“THEY DID WHAT!?”
Emmy gritted her teeth, the comet-eyed half elf’s gaze thrust out like daggers on the poor raven-haired receptionist before her. She was seething like she never had before, the hall around her as silent as the grave. It was like it was holding it’s breath, preparing for a major storm that was soon to come.
“I- I’m sorry Archmage! I’m not on the council! I had no say in the matter!” the woman stuttered, eyes flitting from side to side, unsure what to do about her current situation.
With an exasperated sigh, Emmy reeled herself back in and closed her eyes. When I count to ten, I will no longer feel the urge to hurt someone. She told herself. And for quite a long while, she remained silent.
“…Ar- Archmage Bluefire?” the receptionist asked, her voice shaky with nervousness.
“You’re right.” she sighed softly, the boiling sensation beneath her skin fading. At least for now. “You didn’t.” Emmy noted, opening up her eyes to the woman. She was right. This poor receptionist had no say in the matter, not a single ounce. If she was going to be mad at anyone, it would have be the Council of Six. This poor girl was just the middle man between them. The messenger. And it was never ethical to shoot the messenger, so to speak.
The receptionist eased up… if only a little bit. Though the room around her still remained quiet with some level of anticipation. “…S- so.” she shook her head, regaining her former posture. “Would you like me to set up an appointment with someone?”
“I would like to speak with the council as soon as possible, please.” Emmy’s tone, though calm… was cold, devoid of emotion. Those nuisances were not useful right now.
The receptionist gulped. “I’m afraid most of the council is busy at the present time.”
“Are they in a meeting?” Emmy quirked a brow.
“Well- not with each other, no.”
“Then an individual member will do. Archmage Kalec?”
“He’s holed up in Kharazahn.”
The receptionist nodded, smiling sheepishly.
Emmy scoffed, rolling her eyes. “Fine. Mondera?”
The receptionist stopped, looking down at her papers. “She’s… actually. Her meeting should be just about finis-”
“Excellent. Send me up there right away.”
“Wait, you have like- two people ahea-”
“I don’t care.” Emmy’s gaze snapped back at the raven haired woman. “Fit me in ahead of them. My topic is far more important that some other mage’s wacky experiment or portal report.”
The woman gave pause, looking almost offended. But Emmy’s presence seemed foreboding to her. Her form very looming despite her actual stature. Emmy’s eyes felt hot, the magic manifesting from them flaring up, making them brighter. They began emitting residual arcane energies in the form of wispy blue licks of smoke. The temperature around her falling drastically in degree. It was like a cold, ghostly draft had entered the room. But nay, it came from her. The otherwise phlegm in her mannerisms making this all the more off-putting.
“Right away, Archmage.” The girl wasted no time. Picking up her long, purple quill, the arrangements were made in an instant. “Just-” she gestured past the the grand circular hall of the violet citadel, and up the stairs to Emmy’s right. “Head on up that way. She’s in her office.”
Emmy nodded once in affirmation. “Thank you, for your cooperation.” Turning heel, she grasped her ribs gently, wincing a bit as the bandages masking her burns agitated the injuries beneath. Damn those Naga… Inhaling sharply through her nose, she lifted her posture as high as she could and, very briskly, started to head in that direction.
The walk wasn’t long. But to Emmy it was arduous. Not necessarily for her body. But for her mind. Yes, the burning pain in her sides and shoulder were worsened by the briskness in her walk–she really should be taking it easy–but her emotions where threatening to get the better of her. A process she was always terrified to allow to happen, as magic is tied to her very being. She’s dangerous when not in control. But part of her couldn’t help it. Couldn’t let the situation stand. The aspects gave up the abilities the titans granted them because they trusted mortal kind to protect Azeroth in their stead. But the longer this has went on, the more she started to believe… the mortals were the ones who fucked up the world to begin with. At least to the degree it’s been now.
Critical as she was of Malygos towards the end… she did start to see his point. And that notion? It scared her. It really did. All the years she’s spent with the mortals she’s grown fond of them. Their culture, their societies, their progression. They, as a whole, were almost like her children in a way. And like children, they were bound to make mistakes. And that? That… was something she worries has blinded her all this time. They’re bound to make mistakes. She always told herself. You just have to forgive them, and teach them where they went wrong. But leaving the Tidestone unguarded in the tomb!? In a place where Naga can easily gain access!? This mistake was far more dire than the others. This mistake threatened the very safety of Azeroth, her people, and everyone on it. Could this mistake even be worthy of forgiveness? She hoped… nay, preyed, that she was wrong.
Knocking on the door, she heard Archmage Mondera’s voice call fourth. “Come in.”
It creaked as it opened, Emmy’s ears twitching at the sound. Before her was a large, circular office. Similar in size to the Violet Lounge high above… only instead of comfy chairs and delectable foodstuffs, it was filled to the brim with enchanted books that flew from shelf to shelf, stacked in large bookshelves almost twelve feet tall. Behind a large, dark oaken desk of enormous proportions sat Archmage Mondera. An ashen haired, middle aged woman adorned in blue mage-plates atop a fine silken gown. The grand lavender and gold Tabard of the Kirin’Tor contrasting against it, accentuating the color of the armor beneath.
“I swear, Margoss, if this is another plea from you to transport Dalaran to Vashj’ir you are going to be sorely dissapoin-”
Emmy stepped in, carefully shutting the door behind her, and locking it. “Is the room warded?”
The woman lifted her gaze from her ledger and stared at Emmy blankly for a moment. But within a fleeting time afterward, she nodded in affirmation. She smiled. “Thaumaturge Sorvegosa. This is a rare pleasure indeed.”
“I fear you may think differently, once you hear what I have to say.”
Mondera’s expression turned from pleasant to that of grim disposition. Tapping her quill to the ledger one last time, she lifted it from the page and set it into the inkwell. Leaning forward, the woman pressed the tips of her fingers together and hummed. “This is about our negligence of the Tidestone, isn’t it?”
Emmy was taken aback, eyes wide with anger. They acknowledged it!? They knew this was going to happen, and didn’t do anything about it!? “Why!?” She asked sharply, hands extended out in an exasperated shrug.
“Believe me… it wasn’t wholly our choice.” Mondera sighed, fingers moving to rub her temples, and to pinch the bridge of her nose.
“You always had a choice. And you chose not the guard the tomb after our war with the legion! Why?”
“We were stretched too thin after that, Sorvegosa. Or perhaps you’ve forgotten. The Tomb of Sargeras became a rather low priority after the champions of Azeroth drove the legion out.”
Emmy paused, once again attempting to reel herself back in. She turned her head away and placed a hand to her forehead, fingers and thumbs caressing her brow.
With a quiet sigh, Mondera waved her hand in a ‘come hither’ type motion, animating the chair in front of her large oaken desk to make itself more accessible to the distressed dragon-in-elf-form before her. “Please, Archmage. Have a seat.”
Placing a hand on the chair, Emmy carefully made her way down. Falling flat in the comfortable red velvet seat. “So… you’re telling me: that you didn’t think Aszhara and her minions would be after it? You can’t know exactly what they’re planning. I understand that. But you do know that such an artifact would have given them quite the edge in their quest for world domination. Surely you could have anticipated that, at least.”
“We didn’t expect her to be coming so soon. Not after the blow we dealt to her forces in the Tomb itself. It was as if… she knew our forces were weak, and took advantage of the opportunity.” She finished pointedly. Half-glareing at the woman before her.
Emmy sighs. “I did warn the council she was coming. Did I not?”
“The Warning came too late. The council had no time to deliberate the best coarse of action.”
Emmy stood up abruptly, the dragoness slamming her hands on the desk. “Dalaran is host to some of the most powerful mages in the world! The best coarse of action would have been to at least send in a group of them to resist! Equipped with a fail-safe too! Should things have started to turn dire! They could have at least weakened Aszhara’s forces enough for us to track and pursue them! We could have warned the other factions of the impending threat… rather than them falling into a pit and discovering it for themselves! Losing their navy’s in the process!” her skin felt like it was boiling beneath the dermis. The air moving through her nose in her seething breath made her feel like a disturbed bull witnessing the color red. She took a deep breath inward, running a hand through her bangs and vigorously pushing them back.
“Well what would you have us do, Thaumaturge? No decision in Dalaran can be made without the direction of the council and those that represent them.”
“I don’t know. Gather what forces you can, find a way to get the Horde and Alliance to work together, utilize the other pillars of creation. Something. You guys have done this in the past. Why can’t you figure it out now?”
Mondera glanced down at her desk, taking several deep breaths inward. She rubbed her temples and simply… settled down. “I will gather the council members as soon as I can. We’ll… deliberate on what to do next. In the meantime just- keep doing what you’re doing–I suppose–with what forces you can muster, Archmage.”
Emmy huffed, pushing herself from the desk. “Alright… I’m sorry to have wasted your time.” she finished, turning heel to walk away. As she reached out to grasp the doorknob though, a small set of tears began to push themselves from her eyelids. A large knot in the back of her throat started to free itself. Damnit… I’m really about to cry now? No. I can’t.
She was lying to herself. Her eyes were drawn to a single candlelight down the hall. It’s little flame flickering, and licking the sides of the wax stick that fueled it. It… began to get hot. The pain in her sides clawing back out to become ever-more agonizing as they once were. With a wince, she grasped her left side with both hands. The room grew dark, and around her she could see the shadows of… countless Naga. Sirens, Myrmidons… each one chanting in a low, infernal tongue.
Fssh, wgah qam za zyqtahg. Fssh, wgah qm za zyqtahg. Mg'uulwi N'Zoth, eth'razzqi worg zz oou. Fssh, wgah gam za zyqtahg. Fssh wgah gm za zyqtahg. Mq’uulwi N’zoth!
She remembered it as vividly as her own heartbeat. Those words… though she would never understand them… they instilled dread in her heart. She remembered only cackling… and pain.
“Your naught but a fragment. A wannabe of your race. You will never aspire to anything more, Ley-Child. If you were really so mighty, you wouldn’t be in this sorry state. Never again. Never again… embrace him, embrace him and the pain will go away.” Another voice echoed within. The sick, serpentine voice of the Siren who did this to her. But she remained still, stubborn. A hot iron was stabbed into her skin while she lie there, netted down… hopeless to defend, not able to do anything but squeal and writhe in agony. It came again. And again… each insult to her pride worse than the last. It went, and went… and burned and burned… until her mind gave way to sleep, too exhausted to say anything more than the truth. She couldn’t even save herself. No… she had to be rescued. Rescued by the very souls she was trying to protect. Souls who are now, in even greater danger than they were before. It was her fault… the Naga knew they could capture the Tidestone because of her. All her time she spent preparing for the worst. All the wards and webs, and lies she spun to keep her enemies off her trail… it was for nothing. And now the world was going to drown because of h-
“Miss Bluefire?” A mousy voice perked up from behind. In an instant, the darkness faded. Startled, she jumped, spinning around rapidly to face the girl behind her. A young girl, couldn’t be older than sixteen. She had ginger hair and a pair of brilliant hazel eyes, uncorrupted by the trials of the world. Emmy tilted her head, confused… though she hastily moved to wipe tears from her eyes.
“Uh… h- Hi!” she girl extended her hand. “I’m apprentice Kinsey Kenzington! I- we met very briefly. For your book, remember?”
Perplexed, Emmy extended her hand… processing what just happened. “My… book?”
The girl nodded excitedly. “Y-yes! Your book… um. An Analysis On Magic, Less Is More.. yeah? I um… I- I told you my story on how I used one of your- erm…” she paused, still shaking Emmy’s hand. “’Methods’ to easier summon a Water Elemental.”
Barely managing a smile. She chuckled. “Oh! Yes… I um. I remember now. You- you actually made it into my book.”
Kinsey nodded sharply once more, suddenly realizing she had been shaking Emmy’s hand for far too long, she abruptly pulled away, looking down with embarrassment. “Well… I- I guess I just wanted to say hi! Thank you for that opportunity by the way. Little Guppy has been super helpful in classes! I might make him my familiar!” she giggled.
Overcoming the shock, Emmy finally let out a little chuckle. “O-oh. Well. I’m glad to hear it!”
The other girl beamed, skipping off down the hall. And as Emmy watched her, a new sense of motivation enveloped her. Yes… she had failed. That was her mistake, and she must now learn from it. But she can’t let it defeat her. That is what the Old gods would want, after all. No, she had to carry on… so that the new generation, such as the girl she just met, can live a better life than she. That was her oath… her true responsibility.