Episode 21: The Spell of Broken Hearts
I wish I could tell everyone that the assault against the Undercity went as we had planned. I wish I could say that Lordaeron was captured and now humanity could rebuild their lost lands and put this awful historical entry about the Undead behind them.
Instead, Jaina’s attempts to alert Thrall of the assault against the Undercity gave the Horde the time they needed to gather their strength and meet King Varian’s forces at the city entrance. I was happy to see the fighting end when Purtress was defeated, but then we heard Thrall’s voice.
King Varian lost it. The fighting between the Horde and the Alliance erupted within the city. I was willing, at that moment, to follow Varian to the grave. My own anger against the Horde was so real, but Jaina Proudmoore stepped in, teleporting all of the Alliance soldiers back to Stormwind and leaving the Horde to reclaim the rest of their Undercity.
Let’s just say the King wasn’t happy about that, but he was pleased with my actions that day. When the dust started to settle, he finally brought me to the Keep and asked me what favor I would ask of him.
There was only one thing I wanted.
Just a few days later, I now stood at the entryway to the Dalaran Library. I held the royal scroll from King Varian in my hands, presenting it to them so they knew that they could not prevent me from entering.
The mage guard looked unimpressed by the scroll, but after speaking with his fellow Kirin Tor leaders he gestured for me to enter..
I stepped inside the library for the first time since before the Third War.
After all the fighting, all the struggles, here I was.
I wasted no time seeking out the book I would need for my wounded heart. I found the thick tome entitled The Struggles of the Heart with relative ease.
Deep in its pages was the spell of broken love. The Kirin Tor had long ago put this tome away because the spell, while helpful, could also spell doom in the wrong hands.
I was always told to imagine a general who willfully spelled away his love for the lives of his people. What kind of danger could he be to the world?
It gave me shivers.
Still, I went to work, flipping through the pages until I found what I needed. The spell sat on an old yellowed page, so simple and innocent before me. It had no idea the trouble I had been through just to look upon it. The words were simple enough. I could recite it right now and be done with all this pain…
I looked over my shoulder and saw Christine standing in the hallway. Her blonde hair fell down past her waist and she wore only light clothing with bandages covering much of her body. She looked like she’d been through hell since I’d last seen her.
“What are you doing here?” I asked. “How did you get in?”
“I let her in,” another voice spoke.
I saw Lady Evanor step up to Christine’s side. “We came to stop you.”
“Stop me? Why would you stop me?”
“That spell, Sionis, it’s not what you think.”
“What do you mean? How do you even know what spell I am looking for?”
Evanor sighed. “I heard from Rhonin the second you showed up with the royal decree.”
I’m the one that taught you about the spell of broken love, so long ago,” she reminded me. “Once Christine recalled talking to me, I realized this would be what you were coming here to find.”
“Then you know I have a broken heart,” I said. “All the more reason why I should use this.”
“That spell won’t just take away your broken love for Keaira,” Evanor warned. “It will take away all of your love. The love you have for me, for Christine, for your family. It’s a curse, Sionis, not a spell.”
“You don’t understand,” I said, trying to defend myself. “This pain knows no end. I still miss her, still want to seek her out and talk to her. My heart is broken.”
“Broken, but mending,” Christine said. “Do you remember back in the Grizzly Hills, when I said my husband-to-be left to fight the scourge and never returned?”
“I do,” I said.
“I wasn’t entirely honest with you then, because even now it hurts, but the truth is he did come back, Sionis. He came back as an Undead and tried to murder me. He told me I had to be dead for him to love me again. I burned him with holy light and he ran screaming from my… from our house, and I never saw him again.”
I was shocked by this revelation. “I’m so sorry.”
“I’m not,” she replied. “I still hold a love for him, Sepher. Even now, all these years later I still think about him, wonder where he might be and how he is doing. That love is a deep part of who I am, how I think, how I behave. If you take that away from me, then I would be lost.”
“We could both use this spell,” I said. “You wouldn’t know about him anymore. You would be free of the pain.”
“I’d be free of the happiness that we felt when we were together too. I can’t lose that part of my life. It’s not fair to him or to me.”
I had come so far for this spell, endured so much, and now these two just expected me to give it up so that I could continue suffering?
“You saved my life,” Christine said firmly. “You were there that day I needed you because of that pain in your heart.”
“It drives you. It drives who you are and who you want to be. You can make better decisions and learn from your scars.”
That’s exactly what Admiral Keller had said to me back in the Howling Fjord.
Slowly, my arrogance was cracking under the pressure. So many others had lost things they cared about and in the same knowledge of this spell they had chosen not to forget. Was I being a fool?
I felt a tear run down my face.
“I just want things to be like they were,” I mumbled, trying to choke back the emotions.
“Things will never be like they were,” Christine said stepping toward me. “We can’t chase the past, but we can’t dare forget it. You can’t undo the changes of time, but you can make a better future. Using this spell, simply forgetting how to love, it won’t solve anything.”
I knew they were right. My wounded heart beat in my chest with an agonizing thud. I couldn’t go through with this. I slowly lowered my arms and snapped the book shut.
Evanor gave an audible sigh of relief. Christine stepped forward and wrapped me in hug. One that caused her to also mumble a few curses as she stretched her bandages.
When she finally released me I reluctantly put the spellbook back on the shelf and started dragging my feet to the exit. I felt myself giving in to wisdom and hoping that this wisdom made me a little stronger and wiser in the process.
Regardless, when I left the library and heard the large doors close, I felt a strange sense of comfort that I had not gone through with the task I’d given myself almost a year before. Maybe they were all right. In a few more seasons, perhaps the wound would seal and I might fight my heart able to love anew.
Standing in the open streets of Dalaran I looked at my two friends. “So what now?”
“I think it’s about time you start helping us save the world,” Evanor suggested.
“Christine and I are going on a diplomatic mission.”
“Yes, the walled city of Gilneas to be precise.”
“No one has been in there since they finished that wall,” I rebutted. “What are you going to do? Knock a secret code?”
“Rumors spread, even when people can’t,” Evanor replied. “We’ve heard that there might be a plague that’s spreading through the kingdom. The Kirin Tor believe if we can offer aid we might be able to make some headway in creating peace.”
“You think this is some undead plot?” I asked.
“No, this sounds… different. Besides, my contact is trustworthy.”
I thought about this for a moment and then gave a nod. “Okay, I’ll go, but we need to make a stop on the way.”
“Oh? Where is that?”
“Why would we need to stop there?”
“Appleon,” I replied. “I promised I’d come see him when my time in Northrend was done.”
“Oh, that old oaf is out there?” Evanor asked. “Well, I’d like to see him too. We’ll make a nice stop before we head to Gilneas.”
“Thank you,” I said suddenly.
Christine and Evanor both looked at me with big smiles. “You don’t have to thank us,” Christine said. “You would have done the same for us.”
“I hope so.”
Christine punched my shoulder, which hurt. I think she always forgot how strong she was.
And that was it. My nearly year long quest in Northrent, one that started as a selfish hunt for a spell that would teach me to forget love, was now over. The final moments there were tense, but in hindsight I’m not sure I would have gone through with it even if Evanor and Christine hadn’t shown up.
So many other voices had warned me over the course of my adventures in Northrend. Admiral Keller, Appleon, even that red dragon with the complex name. They had all suffered the familiar pain of a broken heart and they all knew what I was going through, even if I didn’t think so.
So now that I had given up on hiding my pain away, I would be starting on the next part of this process… coming to terms with the loss of my love. I would live day to day, gauging my heart break as it came and went, each time hopefully a little less painful than the last.
But at least I wouldn’t be going alone. I would have friends and loved ones to support me through this transition and that was far more valuable than any magic I might muster.
Oh, and a flying horse. That helps too.