorstep of the Legion. Eonar has our back now and we have a plan. We aren’t just a bunch of mortals in an unholy assault anymore. You can do this. The Academy was built for this.”
“What if you’re wrong?” she asked. “What if you go to Azeroth and we don’t stop Sargeras in time? The world, and you, could be lost forever.”
“Then you’ll use the Vindicaar and find a new home, just like your people did before,” I said, giving her a warm smile, “But we’re not going to let Sargeras win. That’s why I have to go back. If we don’t slow him down, we might never get a chance.”
There was a long pause, but then Iliera nodded. “Okay.”
“Heroes,” Eonar’s voice boomed. “I can take you to the Burning Throne. There you must free the other Titans from their prisons and add their power to your own. When you are ready, we must press on!”
“That’s your ride,” I said. “Get in there and finish the fight.”
Iliera nodded again. This time more determined than before. “Okay everyone! We’re pressing on, but I need some volunteers to go with Sionis. He will be teleporting back to Azeroth to help mount a defensive from the demons that are assaulting the planet.”
Arms went up. Some from brave soldiers who wanted nothing more than to stop Sargeras. To be honest, a few arms were shaking too. Scared and overwhelmed, some of the Academy members just wanted to go home.
“Okay, those going with Sionis, stay here and coordinate your attack. Those of you standing here against the Burning Throne, we ride!”
Eonar spouted an energy beam that spiraled out and then formed a portal. Red halls stretched out in front of them on the other side. “Go, heroes. Save us all.”
When they had gone, I looked over the group that had remained with me and decided it would have to do. I turned my energy to Azeroth, reached out through the Twisting Nether to feel where the highest concentration of demonic energy was massing. I felt it, pulsing in the darkness, and reached out to it, bringing them together.
“Okay everyone!” I shouted. “Here we go!”
The group was instantly teleported through time and space.
We hit the ground hard. Sand flew up all around us. Not far from us, two demonic ships were setting down on the dry arid surface.
“Where the heck are we?” one Academy student asked.
“Silithus,” I said, feeling rather confused. “They’re attacking Silithus? Why?”
“Does it really matter?” Macksyn asked.
I smiled. I was happy to have the monk here with him. “No,” I admitted. “I suppose not.”
“Then let’s get on with it.”
I nodded, then hoisted my spell-blade in the air. “For Azeroth!”