Prologue - Promise Kept

The Lore of a Loremaster

Topic/Postby Liandrix » 06 Jan 2015, 00:21

Prologue - Promise Kept

Stratholme – 41 years after the first war.

There was a perpetual stillness to the air. It seemed to be thick and unyielding, as if it hadn’t shifted in decades. One would wave a hand before oneself and expect to see its shape linger in the air for a moment. Dust floated, but did not move. Light was present, but did not seem to shine. Oxygen was in the air, but felt absent. The rules of nature looked addled in this place. Time did not seem to flow here.

Liandrix stood among the rubble, the dust, the ashes, the remains, the destruction. He stood perfectly still, his purple frame frozen in time, just like the carnage around him. There was only one movement in the room, that being the gentle and completely silent rising of Liandrix’ chest as he breathed. It was the only contradiction in the otherwise timeless room. Everything else about and around him was still.

His long grey hair spilled over his shoulders and hung limp and loose. His eyes, light blue, were unfocussed. His left arm, clothed in dark purple, held a heavy white tome with blue lining in an iron and unmoving grip. The title of the book had all but faded from the cover. It was the only undamaged, if worn, book in the room. There were more. There were less than had once been there, but there were more.

The library was small. It had never been big, but it had once been filled to the brim with books. All that remained now was a fraction of what it once contained. If one would enter the library for the first time they would never realise what it was. It did not resemble anything of a library anymore. Indeed, it did not even resemble a room anymore.

Most of its walls were gone. They had been weak. The library had been added to the larger structure against which it was built long ago. It had come at a time when the Church of the Holy Light in Stratholme had demanded they have their own resource of information. And so it had been built, built with haste and without care.

The only wall left standing whole was the only wall the library shared with its main building: the chapel of Light, placed behind Crusader Square. Its walls were blackened and foul, but they yet stood. From that wall a portion of a low roof stuck out. Most of the ceiling had already fallen or had simply been burned.

Inside the former library one could only just identify the remains of cabinets that had once filled the room. Most of them had been vanquished, few of them lay on the floor, two of them contained books. The few books that remained on a shelf were blackened and partially destroyed. They lay in disarray and its titles were no longer visible.

Outside of the library the silence was just as oppressive as it was inside, but it wasn’t completely silent. One would sooner feel than hear or see the presence that lingered around the darker parts of the city. Liandrix recognised the feelings of being watched, the hairs on his neck that prickled, and the urge to shudder. All were a part of the lingering magic that housed the plague. The stained ends of his purple robes that trailed the floor where an unwritten testimony to the undead filth that lingered; creatures lurked just out of sight and sometimes seemed to appear in his peripheral vision. He ignored them all; they would not attack him. Not anymore. And so he remained alone in the library.

It had been decades ago since Liandrix had last been here. He had been here to retrieve a book about magic, magic that would certainly be practised by the powerful mages of the Kirin Tor. Most of what the book contained had been useless, however. It had been a book of the Light, disrespectful and sceptical of any form of magic other than what the Light could provide. But Liandrix had loved it anyway. It had been his one and only link to his home at the times he had most longed for it. He had read it forth and back many times and between the lines of mockery it contained a lot of lore. It had been the spark that lit his love for the history of magic and the peoples that used it.

Liandrix had taken the book right before he had left for Dalaran. His young mind filled with thoughts of adventure and magic, his hopes high, and his pack full. All that had happened once he had reached Dalaran until this point seemed to have happened in one long breath. In the blink of an eye he had become an old man. This was mainly because his memory had been fractured during the first war. What remained of his past were chips of the whole, an age-old drawing that had faded over time and was now hardly visible.

It was painful to often realise he could no longer recall his parents’ names, or how they looked, or even where he himself came from. He had also forgotten his own age, although sometimes he could remind himself how old he must be by the use of dates on books. His memories before the war came and went.

At times there were clear moments where he suddenly remembered everything from his past, where suddenly he could recall all that had happened all those decades ago. These moments usually came after periods of darkness where he had trouble even remembering his own name. At first these moments of bright clarity were a blessing to his mind. He would be able to understand all the memories that swirled through his mind and put them in the right order, to make sense of the nagging in his head of some fact that he ought to remember but couldn’t.

But that wonderful feeling he gained of remembering everything was then quickly quelled by the realisation what he had lost. The horrible series of events that he had suffered after the first war started suddenly flashed passed him, clearer than ever before. All that had happened since that time, he relived once more in one devastating moment that brought him to his knees, howling in anguish, his eyes seeing not his surroundings but the burning visions that had been brought upon him by the Orcs of the Shadow Council.

He would realise in a second that all whom he had loved had perished; his parents, his friends, everyone he knew in Stratholme that had been murdered when it was sacked or fallen prey to the plague or Prince Arthas’ sword suddenly died all over again in his mind. And then his wife, Catherine; her name would thunder through his mind like a bolt of lightning as he realised what had been done to her, what the horde had forced Liandrix to do. When the vision of her face, the final look in her eyes that she had given him flashed before him in his mind and he would hammer the ground with his hands demanding the creatures only he could see that they release his wife and that they could kill him instead. He would throw up his arms and beg whoever he thought was near him to strike him dead where he lay.

As quick as they had come the visions would end and he would find himself back in Stormwind, often surrounded by others who looked in horror at the old man as he struck the stone floor with his bare hands one last time, the remnants of his vision leaving him on the ground, a blubbering mass of madness. And then his memory would slowly fade again over time. Chips of the events of his past would start to fall away again, slowly, and the whole process would begin anew, the cycle becoming longer each time it happened.

Whatever had happened after the last moments of his wife’s life he still did not know, aside from the terrible realisation of what he had done. The next thing he could remember is that he was on his way to Lordaeron on a ship, fleeing for the Horde. He would have visited his home then if not for the cage of madness he found himself in. The moments during which he did not know who or where he was, and the moments during which he relived his time in the Blasted Lands seemed to be a bigger part of his days than the period of being sane, and so he could not go to Stratholme yet.

Then the second war hit and the city was vanquished for its aid to the newly formed Alliance. This meant that in the sane moments of his life during the second war he only received more blows to take in. After the second war New Stormwind was built and Liandrix could recover his mind in peace there for the time being. The book he had taken from Stratholme helped him greatly in this.

But before he could set out to Stratholme it had already been decimated by Prince Arthas, and soon after, the plague of the undead. All hope that his friends and family were alive had been completely eradicated. Liandrix had been told how in his fury he had teleported himself, seemingly without conscious thought, to the plains surrounding the vanquished city in a failed attempt to lay waste to the undead that still lingered there. Whether he had done it in an episode of clarity or a period of madness he did not know.

All that remained then was for his mind to heal from the many wounds it had suffered in his long life. Eventually the moments of madness shortened to a point where he could almost control them, and his sane mind, aided by the book he had carried for most of his life, was kept on the city of Stratholme. The last moment of clarity he had reached, realising once again that all those he had loved and left behind were gone, had been hours ago. In that moment of clarity he did not lose his mind, nor did he break down in anguish. He struck out with a cold fury of his magical prowess and found himself once again in the city he once, a long time ago, abandoned to head for Dalaran.

It was time. He realised that with this act, he would put a lot of his past behind him permanently, only to dig up more. But this part he had to end, this promise that he had made so many decades ago, he had to fulfil. Only then could he move on to answer the questions he had been asking himself for years.

Liandrix’ eyes moved for a moment, peering southwest, as if he could see his final destination, the kingdom of Gilneas through the walls of the city and the hills surrounding it. He would have answers, whether they were the answers he hoped for or not, he would have answers. But first there was the task at hand.

Liandrix raised the white tome with blue lining he had taken all those years ago. He had found information in it that had been useful, he had found solace in it when the situation seemed hopeless, and he had found peace in it after a world of madness. It had been his refuge, his motivation, his light in the darkness.

Slowly, as if afraid of what might happen to his mind if he completed his action, he raised the book and rotated it to fit between two ravaged books on a shelf that still stood. He slid the white book between the others until it seemed as if it had been there all along and some magical protection had prevented its destruction.

“Promise made …”

Liandrix lowered his arm and stared at the book that both saddened and comforted him.

“… Promise kept.”

A moment passed in which Liandrix clenched his fists as his mind fought over how he should feel at the moment. But that moment quickly passed.

Unfolding his hands, Liandrix let out a long sigh, turned on the spot, and was gone.
"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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