IV - Storms in July

The Lore of a Loremaster

Topic/Postby Liandrix » 06 Aug 2015, 23:28

Slowly the sound of footsteps on grass started to fade. Had he just heard a plan to assassinate King Llane? He let the conversation run through his head again, but he could not imagine another explanation. He had to do something, had to tell someone. Tell someone what? That some people were going to assassinate the king? Without thinking Liandrix hurled himself out from behind the bushes. The two men turned as one at the sound.

He knew them. Both of them. He didn’t know their names but he knew their faces from when they were staring down at him from their little balcony in the Inquisitas room. One of the two, the man that was now quickly striding in his direction, was the one that had told him that there was no funds to spare for a library, and that they were at war with these ‘Orcs’.

The other man followed at a comfortable pace and did not seem half as frustrated as the former was. He had been the only one in the room who had not spoken, which explained why Liandrix hadn’t recognised his voice. The man with the strange white hair.

You!” the dark-haired man shouted, and he pointed a long, thin finger at him. “What have you heard? Were you listening- were you spying?!”

“Gregor, calm down.” The white-haired man said as he laid a hand on Gregor’s shoulder. “Don’t you recognise our honoured guest Loremaster Emmot? Allow me to introduce us, Loremaster. Lord Ilgalar, at your whim. And my friend here-“

Gregor did not wait for an introduction. Instead he drew himself up to his full height. “It’s Lord Gregor Lescovar, and I demand to know what you were doing!”

“What I was doing? You were plotting to kill the King!”

The colour drained from Lord Lescovar’s face as his eyes darted sideways as if to see if anyone had heard. The other, Lord Ilgalar, looked genuinely surprised.

“Kill king Llane!” Lord Ilgalar blurted out with a guffaw. “My good man I assure you that we have no such intentions. You must have misheard us.”

“Really, so what is this ‘plan’ you were talking about? It certainly seemed to involve the king, and planning against the king is treason,” Liandrix fired back. In his mind he was already loosening the barricades of the Arcane.

He couldn’t allow for anything to happen to the king now. His job was already impossible. The murder of king Llane wouldn’t exactly make things easier. In fact Liandrix was sure that the Kirin Tor would be associated with the attack. With a relationship that was unstable to begin with they were sure to be forced out of the kingdom, if not executed on the spot.

“Well …” Ilgalar started in a resigned voice, “it sometimes feels like treason when we plan his majesty’s birthday feast, but he assures us that, by the end of it, he did in fact enjoy it.”

“Birthday feast …”

“Yes, birthday feast. King Llane’s birthday feast! Don’t you know that his majesty’s birthday will be in a few weeks?”

He knew. The feast was quite a happening in Stormwind or so he had heard, with people swarming into the city, entertainer, ambassadors, and visitors from all over Azeroth. Yet still …

“You want me to believe that two lords of the house of nobles are secretly planning the king’s birthday in the confines of this park?”

“Well how do you suppose we keep the feast a secret? Blindfolding?”

Liandrix gritted his teeth. Somewhere he realised that it could actually be true. And even if it wasn’t, there was one very important factor that prevented him from acting out his suspicions and bring them to justice: proof. Right now it was his word against two lords. And what if he did capture them on his own? He would be branded a traitor himself. Attacking and falsely imprisoning two nobles would surely warrant a death sentence.

He went over the conversation and to his annoyance couldn’t find anything tangible to support his conspiracy. Fine, then. But Liandrix decided that he would keep an eye on the pair of them, and let them go for now.

“Not my first choice either,” Ilgalar said seriously. He turned to Lord Lescovar, who had been following the conversation with a frown on his face and his arms crossed.

“I think we should start with the first preparations, don’t you, Gregor?”

Lord Lescovar gave an unhappy grunt. “Just so long as we’re not interrupted again. And I thought you said we were alone!” he said as an afterthought.

Lord Ilgalar’s eyes drifted back to Liandrix for a moment, his long weirdly white hair dangling in front of his brow. He gave a small smile. “I thought so too, my friend.”

They were gone, and despite the heat Liandrix suddenly felt a tremor run down his back. His sweat and turned cold and he barely supressed a shudder. He ran all his options through his head before he hurried out of the castle. His best move right now was to inform Archmage Andromath of what he had heard. Perhaps he had enough experience with politics to have an idea of how to proceed.

When he entered the house he immediately sensed there was more movement that usual. Books lay scattered over tables and scrolls were rolled out and pinned on the walls. Gryan was walking from one end of the room to another with Flint in tow, and a mage Liandrix remembered his name was Donavan was scribbling notes on maps stretched out on the dining table. Out of their midst Angus strode straight for Liandrix, a look of excitement on his face.

“Liandrix, they have one in the castle!”

“They have what in the castle?”

“An Orc.”

“Alive?”

“No.” Angus gave a pained shake of his head. “No, but Liandrix, I don’t know how much longer it will be there.”

“Where are they keeping it?

“The armoury”

Liandrix didn’t waste another second.

*


He felt as if he had done nothing but running to and fro the castle keep. When Liandrix arrived at the armoury – which had been significantly easier to find than the Inquisitas room – he was so drenched in sweat that his robe stuck to his chest and back.

For a room called the armoury it was considerably void of weaponry. There were a handful of arms scattered across barrels, a few swords, axes and shield hung on the wall, and a pair of spears rested against the wall in the far corner. Most of the room was occupied by a large heavy looking black ash table with legs thicker than an average thigh. But no one in the room had eyes for the table, not even the dozen guards surrounding it. They all stared at the lifeless form of the massive green creature lying on its surface. Liandrix wondered who had moved the most since the Orc had been put there. The guards stood still as stone.

The front of the orc was splattered with blood as dark as the table. Its leather armour, armour that was riddled with large steel spikes, seemed thicker than any leather vest he had ever seen before. There was blood on his jaws too, four tusks protruding from the Orc’s large mouth were covered with it. It wasn’t human blood.

All in all Liandrix could understand why people thought them related to Trolls. They were basically a larger, more muscular version of the tall lanky creatures.

Liandrix stepped closer. He thought he could detect movement from the guards at his side. Liandrix ignored them. He approached the side of the orc’s head. Its eyes were completely closed and Liandrix wondered whether or not a guard had done it, afraid of the blank gaze. He lifted a hand and opened an eye.

A guard on his left coughed. “I wouldn’t do that, sir.”

Liandrix looked at him. Just like all the guards in Stormwind the man was completely covered in silver armour, but Liandrix could see his eyes; could see fear in those eyes. He looked around to see all the guards have a hand on their sword handle. He could not back down now. This might very well be the only chance he would get. They were all afraid. He was going to use that fear.

Liandrix straightened. “How long have you been standing guard here?”

There was silence for a moment before another guard responded. “Just over an hour, sir.”

Liandrix sighed deeply, remained silent and simply looked at the orc. One of the guards shuffled his feet. Finally Liandrix looked up, directly into the eyes of the guard who had spoken.

“I’m very sorry. They should have told you. You should never have been here.”

Liandrix could see the fear in his eyes grow. He indicated the dead orc. “This creature is infected. It’s spreading its disease through contact and quite possibly through the air. The infection is very dangerous, if allowed to break free it could wipe out the entire Kingdom.

The sound of grating iron sounded all around Liandrix as the guards nervously shifted their weight. He went on.

“Once you have it, it cannot be cured. You will quickly develop numerous signs of the infection such as headaches, rashes, mouth or genital ulcers, joint paint … “ Liandrix continued to name random symptoms in increasingly severity until all the guards were positively shaking of fear.

“… Bulging, pus-filled pustules that feel warm to the touch, your bone marrow will by then have deteriorated in such a way that bone fracture might occur at any moment. You will also have started to bleed from the eyes, nose and rectum-“

“Please!” a desperate soldier shouted, “isn’t there anything we can do?”

“Run!” Liandrix shouted, throwing his arms in the air for effect. “Run and do not let yourselves come into contact with anyone! Don’t even talk to anyone lest you infect them. Once you’re out of the keep make sure to burn every bit of clothing you wear now. Everything! When you have done that you must cleanse yourself. Leave not an inch of your skin unscrubbed. Only then might you have circumvented your fate!”

The soldiers trembled on the spot.

“What are you waiting for? RUN!”

And they did, heads of heels they stormed to the door and crammed themselves through the opening, pulling off pieces of armour as they went. Liandrix turned back to the Orc indifferently. At least not everything he had told them had been a lie. And if his first impression was correct he might not be entirely out of danger himself. But he had to do a lot more research to be sure.

Liandrix opened the eye of the Orc again. It had been a second but what he had seen was enough to set his mind spinning. It didn't make sense. If it was indeed an infection he wondered why the host didn't show signs of being contagious. It was as if the infection the Orc had could not be transferred. But how then did it get it in the first place? He thought he was missing something. Something obvious.

Liandrix lifted one of the Orc’s giant arms.

“What in the name of the king do you think you are doing!”

Liandrix dropped the arm as he jumped and it slammed back down on the table, sending tremors to echo across the armoury.

Would he ever catch a break?

The door opening was barred by a tall man with an unkempt beard. Liandrix instantly knew that this wasn’t a regular soldier. He did wear armour but it was sparse, and made of leather. He also wore a cape and instead of a helmet, and his head was covered with a wild mop of dark blonde hair.

“Who are you?”

The man put his fists on his hips and fixed Liandrix with an ironclad stare.

“I am Scout Sergeant Jansen. Now, can you explain to me why the men I sent to guard the Orc are in the yard, attempting to set fire to their armour?”
"The motivation to study the Arcane should be born out of the understanding of the needs of those who would be affected by it.."

~ Loremaster Liandrix Emmot
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