Episode 16: A Dark Revelation (Part Two)
When I first woke, I discovered that I was no longer in the cobblestone streets of Dalaran’s famous square. I looked around for a moment and could tell that I was still in the mage city as their design choices were all too familiar. As I started to stand up, I felt a horrible throbbing in my head collarbone.
“Oh, you’re awake!”
I turned to a nearby doorway and saw a young woman standing with some fresh linen. She was dressed almost like a nurse and after her initial shock passed, she went back to work with her chores as though I wasn’t even there.
“Excuse me,” I said as I leaned closer to her. “Can you tell me where I am?”
“You’re in Dalaran of course,” she replied with a wide grin. “More specifically, you’re in room three of the famous Hero’s Welcome Inn.”
“Where is my horse?”
“I’m sorry?” she asked, looking somewhat confused by the question. “I would assume he’s in the stables with the other horses. We don’t allow horses inside the Inn.”
I rolled my eyes. “My horse was wounded,” I started to explain. “I was wounded too! We faced the Lich King yesterday!”
The woman frowned. “Sir, I’m sorry, but I’m just a volunteer. I don’t know anything about that.”
I realized from her expression that she was growing uncomfortable. I regained my composure and apologized to her. Painfully, I stepped out of the room to let her finish her chores. As I stepped down the hall to the main area of the Inn I noticed that I had been dressed in a simple adept’s robe. I hadn’t seen one of these robes in years, not since I had worked in Goldshire as a militia trainer.
Back then Dalaran was still in ruins and magi left and right were falling to dark powers because they didn’t know how to control themselves. During those confusing times I had even kept my fire magic to a minimum to avoid attention. Of course, all of that seemed so trivial now. My hard work had led to maybe ten or fifteen real magi that no doubt ended up dead somewhere in the Outlands or maybe even made it to Northrend to meet their doom as I nearly had at Drak’theron Keep.
The streets of Dalaran were crowded with hundreds of warriors and heroes, all pushing smashing, rushing through the city on their way to bigger and better adventures. The feeling within the city did not resemble one of ominous danger as I had experienced so far in Northrend. Instead, the shops were open, the magi were laughing, and not a hint of the Lich King’s destruction seemed to take hold here. Only when my eyes came to rest on the tall spires of the Violet Citadel did it really sink in that I had accomplished my goal.
I was in Dalaran.
A force of will suddenly pulled me toward the Citadel. An overwhelming aching in my heart that had been torn open was suddenly surging. The still fresh memory of Surfal’s painful cries only furthered the resolve. I navigated the people walking through the city, avoiding bears, hunters, warriors, rogues, and all the while looked as though I was just an adept here to start my learning. In retrospect, an adept’s robe was probably the best thing I could be wearing, as a normal guard would assume me a new mage here to research basic spells.
I reached the steps to the Grand Library and suppressed my emotion as best as I could. With a little time and patience, Surfal’s fate would not be a problem for me anymore. As I started to climb up the steps, my train of thought was suddenly shattered.
“Sionis?” the unmistakable voice of Christine called out to me. I turned and saw her walking up to me, carrying what appeared to be an even larger mace than she had been carrying before. She had the usual big smile on her face and she immediately wrapped her arms around me before I could warn her about my still aching body.
“I’m so glad to see you!” she said, looking me over for a moment. “The priest did a good job patching you up. I have to say, I didn’t expect you to survive an encounter with the Lich King.”
“I can’t say that I expected to either,” I replied, honestly. “At least the troll got what was coming to him.”
“The Keep is free of any scourge. It’s like Arthas abandoned it,” she said firmly. “It sounds like you won the day after all.”
“I doubt he wants anything to do with that place. We put a dent in his ego.”
“Well, I’m glad to hear it. So, what are you doing out here?”
“I was… going to do some research.”
“Research?” she asked. “Is it for Surfal?”
“What do you mean?” I asked. “Is Surfal alive?”
Christine suddenly looked uncomfortable. “Uh, barely. Lady Evanor is still working with that priest to try and seal the wound. She said something about—”
Christine shut her mouth like a child that had just told a big secret.
“What did she say?” I asked.
“Christine, what did she say?” I pleaded.
“She said they should have killed Surfal when it had first been wounded. The dark magic is intermingled with your night elf now. She said, if the horse dies, the elf dies too.”
“She’s going crazy trying to keep Surfal alive.”
“In the Dalaran Garden, it was close to where they teleported you in.”
I rushed away from Christine and through the throngs of people who continued to clog the magical city’s streets. I had been to the Dalaran greenhouse many times before and I knew the way without even thinking about it. I cut corners, headed down an alley, and emerged just outside the glass enclosure where inside, covered with blood, stood Lady Evanor and the same elderly priest that had saved me when I had arrived here.
In the street people laughed and walked on with their own adventures while just beyond the glass, the horror of the Lich King was hidden from their sight.
I came inside and saw that Surfal’s eyes barely had any life left in them. The purple glow was now just a dark haze. Lady Evanor looked back at me and then went back to work, sealing up the wound only to watch it slowly open again a moment later.
“I’m sorry Sionis,” she said as she tried again. “I can’t do it. Frostmourne’s power is too great.”
The priest nodded in agreement. “I’m afraid she’s right, this wound isn’t going to heal. The horse is going to die.”
“What about Keaira?” I asked. “Will she die too?”
“I don’t know,” Evanor admitted. “All I know is the longer we let the dark magic taint the druid’s soul, the more likely she will die.”
“Then we need to be fast,” I replied as I stepped forward. “Evanor, I need you to teleport me into the Violet Hold.”
“There’s a man there named Xevozz. You and I brought him in years ago, do you remember?”
“Yeah, that guy that—”
“I wounded him and he knew he was going to die. Remember what he did?”
It only took a moment for Evanor to recall the way Xevozz had survived his physical wounds.
“Sionis,” she replied calmly. “We can’t guess what that could do to the horse. He’s a prisoner and we can’t go rolling in there—”
“Evanor,” I snapped. “I’m not asking you to come with me. Just help me teleport Surfal to his cell.”
She looked torn, but with a long sigh she took my hand in her own. The dried blood pressed against my flesh and with a tightened grip the two of us suddenly teleported from the gardens to the confines of the Violet Hold. Normally, a shield protected the prison from teleportation, but Evanor was one of the few magi that knew how to get through it. She had even taken enough forethought to teleport them right to Xevozz’s cell as I had asked.
By the time I got my bearings figured out, the large man was standing at the cell door.
I had not seen the man in some time and I had nearly forgotten that Xevozz’s transformation from a physical to energy being had left him feeling disconnected from humanity. He had wrapped himself in a cloth container that made him look much like a humanoid mummy, but at least he had a shape to him when he looked in the mirror.
“Good to see you again, Sepher,” Xevozz said with a hiss as he looked to the wounded horse that had appeared with the two. “It looks like you’ve got some problems you need to deal with before you chat with me.”
“I know you used to be human once,” I said, ignoring Xevozz’s greeting. “You drove yourself into the twisted nether energies and became immortal. How did you do it?”
“How?” Xevozz asked with a laugh. “I tapped into the energy and channeled it through my very being. It’s a powerful feat.”
“You became a conduit and were transformed in the process?” I asked.
“That’s about right.”
“I want you to do it again.”
“What? You’re joking right?” Xevozz asked. “Why would I do that?”
“My horse is dying. If you’ll do to it what you did to yourself… I’ll let you leave this place.”
“Seriously?” Xevozz asked. “You’re being serious right now?”
I glanced at Evanor, who looked as shocked by his proposition as Xevozz.
“I am serious. Save my horse and I’ll set you free,” I repeated.
“I can’t save the horse,” Xevozz replied. “It won’t be the same.”
“It will live?” Evanor asked.
“Oh, it’ll live,” Xevozz replied. “It just won’t be the horse you remember.”
“What about its soul?” I asked. “Will it retain its soul?”
Xevozz didn’t respond right away, but with a shrug said. “I’m still me.”
“Then do it,” I said. “You succeed and you’re free.”
“Okay then,” Xevozz replied. “One horse rescue coming up.”
I turned to Evanor and looked her over for a second. “Okay Evanor, teleport back to the greenhouse. I know this is crazy, but it is my only shot. I can’t let Surfal die, not now, not like this. I’ve already lost too much.”
Evanor looked like she wanted to resist but surprisingly, she didn’t.
With a flash, she was gone.
“Why is this horse so important?” Xevozz asked from his cell.
“It doesn’t matter. Just do as I asked, and you’re free.”
“Don’t you worry, Sionis, I’ll do it.”
I turned to Surfal and as Xebozz knelt down, the horse sputtered a final breath and the light faded from its eyes.
“No,” I shouted. “No, not yet!”
“Not to worry,” Xevozz said confidently. “I’ll get it back.”
“Okay, well a dozen or so magi are going to show up any minute to put you back in this cell so let’s hurry this up.”
“Prison break?” Xevozz asked. “Wonderful. Okay, I’ll be just a minute.”
“Okay,” I said. “So what do you need?”
“I have everything I need,” Xevozz said loudly. “Thanks for the free ride, Sepher!”
I turned to Xevozz, but before I could do anything a blast of energy threw me backward through the air. I crashed against the ground and from the center of the energy blast I was certain that I saw a man sitting atop a horse.
A second later I was alone.
Another second later and a bright flash introduced me to ten magi, all with staves and wands at the ready for a full scale assault against the escaped prisoners.
Instead, they just found me.
“Freeze!” the leader shouted. “Don’t move a muscle!”
Hurting too much to move, I raised a hand in defeat. “I surrender.”