Part II – The Lich King Calls

“I am not happy.”

Salenicus looked at Orledin and shook his head, “You don’t get it, do you.”

“I get it perfectly well. You brought me here against my will.”

Salenicus turned his back to the other elf. The wait in the line for the runeforge was busy today, and of course Orledin hadn’t given him a minute of peace since their arrival at the Ebon Hold.

“And every time I point that out, someone starts ignoring me!”

Salenicus turned back around, “Look, we were asked to come here. Now we need to runeforge our weapons. We’re leaving for the Broken Isles soon, and all you can do is stand around and complain! We have work to do, Orledin. Do you see anyone else here whining?”

Orledin shut up, if only for a few seconds. Moments later he muttered, “I’d rather be baking cookies.”

“Cookies are not going to defeat the Legion!” Salenicus shouted. He was going to say more, but a large hand clasped his shoulder.

“Why don’t you let him go make his cookies?”

Salenicus brushed away the hand, and turned to look at the speaker. The tall kaldorei death knight in front of them in line looked down at him. He refused to be intimidated by the other elf’s height. “We were called here for a reason. We’re all going to the Broken Isles.”

The kaldorei shrugged, “I think the cookies sound like a better idea.”

Salenicus snorted, “Again, cookies won’t defeat the Legion.”

“No, but they make people happy. If people aren’t happy, then they don’t have much to fight for. My son loves cookies.”

Orledin raised a brow and spoke before Salenicus had a chance to, “Your son? Your family didn’t reject you?”

“My family… It’s complicated. My son is adopted, and adorable. He loves cookies, but he wouldn’t be able to eat your cookies because they’re probably poison.”

Orledin blinked, “Poison? I’d never poison anyone!”

“You’re a blood elf.”

Orledin twitched an ear, “I still wouldn’t poison anyone. I’m a professional baker, but I have a question. How did you adopt? I didn’t know there were places that would give a death knight a kid.”

Salenicus glared at Orledin.

“I’m just asking!”

The kaldorei looked down at him and answered, “I let my mate do most of the talking when we went to get him. I wear goggles to hide my eyes. A lot of people don’t look close enough to notice.”

Orledin blinked, “Your mate?”

“Yes. She’s a druid.”

“She’s alive?”

The kaldorei nodded.

“And she’s okay with you going to the Broken Isles because the Lich King said so?”

“I’m not going.”

Both Salenicus and Orledin looked at the kaldorei.

“I have to stay at home to protect the grove I live in.” The kaldorei turned and stepped forward as the human ahead of him finished with the runeforge.

Orledin glared at Salenicus, “We need to go back. The Ghostlands need us. The Rangers need us.”

“We’ll go back when our mission is done.”

“No. Now.”

“No, we already showed up for it. We will see it through.” Salenicus frowned and nodded towards the runeforge, “It’s your turn.”

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Alinash’s Search

Alinash sifted through the contents of another dresser in one of the houses he had been watching over the past few weeks. How many bedrooms did they have? If they had what he was looking for, it would be in a bedroom, right? He had already checked the bathroom and found little in the way of baubles and trinkets there. In the second bedroom he checked, he found some that were kept in a small box on top of one of the two dressers in the room. It didn’t contain what he was looking for, and so he put it back as he found it before checking under the clothes in the drawers. The room he checked now seemed to be a guest room, with little in the drawers except a few towels and a house robe. His ears lay back in disgust. He HAD to find it.

He left the guest room as he had found it, making sure the drawers were all closed on both the dresser and the nightstand. He crossed the hall to the next door, the final one on the second floor of the home, and turned the knob. Just as he did, he heard a noise. He ducked inside the room, leaving the door open just a crack. He stepped back away from the door enough to blend in with the shadows in the room, but close enough that he could still see out into the hallway.

A minute passed.

Two minutes passed.

He waited, taking note of his surroundings as he did. He was in the nursery. Of course, he remembered seeing them carry the young infant. They would have a room for it. That made sense. He highly doubted his bauble was in here.

Five minutes passed.

He was about to write it off as his imagination when he heard a floorboard creak in the hallway. His full attention turned back towards the door he had left ajar. He saw nothing at first. He waited.

A minute passed.

Two minutes passed.

Then he saw the quiet creature. It was small and hairy. It’s long black beard was it’s overwhelming facial feature. Alinash wasn’t sure if it was male or female. He had heard female dwarves had beards as well, and he was not interesting in assuming, nor sticking around to find out. He frowned briefly, realizing that the dwarf was probably undoing his careful replacing of items. He was not about to confront the dwarf, and since he had gone through everything and not found what he was looking for, it was very much time to leave.

He watched as the dwarf entered the guest room across the hall from the nursery. As the dwarf walked in, Alinash slipped out, and quietly made his way out of the house.


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The Lich King’s Call

Dry twigs and leaves snapped beneath Orledin’s feet as he followed behind Sorrowmoss and Salenicus on the patrol route. Sorrowmoss had at one time tried to teach him to walk quietly, but he still didn’t know how she did it. It would help if they had day patrols, but as the undead didn’t need to sleep, they were on the night patrol. A small amount of light lit up the eastern sky. Sunrise would be soon, then he would be able to see better. Another step and another twig crackled below him. He spoke to mask his noise as he continued following the others.

“Sorrowmoss? Do you think we’ll see more demons tonight?” They had already found a couple of imps, but nothing too threatening. Orledin wasn’t sure what the Legion wanted with the Ghostlands anyway.

Sorrowmoss didn’t reply immediately, but when she did it was quiet, just loud enough that he could hear it. “If we do, we’ll take care of it.”

Orledin twitched an ear as he stepped through some old leaves covering the path. Soon there would be a new layer as fall would arrive soon. He was about to suggest they take the time to rake the leaves out of the path so it would be easier to walk quietly when he heard a voice he hadn’t heard in years.

Hear me, death knight… The chilling echo sounded so real that he wasn’t sure if it was only in his mind or if the Lich King was standing right next to him. He stopped in his tracks and looked around. He saw nothing. He looked at Sorrowmoss who seemed blissfully unaware of what Orledin had just heard, or well, as blissful as she could appear. However, Salenicus had also stopped. He turned to look at Orledin as if to say something, but the icy voice came again.

The Legion has returned to Azeroth. Return to the Ebon Hold. All will be explained there.

Orledin glanced again at Sorrowmoss who had stopped walking now and turned with her hands on her hips. “The patrol route is this way.”

Orledin looked back towards Salenicus in time to see him start to open a death gate back to the hold.

“No! No, no, no. Wait. What are you doing?”

“Going to the Ebon Hold. You heard it too. I can tell by the way you stopped talking.”

“Uh, well, yeah. I- I heard it, but we don’t need to go. We’re rangers. We have work here.” Orledin glanced again at Sorrowmoss who watched them with a puzzled look. The shadows in the forest behind her shifted ominously in the early morning light.

“We are needed elsewhere. We may be rangers, but that doesn’t mean we aren’t still death knights.”

“Just because we’re death knights doesn’t mean we can’t be something else. Are you going to listen to every disembodied mind voice in your head for the rest of time? I gained something that I’m not going to throw away just because some dead guy says to go somewhere, and that is free will! I like being a ranger. What if the Lich King told you to jump into the sea and sink down to the bottom for the rest of eternity?”

Salenicus twitched an ear, “That’s not funny. Come on.” He grabbed Orledin’s wrist and pulled him through the death gate just as the first rays of sun broke over the horizon, leaving Sorrowmoss to finish the patrol on her own.

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Hethurin’s Notes

  • A new school semester has started. We do have one new student, a woman by the name of Oline. She is interested in frost magic, which is good. We have so many fire students, but only a couple of frost and arcane. I might have to start declining fire students just to keep Aeramin’s students at a reasonable number.
  • Especially right now since he’s gone. He asked for some time off to take a trip to Tanaris. For some reason, they think there’s more to research there, and if they know what they’re making wards for, they can make stronger wards. I don’t think that’s all the reason. Kestrae, Xanaroth and Vallindra went with him, after all. At least he took Imralion too, so hopefully he can keep him from doing anything too stupid, or at least save him before anything bad happens when he does.
  • Anyway, that leaves Maerista teaching the fire classes, both group and private lessons, alone. I was going to ask Desdeyliri to help her out with some of the easier stuff, but I decided not to because Des is probably going on a trip soon too. Maybe Keya can help. I’ll ask Raleth if he can spare him. Neither Des nor Keya are very good with fire, but they could teach beginning theory.
  • Des will be taking a short trip soon because her wedding to Perothis is coming up. They wanted to wait until after Kestrae and Ordinicus got married and that just happened before Kestrae went on the trip to Tanaris! It was such a beautiful wedding. It was warm and the day was perfect. Tik and Terellion had decorated the garden, and Tik made the spinach rolls again. They’re so good! Kes was beautiful in her dress. I am so happy for both her and Ordinicus.
  • Anyway, Kes is on the trip now, and Ordinicus is back to work on building things with Ethirdir and Ithorel. I think they’re almost done with the new cabin and stable at the rangers. I have a feeling that fall will come late, but fast. By that I mean while it might still be warm now, when it does get cold, it’s going to get cold fast. If it’s a normal fall, there will be lots of rain too. Hopefully, all of the building work will be done by then!
  • We’re watching Lyorri during the day. She’s so cute! I thought Narise and her would play together, but they like to fight over the same toy a lot. It’s okay though, I bought some more toys and I got two of each. That way, they can each have one. Ordinicus picks her up at the end of the day and takes her home until the next morning. I’m usually teaching during the day, so Terellion winds up watching her more than I do.
  • I miss being able to carry Narise around in her sling. I still can, but she usually wants to get down after a bit, and that gets disruptive if I’m trying to teach, so she’s spending more time with Ter too.
  • He’s been watching them really close. There are demons in the area. I guess they’re all over. I am afraid, but I can’t show it. I have to be strong for my girls and the students and everyone, but sometimes I feel like curling up and crying about it. I don’t want anything to happen here! I worry that my wards aren’t strong enough, though the one I have up now is so draining, I barely have enough energy left to make sure my sister has her ward refreshed every week, and now I have to take care of the wards at the rangers too, at least until Aeramin gets back. I’ve been taking a more passive teaching role in the private lessons because of this too. Instead of demonstrating the spell they’re learning, I tell them what to do and watch them try. I don’t like doing it that way, but I think it’s better if I’m not too exhausted. If demons did get through the wards, I will need to be strong enough to fight them.
  • I don’t want the girls to be afraid, but I do want them to be safe, so we explained the situation to both of them. I don’t think Narise really understands much yet, but Malwen does. She’s almost nine already. She said she wasn’t afraid, but then she thought she saw an imp outside her bedroom window. I think it was unlikely because not only were the wards not tripped, but her bedroom is on the second floor. It can’t just stand out there and look in! We didn’t question it though, and now she has a spot to sleep set up in our room. We also keep the door between Narise’s room and ours open so that we can hear her better. If that’s what it takes to make them feel safe then that’s what we’ll do.
  • I do kind of miss having some alone time with Ter. We did have a date the other day. Aeramin and Xanaroth had asked if I could provide them with a portal to Tanaris. I can, and I did, but it was tricky. What they don’t know is that I can teleport to the bronze dragon lair there. Renner took me there a couple of times. There were other dragons there and they looked at me like I was a pet or something. Anyway, I didn’t want to drop a group of summoners off in the middle of a dragon lair. I mean, I don’t think the dragons would like that, and I’d have to explain how I knew how to make a portal there to Aeramin and the others. It’s certainly something I don’t want Vallindra knowing! So I decided I would have to go there and look for a different spot.
  • Of course, when I told Ter, he wanted to come with me. I decided it might be safer if I could find someone else who could make a portal there to a safe location without dragons. That way, Ter and I wouldn’t be wandering around a demon-infested desert looking for a quiet place to make a portal to.
  • That’s when I got the idea that we should have a date in Silvermoon. We had lunch by ourselves and visited the market. After that, I suggested going to the reliquary place. I think he was a little confused about why until I started asking questions about Tanaris there. Anyway, they do have a camp there, and they have a mage who helps them get there and back. I asked to speak to the mage, gave him some gold, and got a portal there. We only had to be there a few minutes for me to familiarize myself with the place. I knew my wards would be weaker while I was away too, so this way was really the best, as we weren’t gone long. Also, we didn’t see a single demon while we were there. The people at the camp said they’re further north.
  • I do hope everything works out. The Spire has replied and accepted our application for exemption. They did write and state that if circumstances become greatly worsened, they may still call upon us, but for now, they shouldn’t be asking anyone at the school to go.
  • The bad news is that the same day I got the letter from the Spire, I also got a letter from my father. He is going. I should go see him before he does. He also wrote that Aranae wrote and there was trouble at the bear place, but she’s okay.
  • I hope the bear place has good mages and that they’ve put up some wards. Maybe I should write to her and suggest it.

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Tik’s Request

Tik knocked lightly on the door to Magister Fairsong’s office. He was certain he would be here at this time of the day. The last classes had just ended fifteen minutes ago, and the Magister preferred finishing his work before doing anything else.

“Come in.” He heard the Magister call from inside.

He turned the door knob, and opened the door. As he expected, Magister Fairsong sat at his desk with a stack of papers in front of him. “Hello Tik.”

“Hello Magister. I was hoping you might have time to talk.”

Magister Fairsong put down his pen, and put the papers to the side. “Of course,” he said as he looked up and folded his hands on his desk. “Take a seat.”

Tik sat in one of the two chairs on the other side of the desk. He hesitated, not having thought of the exact words he meant to use.

“Is something wrong? The demons aren’t here are they?”

“No, Magister. It’s nothing like that.” Tik tried to sound reassuring, though he was worried. There was no need to make the Magister panic, and he would panic if he thought there was even the slightest chance of a demon getting through his wards. Tik could hardly blame him. He looked directly at the Magister. “It’s about Lilithel.”

“Is she okay?”

“She’s fine. Just fine. I just thought you might want to lessen her work load for a bit, and hire someone to help out temporarily.”

The Magister’s brow shot up. “That doesn’t sound— Are you sure she’s fine?”

Tik nodded, “Yes, well, she is. She’s just also a little pregnant. Maybe. She has an appointment with your sister tomorrow. She didn’t want me to say anything, but I worry a bit. If she is, then a lessened work load might be a good idea.”

The Magister looked confused. Finally, he said, “But she’s old.”

Tik took a slow deep breath, resisting an urge to twitch an ear. “She is older than most women who are having babies. This is true. I am as well. You must know that the older the mother is, the more things could go wrong. That is why I am requesting that you lessen the work she has to do.”

Magister Fairsong seemed to consider it for a moment before replying, “If she is, tell me after her appointment with my sister, and I’ll ask Terellion to put a sign up.” He paused as if considering something else, then said, “Are you going to get married? We could have a third huge wedding here this summer. I’m sure everyone would love it! Terellion would make a huge cake, and we could all decorate the garden, and- Oh! We would need to teach someone else to make spinach rolls. You can’t work at your own-”

“Magister,” Tik interrupted. “There won’t be a wedding. We’ve both decided that’s not what we want.”

The look on the Magister’s face told Tik he was going to have to explain.

“It’s not that we don’t love each other, but she likes where she is right now, and she likes her space. I have always lived in the main building, and I do not wish to leave. I suppose neither of us like change that much.”

“A baby is a big change.”

Magister Fairsong was right about that. Tik couldn’t agree more. He nodded in response.

“We could build onto the house,” Magister Fairsong smiled,”and make your room bigger. Maybe we could even turn it into an apartment. Then it would be big enough for Lilithel and the baby too.”

“That won’t be necessary, Magister. As I said, I think we’re both happy where we are, and I agree with you that a baby is a big change. I suppose we will see what happens.”

Magister Fairsong nodded though he still looked like he didn’t quite understand.

Tik stood. “I won’t keep you from your work, Magister, and I should get back to mine. Was there anything you needed while I’m here?”

“No, Tik. Thank you. Let me know tomorrow if I need to get some signs up.”

Tik nodded as he dipped into a quick short bow, “Of course, Magister.” He turned and left the room as Magister Fairsong went back to work on the stack of papers.

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Alinash – Out of the Trash

Alinash Brightblaze picked up the paper left for him on the nightstand. He’d spent another unproductive day sifting through the trash, finding everything but what he was looking for. Harrier must have smelled him when he entered, and left him a note while he was in the shower. His hair was still wet. He was careful not to drip on it as he unfolded the paper.

I hate stupid baubles.

He looked down at the paper as he undid the last fold. It was a list. More specifically, it was a list of names and addresses. He smiled slightly as he read down the list, recognizing the family name of some of them. Harrier had come through in getting information on his former landlady’s family. Some of them even had the relation written next to the name. There was a sister, two daughters, a son and numerous grandchildren. Luckily, it seemed that most of the grandchildren were still young enough to be living with their parents. There were only two, both boys, who had different addresses.

The old landlady had claimed to have discarded everything in the apartment, but Alinash had a feeling she was lying. She must have kept anything that looked valuable, and the bauble, whether it was truly valuable or not, must have looked like something worth keeping. His efforts to find it in the actual trash pit had turned up nothing, and he was tired of smelling bad. Not to mention there was a crazy man there who thought the trash pit was his. Alinash rubbed his shoulder lightly, noting that his latest bruise still hurt. He was just glad his hat had stayed on.

I hate garbage. I hate crazy trash man.

It couldn’t be in the trash. He had convinced himself that much, not that it was difficult to find reasons to avoid going to the trash heap again. It smelled. There were seagulls shitting everywhere. The crazy man with his stupid stick was there. He’d lost his breakfast more than once by finding some of the most disgusting things upon his arrival. He couldn’t eat again until he was back home and clean. Starving wasn’t going to help him find his necklace charm. It couldn’t be there. It wasn’t the kind of thing that would end up in the garbage. The landlady must have done something else with it.

He looked down at the list again. He’d have to spend time watching the houses before deciding when to go in, but which one to start with? Perhaps the landlady’s sister, but if she was as old and blind as the landlady, then she wouldn’t appreciate a pretty bauble. One of the daughter’s might be a better choice. The younger one, he decided. He mentally noted the address before refolding the paper and placing it inside the drawer of his night stand.

He decided to start as soon as he had something to eat.

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Hethurin’s Notes

  • Yesterday, Tik went to Silvermoon to get some supplies during the day. I made his portal there, and went to make a portal back for him two hours later. After he put things away, he wanted to see me, so we went to talk in my office. That’s when he showed me the paper.
  • It was one of those news flyers, the kind they hand out while trying to get you to buy the actual paper. I guess there would have been more details in the paper, but the flyer said enough. The Legion has returned to Azeroth.
  • At first, I wanted to use chronomancy to kind of peek ahead to make sure everything would be okay, but even if I did that, there’s no telling that what I saw would be the right future. Different things could happen and the future would be different. Plus Renner would be mad. I’m not supposed to look at my own future.
  • I have looked before. Well, more than looked. The school was here then, but that was before I knew Renner, and before I knew better. Just because it was there in that future doesn’t mean it will be here in all futures. I’ve seen enough alternate timelines to know that.
  • Anyway, I’m afraid now, but I guess it’s kind of weird because I’m not afraid for myself. I’m afraid for my family, for the students, and for everyone else here in the Ghostlands. We don’t have guards, and blood knights, or anything really. We just have a small ranger unit and a few graduated mages here at the school. So then I started to think of how to protect everyone.
  • I decided then that I’d rather do some kind of work to keep myself from worrying too much. I changed into pants so that I could go help Ter with the gardening or something, and that would also give me the chance to show him the paper and talk to him about it. At the same time, I was looking for a way to stop thinking about it, but I wound up showing him the paper.
  • He didn’t have work for me to do, but we were able to start planning. I had a whole list of things to do today after talking to him last night! I think I felt a little better about things after we talked, but that might be because we talked about cake too.
  • This morning, the first thing I did was fill out the application for exemption to file with the Spire. Everyone at the school is necessary, and as it’s the only school serving the Ghostlands, and a magic academy for older students. The continued operation of the school is necessary.
  • The second thing I had to do was talk to Aeramin. That was easy because he’s usually here fairly early because I guess Imralion goes to Silvermoon that early, so I just had to wait for him to get here before asking to see him in my office. I showed him the paper, and I think he actually got excited, at least at first, but then it was like he thought about it and got serious after. He’s so weird sometimes.
  • Anyway, I needed to know how to make wards against demons, and I figured he might know some things about that. It turns out he’s very good with that. Unfortunately, as I expected, I had to accurately define a demon with magic and that meant I had to see one.
  • Fortunately, Aeramin has demons in his basement. I didn’t know that. He was hesitant at first, but then he finally suggested showing them to me. So we went to his place. He has two imps that he just lets stay there all the time. He said the basement is warded, not to keep demons out but to keep demons in, but it would work both ways. I spent some time studying the ward before we went downstairs. He wanted me to stay on the stairs because the ward starts there. So I did. I sat down on the steps and watched as he called out two imps from their hiding places. He called one Zorkin and the other Yappy. He said Zorkin was as harmless as a house cat, which I have a hard time believing. Yappy can cast fire spells. He also said that Yappy was his first.
  • Then he uncovered a summoning circle that he keeps hidden under a rug. He spent about ten minutes checking it, and he kept saying that if I wanted to ward against stronger demons I couldn’t be using Yappy and Zorkin as the basis for the spell. I didn’t like the sound of that. I liked it less when he started summoning something.
  • It was a felguard. He claimed it was the same one that injured him, and said he was in control of it now. I didn’t like it, but he was right. I could tell this one was a lot stronger than the imps, and I made a mental note of my impressions of it. Luckily, he sent it away as soon as I told him I had seen it enough.
  • I got to practice on one of the imps. He took the small sickly looking one out of his basement and to his sitting room where I made a small ward around it. He asked it to test the boundaries of the ward and everything worked.
  • I told him the rest of my plans for the day, and he wanted to know if I wanted help. I decided that would be good because I was expecting to be exhausted mentally and magically by the end of the day. The wards I had planned for my sister’s clinic and the ranger buildings would have been the type I have to go renew every week or so, but they take a lot out of the caster to set up. Then the one around the school would have been a constant drain on me, but it would be the strongest one because it would constantly be fed the magic it needs to stay in place.
  • Anyway, after telling him what I planned to do, he offered to take care of the ranger buildings. We both went back to the school, and I added the demon ward spell to the rest of the ward there, then we went to the ranger building.
  • I guess Aeramin wanted to talk to his father because he wandered off with him while I went to see Sath’alor. I showed him the paper, and told him all the buildings could be warded by the end of the day. I also suggested that he request exemption with the Spire as the rangers are necessary for the safety of the citizens in the Ghostlands.
  • He seemed alarmed, but ready to start planning for any problems. He appreciated the wards, and wanted to make sure his house would get one too. I assured him that his house and the cabins would all be warded.
  • I left Aeramin to do that while I went to see my sister in town. I let her and the confessor know, and set up her wards while I was there. I assured them that the wards were strong, but they would be welcome to stay at the school if they wanted to. I also let them know that the ward covered their yard too so they can take Talinda outside. I also told them to be careful about letting Vaildor go anywhere on his own. Travel by portal is better than travel by foot anyway!
  • Isandri and Esladra were there, and expressed their need for wards as well, so I took care of that too.
  • When I got back home, I was so tired, but Ter and I spoke to the girls. Narise doesn’t really understand, which is good. Hopefully, she won’t ever have to, but Malwen was a bit scared. I gave her an enchanted bell that she can ring at night and we’ll be able to hear in our room. If she needs us for anything, all she needs to do is ring the bell and we’ll be right there. We also let her know that if she’s really scared, she can come sleep in our room. She seems to want to stay in her own room for now. We reassured her that the school is the safest place to be, but she must always be with someone when she goes outside.
  • I’m hoping it’ll all be enough. Ter and I did come up with a plan that if things get really bad, I will open a portal to another time and we’ll just leave. I don’t want to have to give everything up, but I will if it means Malwen and Narise will be safe.

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