Episode 3: The Magi at Amber Ledge - Part One
When I finally reached the edge of “Beryl Point” I nearly ran right into a passing guard of the blue dragonkin. Dragonkin are creatures that look humanoid from the waist up, but dragon from the waist down. Their strange stature and terrifying faces make them more than intimidating to look at, but I knew that my fire spells would quickly deal with anything they might throw at me. The Night Elf that had shown me this far, however, didn’t seem so confident. He quickly backed off, remembering that he had to reach the next Alliance checkpoint by sunset.
Alone now, I sat with the magical device that Donathan had prepared for me to use on the force field around the prisoner area. From all that I could see, Donathan had actually just given me a standard Alliance bomb, complete with wax-coated wick and thin pumice shell. On the inside? I imagine it was crammed with gunpowder.
As rudimentary as it seemed, I figured it would detonate and at least draw the attention of whoever was holding Lady Evanor captive. I thought about developing a strategy, but quickly gave up on that when I saw that the dragonkin were on their return sweep. If I was going to act, I needed to act fast, so I lit the fuse and, with a strong throw, the bomb sailed through the air.
It slammed against the force field with a solid thud.
I cursed under my breath.
Of course, then the burning wick hit the gunpower. That’s when the entire area exploded in an amazing purple fireball that was far too large to have come from simple gunpowder. There had obviously been some kind of magic infused within, and I couldn’t have been more thankful. I couldn’t help but give Donathan a small internal nod of approval.
Aside from the initial chaos of the explosion, the magical blast also stripped the force field of its power. The bubble flickered a bit and then faded away. As soon as it was gone, I knew I had my chance.
I made it about two steps before a very angry woman’s voice filled the air.
“Who dares interrupt Mistress Saldrand!?”
Without hesitation, I replied. “I do!”
There was an explosion of light and a woman appeared right in front of me. I had assumed I was at least partially hidden, but it was clear that was not the case. The woman’s face looked twisted with anger, which I expected, but her clothes were also tattered and torn, her hair matted and dirty. She smelled something awful too.
I stood my ground and locked eyes with her for a moment so that she could really gauge my own determination. After all, I was no fresh recruit from Stormwind. I had already faced some of the most dangerous people in Azeroth and the Outlands. She wasn’t really anything special and I wanted to make sure she understood that.
“What do you want, mage?” she asked with a hiss in her voice. “Your kind is up on Amber Ledge.”
“All but one,” I replied matter-of-factly. “I’m looking for Lady Evanor.”
“Evanor is my prisoner,” Salrand stated. “You will not be able to rescue her if you try. You can rest easy though; she will not be sacrificed to the dragons. I took her for a very specific reason.”
Honestly, this was news to me, but I assumed it had something to do with what Donathan was going on about, so I decided to take a gamble. “You took her because of her research regarding an impending threat to our world,” I said, trying to make it sound so obvious that even if that wasn’t why she had taken her she might assume she should have done so. “I’m aware of what she was doing. I need her released.”
“You’re not one of the Kirin Tor,” Sarland noted. “Why do you want her?”
“Evanor and I are old friends.”
“I am not releasing her.”
“I will kill you if you do not comply,” I said as coldly as I could manage.
Sarland called my bluff. “Kill me? You think you can kill me?”
“It’s not a matter of what I think, Mistress, I’m quite certain that I can kill you.”
“Very well then,” the woman snarled, “let us fight.”
“I’m outnumbered ten to one. I can’t beat those odds,” I said, looking at all the sorcerers that were now gathering where we stood. “You’ll just have them do your dirty work.”
“They will not fight you,” she said sternly. “Now, let us fight.”
I was trying to think of another solution when Sarland came at me like a bolt of lightning. Without time to think, I reverted to my age old Kirin Tor training and formed an ice shield as protection. Sarland smashed through it with a single blow.
I threw a couple quick frost bolts her way and 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. “You’re supposed to be stronger than this!”
“If you insist,” I said, slowly conjuring up the first of my fire. “Let’s see what I’ve got up my sleeves.”
I slammed my hands together and called upon all of my energy, building a famous “pyroblast” in half the time it normally required. The raw power and heat within my hands was almost too much to handle after having had nothing to do with such powerful spells for so long, but I made sure to keep it contained until I could fire it at my target.
The sheer force of the blast made it impossible for Sarland to deflect. It slammed into the ground not far from her side, burning and throwing her several yards before she hit the ground. I didn’t give pause to my enemy. She was likely in agony and in need of healing, but this was a duel. I needed her to surrender if I was going to end this. I threw out several fire blasts, slamming each one into her armor, so that it became heated and forced her to jump around as she struggled to get free. Last, but not least, I fell back and called down a fire strike, a raining hot stream of fire, ash, and smoke that poured onto Sarland as she tried to recover with her own magical defenses. My quick attacks were too much for her to stand and she only landed one or two good counters before she fell to the ground, drained and unable to go on. Realizing that she had been defeated, I allowed my magical energies to subside and stood atop the burnt ground for a moment before swinging my staff outward at the other sorcerers that had watched the duel unfold.
“This fight is mine,” I shouted. “Where is Lady Evanor?”
“It is NOT over!” Sarland shouted as she jumped to her feet, leaping through the air and landing right on top of me. She wrapped herself around me, locking her legs and arms so that I was struggling just to stay standing and our faces were practically pressed together.
“I’ve turned myself into a bomb, magi, and I will kill us both where we stand!”
“That’s insane,” I yelled as I struggled to get her off of me. “Why are you going to kill us? I just want Evanor, you don’t have to die.”
“My honor demands it!”
“Oh, this is stupid!”
I could feel Sarland’s body growing hot and I couldn’t help but fear that she might have actually got the best of me. I was nearly ready to give up when I had a final, more brutish, idea.
I threw my head forward and bit the woman on the nose. She jerked back in surprise and lost her grip, freeing me long enough to wiggle out of her proximity. As soon as I was away I heard her scream with a mixture of rage and extreme pain. Knowing it was going to be a powerful blast, I focused all of my energy on a flat area of land about half a mile away and sent the mistress hurling through the twisting nether. It was a desperate and unplanned teleportation and she vanished into thin air, appearing again safely away from his location.
A moment later, she exploded.
Watching the blast from this distance, I felt only pity for the woman.
Of course, then I turned my attention back to the sorcerers that had also survived the blast. They looked awestruck, but no one moved to attack me.
“Where is the key to Evanor’s prison?” I asked.
As if one organism, they all lifted their hands and pointed toward the smouldering ruins of the Mistress.
With a quick teleportation I arrived at the blast crater and found a heap of ash and scraps of cloth that were remnants of the foe I had just faced. A broken chain necklace rested atop the pile. I leaned down and uncovered a special key, forged with a magical crystal. Unfortunately, the key was fractured right down the middle.
I picked up the pieces and then teleported right back to the minions. When I fizzled into existence, they all jumped slightly, but not one of them dared say a word, or move a muscle. They knew that I could level them all in a few moments if I needed too, and they were likely afraid that he was going to anyway.
“I need to know where you’re keeping Evanor,” I said as loudly as I could. “Was this key used to keep her contained?”
“Yes,” one of the minions replied, stepping forward and falling to his knees. “Our Mistress has your friend contained. You needed that key to open her containment.”
“How do I get in there if I don’t have the key?”
The young minion looked terrified. “I do not know!”
I frowned. I was going to need to mend the key, and that meant I was going to need help from Donathan. I looked around at the group of sorcerers and decided that they were useless to anyone now.
“This is your last chance,” I announced. “You are free to go. If you return to your homes and put this dark magic behind you, then you and I will have no further quarrels. If you decide, however, that you will continue down this path, then you can expect no mercy from me in the future.”
Then, I whipped my hand out in front of my body and performed the over-the-top magical move known as the “dragon’s breath”. A flame dragon head swirled into the air and blew black smoke out at the minions, sending them in every direction screaming, shouting, and begging for another chance. As they scattered from the scene I took one last look at the broken key in my hand and then turned back to Amber Ledge.
Donathan would be waiting and it was going to be a long day…