Episode 22: Divergent Paths
The fighting outside Gilneas had been fierce. When all the fires were burning their brightest and the worgen monsters hit the hardest, I hit back with power I had hidden away following my missions in Northrend. The worgen infection, which is what Gilneas was actually suffering from, had already been devastating the Gilnean population for some time before I had arrived with Evanor and Christine. We had quickly gone to work with healing those we could while we also worked to defend the safety of the innocent civilians.
I had worked the front lines as long as I could. Christine had been my saving grace on more than one occasion. There were simply too many of them.
We eventually retreated to Duskhaven, and Evanor did what she could to help develop some kind of cure for this curse. The hope she ignited in the survivors made the whole thing worth it, even if the results had been fruitless thus far.
Finally, one dark day, we went to work fetching farmers and other citizens of the land that might have survived this long.
The first farmstead we came to had already been overrun. I took out several worgen and then found a wounded man inside so I stepped over to help him up. Unfortunately, he turned, his face covered in hair, and snapped his mouth on my arm.
“Ouch!” I shouted, smacking the man across the face and pulling free.
I had made a grave mistake, but it would take time for the curse to set in. I could still help for a little while.
Three more worgen jumped through nearby windows and grabbed two of the scouting party I was with. A torch fell to the ground and the farmhouse wood lit up like a match. The building was in flames now. I stepped back with Christine and Evanor.
As the first of the burning beams lit around us, I looked back to Evanor and frowned. “Some diplomatic mission!”
“Shut up and grab my hand!” she shouted back.
I twisted around and took her hand without hesitation. A moment later I felt us pulling through the twisting nether that allowed the magi to move through time and space. The teleportation process was never an easy one; it took time and concentration to do correctly. In this case, Evanor had not been able to stabilize our trip, causing me to swing back and forth as she pulled me by one hand and Christine by the other. The problem was, Christine had been able to hold Evanor around the shoulders, while I barely had a grip with my fingertips. With each twist and turn, I felt my grip slipping further down her hand. A moment later, she slipped away. I was momentarily dazed and only aware that I was swirling through what felt like an icy bath of water.
There was no time, no distance, only a strange flow of energy that surrounded me completely. I knew I couldn’t go on forever like this, or more importantly I could go on forever. I closed my eyes and tried to concentrate as hard as I could. I tried to focus on Stormwind, Gilneas, or even on Dalaran.
I needed to find an anchor somewhere and yet I couldn’t find…
I felt a surge of energy and I grabbed it.
A moment later, I felt myself become rooted to time once more. The chaos around me finally faded and I fizzled out of the teleportation…
...right back inside the burning building.
By now, at least five worgen were picking through the debris looking for the people that had disappeared. When they heard my arrival, all eyes turned to me.
“Hello,” I grumbled.
Then, they were on me.
Time can go by so fast when you aren’t sure how to keep track of it. Of course, being driven to the brink of insanity by an infection you’ve never experienced before, well, that can be bad too. My name was Sionis.
I was a powerful fire mage that stood at the front lines of the Alliance efforts.
I was there at the fall of Archimonde, I fought against the Burning Crusader in the Outlands, and I raced to Northrend to defeat the Lich King. I carried with me badges of honor that few others even knew existed.
My last memory of that life was the terrifying night in the cathedral.
The next collected thoughts are fuzzy, blurred images of nightly hunts, fighting over domains, and eventually becoming the leader of my pack. We were not werewolves in the sense that we became cowering men when the sun was out.
No, we were worgen.
We were permanently turned into wolf men until the day we were hunted down by the uninfected.
I do not know the exact dates, but I do remember when I woke in a cage for the first time. I was angry and confused, but my head felt clearer and my thoughts could join together in ways I had long since abandoned. Then the priest approached me with his bottle of liquid that would bring me back to the reality I once knew.
When I started to retain thought again, I learned that I was located in the village of Duskhaven. I was trapped within this worgen body, but my mind was my own again. Feeling completely liberated, my joy was short lived.
It hadn’t been more than five minutes after I was freed from my cage that the ground beneath us shook violently and crumbled in the distance. Screams of terror brought horrifying news. Not only had these earthquakes started, but the Forsaken were coming in an attempt to capture all of Gilneas.
I remembered the Forsaken, the battle at the Wrathgate, and all that they had done to terrorize humanity. I wasn’t going to let them have their way here too. I volunteered my services and marched out to the battlefield only to discover a terrible truth. I could no longer perform any magic.
Sionis, the fire mage of Stormwind, was powerless!!!
I let the panic consume me, but just long enough to think things through. I was still strong, and I was healthy. I had led my pack for what felt like an eternity. I slipped into a rage and picked up a weapon from a fallen warrior. With sword in hand, I charged into the fray and though I could not use fire magic against them, the fire within my eyes shook them to their half-rotten cores.
I tore through them with all of my might. It was difficult, and it was terrifying, both to me and those who got in my way. Then another terrible earthquake struck. It literally threw me backward in the air, and in a stroke of luck, it caught most of the invading forsaken soldiers and sent them into the ocean depth beneath tons of rubble. Their massive invasion force was thrown up on the newly-formed reefs and many were lost to the destruction. To make the chaotic events worse, Duskhaven was also in need of evacuation.
There was little doubt in anyone’s mind that this terrible event was just getting started.
We fell back to the Graymane Manor, where the King of Gilneas lived. It was there that we watched Duskhaven swallowed whole by the ocean as more tremors ripped through the land. Our retreat was continual, fighting when we should be resting, running when we should have been fighting. There was nothing we could do. We skirted the eroding coastline and arrived in Stormglen Village. Once we arrived there, we were able to gather up our strength for another push. The forsaken had diverted their energy to Gilneas and so we moved to Tempest’s Reach, where we met with the surviving defenders of the Gilnean peninsula.
We moved north and came into contact with dozens of Night Elves that had been helping formulate the cure for the worgen virus. All of us in a great number; humans, worgen, and elves, gathered up our weapons and prepared for a final fight through Gilneas City.
I fought alongside men and women I’d been hunting just months before. It was a strange and surreal moment in my life. Through all of the trials and tribulations, the experiences and the battles… none of them had been so powerful.
We finally reclaimed the city, and then moved to Keel Harbor in the Northwest. More tremors echoed through the lands but we could feel that the ground was calming. Whatever had happened to Azeroth was finally subsiding. We were met with one more terrible truth when we arrived at Keel Harbor, as the news spread that Orcs were launching an invasion from the western coast. Fortunately, the night elves had brought reinforcements of their own and we stood against the Horde once again.
Triumphant… that was our mood.
Gilneas lay in ruin; the King stood with his people and stared back at the burning city that had been reclaimed. Perhaps in time the city would be rebuilt and stand in the same glory that it once had, but for now there was no future in Gilneas. The Gilneans, most of them worgen, had no where that they could go.
Then, new hope was given to all of us. The Night Elves felt another tremor rocking the earth; they pointed us toward their fleet of ships. It was time for us to leave this doomed land. We were going to Darnassus; the Night Elf capital.
On the boat, I learned that it had been two years since I had been turned into a worgen.
When I came to this doomed city I was a powerful mage; one of many that stood against the foes of the Horde. Two years later, I was a worgen with a blood-stained sword and rain soaked garments that stuck to my fur coat. On the ship, the Night Elves began taking a toll of our names, so that they could better maintain our locations and medicine. For some reason, fear of revealing my true name struck at my heart and I decided instead to lie.
“Salonis,” I said with a smile.
“Salonis?” the elf asked.
I shrugged. “You can call me Sal.”
“Alright then,” the elf said. “Sal it is.”
And on we sailed, a new life and new adventures about to begin…