Musings of an Azeroth Mage (Book 11)
- - by Archin
So I stood there with my handkerchief, and slid it into my pocket. Pamandria had just walked up from the bowels of the Slaughtered Lamb, and her facial expression was that of a mix of horror and opportunity.
I could only guess that she had seen what existed below the cover of the tavern. Being an Ordo lackey, she probably saw a promotion and a possible raid in order.
Unfortunately for her, Archin and Yumeko Brey and fellow warlock Elilla stood in her path.
The girl smiled at the prospect of bringing the Slaughtered Lamb down, but I had other plans. Little Karkune, my darling boy, spends most of his time in the Lamb itself while Yumeko and I are out, and I dont really trust anyone else with our son. If she destroyed the Lamb, shed destroy the home of our son and Ill defend my family to the last breath.
Pamandria was cocky, and I told her that to get to the Ordo, shed have to get through me. She pulled out an impossibly large axe, and clearly it appeared that a confrontation was underway.
Unfortunately for the jarhead, I wasnt about to charge straight into the blade of her axe. An old trick I used to pull during my naval days involved grabbing a bottle of liquor, tossing it in the air, and fireblasting the entire bottle. It created quite an incendiary bomb, not to mention the shrapnel that was produced in the blast as well.
I grabbed a bottle, flung it square at the girls chest, and ignited it. The concussion knocked her backwards and onto her rear, and clearly her chest was burned and the shrapnel had met its mark. However, I ignited the bottle a bit too soon, and the killing blow wasnt achieved.
I admit now, in hindsight, that the situation had bolstered me with a sense of invincibility, and I let my guard down. I gloated and laughed at the girl, telling her how helpless she was, at such a range from a Mage.
I admit now, that I was wrong in that assessment.
With a look of pure rage, the girl grabbed a throwing knife and flung it in my direction. The knife plunged into the center of my chest and I heard the bone slice open inside, I felt the heat, the blood, and pain, and the stupidity that I felt inside my brain. I was stunned, and staggered backwards, knocking bottles from the nearby bar and flung an awkward fireball. The fireball zipped through the air and a wild arc, but landed on the girl and flung her to the floor. At that same moment, I fell as well.
Yumeko rushed to my side while I gripped the handle of the knife. The entire blade had lodged itself between my bones, and it hurt like hell. Fear gripped my wife, and I roared in pain and balled up on the floor. Pamandria must have tried to escape, because my wife quickly left my side and cornered the wounded girl, and slapped her to the floor.
I could hear my wife pummeling the girl, but all I could focus on was the searing pain that wracked my chest. The iron taste of my blood welled up into my mouth slowly and a spat my own life force on the floor. I gripped the handle, closed my eyes, and pulled the blade from my chest, issuing a torrent of blood in the process.
Oh how it hurt but adrenaline was on my side, and I dragged myself to my feet, clutching the very knife that had struck me. Staggering to the fallen Pamandria, I rolled her over and stabbed her, as deep as she had me, in her kidney. It was getting a bit hazy and I feared for my life we didnt have time to dispatch Pamandria in the proper manner, and instead we opted to dump her into the well outside of the Lamb.
Elilla and my beautiful wife dumped the louse into the well, I barely was able to stand while blood continued to gush from my wound. I tried to apply pressure to slow the bleeding, but it was still quite bad. I heard her body splash in the well, and the next situation was at hand: getting my health back in tact.
I didnt trust going anywhere but the Jester, and my wife and Elilla helped me along down through the Park to the Jester. Dominik was positively dumbfounded when he saw me, instead of being boisterous and grandiose, instead subdued and wounded. He quickly let me into the basement, at which time the Priestess Peejee was alerted to my problem.
The three of us summoned Peejee to the Jester, but the channeling took the last bit of energy I had, and I collapsed to the floor and let out a raucous yell. I was growing cold and the pain was beginning to numb in my chest. I believe I was dying.
I railed and slammed my fist on the floor, cursing loudly in my stubborn attempt to stave off this fate. Peejee tried to calm me, and my wife too my hand. Then, Peejee placed her hand on my chest and pressed her lips against mine, and my mind was clouded as my sight was taken away, and all I could do was feel.
I felt my wife massaging my hand, and the Priestesses lips against my own. My body began to warm, the pain began to lessen. I then heard Dugalds voice, as he must have heard me scream and I jerked reflexively, but then I was relaxed again when they told the Lieutenant to leave.
Suddenly, my eyes shot open again and Peejee was leaning over me, the kiss was broken, the bleeding had stopped, and my wound was healed, though I was still considerably sore. I turned to see my darling Yumeko and I embraced her, telling her how much I loved her.
I was saved, my wife, her friend, and Peejee had saved me.
I slowly stood and the soreness coursed through my chest, but the wound and the bone had healed. I thanked Peejee and awkwardly climbed the stairs, embarrassed at my own weakness in front of so many which I held in high regard.
I had survived the ordeal and Pamandria had paid the ultimate price. I decided to relax at the Jester for most of the night. The stress was over, and I had prevailed. Ultimately, we decided to leave the Jester later that evening, when I was mending, and look into the well to see our rapidly decaying quarry.
The problem was she wasnt there!
Aye, thats right, she wasnt there.
There should have been a stabbed, burned, glass riddled body at the bottom of that well, but there wasnt. Instead, just the placid water, though some remnants of blood still lurked on the surface. I gazed over the threshold with my wife, and in a fit of total rage I grabbed the rope that held the bucket to gather water and shredded it between my hands. I sent the pail sailing through the air and into a bush, at which time a familiar voice was heard over our shoulders.
It was that meddler Calithos. I swear that if he were a thorn, hed have come out of the most fel-infused bush within Felwood. The Breys stood opposite of the lawyer, and we rebuked and denied his accusations that we had done anything wrong that evening. In all honesty, we certainly had done several things wrong, but he did not need to be aware of them.
He tried to commence one of those mind tricks of his again, but I neither had the patience nor the want to deal with his games and if he tried, he was going to be in for a fight that he could not win. Calithos Blyde against the singular might of Archin Brey is already lopsided in my favor, but then add the considerable power and wiles of my own wife, and he would be doomed.
The exchange requires little attention. It was more of his typical prying and prodding, and his attempts to right some wrong that has been going on in my life. I dispelled him and told him to go bother someone else with his faulty evidence and his mind tricks. He warned me, as he always does, about the path that I was taking but I was unimpressed and uninterested in the council that he seemed to project on everyone around him.
It had been a long evening, and my wife was growing weary. I walked with her to the Slaughtered Lamb and laid her down in bed, next to our son, and sat beside her until she drifted off to sleep. I marvel at her in her radiance, lying there with our son. He curls up beside her, dark skinned and dark haired, and I can see a prosperous and wonderful life that will be borne throughout the rest of my days.
I lingered and watched her, noting her soft, smooth skin and those beautiful locks of raven hair. My boy looks similar to her, dark skinned and haired, yet he possesses the angular feature of his handsome father. I leaned forward and kissed them both: my wife on the lips, my Karkune on the forehead. She stirred and smiled openly, broadly, in an expression she rarely shows in public and it warmed my heart. It was genuine.
I slipped out of the Lamb. I was antsy. I had nearly murdered two people in one evening so perhaps I just couldnt sleep.
I hearkened back to Arilie, my first victim, and I decided to travel into the bowels of the Cathedral of Light and see if I could figure out just how this girl had survived. As I entered into the chamber where our bloody, gory incident had occurred, it was clear and clean. I checked the coffin where I had laid her, and only there was a bit of dried blood present. It may not even have been hers.
It was at that time that I heard a gasp from the corner, and turning to look a small girl, fifteen at best, was huddled and crying.
I must admit, it even made my mind reel. I didnt expect this.
I asked her what was the matter and she slowly turned to face me. She was very young and her face was red. It was apparent that she had been struck on the cheek, quite hard, and her present state of duress was a direct result of the blow. She recoiled, and then slowly emerged from the corner and approached me. She said that her name was Mai and that she had been slapped for not going to bed when her superior had asked her to.
She suddenly tensed up and gazed over my shoulder at something or someone. Following her gaze, I found that Veras had sauntered down the staircase and joined us. She backed up slightly and shivered.
Veras seems like a nice enough fellow. Perhaps too nice. Usually the most hungry wolf smiles the widest, and oddly enough, he tended to constantly have a wide, toothy grin on his face. As an intellectual he impresses me, particularly with his knowledge of the ancient history and lore that even I tend to gloss over. His reliance, however, on cards to tell of fate and other hoity-toity aspects of life does erode his credibility in my eyes. Nevertheless, a staunch ally he does appear to be, and clearly he possesses more of a social air than myself.
The girl mentioned that an Osrien had smacked her. The name was familiar, but I could not seem to conjure up a face to go with the name. The girl and I had an exchange, in which she basically lambasted my wife and son, and furthermore she seemed apt to challenge my own views and lessen my own considerable authority.
Needless to say, I dont appreciate such treatment. Anger welled in my chest and my mind reeled. I had been so bloodthirsty thus far and that blood thirst was growing again. Here was a girl, defenseless and weak, trapped in the bowels of the very Cathedral where I had ruined another girls life.
I asked Veras if anyone would notice that this girl was missing.
He said no. The soothsayer rose from his seated position and looked at me with a strange gaze. He told me that had Yumeko been here, this girl would have already been strung up and begging for mercy for her treatment of me. He then said that the decisions that we make are our own and then left us alone.
The girl had grown uneasy and she wanted to leave. But I saw her not as a girl, but as a potential victim. To think when my wife woke up if I told her I had beaten this little girl to a pulp, how proud she would be of me! How happy and ecstatic she would be, hearing of such brutality and rampant hatred. I admit, I wanted to. I backed her into a corner, I was not about to let her leave.
After all she had insulted my wife and my family. She had insulted me! A whelp of a girl, insulting Professor Archin Brey! The nerve!
But then I recall the thought that I had, hearing that a grown man had struck this girl. I called him a coward am I a coward?
Would I be a coward, taking this girl and brutalizing her?
Aye I would be! By my own definition I would be a coward and my definitions are always correct.
I told the girl that I wanted to strike her, and she said that was all right.
Indeed! She said if I wanted to hit her, it would be all right and if it made me feel better, that I could do it.
She was inviting me to vent my sick twisted rage against her.
I decided, then and there, that I was going to do it. What would I lose? My wife would be happy, Id be satiated, shed be taken care of and know her place, no one would technically lose anything.
And then she said that shed just lie on the ground with her imp and cry for a bit, but that itd be all right. The fire raged in my chest and I gazed at the ant with a piercing gaze. I told her to keep her arms at her side and her eyes closed, and that I was going to level her.
She complied, and in the basement of the Cathedral of Light, I glared at her and ground my teeth. Tightening my fist, I pulled back
and I was struck with a level of conscience that I hadnt experienced in so long. I could not do this to this girl. I couldnt even find a truly justifiable reason.
Instead, I hugged her. I felt so horrible for being the monster that I was, for scaring her, for trapping her like a rat in a cage after she had already been brutalized by someone else. I gripped her hard and rested my forehead on her diminutive shoulder. Aye, a forty-one year old Professor of Pyromancy his own brain driving him nearly insane.
She recoiled, violently, as the act of tenderness seemed to frighten her even more than my threats. I was broken I felt like bursting into a million tears of guilt and never stopping. I apologized. I was embarrassed at my conduct and my current state of affairs, and I turned and walked away with my face buried in my hand.
Veras, had never left. He had slinked around the corner, still in earshot, and must have heard the entire exchange. He was simply picking a nail as I dragged myself past him, yet I caught a look in his eye one of acceptance and appraisal.
I went back to the Lamb and after composing myself I lay down with my wife.
I would not tell her of that event, that evening. I know shed be upset and disappointed with me.
I had failed.
I lay in my bed next to my wife and my son, contemplating the events that have transpired this evening. Gazing up at the ceiling of the Slaughtered Lamb, and hearing the crackling of the pyre next to us, I can't help but feel my mind reel at the change of settings that I've grown accustomed to. I used to be pampered and taken care of like a dignitary in Dalaran! I had Mages that would bow to me if I even glanced at them. Now, I wander Stormwind daily and while respect is given by those that are actually worth a damn, so many others think they can scoff at me.
Nevertheless, my life has taken an interesting turn this evening, and it all started with an ominous letter.
I was simply walking through the Mage district when the little gnome mailman ran up to me and announced that I had a new bit of mail in my mailbox. I hadn't been anticipating any mail but made my way to my mailbox and lo and behold, a letter with a strange seal was sitting inside my box. Opening the letter, I found that the letter was from none other than Meris herself, and that she requested that myself and my wife attend a meeting that evening.
The location, however, was particularly interesting: Caer Darrow.
What would someone want with Caer Darrow? That poor island, shelled and torn asunder by the Horde during the Second War. The precious Runestone which was to be protected on that island was taken from the defenders and used to create the death knights. Perhaps a strange precursor to the horrible mess we find ourselves in today.
Considering the help that Meris has offered me in the past, I certainly would never pass up a chance to attend a meeting at her request.
Yumeko had some matters to attend to, so I bid her adieu and made my way to Caer Darrow. Stopping off at Southshore to grab something to drink, I ran into the Priestess Peejee... the banana toting Night Elf that had saved my life nights before. She was astounded to see that I had pulled myself away from the magnetism of Stormwind, and after telling her that I had to attend some sort of meeting in Caer Darrow she quickly let me know that she too had to attend some sort of gathering.
Very interesting indeed.
Considering that it is quite dangerous to head into Caer Darrow, I served as a guide for Peejee. When we entered into the shattered remains of Caer Darrow, the gnome Neia was seated on the stone and staring up at the sky.
Things were continuing to grow interesting. The fiery haired lad, Auturgen, approached from behind me. Yet another individual of which I've grown more and more acquainted with as of late!
My wife arrived shortly thereafter, and one by one more and more individuals arrived. Of those that I knew, it included Meris, Osrien Poynard, the gnome Mareena, the girl Havyn, and Sir Baydon.
To take a moment out to comment on Havyn, I have a strange history with this girl. I met her, months ago, when she was just a poorly trained warlock, in the Blue Recluse. I was sitting there, reading a book written by Daelin Proudmoore, when she skittered into the bar and sat down beside me. Young, unsure of herself, and very frightened, she seemed lost and needed someone to talk to.
I remember then telling her to avoid the dark arts of the Nether and to try to regain her past if she could... she listened to me intently and seemed respectful of me. She seemed hopeful, positive, and open minded.
Now, months later, I see but a shell of that girl. She is cold as ice, condescending, and still a Warlock. It breaks my heart, because I had tried to help her back then and clearly I failed... as something very different has come about in this girls heart. It does not anger me when she seems to ignore me or scoff at my union with Yumeko, but rather disappoints me in her change.
Perhaps it's a parental thing, I do not know, but it is something that I feel. However, she does not give a damn about me or my family... and I suppose she would not want me caring about her either, so I should let her go. Anyway...
We approached the gutted Scholomance and wound throughout the skeletal structure until we came into a grand hall. Standing there alone was Veras and it was quite clear that he was waiting for us. Everyone, save for myself, my wife, and Auturgen, seemed to take some sort of a station in the room while the three of us merely stood still and glanced around.
I was not worried, nor was my wife. We stood stoically and quizzically, but knew that we were safe. The duo of the Brey's were more than a match for anything that could be thrown at them, and clearly this was not some sort of a trap.
Veras talked about how we had to practice in our combat skills and to make sure that we are able to defend ourselves. It is interesting, because since meeting Veras he's never once spoken about war or combat or anything like that. However in this venue his tone had taken a considerably more serious tone.
I glanced over at Auturgen, who stood a few paces to the side and behind my wife and I, and I could see that he was a bit more concerned about the entire situation, as opposed to us. The look on his face told me that he had no idea what was going on. He also spoke of a fellow, known as Maligon, who was not to be trifled with.
I recall meeting this fellow in the Jester a few weeks before, and he stood there and berated Meris very harshly over what appeared to be a trivial matter. I was quick to tell him, at that time, that etiquette would go a long way. But Meris seemed positively terrified of this unassuming man, and I do admit that I felt some sort of fel energy emanating from him. But I'm hardly deterred by something such as that.
After discussing the man himself, Veras' eyes lit up and he requested that myself and Yumeko step forward and assist him. Nodding to him, the two of us walked up to Veras quietly and aided in a summon and none other than Maligon stood before us. We quietly took our places and stood quietly again.
I won't go into detail regarding everything that occurred. I remember it vividly. However, it would appear that Maligon serves as a vessel for another character... his Master. Maligon had mentioned his Master to me before, stating that he was a professor of Philosophy in Dalaran. He probably was a colleague of mine. Though I found the Philosophy department to be somewhat fruitless and wasteful.
Maligon approached me with a cocky look in his eyes and stared me in the face. With a sly grin, he asked why I was here and what I wanted in life. I told him in a straightforward manner my intentions, and he told me not to reply to him as if he was a 'trained monkey.' I cleared my throat, raised my brow, and told him that I was answering him like a gentleman. Nonetheless, I gave him a more 'emotional' answer, as Meris put it.
He seemed pleased with me and moved on to Auturgen, whom he lambasted and actually assaulted, and then Sir Baydon, whom he ordered out of the room, along with Poynard, for some strange business about chest carving. I waited for Maligon to turn to my wife, and reeled against what would probably happen.
My wife would not take his jibes and I could see her yelling at him. Then him yelling at her. Then I yelling back at him and defending her and then the entire situation degenerating into a useless and fruitless argument. However, Maligon was not interesting in pestering my wife, and instead spoke of how by helping him, we would all achieve whatever goals we were after.
I admit, I was impressed by the fellow. He did command the respect of the group. Some of the onlookers seemed positively terrified.
It even appeared that some of them would be willing to die for this man, or humiliate themselves before him. I do admit, I would never be so inspired by someone to do something like that. The only man ever to inspire such respect from me was Admiral Proudmoore... and for all of his countenance, this Maligon was no Daelin Proudmoore.
However, at the same time, I do give respect and credit where it is due and I am mindful of the chain of command and the pecking order. I understand the workings of a machine, and if one cog works out of sync with the others the machine can implode.
I am sure that many present were surprised that I would be willing to idly stand by and listen to this boastful gentleman, but I have no problem with that, nor do I have any reservations with working in concert with him.
Maligon took his leave almost as suddenly as he had arrived, and had warned us all not to cross him or turn on him. In my own opinion, so long as he respects myself and my wife, he'll have nothing to worry about the Brey's.
Veras announced an interesting project he was working on, in which he was looking for representatives to stand in for various types of his tarot cards. I admit, I don't believe much in that silly little game, but I'm willing to help him. He had announced some of the possible representatives of cards that were present, including the possibility that Yumeko and I would represent the "Lovers."
My chest welled with pride at this prospect. To represent a union of two individuals in love, my wife and I, made me so happy and proud of our union. To know that people look at us and say, "Those two are in love," makes me incredibly pleased.
Now we gaze around and try to fill in the gaps... see who can fit the mold of these other cards. It seems worthless to me, but something that I am willing to participate in. Who knows, perhaps I'll even learn something!
We took our leave and now here I am, staring at the ceiling. Tarot cards, Maligon, Veras, and Caer Darrow? Auturgen seemed very nervous by the end of the affair, as did Baydon. It shook me to see that Sir Baydon seemed bothered... he seemed as stoic as any man I had ever seen.
Nevertheless, the Brey's are a force of progress and advancement, not stagnation. We will help our newfound friends with whatever venture is required, and we will do our best, which will of course be the best.
I am unafraid and intrigued.
And I lay here with my family, my arm around my beautiful Yumeko.
End of Musings of an Azeroth Mage Book 11
[<--- Book 10] [Book 12 --->]