Episode 46: The Mysterious Letter...

Sionis,
If I'm correct, you probably don't know my name, but I know you more than you could ever imagine. The truth is, we once lived as a single person. The cataclysm tore us apart just as it sundered the earth beneath our feet. My name is Salonis, but I am you and you are me. You must come speak to me right away. Our lives are in danger now and we're going on the run. Come to the Barrens. You'll find us there.
Salonis 

Lunarfall: Shadowmoon Valley

The letter arrived by post in the morning. I read it over and over trying to get some piece of information that was clearly not there. The author had made the letter so short, so simple, and yet it was somehow haunting to me... I could have written it, but it was so simple that almost anyone could have written it. The truth of the matter was that I had never heard of a man named Salonis, but not knowing a name didn't mean we had never met. Of course, it was possible that we hadn't met, and this Salonis person simply knew me from my somewhat grand reputation.

Across the room I heard the familiar clink of metal hitting metal and turned to see Iliera messing with a shoulder pad that she was crafting. As I looked her way, she smiled at me and displayed the armor so I could better see it.

"It's looking good," I said, feeling distracted.

"What is it, Sionis?" she asked, clearly aware of my drifting thoughts. "You seem troubled."

I gestured to the letter and handed it to her. "I think I need to go on a trip."

The draenei scanned the letter, reading through the lines, before giving me a confused look. "I'm not sure I understand. Who is Salonis?"

"Good question. I'm not sure," I replied. "It sounds like we once knew each other."

"If you knew him, wouldn't you remember?" she questioned. "Perhaps he is just a crazed fan?"

I laughed. "Not likely. I've served with the Kirin Tor, the Alliance military, Theramore's military too. There are plenty of places that I may have met this person."

"I do not like that he gives you so little information. If your lives are in danger why doesn't he just tell you about the source of the danger?"

"I don't know," I replied. "It's possible this is tied to Nozdormu."

"The dragon that saved you from your death?"

"Yeah, maybe this Salonis character is someone I helped along the way. The Light only knows we could use more people here at the garrison. I'll go on a quick trip and be back before sundown. I won't be gone long."

"Crossing back to your realm is no simple task. Should I come with you?"

I looked at the letter for a moment, then shook my head. "No, I think I can be back quickly enough. If it's a trap—"

"I am only a hearthstone away," Iliera finished for me. "Don't be gone for too long, Sepher. You know Khadgar wants us to deliver those magical stones to him soon."

"I'll be quick," I assured her from the front door. "I'm taking Cookie!"


Fort Triumph: Southern Barrens


Cookie, my blue proto-drake, slammed down on the hard dirt of the Southern Barrens with more force than desired. It nearly knocked me off the animal's back. With all the grounded flights in Draenor, I hadn't practiced my flying skills and Cookie was a little more energetic than I remembered. After climbing down, I tied the beast to the stable post and gave a quick prayer to the Light that Cookie wouldn't decide to fly away without me.

The fort was a little less triumphant looking than I had expected, but there was a broken-down looking inn that I figured I would try first. When I walked inside I was surprised to see that the place was surprisingly clean compared to the conditions outside. The floor looked polished and a beautiful blue fire burned in the fireplace, cooling the building rather than warming it. It was a magical feat that I would need to try out sometime. He'd seen frost-fire before, of course, but not used so effectively in a normal setting.

"You there, the mage at the entrance!"

I looked up to the bartender and saw a welcoming old man smiling right at me. "Come on in and have a drink, will you?" he asked. "I can't say I've seen a lot of people come through here lately."

I headed over to the bar and took a seat directly across from the bartender. "What are you serving?"

"Firewater," the bartender replied. "It's crafted by the Tauren folk. It's damn strong."

"Thanks," I replied with a grin. "Maybe just a water for me."

"Ah, well if you want to be boring, I suppose."

Taking the glass of water, I leaned back in my chair and gave the room a quick glance. "Have you been living in the area a long time?"

"Longer than most," the bartender replied. "I came with the first team to establish Fort Triumph."

"That's not a short time," I said with a smile. "Actually, I was wondering if you might know someone that I'm looking to find?"

"I know a lot of people," the bartender replied bluntly. "I'm not keen to sell them out."

"Oh, it's nothing like that," I assured him. "I'm looking for a man named Salonis."

The bartender stopped what he was doing and looked me over for a moment. "Of course," he snapped. "That's why you seem so familiar! You look just like him, minus a few scars and the extra eyeball."

I felt uneasy at the response. I was happy to know that I was getting close to finding the person I was looking for, but I felt a little unnerved by the description of the man. "You say he looks just like me?"

"Aye, you his brother or something?" the bartender asked.

Realizing I might not get a better chance, I seized the moment. "You know it, that's exactly right! We're the spitting image of one another! Tell you what though, I've been looking for my brother for a long time. I'm so glad you know him!"

The bartender gave a hearty laugh. "Well now, I'm going to help organize a family reunion!"

"Where would I find ol' Salonis anyway?" I asked.

"He was right here at Fort Triumph for ages. He and his wife moved away not too long ago for a project they were working on. They were archeologists, you know."

"You don't know the name of the location do you?"

"It was some ancient city that was uncovered during the cataclysm. Bael Modan or something like that. They were going to help the dwarves with some of their grunt work. It was paying real well and they wanted to move off to one of the big cities."

I grinned. I had heard of Bael Modan before. If Salonis and his wife were doing archeological work there then I would be able to find them easily enough. "Thank you so much," I said to the bartender. "I should probably be on my way so I can say hello before the sun sets."

"You have one of them flying creatures then?"

"That I do," I replied as I drank down the last of my refreshment. "Thanks for the water and the information."

"You tell them I said hello too," the bartender called after him as he left. "That Keaira always was a pretty elf."

I nearly collapsed as the name hit my ears. I hadn't heard that name in ages. In fact, I had avoided that name ever since...

"You okay, lad?" the bartender asked. "You seem a little woozy."

I shook my head and continued for the door. "I'll be fine. I just... remembered something."

Once I got outside, I took a few minutes to calm down before I dared approach Cookie. I could feel a sudden anxiety in my body and I couldn't help but wonder what I had gotten myself into. After all, Keaira was tied to all of this and that was something I did not expect.

If she had met Salonis, perhaps that was what he meant about knowing me more than I could have imagined? Had Keaira told this person about our old adventures together? Had Keaira come to Salonis because his face looked similar to my own? After she left my life, I had worked so hard to cut the memories out like a cancer, but now they were all trying to push back through to my greater consciousness. None of this made sense, but the letter had said that their lives were in danger. I didn't know anything about Keaira since we had parted ways, but I knew that she never wanted me to be in danger. The only way U was going to get any kind of answer to my questions would be meeting with Salonis in person and asking him.

I climbed atop Cookie and pulled on the reins so that the drake would take flight. As I turned the direction around toward Bael Modan, I couldn't help but admit I had made one mistake in all of this. I should not have left Iliera in Draenor.

--TO BE CONTINUED--


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