IV - Storms in July

The Lore of a Loremaster

Topic/Postby Liandrix » 22 Apr 2014, 23:47

IV - Storms in July

Storms in July

Stormwind – several months prior to the first war.


“Is this it?”

Liandrix wiped his hand across his brow to remove a sheen of sweat that had nothing to do with the oppressive heat in the Kingdom of Stormwind.

Liandrix turned away from the shabby cabinet no taller than himself and looked at the wiry man wringing his hands nervously. He was shifting his weight from foot to foot looking for all the world like a child caught in some wrong-doing.

“Master Wizard, I assure you, the historical works of the Kingdom of Stormwind are quite extensive,” Milton Sheaf was saying.

Liandrix glanced over his shoulder at the dusty books he could easily finish studying in a month. Dalaran had a whole section devoted to its history alone, a history that was not much more extensive than that of Stormwind.

“Well what about other topics? What do you have on architecture? Where are the books about law? Do you have anything about geography?”

The eyes of what Liandrix had hoped was the librarian of the kingdom swivelled between him and the bookcase. “It’s all there, Master Wizard.”

Now Liandrix understood why Stormwind’s court had ignored his request for an audience with the librarian: they had no library.

“Is there nothing about those creatures in any book in this kingdom?” Liandrix asked desperately.

“Orcs, Master Wizard, and no, we have recorded nothing. I do believe you were sent for that very reason.”

“Please tell me you have collected at least some facts about these creatures that have been assailing Stormwind before I got here.”

Milton Sheaf gave him an apologetic look and remained silent.

“I need to speak to the King,” Liandrix said annoyed as he marched past Milton. “I need to know what he knows before I can even begin to make an assessment as to what these creatures are.”

“Ah, that won’t be possible. Master Wizard.”

Liandrix wished the man would stop calling him that. He turned back. “Why not?”

“It’s the house of nobles that presides over the kingdom. The King is mainly its military leader. Final decisions may rest in his hands, yes, but one man alone cannot hope to make a kingdom’s decisions on his own. The Nobles administer the day-to-day governing of Stormwind. There is one for each aspect of the Kingdom.”

“Well then get me an audience with them!” Liandrix threw up his hands in frustration.

After the librarian had left, assuring Liandrix that he would do his best to arrange a meeting Liandrix made his way back to the far north-east corner of the city where the mages had been given a small settlement to set up shop. Liandrix was under the impression that the kingdom didn’t appreciate their presence in the least and was sure that the Kirin Tor incursion was in no way a mutual agreement between the two parties.

Liandrix himself had been received as if he were the Grand Magus come to visit. The full array of mages residing in the city had attended his arrival, which spoke more of the lack of mages in Stormwind than their tenacious desire to witness the arrival of a Loremaster in their midst.

Still, Liandrix had been grateful for the warm welcome the mage in charge of the group, Angus Andromath, had given him. Being a few years younger than Liandrix Angus had regarded him as his superior, which Liandrix found irksome. He didn’t look forward to taking the lead of a group of mages and lose focus on his own job: figuring out what had these people so riled up. In all honesty Liandrix was more than curious. From what he had heard in the guards’ descriptions the creatures they were facing looked a lot like Trolls, yet when the Troll problem in Dalaran had occurred and Azeroth was inquired about the threat the kingdom of Stormwind had not responded in kind.

Of course the communication between the kingdoms had always been both poor and unreliable. For one thing the death of King Llane Wrynn’s father, King Adamant Wrynn III had not been the natural death that had been acclaimed in the historical archives of Dalaran. Apparently he had fallen at the hand of the creatures that were still assailing the Kingdom.

As far as information from the guards went he was happy to learn that magic played no part in their attacks. If the guards in Stratholme were an indication they would have been the first to point out strange and inexplicable magic being at work. Whether the guards here in Stormwind where hardier than those in Stratholme Liandrix still couldn’t tell. They weren’t as big as those in his home city but what they lacked in size they more than made up with their impressive armour. Where the guards at Stratholme wore simple leather clothing, the guards in Stormwind wore full mail and plate.

Liandrix arrived at the small cottage of the Kirin Tor. Unlike most houses the roof of their dwelling was made out of straw. Liandrix had at one point amused himself with the idea that perhaps the governing entity of Stormwind had put them there in the hope that one of them might accidentally set it on fire with one of their spells.

Angus was waiting for him in the door opening. The purple-robed man seemed intent on expressing his mage-being with as much fervour in his appearance as possible. He was even wearing an exceptionally large amulet Liandrix was sure was as fake as his supposed magical rings of which he had no less than six of.

“How did it go Liandrix?”

Liandrix gave Angus a small smile. He had strongly implied he call him by his name, rather than his title in the hope he might nudge him into retaining his position as leading mage. He had explained that there was such a thing as functional standing, which preceded any rank.

“It went lousy.”

Angus smiled innocently. “How lousy?”

“Well, we might need to start thinking about importing literature about Stormwind into Stormwind,” Liandrix said dryly, and although he had meant it as a joke, it might prove to be a good idea.

Liandrix passed Angus and stepped inside. “I need a drink.”

Angus clapped a hand on his shoulder as he followed Liandrix in. “That’s what your face said too.”

Liandrix spotted their youngest member sitting in the backyard and after grabbing himself a reasonably filled glass of wine he joined the boy who was reading a small scrubby book as if attempting to set it aflame with his gaze. The boy was called Filinthus, but everyone called him Flint because of the look in his eyes that he got whenever he was desperately trying to understand something.

Flint was something of an oddity where apprentices were concerned. Officially he was apprenticed under Angus, but Angus had not yet earned his Master’s colours, which meant he was not allowed to have an apprentice at all. Flint, although young, was a very ambitious mage and when he heard about the expedition to Stormwind he had actually requested he be assigned to the team as an apprentice. The Council had at first refused and had offered him instead to be apprenticed under no other than Kel’thuzad himself. Flint had declined.

He had told Liandrix under no certain terms that he didn’t want to end up as some old dusty wizard in Dalaran whose agenda consisted of nothing but drinking and complaining. He wanted to see the world and discover its secrets. It took a surprisingly short time for the Council to give in. Liandrix was under the impression that, much like himself, Flint had been shipped off to Stormwind for the simple reason to be rid of him.

Liandrix sat down at the other side of the table. “Careful, you’ll burn it.”

Flint looked up. “I wish I’d burn it.” He dropped the book on the table, closed. “I just can’t figure out how to stabilize the mystic bolt. It’s not like elemental magic, like a frostbolt. I’ve always known that a mystic bolt was used only by advanced mages, perhaps it’s too powerful for me to control after all.”

Liandrix put his glass on the table and leaned back with an innocent expression on his face. “Too powerful to control you say?”

“Are you going to tell me a story about power?” Flint asked reluctantly.

Liandrix smiled and leaned forward. “No, I’m going to tell you a story about control. You see, I used to live in Stratholme, and all around the city the land is all farmland. I used to walk past the stables where they kept the biggest horses you’ve ever seen, the ones that work the land. One day I noticed that those big farm horses were being held by nothing more than a thin piece of rope tied to their bridles. It was clear to me that any of those horses could easily escape any time they wanted. But for some reason they never did.

“I asked a caretaker why the horses never made an attempt to escape. The man just smiled and said: ‘when they are very young and small we use the same size of rope to hold them together, and at the size they are then it holds them. As they grow up they are used to the rope holding them and they are convinced that they cannot break it. They believe that the rope cannot break because it has never done so in all those years. They never even try to break free.’

“I was quite amazed at the ingenuity. The horses could escape at any time, but were stuck where they were because they believed they couldn’t.”

Liandrix leaned back in his chair and took a sip of his wine as Flint blinked at him.

“Are you saying that I should simply believe I can control the mystic bolt?”

Liandrix stood up. Even in the shadows the heat was oppressive.

“No, flint. I’m saying that if you play your cards right, you won’t need to control it.”

It was slightly cooler inside where Angus was bending over a large map of the Kingdom and surrounding areas. The map draped over the table and from this side Liandrix could make out the Redridge region. Another mage by the name of Gryan was standing on the opposite side of the table.

“… Rains just on the other side of the mountains. I’m telling you, Redridge will soon be greener than Elwynn or Westfall,” the dark haired mage was saying.

Angus straightened. “Does Stormwind know of this?”

Gryan shrugged. “They’re just concerned with the hot weather in Westfall. They are afraid that the irrigation system won’t be able to supply enough fresh water for all the farms there.”

“Are you telling me that the heat is even worse in Westfall?” Angus asked heatedly. “I can already hear the doves falling from the rafters right here!”

“Trust me, we’re better off in Stormwind. I think the Ley line’s winds keep off the worst of the heat. Frankly, I think that without the irrigations system in Westfall the whole place would be barren by the end of the week.”

“That could cause starvation across the entire kingdom,” the Archmage said as he ran a sweaty hand over his mouth.

Angus paced back and forth the length of the table while Gryan and Liandrix waited silently, “these weather patterns are beyond normal. An effort should be made of finding out the reason for these extreme conditions.”

“Oh Stormwind has that covered,” said Gryan, and Angus rounded on him.

“Well what do they think is responsible for it then?”

“Us,” Gryan said with sarcastic pride.

Liandrix managed to turn his chuckle into a cough, but Angus didn’t hear. He didn’t smile either.

“I’ll make an inquiry in the house of nobles, and-“

“No!” Angus interrupted. “No, an inquiry at this point would only hinder our standing with Stormwind. Loremaster Emmot is already inquiring after these creature attacks and their literature. Further pressurising the nobles will likely push them in the opposite direction.”

Liandrix silently agreed. If he knew anything about governing entities by now than he was sure such an approach would yield undesirable results. On the other hand, Stormwind’s lack of food trumped Stormwind’s lack of books, which meant Angus had a good reason to use his right to supersede Gryans need for an inquiry above Liandrix’.

“Continue your research of the weather patterns in the area. There’s no need to involve Stormwind. So long as we can’t find the source of this phenomenon we will not find a solution. And I will not present this problem without a solution to it.”

This was one of the reasons why Liandrix hated politics. Not only did he not understand their reasoning for their priorities, but the communication with those in power and those serving them is thwarted by their lack of respect for one another. It has all become a game where people do not outright present a politician facts without first evaluating whether or not what they say will have a negative impact on their own standing. Everything the politicians seem interested in is what could better their own political advantage, which by extension included anyone who wished to convey facts to a politician.

It is the unconditional definition of inefficiency of the need of information by supplying in flaws as a way to convey it.

Liandrix looked at the mages as they continued to discuss among one another quietly. He hoped he wouldn’t be forced to play these political games to further his own goals in Stormwind. His job was going to be difficult enough as it was.

Sighing deeply, Liandrix decided he needed a break from the confinements of his duties and excused himself to depart for Catherine.
"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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Topic/Postby Liandrix » 24 Apr 2014, 19:37

Catherine had refused point-blank to stay behind in Dalaran even though Liandrix was capable of transporting between the cities almost instantly.

Being a tailor she would have ample opportunity to thrive in a city such as Stormwind, or so she claimed. Fortunately her claims proved to be true. It hadn’t taken her more than a day to find a place to settle down, although unlike in Dalaran she chose to work as an apprentice rather than having her own small shop.

The shop she worked for was situated in the southern corner, on the opposite side of the main street leading into the city. That meant easy access for visitors, but a long walk for Liandrix. So by the time he stepped inside the shop even the plain cloak he had donned over his Kirin Tor garb was soaked. The shop itself was blissfully cool. It benefitted from the shadow of the natural barrier the mountains formed around the city gate.

Behind the counter stood the owner of the shop and the man that employed Catherine. Bill was a large man with a kind face and a round belly that would not look out of place behind a bar.

“Lo’ there Liandrix. Cat is in the back. Hot out is it?”

“One could bake buns in the shade,” Liandrix replied.

Liandrix knew the plain cloak wasn’t fooling the tailor and he was grateful for the way he treated Liandrix. It made him think of Bill as a Father-in-law. Liandrix found Catherine working on the collar of a luxurious gold-clad gown. It looked small enough to be made for a child but the garment was far too wide for that.

“Dwarfish fabric with magical components?” Liandrix commented. That joke would never grow old.

Catherine placed a few pins on the scruff and turned from her work. “Just ordinary cloth I’m afraid.”

“I think it’s a little too rich to be called ordinary. What is it made from?”

“Gold-infused silk. It took me a month to get the fabric to look this way. But I’m nearly done and I think Bill won’t mind it if I take the rest of the day off. Want to go for a walk?

“I don’t know. I might melt if I spend another minute in that weather.”

“It’s a lot cooler in the park. So how are things on your end of the city?”

Liandrix slid down in a richly clad chair some noble had ordered but never picked up.

“I’m starting to think that no one in Stormwind can read.”

Catherine turned back to the gown, smiling. “Perhaps you have to teach them.”

“I would if it were that simple, and if the house of nobles would let me. I need to know what kind of creatures they’re facing but they are giving me nothing to work with.”

“Maybe you’re talking to the wrong people,” Catherine offered as she held up the gown for her own inspection.

Liandrix frowned. “What other people are there to talk to about it?

Catherine put down the cloth and turned on her chair. “Look, the nobles might make the decisions but they are based on the reports they get.”

“And?”

“Well, if someone wants me to tailor something for them, they come here to get measured and pick the type of clothes and any accessories that they like with it. They could put it all in a letter, but that way I could never apply as much details to the order as when I could after talking to them in person.”

Liandrix sat back in his chair, frowning. “You’re suggesting I talk to the soldiers in person?”

“You don’t think that’s a good idea?” Catherine said, visibly losing her certainty.

Liandrix smiled. “I think I married a woman who is as smart as she is beautiful.”

Catherine hid her blush by letting her golden curls dangle in front of her face.

After Catherine had given the gown to Bill the two of them made their way to the park, close to the seaside. They stuck to the shadows as much as possible, but even so, the heat made it a slow process. They spend the time exchanging stories, including the one of how they met.

It happened just after Liandrix was accepted as a member of the Kirin tor and had to get his robes made, and Robert had wasted no time in introducing Liandrix to the perfect tailor for the job.

“Honestly Robert, why can’t I get my robes at Ben’s place; the Silver Scissors? Didn’t you get your robes there too?” Liandrix demanded as he was positively pushed towards a small parlour at the west end of Dalaran.

“Well … Ben always pricks me with his needles!” Robert said defensively.

“Really? He never pricked me … “

The shop Robert led Liandrix to was one he had never visited before, and when he saw how small and unnoticeable it was he was surprised it saw customers at all.

“Are you sure this is a tailor shop? It looks so small.”

“So do you. Come on, get in!” Robert ordered good-naturedly.

After opening the door Liandrix was met with a wall of cloth. The inside of the shop was so full with different kinds of fabric and wooden dolls wearing strange combinations of clothing that he had to keep sidestepping the whole time until he reached the counter.

A woman appeared in front of him so suddenly that Liandrix jumped a foot in the air. There were so many clothes hanging behind the counter that she had appeared to be a part of the wall. The curly haired woman followed Liandrix little jump with her blue eyes and looked equally surprised to see him.

Robert’s big hands appeared on Liandrix’ shoulders as if to keep him on the floor. “Calm down Liandrix, Catherine won’t bite. She might stick you with a needle, though,” he said with a wink in her direction.

The woman put a hand on her hip and appraised Robert with a stern look. “Oh be quiet Robert. I don’t stab anyone with needles. Did you bring me a customer?” Her eyes slowly fell on Liandrix like those of an owl. “How can I help you?”

“I … that’s … erm,” and a few choice sounds was all Liandrix could force from his mouth.

“You need to sew him a new tongue.”

“Robert …”

Feeling annoyed Liandrix cleared his throat and started over. “I just got …” No, I can’t tell I just became a Kirin Tor mage, that would sound arrogant.

“… I need some new robes.”

“Sure, what kind?”

Liandrix stared at her. “The … er … Kirin tor … kind.”

“Oh, have you been chosen by the Kirin Tor? Congratulations!” and she gave Liandrix a smile so radiant the whole shop seemed to light up with her features, leaving him struck dumb yet again.

Catherine turned and snatched a measuring ribbon hanging from a nail. “So, silk or mageweave?”

“What?”

“Your robes. Do you want them made from silk or mageweave?”

“Actually, I was thinking of having them made of wool.”

Catherine stared at him. “Wool?”

Liandrix felt his meagre confidence slipping. “You don’t make them from wool?”

“Well … yes, but I’ve never seen a Kirin Tor mage walk in robes of wool before. Most of them choose mageweave. Why wool?”

“Well … wool is a lot warmer, and winter is coming. Also wool is resistant to fire and magic which would be a lot safer considering a mage’s disposition towards the arcane. And wool is tougher than silk and doesn’t start to smell as fast.”

Catherine frowned. “How do you know all that?”

Liandrix shuffled his feet. “I read … a lot.”

“hah … well most mages choose mageweave. Mostly because it’s flashy and has more capacity for enchantments I suppose. I’m sure it was created for that purpose.”

“Actually, did you know that mageweave was created by accident due to a failed spell?”

Behind Liandrix Robert gave a meaningful cough. “I don’t think you should bore her with your stories Lian—“

“Really? How did that happen?” Catherine asked as she leaned over the counter.

“Well there was this mage, Archibald Grindel , who was working on a new sort of healing spell that healed wounds, not by providing an accelerated healing process as is usual but by imbuing the wound itself with arcane energy which has a natural binding characteristic. After casting the spell on a test subject and pulling the cloth aside he thought the spell hadn’t worked and abandoned the idea and healed the wound in the normal way. That failed too.

“Archibald looked back on his conjuring, afraid he had done more harm than good to the man. After some time, however, the subject reported to Archibald and pronounced himself fully healed. The healing spell had not healed the wound but had latched itself onto the silk that had covered it. With any ordinary enchant it would quickly fade without the use of a strong reagent. However, the binding latched itself to the core of the fabric in such a way that it altered its nature, thus creating a whole new type of fabric. The healing spell Archibald had used afterwards was then implanted into the fabric as an enchantment that even without a reagent lasted long enough for the wound to be healed.

“And so, mageweave was born.”

“That’s amazing,” Catherine said.

Robert looked from one to the other. “Yes it is.”

After Liandrix and Robert had left the shop Robert clapped his hand on Liandrix’ shoulder. “Well it looks like we found a woman in this city who can stand your babbling.”

Liandrix frowned. “It’s not babbling, I was just telling her an interesting story. Besides, she did seem interested.”

“Pfff. I bet she was just humouring you. I’m telling you Liandrix, leave your stories for something they could be useful for, like insomnia!”

“Robert I seriously don’t think—“

“Look, if you want to tell a woman stories make sure they are the right kind of stories, with the right kind of … seasoning.”

“Robert …”

“Now, my wife and I—“

“Oh Light, no ….”

*


Liandrix and Catherine didn’t get to spend much time in the park itself. They had hardly sat down before one of the mages approached them at a hurry. It was Kendall, the youngest aside from Flint, who worked alongside Gryan and was supposed to be focusing on the matter of the strange weather patterns.

Kendall muttered a swift excuse to Catherine but then turned with a tense expression. Liandrix instantly knew something was wrong due to the fact that Kendall usually maintained a calm appearance.

“Liandrix, the house of nobles sent a messenger to us minutes ago.”

“What!” Liandrix was on his feet before he realized it.

“They request your presence in the keep.”

“When?”

“Now.”

Liandrix was at once elated, frustrated and impressed by their swift response. He wondered what Milton Sheaf had said on his behalf. He departed at once and arrived, drenched in sweat, minutes later.

Stormwind’s keep was a vast castle of dark-grey stone blocks divided by countless of rooms and corrisors and ‘balustrades’. It was easily the most impressive building in Azeroth. It was also the most confusing. It took Liandrix close to half an hour to find out that the representatives were expecting him in a room called Inquisitas, and to actually get there. When he finally got there he met with four unfamiliar faces.

Liandrix felt let down. Milton Sheaf had given him the idea that there would be many nobles looking after the needs of the kingdom. The room itself looked a little too much like a courtroom with the four nobles, three men and one woman, perched higher than where Liandrix was standing: a circle of polished wood on the floor, surrounding a straight-backed wooden chair. The absence of manacles surprised Liandrix. He didn’t sit down.

“Well, now that you are finally here …” the woman said in a bored voice. “You are Loremaster Liandrix Emmot of the Kirin Tor, are you not?”

Liandrix did not feel like playing these games again. In a manner of answer he opened the clasp of his plain cloak and allowed it to drop to the floor with a wet thump, revealing the dominant Kirin tor colours.

“Wonderfull,” she said.

Liandrix surveyed the scene for a moment. On the far right (and the woman’s left) sat a stocky man with glasses taking notes as if he was recording a speedy conversation. Liandrix wasn’t sure if the man was a noble or just a secretary of sorts. The woman was tall with straight jet black hair that ran just passed her shoulders.

On her immediate right sat a man that could as well be a politician as a warlord. He wore dark short-cropped hair and a scowl to match. The neat clothes he wore didn’t quite seem to match his powerful profile, instead it added something sinister. Liandrix’ eyes lingered a moment too long on his face and their eyes met. Liandrix felt as if his gaze was pushed aside.

The man on the far left sat was a tall man that was so blonde it looked almost white. This made his age hard to determine. There was something else about the man, something that Liandrix couldn’t quite place, but he decided to discard the feeling. The man didn’t look very interested in the whole thing. In fact he looked quite bored. His gaze settled back on the woman, who was looking inquisitively down at him. Liandrix didn’t feel like making the first move.

“And with whom do I have the pleasure?” Liandrix asked.

It was meant to be a room-wide question but the woman was the only one who answered.

“I am lady Melissa Du’Paige. I seem to recall your requesting to speak with us.”

Liandrix clenched his teeth. Who is ‘us’?

“And I seem to recall Stormwind requesting a Loremaster be sent in order to make an assessment on the manner of creatures assailing the kingdom.”

“I can assure you that we have requested no such thing.” the warlord-like man said in a deep voice that made it sound like a warning. “I believe that privilege belonged to the Kirin Tor.”

Liandrix cursed inwardly. He wondered who had lied here, the nobles of Stormwind or the Supreme Council of the Kirin Tor. The image of Grand Magus Antonidas flashed before him. He couldn’t imagine the kind old mage lying to his face in full view of the Supreme Council, even though he was convinced they forced him out of Dalaran. The nobles on the other hand had no reason to lie at all. Liandrix mentally shook himself and tried not to think about the political games surrounding him. He decided to press the matter.

“The purpose for which I was sent was to enrich your library with a documentation of the creatures that you call Orcs,” Liandrix said carefully, and then waited.

Lady Melissa’s reaction was annoyed. “We don’t have a library!”

That was easy

“That is a shame,” he said and forged a puzzled frown. “What if I were to change that? I could collect written works around the city and add these to you existing literature in Stormwind’s own library.”

The man on the lady’s right answered this time. “As long as we must tolerate your presence here we would rather have you gather and document information about our adversary.”

Liandrix looked into his dark eyes. “Capital City has on a number of occasions overcome a threat simply through possession of sufficient knowledge. By knowing your enemy you can fight them on your own terms. Having a central and public source of knowledge such as a library will assure that. It may prevent a war.

“We are already at war, Loremaster. The Orcs are at our gates, King Adamant Wrynn as fallen. They are savage and cannot be reasoned with. As for your idea of a library; you are on your own. We can spare no resources on account of the war, isn’t that right?” he said, looking to his left.

It was the stocky man who answered, lifting his eyes from his own work. “I’m afraid not, no. All of our resources are spread thin at the moment. And due to relentless assaults beyond our gates, production has almost halted completely.”

“So you see, Master Emmot,” Lady Du’Paige said, “we cannot spare anything for such … mundane things. The war is our priority right now.”

“And how do you suppose to win this war?” Liandrix burst out. “By shooting arrows in the dark from atop your castle walls?”

He regretted the words as soon as they escaped his lips. He was supposed to get them on his side, not infuriate them. He really had a knack for aggravating the wrong people. In front of him Lady Du’paige and her dark haired neighbour rose stiffly. The man pointed to his own desk.

“This meeting is concluded.”

Liandrix didn’t wait to leave.

Once outside the room he berated himself for letting his smart mouth run away with him again. He wasn’t sixteen anymore. It wasn’t like he had a bad temper that he couldn’t control. It was more like he couldn’t help try to eradicate the occasional stupidity around him.

Liandrix moved through the castle without a direction, brooding on the meeting and how to proceed from here. He was, therefore, surprised to find himself surrounded by trees, and bushes the size of grown men. Liandrix stopped in front of a dais with vegetation planted on top of it and sat down. While searching for the Inquisitas room he had found himself walking in a large U shape. Most of the corridors must have been built around this inner Park.

He was about to try and find out how to plants and trees managed to thrive without natural light when he heard voices on the other end of a large group of bushes. Liandrix started to move away from the conversation until what was said registered in his mind.

“Yes we are alone, but it doesn’t matter; the king is going to find out anyway, sooner or later,” one voice was saying. Liandrix thought it sounded familiar.

“He won’t, so long as we stick to our plan,” a second voice replied soothingly. This one Liandrix could not place.

“It’s not the king I’m worried about. It’s that pesky brat Prince Anduin!”

“The boy? Surely you won’t allow him to disturb your dreams?”

“Mock me all you want, the child is an encumbering difficulty. He is arrogant, nosy and downright despicable.”

“Not to mention aggravating.”

“You stand there patronizing me and yet you don’t offer a single explanation yourself! I want—!”

“I know what you want, Gregor,” the unfamiliar voice forestalled. “Don’t worry; when the day arrives we’ll make sure the king and his prince are separated. We’ll device a reason such as the visit of an ambassador.”

“That shouldn’t be particularly difficult on that day.”

“It is decided then.”

The conversation was drawing to a close and there was a creak of a wooden bench as the apparently seated men came to their feet. On the other side of the bush Liandrix gathered all he had heard in his thoughts as he stood rooted to the ground, like all the trees around him.
Last edited by Liandrix on 06 Aug 2015, 23:19, edited 1 time in total.
"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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Liandrix
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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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