Episode 6: Fizzcrank Airstrip
I had successfully wasted a full week in Northrend before I started to lose the confidence that I was on a quick errand. The adventure with the murlocs had been unique to say the least, but it had done nothing to further the cause of the fight against Prince Arthas or achieve my own personal goal of reaching Dalaran.
Fortunately, I soon found Fizzcrank Airstrip.
Airplanes! What a wonderful discovery. It only made sense that I would use one of these marvelous creations to fly my way to the magical city. I was certain that one of these engineers would be happy to help me out, so I marched right in ready to go.
“Welcome to Fizzcrank!” one of the small engineers said as I cleared the threshold of the main building. “Did you walk all this way from the harbor?”
“Actually, yes,” I said casually, trying to not sound exhausted. “I just had some mage business to deal with at Amber Ledge.”
“Makes sense, I guess,” the engineer replied. “So what brings you here?”
“Air travel, of course,” I said with a laugh. “I’m looking to head home to Dalaran.”
The engineer, an older looking gnome, squinted his eyes. “Can’t you just, uh, teleport yourself there?”
I grinned a little wider. “Oh, well, I suppose I could, but I’d miss out on all the great wonders of the northern lands! I’m willing to pay whatever is required.”
“It’s not money,” the engineer said. “Dalaran is a no-fly zone; orders direct from Kirin Tor.”
My heart sank.
“Look,” he added. “How about this. I’ll take you back to Valiance Keep. Trying to walk to Dalaran from here would be next to impossible. You seem tired and cold. Maybe you can meet up with some Kirin Tor at the harbor and figure out another way.”
The offer was generous. I couldn’t refuse. He was right. I was cold, hungry, and oh so tired.
“Thank you,” I mumbled. “That would be nice.
Not more than an hour later, I was in the air with the gnome engineer and we were on our way back toward the very place where I’d started this foolish adventure. Slowly, my mind started to form a new plan. I could see the gnome’s hands on the controls from here and honestly it didn’t look all that complicated.
This gnome was small and light… it wouldn’t be too hard to just take control.
“We’re starting our decent,” the gnome announced, interrupting my scheming.
If I was going to strike, now was the time.
I quietly conjured a mana shield and enveloped the gnome within. By the time he realized I’d trapped him, it was too late. His reaction was violent, a string of obscenities as I carefully picked him up out of his seat and prepared to jettison him from the craft.
“What are you doing?” he shouted. “You’re going to kill me?”
“You’ll be fine,” I replied, casting a slow fall spell on him. “Trust me, it’ll be a nice soft landing right in the Keep.”
“You’ll regret this mage!”
“I very much doubt it,” I said with a smile. I gave it a second to really let my mind settle on the decision and then flicked my wrist and watched the gnome drift toward the ground. His voice echoed in the sky with such terrible words.
Now alone in the vehicle, I decided that I should attempt to follow the coast for a while. By now I realized that I didn’t actually know where Dalaran was located, and as a result, I wouldn’t be able to fly there right away. If I could get some distance between me and the Keep, I could land and hide the aircraft until I knew the proper location.
It was the perfect plan.
Or at least it would have been the perfect plan, if one hour into the flight I hadn’t been attacked by several blue dragons.
I didn’t know how far I had gotten, but I was just starting to plan my landing on the shore when I saw them coming from the northern skies. A few of them seemed uninterested in my aircraft, but two of them took great interest.
I felt my vehicle heave to the left and saw that one of the animals had grabbed hold and was now barely ten feet away from my face. It tore its large jaws into the metal and started shredding the flying machine. With time running out, I decided that being over a surface of water was probably a good option.
Fortunately, I had practiced this routine with the gnome from earlier, so I quickly went to work on encasing myself in a mana shield and slow fall spell. I tried to keep control of the vehicle until we were much closer to the ground and then I threw a quick blast of fire at the dragon, blinding it long enough for me to jump free from the plane and plummet to the water below.
I hit the ocean with a splash and as soon as I had his bearings about me, I swam for the shoreline. Surprisingly, I was spotted by two Alliance soldiers. They rushed to my aid and I think I even heard one comment on my flying skills while pointing out the smoldering wreckage of the aircraft I had hoped to fly to Dalaran.
It was disappointing to say the least.
They pulled at me and we rushed up the shoreline a ways to where I spotted another Alliance outpost.
As soon as I’d gotten through the outpost gate, I was approached by a large man with a big cigar and a wicked mustache.
“Nice flying, mage,” He commented. “You alive and well?”
“Indeed,” I said. “A little cold.”
“Well nothing warms a man up like the thrill of a battle. You look able-bodied and we need men on the gates to keep us safe.”
An alarm sounded, some kind of horn coming from the far wall.
“Here they come!”
“No time to explain,” the man grumbled. “It’s time to fight!”
Now, this wasn’t the first time I had literally been dropped into a chaotic situation. Fighting was something that I had become very skilled at in the past and I was realizing very quickly that fighting was the way of life here in Northrend.
I didn’t have a staff, I’d left that behind at Valiance Keep, but I did have a magical wand that I could use to channel my magic if I needed it. I simply gave the Alliance salute and followed these crazy soldiers as they rushed to defend their town.
We hit the gate and didn’t stop, sweeping out into the open area and hitting the attacking enemies with everything we had. I didn’t hesitate in the least. I hit with the hardest spells I had and put many an attacker out of commission before they even realized they were going up against magic.
When they started to defend themselves from my magical abilities, I turned to my wand, enchanting it with a gravity spell that made it hit with the force of a dozen hammers. No one was expecting that when I clobbered them upside the head.
The fighting lasted in all about an hour. The defenders didn’t go without some loses, but for the most part we held our ground like a strong magnet. Eventually, they began to retreat and were pulled back to reinforce our defenses.
“That was an amazing job!” the mustached man shouted as smoke poured out of his mouth. “You’re all to be commended for your actions today!”
Everyone cheered. It was a great moment.
Then, life took over. The sounds of battle faded and the medics went to work on tending wounds while the tired soldiers started working to add more strength to the walls of the outpost. Meanwhile, the mustached man came to my side and pulled me off to speak alone.
“The name is Vice Admiral Keller.” He started. “You’ve got some real talent there, mage, so I have a question for you.”
“A question for me?”
“Yeah, for you.”
“What kind of question?”
“Can you help me? I’ve been assigned to find some of our missing people. It’s dangerous out there. I don’t want to send just anyone knowing they’ll likely go missing too. You, well I don’t get that feeling from you.”
I felt complimented. “Well I don’t know that I’m the right person for the job.”
“Look, you’re the strongest warrior I’ve got and these people, if they’re alive, need your help. I know you probably have somewhere you’ve got to be, but promise me. If you do me this favor, I’ll make it worth your while.”
“Worth my while,” I repeated. “I’ll need a horse. I had to leave mine at the airstrip.”
“You’ll have one,” Keller replied.
“Food too, and a new change of clothes?”
“Alright then,” I said aloud, to the admiral and to myself, “I’ll do it.”
I was tired, cold, and hungry. Now, none of that mattered. Despite all that I desired, I was keenly aware that Keller had just put me on a rescue mission. I couldn’t just take a nap and shrug off my responsibilities. No, I needed to act now and sleep later. Keller would be a valuable asset, but he’d only help me if I helped him first.
Slapping the table in front of me, I looked up at Keller and gave a wide grin. “Well then, I’m off to save some soldiers!”