Saturday, November 21, 2009

That which passes into the Light

The Warlock walked into the Gnome's office unannounced. He looked up and leered. "Ah, Flora! I'm so glad to see you! Something's come up, and I'm sure you're just the right person for the job!"

"Don't waste pleasantries on me, Milo. I got word all the way in Dalaran that you were looking for me. So I'm here. Talk. I have things to do."

Kicking back in his chair a bit, he grinned up at her. "Oh, you'll love this. You know that bit of work you did for the Argent Crusade at Crusader's Pinnacle?  Well, Fordring himself has been asking for you personally. I guess you made an impression, girl."

The Warlock frowned; her felguard growled. Milo could get so ... fresh ... sometimes.

If there was one thing that Paladins hated, it was Warlocks. Keepers of demons and trafficking in fel magicks, it was only natural that they did. But there was one thing they hated even more, and that was the Scourge. Good fortune for both, then, that Warlocks would do what Paladins would not in battle against a common enemy.

But, Fordring ... the Grand Poobah of the whole crowd of "holy" warriors? Asking after a Warlock? There must be foulness afoot, indeed, if he was going to shake hands with the likes of them.

"Ah, there you are.", he smiled at her - although the smile seemed a bit ... off. He explained that a Hero of the Crusade had gone missing, and he needed help to find him. Why the Warlock? That was never discussed, but as she had some reputation of getting things done, maybe that was all there was to that. "He was spotted heading to the far northeast, towards the Silent Vigil. Bring him back to me that I might honor him for his valor."

At least he didn't call her "girl."

Finding the Hero was not easy, but find him she did. He lay, broken, falling to the Scourge Plague that would turn him into something terrible, a new toy for Arthas, a powerful new ally for the Lich King. Just over the rise, was the new Tournemant grounds, with many who might help. And yet he refused for fear of infecting others. "Leave me... and see to it that no one else comes looking. You would do me a great disservice if you were to expose anyone to the plague that I carry."  GAH! Paladins! She fumed as she mounted up and prepared for the long flight back to Fordring. Not only was the mission failing, but the odds of getting paid were withering away.

The Emerald Nightmare ... was nightmarish. Even the Felguard was uncomfortable. There were those that theorized that The Emerald Nightmare came from Fel magic, but every fiber of her being screamed in a most unnatural way. If this is Fel magic, I'll eat a Soul Shard, she thought, as she fumbled around in search of her prize. Finally, something out of the corner of her eye ... Ah, acorns! Squirrels might be better at finding them, but who's gonna bring them back? That's right, send a Warlock!

Suddenly, the gloom deepened. Looking around, she realized that the tree to the left hadn't been there before ... and it appeared to be very angry!  What was it that Remulos said?

Seriously! Remulos! Talking to a Warlock!

Oh, yes. Pinch myself.


The Keeper grinned back at her. "I told you to be careful. I am glad you are back, Floramel. Not everyone is so fortunate. Here, let me see what you have, there."

She suspects she's been pranked - just a little bit - by a demigod.

"You must understand, that cleansing the body in favor of life anew is something well within my grasp ... removing the plague of undeath without affecting the body, however, is beyond the scope of the powers that I control.

"If this Bridenbrad is the beacon of light that you profess him to be, perhaps he will endure such a cleansing and thrive, but I cannot state with confidence that this is the salvation that you seek. Take it and go with all of my blessings."

"That sound painful, Life-binder. Is there no other way?" She surprised herself at the audacity of questioning Alextraza's word.

The Dragon Queen smiled ruefully. "Oh, it is painful, and dangerous, too. But like with the flowers, the Scourge must be burned out in order to allow Life itself to flourish. He will either survive it, or he will pass. We can do no more. There is no other way."

Fordring looked haunted, angry, and a number of other emotions that could not be clearly described. Desperate. There, that was close to it. As close as a Highlord might look to Desperate, at any rate.

"This won't do!", he spat. "I will not give up on him!"

"Floramel, go now to Shattrath..."

After a moment, she demurred. "Highlord ... I am a Scryer. Is this wise?"

He smiled a little smile. "The Naaru are beyond petty faction squabbles, Floramel. I'm sure he'll hear you."

"Fear not, young one, for this crusader shall not taste death."

As Bridenbrad's spirit went aloft, he smiled down at her - with gratitude? Possibly. It was hard to tell, her vision was swimming.

"Young one, why do you weep?"

"I'm not crying!", she spat. "I just have something in both of my eyes."

The sound of bells - was the Naaru ... laughing? "Forgive me, young Floramel. We Naaru are, of course, unfamiliar with human emotions, and often make mistakes.

"'sokay," she mumbled.

Hmm ... wonder if Fordring might want this tabard back?  "Hey, Naaru, is it OK if I take this back to the Highlord?"

Looking around, she realized she was alone.

Standing this high up in Dalaran, you can almost see where he laid down to die alone. Almost. Rarely had she been touched by the actions of others, and this week she had been touched by the actions of many, so many, giving what they could to honor this "beacon of the Light."

The Warlock contemplated the week's events, and held on to the warmth she had when speaking with A'dal. Was it wrong for a Warlock to want to feel that way again?  The Naaru were ... very hard to pin down.

Illume walked out from her study to find her "sister" lost in thought.

"Hello, Flora. It's good to see you again. How are things going?"

Smiling faintly ... "Not bad, sis. Not bad, at all."  She turned from the balcony. "Buy you a drink? I could use some company right now."


Meta: this story is set - loosely - in the questline starting with A Tale of Valor.