Episode 25: Securing the Prisoner
“I want you all to remember my name. I am Instructor Mylva. The Twilight Hammer is like a family to me. Therefore, I want you all to know that most of you will die at my feet. I won’t let just anyone into my family.”
As I stood here listening to the Twilight Hammer Instructor, I felt like he was in way over my head. I had agreed to work with Hermit Ortell, some crazy wounded cultist that had supposedly “turned” to the good guys when he discovered that the Twilight Hammer was holding the Night Elf strategist Jarod Shadowsong as a hostage.
Jarod was very important to us. He had a plan and if the Hammer cultists extracted that plan from him we’d be in trouble.
I’d been fighting for weeks now, all across Mount Hyjal. I had freed military forces, slain enemy monsters, and regained much of the landscape in the name of the Alliance. Now, as the leading elves prepared for their final assault on their enemies, Jarod Shadowsong was the key piece of the puzzle. Freeing the strategist would give the Alliance the extra boost that they would need to win in their campaign against the fire monster Ragnaros. As Ortell had inside information, he wanted me to go on the inside, and unfortunately the Night Elf military leader, Ysera, had agreed. So now here I stood, getting a proper dress down from a cult leader loon. I was surrounded by about thirty other students, each of them looking as crazily eager as the Instructor. I simply couldn’t pull off that crazed look. Instead I just stood there and waited until the Instructor finally got to the point.
“Okay students,” she finally announced. “The first test is simple. Run.”
She flicked her wrist and fire spiraled around the group; a flame monster, not much taller than four feet, suddenly swirled into existence and started slashing at the recruits. They fled, screaming and crying out for mercy as the monster split into many more monsters and scattered after them. I wasn’t going to play games with the Instructor. I was too old and too powerful for her pitiful little test. I twisted toward the first fire beast that came at me and shot it with a frost bolt that melted and showered the fire with water, neutralizing it on the spot. I turned to the Instructor with a satisfied look and I saw that her eyes were wide with amazement.
“You’re a mage,” she said aloud. “That’s wonderful!”
“Why is that?” I asked. “Do magi not normally seek to join?”
“Almost never,” she replied. “When they do, they don’t do it through this silly recruitment process.”
“My apologies,” I said as I made a short bow. “I shall depart if you wish it.”
“No,” she said quickly. “No you should stay. I have just one test for you.”
“What would that be?”
“Go across the camp. There you will find several failed students. I want you, with a guard watching, to kill one of those students. If you complete this task, you come to me and I’ll have you added to our ranks immediately.”
I nodded and turned toward the area that held the failed students. I had a few tricks on how to get around this issue. I had been warned by Ortell that this may come up. I figured I could just cast invisibility on the failed student and then throw a fire blast nearby. Hopefully, they would take the hint and run away while they were not seen.
I got to the group and looked at the students, some of them with fire burns on their bodies.
I stepped over to the guard and said, “I have been sent by Instructor Mylva…”
“Do your job,” the guard growled.
So she did this often.
I glanced back at the students and then stepped over to a young woman and pulled her up to her feet. I leaned in close, as if taunting her, and whispered in her ear. “I can save you. I will make you invisible. As soon as you are not seen, run north to the World Tree.”
“You are a traitor,” she replied. “I will trade your life for my own!”
She pushed me away and shouted for the guard. I cursed and then slammed her with a fire blast that sent her flying through the air for at least twenty feet. She came to the ground in a crumpled mess.
“Interesting,” the guard said as though he were amused. “You’re a good shot.”
“Thanks,” I replied, trying to hide the sorrow in my voice.
As I turned to walk away, Instructor Mylva appeared from behind one of the supply carts that were resting nearby. She had a large grin on her face that meant she had been watching this whole time. “Congratulations,” she said with a sneer. “You seem to have guts and determination.”
“I did your bidding,” I replied. “Am I in?”
“Oh, that was only the first life you must take today. The second is that of Jarod Shadowsong.”
I nearly smiled. “You want me to kill who?”
“A night elf,” she replied. “Anyone can kill an enemy. That woman would have taken your life if she could. It wasn’t really a challenge for you to finish her. That’s why you have to kill Jarod. If you are really one of us, his death means nothing. If you’re not one of us; his death may cost you Mount Hyjal.”
“Then I will kill him now,” I said. “Let us put an end to this.”
“Not yet,” she replied. “There is a graduation ceremony for the recruits from my previous group that made it. I want you to prepare a small speech about why you’re here. I want to know what compels you. Then, once you’ve got my students in a nice inspired state… kill Jarod for them.”
“Very well,” I said. “I must ask how that would be a better course of action. If I am working for the Alliance, couldn’t I just tell the recruits that I can save them and incite a riot?”
“Potentially,” she replied. “If you did, I would offer the recruit that ends your life a promotion to Commander. Then the issue should resolve itself.”
I frowned. “I had better get started then.”
I spent the rest of the afternoon trying to write up a speech that would have the desired effect I would need. I was actually rather happy to hear that I would have an audience for this message today. There was enough of a violently charged environment here that I might be able to cause uproar with just a few select words. If I accomplished that, it would take the focus off me and open the doorway for an escape.
So when the time finally came, and I stood at the podium with Jarod chained behind me, I knew that I was at the final moments. I had to make this work.
“Students,” I said aloud. “Let’s think about why we’re here today. This cult, yes we all know it’s a cult, seeks to bring about the end of the world. That’s why we’re here. We want the world to end. I want to know how that makes sense. I want you to raise your hands if you know why we want the world to end.”
I waited a moment while the group stood there, looking confused. Surprisingly, Mylva just stood there, looking at me with a raised brow. She was probably trying to determine if I was foolish enough to execute the exact plan that I had proposed to her earlier.
What she probably didn’t understand… is that I was more than foolish enough.
“No one?” I asked. “Is there no one who knows?”
There it was. I felt the mood change as parts of my audience started to question themselves, their actions, and their loyalty. I had to drive the spike further so I could create an immediate divide between the two sides and cause a conflict to erupt.
What would I say?
“Deathwing sent me here to participate in this recruitment. Not even Instructor Mylva knew that I was truly a powerful mage who has no intention of staying in this filthy place. You poor defenseless creatures don’t understand it. You’re all going to die. You mean nothing to Deathwing or the Twilight Hammer. You are nothing more than pawns! So leave.”
“Wait just one minute,” Mylva shouted.
“That’s right,” I shouted, ignoring her. “Turn and leave. Your lives mean nothing to us. You are already dead.”
“That’s enough!” a guard shouted. “Step down mage!”
Then, with a flick of my wrist, I sent a sheet of ice across the crowd. It spurred them into action, into some kind of action, mostly just into attacking whoever was closest to them. The guards were suddenly pulled to the audience as the roars and screams for help filled the air.
I took my chance and turned around, forced the chains from Jarod with a simple use of magic, and then whistled as loudly as I could. I waited a moment before an enormous dragon came over the nearby hills and blasted a line of flame between the us and the riotous crowd.
It then landed and I helped Jarod up.
“Who are you?” asked the strategist.
“I’m a friend,” I said cheerily. “We’ve got a war to finish.”
With Jarod on my back, I pulled on the dragon’s reins and we took flight, leaving the Twilight Hammer grounds beneath them.