Episode 42: Fire and Ice
Six Months Later...
The wild Elekk stomped down a grassy hill with an added urgency that set off dozens of alarms in my head. The herd was surprised and that surprise meant they sensed something I had missed. We still hadn't lost that Horde rogue that tried to ambush us a few miles outside of Telaari Station.
I moved closer to the herd of Elekk and tried to avoid getting trampled. Cookie, my blue proto-drake, tried to snap at one of the creatures before I pulled the reins to get him under control. Together the group moved into a large field and I felt the hairs on my neck standing up. The rogue was coming I had no idea where to turn. Feeling very concerned, I decided to do the only thing I knew how to do in these situations...
The pyroblast hit the closest Elekk spot on and the creature suddenly reared back in pain, throwing the rest of the herd into a frenzy. The chaos that erupted caused Cookie to buck, throwing me for a loop as I tumbled onto the green grass. The drake took to the sky without hesitation and I realized my plan wasn't the greatest. Fortunately, the rogue was caught up in the stampede with me and stumbled to the ground after barely dodging a giant Elekk foot.
The Horde soldier was quick to regain his stance, though, and with his cover blown he came at me with surprising speed. I blasted him with a ball of fire that sent him tumbling with his shoulder smoldering, but it wasn't enough to stop the attack. I knew I could turn invisible and escape to nearby hiding, but the rogue would be on me again in a few hours if I didn't put a stop to this once and for all.
Instead of hiding away, I stood my ground. The rogue charged at me with blades drawn and a look of rage on his face. I could see it was an undead soldier, one of the forsaken, no doubt.
I started to charge my most powerful fire spell. The dragon's breath would take out anyone that dared get close enough to feel its wrath. The rogue wouldn't know what hit him, but if it was going to work, I needed the soldier to be right on top of me.
The rogue halted his charge. He stood there for a moment, looking at me, before taking several steps back and tossing down a blast of vanishing powder to cover his escape. I twisted around to see that another figure had arrived at the top of the hill. The dranei paladin raced toward me atop her mount, a large mace at the ready in her right hand.
"Where did he go?" she asked as the horse stopped beside me. "We might be able to find him."
"We won't be able to find him," I replied, already scanning the sky for my drake. "He's probably already back to the rocky area where he can keep an eye on us."
"You don't make it very hard for him to follow us," the Dranei replied.
"Look, Iliera, if you don't like sticking to the road then-"
"I do not mean your navigation," Iliera replied with a snap. "I mean your fire."
I raised a brow as she gestured back toward the field. The burnt remains of a Elekk, blackened grass, and a small pillar of smoke rising into the air for everyone to see. The dranei had a good point. I was leaving pretty big markers for enemies to follow.
"My fire has gotten us pretty far," I casually replied, hoping to dissolve the issue.
"Your fire is going to get us killed," she pressed. "You are a mage of the Kirin Tor. You know the arts of Arcane magic. Why do you choose to ignore the power of ice?"
"You want me to use Frost magic?" I nearly yelled. "Are you kidding me?"
"I want you to stop leaving a charred mess everywhere we go," Iliera replied firmly. "How you do that is not my concern, but if we're going to stop the Iron Horde we're going to need to do it without drawing the attention of every orc on this planet."
"You know, I've used fire since the Third War," I said, feeling a little helpless. "It's never let me down."
"In all of those years, how many times were you required to be stealthy while you navigated behind enemy lines?"
"That's not really fair," I countered. "I've been behind enemy lines before."
"I'm not challenging your abilities or your prowess, human." Iliera assured him. "I just want you to maybe consider using some magic that doesn't call so much attention."
"Fine," I grumbled. "I'll consider it."
I turned toward the burnt field and threw an arm out with the expectation that the water in the air would freeze to form an icicle. Instead, nothing happened.
"What was that?" Iliera asked. "Did you just do something?"
"More like I didn't do something," I admitted. "I might be a bit rusty on the mechanics of frost magic."
I felt my face grow warm. I quickly turned away from the draeni and started to conjure a portal. If I was going to actually be able to do this I was going to have to reacquaint myself with some of the elements behind the spells.
"Where are we going?" Iliera asked.
"Khadgar's tower," I replied as the portal stabilized. "Get in."
I was going to stop using fire and begin mastering the way of the frost mage. If that was how it had to be, then I needed some teaching and that meant going back to the Kirin Tor.