Episode 29: Onward Adventurer
I flew for what felt like an eternity before I set down at the giant Night Elf portal, known as the Gate of Sothann. It was here that I was to bring Jarod and wait for the portals to activate, opening a connection point from all across Hyjal. Thanks to my help in the previous weeks, the Alliance now controlled all the portals and would be able to use them to move forces quickly and easily across the mountain.
After all that I had been through, it made sense that I would be considered a man of high importance. Sionis Sepher; fire mage of Stormwind; it was almost funny how ridiculous that title sounded to my ears these days.
Evanor quickly went to work on setting the record straight after she teleported me to Stormwind. When she sent notification to the King, I worried that she might be going overboard a little bit. It would not have been the first time in history that someone had simply vanished for two years.
The King had been through such an experience, but magi were tricky, and my timely reappearance following the cataclysm likely put at least a few people on edge. The weeks, if not months, that I had spent fighting to help the Night Elves reclaim Mount Hyjal were all but lost on the human realms. The only thing that really bothered me, though, was that the cataclysm had succeeded in doing something that the Horde and Burning Crusade had not done.
The spirit of the people in Stormwind was broken.
“Did you get a look at the park?” Donathan asked me as we walked through the cobblestone street that would take us to the King’s Hall. “It’s gone. The cataclysm just pulled the whole area into the water. We lost some good people there.”
“That’s unfortunate,” I replied, still trying to figure out how I had gotten paired with Donathan for my audience with the royal guard. “I heard that the dragon attacked here?”
“No, he didn’t,” Donathan said with a quizzical glance. “That’s what bothers everyone. The monster just flew in and scared the townspeople. It’s like he was looking for something and it wasn’t here. Honestly, knowing his reputation, I’m not sure why he didn’t just level all of Stormwind at that moment.”
“Do you have a theory?”
Donathan shook his head. “Nothing was stopping him. It was his decision to leave the city.”
This didn’t particularly bother me, but it was something that required looking into. Usually destructive forces like the enormous dragon known as Deathwing were unrestricted when it came to… destructive force. This play against the people of Stormwind was particularly strange. Perhaps, if King Wrynn was willing to grant me the time, I could request an investigation into the return of the beast and why an act of supreme non-violence would have occurred.
Ahead of us several guards locked their weapons to block the way into Stormwind Keep.
I waited there patiently while Donathan stepped forward and presented the seal of Dalaran. A moment later, the guard handed it back to him.
“I’m sorry mage, but that seal is not enough.”
“I don’t know if you recall,” the guard said sharply, “but a month ago our world suffered through one of the most dangerous cataclysms of our age. The seal of Dalaran is barely enough to prove to me that you’re not some evil wench here to destroy the King.”
Donathan chuckled and put the seal into his pocket, turning to look at me. “Did you hear that Sionis? These guards think they can stop me.”
“Guess they didn’t know about this…”
With a snap of his fingers Donathan was gone. The guards looked around in a panicked state and then shouted, “The King!” and took off down the long hall toward the Keep.
I shook my head in disappointment and waited for Donathan to reappear.
“Invisibility,” he said. “Come along, let’s get moving.”
We started our way into the Keep. The walk was not tortuous and we had nearly reached the King’s chamber when there was the familiar pop of someone teleporting and I turned to see none other than Jaina Proudmoore standing behind me. For a moment she looked angry, but the moment she recognized Donathan’s robes she lowered her weapon.
“Lady Proudmoore,” Donathan said as he knelt. “It is an honor.”
“Why are you here?” she asked. “Dalaran and Stormwind have had strained relationships as of late. That stunt you pulled, spooking the guards, what do you think you’re doing?”
“I apologize,” he said as he stood again, shooting a nervous glance at me for not kneeling. “It was simply that they would not allow us in. I wanted to see the King. One of his best magi has returned.”
“Best magi?” she asked. “Stormwind has many fine…”
Then she looked at me; I could only grin.
“You…” Her voice was suddenly filled with liquid fire and my eyes grew wide. “You vanished in Gilneas two years ago. Why didn’t you return to Stormwind? Why didn’t you explain what happened?”
“I’m here to do just that,” I said with concern building in my gut. Jaina was not someone you wanted to have mad at you for very long.
She stared at him for several seconds, though it felt like hours were passing by as they stood there with one another. Finally, Donathan was the one to break the silence. “Lady Proudmoore, Sionis’ work at Mount Hyjal was instrumental in helping the Night Elves reclaim their lost territory. It would have been unfair and unreasonable to simply demand that he abandon the situation he found himself in. He is a mage of the highest caliber and follows the Dalaran code in ways that many of us tend to ignore. Surely you can’t penalize him for helping those in need?”
“Donathan,” she said with a sigh. “You’re a master of words. I don’t wish to punish Sionis, though I can’t say that King Wrynn will be so forgiving. The war with the Horde has kicked into full gear and there is nothing more I can to do prevent the conflict.”
“Regardless,” I said before Donathan could speak for me. “I’m here to present myself to the King. We need to face facts in all of this, and the most basic fact is that Azeroth needs people like me more than ever.”
Jaina was like a statue for a moment, but then motioned toward the King’s chamber. I thanked her and moved up the stairs so that I could see King Wrynn in this throne, absolutely infuriated from the looks of it, and probably on the verge of firing the guards that were cowering by his feet.
I knew he wouldn’t actually fire them, but he did a good job of scaring them senseless anyway. I put some extra force into my stride, making his footsteps echo in the open room and pulling the King’s attention over to where I was approaching.
“Who are you?” The King asked with fire in his voice. “Why have you…”
Then he stopped. His voice trailed off as he started to recognize the face that was looking up at him. There would be a moment of hesitation, then a face of relief.
“You’re alive,” Wrynn said. “I’m surprised to see that.”
“Lady Evanor gave it her best shot,” I replied with a grin. “It wasn’t enough.”
“Evanor? Are you saying…”
“Only a joke, my King,” I added. “I have come to report for duty.”
“Shouldn’t you be up in Northrend with your magi friends?”
“Surely I’m not the only mage that has remained loyal to Stormwind?”
Wrynn smiled now, slowly warming to the idea that Sionis was alive. “No, I suppose you’re not.”
“Good, then where can I be of assistance?”
The King let out a deep laugh and then leaned back in his throne, a wave of his hand dismissing the guards back to their posts. When they had gone, he motioned for me to approach and then took a moment to look me over again. “Where have you been, Sepher? Evanor said she lost you two years ago in Gilneas?”
“It’s a bit of a story, my King,” I started, “It started after the last time we met.”
“During our assault against the Undercity?” the King asked.
“That’s right. I was approached by Lady Evanor regarding the nation of Gilneas. I agreed to help her with some things so we headed that way. When we got there we found out that the entire place was being attacked by a worgen infection. We got caught up in their fight for survival and we were losing.”
“Gilneas,” the King interrupted. “My sources say you were found in Mount Hyjal.”
“I was. During one of the final battles in Gilneas, Lady Evanor knew we were in trouble. She tried to teleport us to Dalaran. It was a dangerous move, and I didn’t have a good hold on her when we teleported. I couldn’t hold on during the trip and when I lost her grip I was left floating in time and space, without control. I was skilled enough to get out of the situation, but I had no power over where and when it would happen. I knew that the fight in Gilneas was my best shot, so I focused on a powerful level of turmoil or conflict. I felt something so horrifyingly powerful I was shocked. I had to assume it was a war and I moved toward it. When I fell out of the teleportation I was at Mount Hyjal. The powerful energy that I had felt was the cataclysm. I came out less than a week after it happened.”
“This is why I don’t trust you magi,” King Wrynn said. “You deal with power you ought not deal with. If you weren’t such powerful soldiers I would probably exile the whole lot of you.”
“I can’t thank you enough for that,” I replied, biting my tongue.
“So you played with fire and got burned, lost two years of your life, and ended up on the far side of the planet. You tell me all of this and I am fascinated that you came back to Stormwind at all.”
“King, you know where my support rests.”
“That is true,” Wrynn said. “Okay, Sionis, I’ll return you to the front lines. Are you still willing to use your power to their full potential?”
“You know I am.”
“Are you willing to kill Horde soldiers?”
I nodded. “We are at war.”
“Then I want you aboard The Briny Cutter. It’s currently housed in the harbor and preparing to join our warships that have traveled to battle the Horde.”
“A battle at sea?” I asked.
“No, Sionis, a new island emerged off the coast as a result of the cataclysm. It’s a useless rock at the moment, but the Horde knows full well that if they can take control of it they can use the land to stage attacks against us. I admit I was not anticipating such an event. Then again, I was not anticipating your return, either, so it seems fitting that you’ll help our troops take the island.”
With that, Wrynn waved his hand at me to signal the discussion was over. I rolled my eyes, not pleased with the way King Wrynn would typically treat the magic users of his armies. Still, I wasn’t here just for the King. I was here to get things back under control for the Alliance. If that meant sailing to an island, then that is what I would do.
For the Alliance.