Episode 2: Librarian Donathan
Three days of riding a horse is enough time to make any young man feel like he has been worn out. For me, the experience was worse. By the time I arrived at the top of Amber Ledge, I was feeling like I might not be able to stand upright ever again.
Just a short ways ahead of me, I caught sight of the familiar towers that were commonly used by the Kirin Tor. It was also at this moment that I knew I had reached the first important milestone in my mission to Northrend. The Kirin Tor were in charge of Dalaran. It was their city after all. I couldn’t risk becoming an enemy of the Kirin Tor if I wanted to walk the streets of the magical city, but honestly I didn’t have the best relationship with the organization in recent years. During the Third War I had left the Kirin Tor behind. The decision had ultimately saved my life, though it had also cost me dearly. Of course, it had nearly been a decade since the war. The Kirin Tor were not ones to easily forget crimes of the past, and while the decision to flee to Kalimdor had been the right one, there were many mages who stayed behind and continued to defend the lands of Lordaeron that no doubt looked at people like me as a deserter.
For now, I would have to hope that the need to defeat Arthas had blinded their record keeping of old Kirin Tor magi. For all their faults, the Kirin Tor seemed to have good intentions. They had moved their entire city into the freezing lands of Arthas in order to help research the evil that had a hard grip over everything here.
I had been trying to ignore it, but the truth was Northrend was still a very violent land. There were overrun farmlands, embattled villages, ruined castles… the images were always the same. During my ride to Amber Ledge, I had started to contemplate if my motive, my desire to mend a broken heart, was really worth the cost of traveling to such a dangerous place.
It was then that I noticed someone running toward me from the direction of the Mage Tower. He was a young one, dressed in a Kirin Tor robe, but the normally clean linen was worn and frayed at the base.
“Excuse me,” the young one called. “Are you Sionis Sepher?”
“I am,” I replied. “Who’s asking?”
“Oh! Excuse me!” the young mage replied, gasping for breath. “My name is William Park. I’m one of the initiates here at Amber Ledge. I serve under Lady Evanor.”
My heart stopped. Lady Evanor? Was it really possible?
Of all the people to find here…
“Sionis? Are you listening?”
I snapped back to the boy and shook my head to clear the thoughts. “I apologize, Mr. Park, how can I help you?”
“I need your help! My teacher has gone missing!”
And just like that, the excitement was replaced with a dark fear.
“Evanor is missing?”
“Yes, she was investigating some samples in Dalaran and on her way here they captured her!”
“Who captured her?” I asked, feeling my stomach tighten.
“The Beryl Sorcerers must have been the ones to take her. They’ve started to gain a foothold not far from here.”
I didn’t know anything about the Beryl Sorcerers, but I was not one to shake off the notion of destiny, or luck. Evanor was my best chance at getting back to Dalaran, and she was also someone from my past that I still cared about. I would have to rescue her.
“How can I help?” I asked.
“Librarian Donathan told me that I could find you approaching. He said you are her best chance. I’m supposed to bring you to the tower to speak with him.”
Donathan. As brightly as my heart burned for Evanor, it frosted over for Donathan.
“You say Donathan is here?”I asked, hoping to hear another name, maybe Jonathan, or anything really as long as it wasn’t…
“And he sent you to find me?”
“He says he can use your help to save Evanor. We must hurry!”
For a brief moment, my wounded heart thought about walking away. I could probably approach these Beryl sorcerers on my own and save Evanor, but then again, if there was something critical to Evanor’s life, I would have to get that information from Donathan. Not to mention, it would be a personal favor to the Kirin Tor. That would go a long way in getting him back to the magical city.
“Very well, Mr. Park, let’s get moving.” I said at last.
The inside of the mage tower was was the standard design that I had seen the Kirin Tor use time and time again when constructing new outposts. The stone structure held the fire’s heat well and when I entered the front doorway I immediately felt like I had stepped into a small oven. It was a welcome change from the cold outside, so I moved over and took a seat at the small table that was neatly decorated with some fruit. I knew the procedure enough to know that the initiate would go fetch Donathan, who would then come down to greet him. Even when people’s lives were hanging in the balance, the Kirin Tor clung to protocol. It was almost sickening, and had been one of the many reasons I had left the order so long ago.
When Initiate Park returned he was being followed closely by Librarian Donathan. Now, I hadn’t seen the mage in years, but he looked much older than I had expected. He moved down the stairs with a rapid grace and I feared what he might say to me now that we had met again.
“Hello, Sionis Sepher, he greeted, extending his hand. “It’s good to see you again.”
That wasn’t what I was expecting at all.
Reluctantly, I replied in kind and gave him a quick handshake.
“I hear you have trouble,” I added, hoping to prevent a stall in conversation.
“Straight to the point,” Donathan said as he took a moment to pat the initiate on the back. “You are the man we need out here in these dark times.”
“I hope I can help.”
“Oh Sionis,” Donathan said, his voice lowering. “Things are far worse out here than you could have ever imagined.”
“Worse?” I asked with an inquisitive look on my face. “News in Stormwind is that our forces are already breaking down the doors to Icecrown Citadel.”
“Were it so easy,” Donathan said in an exhausted sounding reply. “I don’t know if you’ve noticed this or not, but Arthas isn’t the only evil in our world.”
“Save your breath,” I said as I felt my anger rising. “I know of the many dangers in our world. In fact, I believe that’s why I am here now?”
I worried that I’d said too much, or come across as hostile, but Donathan didn’t seem to mind the tone. He just nodded in reply.
“Of course. We need to rescue Lady Evanor.”
Donathan’s request was blunt.
“Why can’t you or one of the other Kirin Tor go get her?” I asked.
“We don’t know where she is.”
“If you don’t know where she is how—” I stopped short. Of course, that’s what this was about. I should have known.
Donathan must have sensed my growing rage. “The sorcerers that captured her deny involvement. We don’t have enough evidence on the matter and the Kirin Tor protocols prohibit us from using any other forms of influence to question or interrogate suspects.”
“So that’s where I come in?”
Donathan’s eyes looked to the ground. “You can do whatever it takes. You are not Kirin Tor.”
Honestly, I didn’t know if I was angry, or disappointed.
“Please Sionis,” Donathan pleaded. “You don’t understand the research she’s doing! Something terrible is happening to our world. It may be connected to Northrend, maybe not, but either way the changes are coming. They are could devastate all that we know and care about.”
“You mean to tell me that Lady Evanor is somehow connected to this danger?”
“She was studying something that one of our dragons found.”
“Dragons? We’re dealing with dragons now?”
“The Red Dragons have never shown any hostility toward us. We have no reason to not trust them.”
“I ran into a dragon the other day and it nearly took my head off. What do you make of that?”
“The scales were blue, were they not?”
I paused for a moment, thinking back to the color of the beast that had tried to murder me on the road out of Valiance Keep. “Yeah, they were blue.”
“The Blue Dragonflight has become increasingly hostile as of late.”
I couldn’t help but roll my eyes. I knew of the dragonflights, but I had never paid much attention to any of that stuff outside of knowing that the black dragons had done some horrible thing some long time ago and now something or another about Deathwing.
“So the red ones are good and the blue ones are bad?” I asked.
“Precisely,” Donathan replied, completely missing my sarcasm.
“Well, it sounds to me like you’ve lost sight of what we came to Northrend for.”
Donathan’s face, which had remained neutral to this point, suddenly turned sinister. “You of all people?” he asked. “You the one that left our order and married a Night Elf? You are so quick to judge what it means to lose sight of a goal?”
Donathan and I had never gotten along. When I left the Kirin Tor, I had gone to Kalimdor and due to a series of events I ended up falling in love with a Night Elf druid. The Night Elves hated magic, so our relationship had been rocky from the start, but for a long time the Kirin Tor and the Night Elves had stood at odds with one another. For me to take up a Night Elf was just one more slap in the face to Donathan’s view of order.
I could have probably convinced myself to ignore his comment.
Instead, I leveled my staff and smashed Donathan at the knees, knocking him flat on his back. I followed through with the motion and my staff’s head pinned Donathan to the ground by the shoulder. By now, Initiate Park had rushed inside to see the commotion.
“Release him!” Park yelled, attempting to form a frost bolt.
“I wouldn’t do that,” I said firmly. “Fire beats ice every time.”
Park, realizing that he simply wouldn’t be powerful enough to overwhelm me, stood there looking defenseless. “What are you doing?” he asked. “Let him up!”
“In a moment,” I said slowly. “He was just telling me about my life decisions.”
“You betrayed us all when you took that woman into your home,” Donathan snapped through his clenched teeth. “You bound yourself to her through marriage! She, a creature that curses magic! What could have turned you against us so wholly?”
“Love,” I replied honestly. “At least the notion of love.”
Donathan seemed to relax a bit. “What happened, Sionis? Where is your Keaira?”
I hesitated, but decided lying wouldn’t get me anywhere. “She’s gone. We parted ways.”
A grin on Donathan’s face and I knew he had the ammo he needed. “So she finally gave up on you. She saw that you were magical and would always be a mage. So she had to leave you, to get away from your power.”
“Perhaps,” I said slowly, lessening the pressure on my staff. “Perhaps not.”
Donathan looked at me, probably gauging whether it was wise to try going for another insult. He must have decided against it, though as he slowly became neutral once more and then gestured to the staff. “Might you let me up now?”
My rage aside, I knew I wasn’t here to make enemies. I would need the Kirin Tor to like me if I was going to get permission to enter Dalaran. So, reluctantly, I removed the staff and allowed Donathan to get to his feet.
There was a short moment of silence that followed. The Librarian got himself brushed off and presentable and I stood near the door looking like I was ready to run away at any moment. Finally, Donathan took a seat and gestured for me to do the same. I accepted, but when I sat down, Donathan simply pulled a paper and quill from his supplies and started to write on it. I was about to object, but suddenly the words that Donathan was writing entered my mind as a voice. It was a spell, of course, used to transport written words so that they did not have to speak to one another aloud.
The time for secret dealings had begun.
“If Lady Evanor is in Beryl custody, then the sorcerer we captured today will know. Our protocol does not allow us to torture, but you and I both know that we must do whatever is necessary to save the lives of our own. Upstairs, the sorcerer is magically bound to some chains. On my desk you will find a Neural Needler. The device causes extraordinary pain, but does not have any long term effects. The moment it is removed from the skin, the pain ceases. If you use this, I believe the sorcerer will tell us the truth.”
I waited for a long moment, but Donathan did not write anything else.
“If he is telling the truth?” I asked aloud. “Shall I kill him?”
Donathan grimaced at the word kill, but finally wrote his response.
“Time will tell.”
I thought about this for a moment, but it wasn’t hard to conclude that I must do what was being requested. If it meant I could save Lady Evanor, there was little I wouldn’t do. The woman was important to me.
I stood. “Where is your office?”
“It is right upstairs on the second level,” Donathan replied. “I will see to it that no one enters the tower.”
I nodded and marched up the wooden stairs until I found the pink crystal on the Librarian’s desk and the chained prisoner sitting in the far corner of the room.
“Who are you?” The sorcerer asked as I approached. “You’re not wearing Kirin Tor clothing.”
“I am not Kirin Tor.”
The sorcerer spit at my feet and then laughed. “You’re here to make me talk? If so, you can save your breath. They already tried to convince me.”
“You misunderstand,” I said. “They are Kirin Tor. I am not.”
Fear tickled the prisoner’s throat. “You will torture me then?”
“No,” I said with a smirk. “You’re going to torture yourself. You see, I need information and you have it. There is no questioning or arguing. I’m going to put you in extreme pain and when you’re ready to talk, you just let me know. In fact, you help me get what I want, and I’ll even get you out of this tower.”
“Oh yeah?” he asked. “What do you want to know?”
“I want the location of Lady Evanor. She is a mage of the Kirin Tor who went missing on her way here today. Now, you tell me where she is, who has her, and why. Once I have that information, your life gets a whole lot easier. So, I’m going to go ahead and ask once, for your sake, do you want to talk?”
“I’ll never tell you a single word.”
“You will,” I said as I took the pink crystal and stabbed it into the sorcerer’s shoulder.
As the pain started to spread through the prisoner’s body, I added, “I hope you change your mind soon.”
Surprisingly, the prisoner held up to the Neural Needler far longer than most people. As common practice, the Kirin Tor were submitted to the pain of the crystal so that they would be mindful not to ever put any other being through such pains unless the future of mankind demanded it. As I stood in the room and listed to the sorcerer scream, I couldn’t help but think about what I was doing. Here I stood, torturing someone. My wounded heart started to burn. Keaira, my Night Elf, would have never allowed such an activity. It was one thing to slay an enemy, but to put them through meaningless pain, even if it gained valuable information, was wrong. I nearly felt bad, but then I remember that the Night Elves also wouldn’t have considered this torture at all since it was not being performed on a Night Elf. Humans were just animals, not capable of being tortured in such a way.
“I can’t take it anymore!” the sorcerer shouted. “Make it stop!”
I was pulled from my moment of reflection. “Are you ready to talk?”
“Salrand has your mage,” the prisoner blurted. “Now end the pain!”
“As you wish,” I replied. A quick pull and the crystal came free from the prisoner’s skin. Within seconds, the prisoner felt no pain and was no doubt regretting what he had just revealed in order to feel peace. As he leaned back against his chair, I used my magic to free his chains.
The sorcerer looked at me with shock and then started to stand.
“Before you make your next move, know this,” I warned. “I will be going to kill this Salrand and you will be revealed as a traitor. If you run, if you run far, perhaps you can escape the wrath of your fellow sorcerers. However, if you attack me or try to warn the Beryl people that you snitched, I will kill you.”
Without a word, the sorcerer fled the mage tower and took off toward the east, the completely opposite direction of Beryl Point.
“Send Initiate Park to follow him, just for now,” I said as I came down the stairs to see the confused Donathan and Initiate Park. “Once we have Evanor back, I don’t care what happens to him, but until she is safe, that sorcerer remains a threat.”
I looked over the neural needler even as Initiate Park vanished to fetch his horse.
Hopefully the prisoner would heed my advice and get a taste of freedom that he would not have found in the care of the Kirin Tor. Still, I knew that sorcerers tended to have an undying faith in their magical powers. It was more than likely that he would try to warn Sarland before we could attack. Fortunately, luck seemed to be on our side for now.
Without speaking to Donathan I headed for the tower exit. The frosty air slammed against me as I stepped out of the building and I gasped from the extreme temperature change. Nearby I caught sight of a Night Elf riding up on an enormous trained saber, the creature’s large teeth protruded from its mouth as it gave a cat-like yawn. As the elf slid down from his mount, he tipped his hat to me.
“Is this Amber Ledge?” he asked.
“Yeah it is,” I replied. “You here for adventure?”
“Name is Veskitik,” the elf replied. “Adventure is my desire indeed. I was just coming to inform the mages that those Beryl sorcerers are up to no good. They’ve put up some kind of force field around one of their prisoner areas. Maybe you can do something?”
I grinned. “A force field around a prisoner holding area? That sounds like something I need to deal with right away.”
“You being sarcastic?” the elf asked.
“Not in the least bit,” I assured him, pulling him closer and then turning back toward Donathan, who had emerged from the tower entrance.
“The elf says we’ve got a force field to deal with,” I said loudly.
Donathan’s face tightened. “Sionis, desperate times call for desperate measures. I can get that force field down but I don’t have time to muster our troops.”
I knew this part of the story all too well. I turned to the elf and gestured toward the west. “Would you feel like undertaking a great quest?”
The elf shrugged. “Sure. What are we going to do?”
“Rescue Mission,” Donathan answered. “You’ll need something to destroy the shield around the prisons. I think I have just the thing…”
“Of course you do,” I said with a smile. “For being a peaceful group, it always seems that the Kirin Tor have just what we need to create chaos and destruction.”