Episode 47: Tragedy at Bael Modan
Bael Modan Dig Site: Southern Barrens
Long before I reached the dig site, the smoke in the sky had me concerned. The closer I got, the more I understood that I was flying toward tragedy.
I made a low pass over the ruins of the site and saw fresh fire erupting out of ancient windows while screams echoed in the air. I pulled on the drake's reins and brought Cookie down as close as it dared get to the fire. I jumped from the creature and immediately started throwing ice blasts into the burning windows while summoning a water elemental to help kill some of the flames. Not far from the entrance to the building I caught sight of a few survivors huddled together, coughing and tending to burns they had sustained.
"Are there still people in there?" I asked.
"Aye!" a young darwven woman shouted from somewhere in the haze. "Dozens of them! Do you think you can help?"
"I'll do what I can!" I answered, rushing to the dwarf's side. A small thing she was, fire red hair in a tangled mess atop her head, she was young, probably a child by dwarven standards, but she looked fairly unharmed from the fire.
"There's a fire suppressant system installed in the facility," she shouted. "We can't get in there to activate it though, someone manually shut it off!"
I looked into the blaze and grimaced. I knew the arts of fire and ice magic fairly well, but that didn't mean I had a free pass to run into a burning building. Still, if dozens of people were in there, with one of them potentially being my doppleganger, I had to try.
"There are bandages and healing tonics in my bags," I said as he started toward the door. "Help those you can and I'll be out with more survivors soon. How do I activate the water system?"
"All the way in the back," she replied. "By the siege engine storage area."
"Right," I said. "Piece of cake."
The fire was overpowering, at first, and I nearly gave up before I got through the large stone doorway. Thankfully, I was able to use my power of frost to cool the air around me enough that I could get inside. Once I was past the initial flames, the interior was much more like an oven than a burning building. The rugs, bedding, and armor were all burning, but the stone structure itself was just capturing the heat. I launched a frozen orb and made my way down the main hall. As I was nearly at the end, I felt someone grab my ankle and I looked down to see a badly burned dwarf. I moved the debris that was holding the man down. As the dwarf stood, I could see that the victim's leg flesh had almost completely burned off. How he was standing was beyond my rational thought.
"It's just a wee burn," the dwarf said through clenched teeth. "Thank you, mage."
I knew that the dwarf wouldn't make it very long even if he escaped the building, so I did the only thing I knew how to do. With a quick flash of light, I created a portal to Lunarfall and and pushed the dwarf through. He would be angry about it for a moment, but the garrison priest would be able to save his life.
I snapped the portal shut and rushed onward into the structure until I found another survivor near the fire suppression system. This dwarf had very nearly turned the system on when a beam collapsed, crushing his arm and pinning him to the ground.
"I can't move the beam," I said, struggling to lift the wood.
"Okay then," the dwarf replied. "How about you turn on that the water hose!"
I jumped up and headed to the panel, but it was complete gibberish to me. "What am I supposed to do?"
"Pull the red lever!"
I noticed the lever a little ways below the console and nearly laughed. "Fair enough."
I pulled it down and the sprinkler system erupted over our heads. The hissing of a suddenly dying fire erupted all over the building and I couldn't help but cheer. I looked back to the dwarf pinned under the beam and he gave an enthusiastic smile in return.
The temperature was dropping fast and the flames were dying out. I decided to make another portal to my garrison, this time holding it open and leaning halfway through.
"General?" one of the soldiers asked as they saw him appear in the middle of the town. "Can I help you?"
"Yeah, grab some heavy lifters. We've got our work cut out for us."
"Don't just stand there!" I shouted. "Move it!"
"Oh, and grab a healer and supplies!"
"Hurry it up!"
Back in the ancient structure, the water-soaked walls were practically sizzling, but the fires were nearly gone and the worst part of the destruction was over. Now, it was just the horrible task of picking up the pieces...
Two Hours Later...
Twenty survivors out of fifty. It was devastating to see the destruction, but the garrison team had acted fast to save as many as they could. If they hadn't been here, it would have been far worse. Iliera was busy organizing the team that would transport the survivors back to Fort Triumph by the time I finally emerged from the ruined dig site for the last time.
"He's not in there," I said to the draenei paladin. "He wasn't here when this happened."
"Excuse me," the young dwarf from earlier stepped up to me. "I heard you talking. Who are you looking for?"
"I'm sorry, I don't even know your name," I replied. "My name is Sionis Sepher."
"Aye, I know who you are, General. My name is Meledee. Who did you say you're looking for?"
"His name is Salonis," I started. "I think he—"
"Aye, I know him too," she replied. "He and Keaira cut out of here this morning."
"They did?" I asked. "Why?"
Meledee shook her head for a moment. "I do'nna know," she finally mumbled. "I just know that they said something bad was coming, that their lives were in danger."
"Did they mean this mess?" I asked.
"I do'nna know," she said again, tears welling up in her eyes. "I just know they left and now my maw and paw are dead. I'm all alone!"
Iliera swept in with a gentle embrace that surprised me. "There there, young child," she said. "You will never be alone."
Feeling like a horrible person, I decided I had to push for more information. "Meledee, can you tell me which way they went?"
Iliera looked at him with daggers in her eyes. "The young girl said she does not know."<
"Surely he said something?" I pressed. "Maybe a location or—"
"Enough," Iliera said firmly. "Meledee has had enough questions for now."
I frowned. "Of course, I'm sorry."
"It's... it's okay," the dwarf said through the whimpers. "I think he said something about Dustwallow Marsh."
"Thank you, Meledee," I replied. "Thank you so much."
Iliera shuffled the young dwarf away while I made a straight line for my drake. If I could get Cookie in the air I could catch up with them before they reached the road into Dustwallow. If they got into the marsh before I did, well then I would never be able to spot them from the air.
As he started to climb on Cookie's back he looked up to see that Iliera was already heading his way.
"Where do you think you're going?" she asked. "We have a full scale emergency here."
"We've got other mages to help with portals and food," I replied. "I am going after Salonis."
"Are you certain you can find him?"
"No idea," I answered honestly. "I know that this is probably my last chance."
Iliera looked skeptical, but she gave me a nod. "Go then, but please be safe. There is something more happening here."
"We're in agreement about that," I replied. "I'll be safe, I promise."