((Val sent this letter to all of the members of the Stormwind University. The letter is inside a black envelope closed with a red wax seal, and it was impregnated with the smell of the citrus perfume Valerie usually wears.))
With the present letter I wish to inform all members of the university of my plans to resign from the Historical Studies Department. Both Department's Heads of the departments I am a member of (Magical Arts & Sciences and Historical Studies; Professor Meadows and Professor Stratford, respectively) have been informed of this decision.
The reason behind this is that I became aware, in the last months, of the amount of work leading the Fel Arts Program is going to represent. Not only it includes the usual work of any program (classes, paperwork, meetings, etc.), but also must be able to confront common threats and controversies, unique to this program. Taking this into account, I believe I am taking the most responsible and thoughtful decision by focusing all my energy and my time to this cause.
But, I surely don't leave the Historical Studies Department empty-handed. This department and its crew welcomed this poorly experienced and awkward warlock to be part of their renowned members. This department has made me what I am today, and has helped me grow, not only as an academic, but also as a person. I will never be able to repay everything this department has given me, but I will try by making them proud as a leader inside the Magical Arts & Sciences Department, and as the head of the Fel Arts Program.
((This is kinda the official report (or, at least, the most public one). From now on, Val will be part of the Magic Arts & Science Department exclusively and, after her first class, she'll begin posting her finding within the Fel Arts Program over here. :) ))
Fel-Bending Class - #1
I understood some time ago that it wouldn’t be wise to offer the Fel Arts classes inside the walls of Stormwind. Tonight, during my first class with real students, I realized that the ‘limitation’ of not being able to host the class in the city was actually an advantage: Every single class was a potential expedition! This time I didn’t want to scare my students too much with the setting, so I summoned them to a place in the meadows of the Arathi Highlands, far away from curious eyes.
Six students assisted and I remembered everyone from the interviews. They all seemed excited for the class and had already started socializing among themselves while they waited to be summoned, behind the Slaughtered Lamb. I looked at my notes once more before starting.
“Danna Fadollia: 22 y/o. Female Gnome. Daughter of Archmage Zaren Fadollia of the Kirin Tor. Excellent student, and very kind. She has read enough books about the fel arts and demons to be the most literate student we have. Clever and a real strategist; I already can vision her as my right hand in most of my classes. She said her father wasn’t happy with her decision to abandon her studies as part of the Kirin Tor, but, in her own words, ‘he is wise enough to let me take my own path’. I must be careful, I liked her too fast and she probably is a spy sent by the Kirin Tor. Aelna suggested me to win her loyalty before she could leak too much valuable information to Dalaran.”
I looked at the portal and saw her waving at me. I smiled and nodded back at her. The rays of this dawn-sun hit her hair, making its golden color shine as if powered by the Light. Her skin was white as the snow that now covers Alterac’s ruins and her blue eyes remembered me of the blue sea that washes the shores of Booty Bay. “She can get anything with the way she looks…”, I thought to myself as I saw her speaking to the other students, “and she still studies as if she wanted to get a grasp of every knowledge Azeroth had to offer…” “Focus…”, whispered Aelna to my ear, “we must start the class.” She didn’t sound too happy to realize that I was looking at someone that wasn’t her.
“Don’t worry, girl,” I whispered back with a smile, “she’s no competition for you.” She smiled as she heard this. I cleared my throat loudly to let them know the class was about to start. “Good morning ”, I started, “I’m very pleased to welcome you all to your first class in the Fel Arts program: The class is called Fel-Bending and it’s where you will learn how to make the fel energies answer to you, and not the other way around. And, believe me, it WILL control you if you do not take this class seriously… I know this knowledge may be too basic for some of you, but we need to be sure that you take this first steps with the correct guidance.”
The whole class took about two hours and, when it ended, we were all exhausted. I was already proud of my students… it seems we choose the correct candidates after all. With the help of Danna we created a portal back to Stormwind. Everyone started using it and only she, Aelna and I remained; as I was about to step through it, she made it disappear. When I looked at her she was wickedly smiling. Aelna jumped between her and me, expecting the worst.
Danna faced changed as she looked at Aelna’s red eyes as she got her whip ready. “Why did you did that for?”, I asked. “I… I just wanted to speak with y… you, Professor”, her broken voice sounded like a scared child. Aelna made her whip disappear and covered her face with her both hands. “I’m sooooo sorry!”, she said, looking at the frightened gnome, “I… I… didn’t… I’m so sorry!” “Don’t be, Ael,” I said with a harsh tone, “it was Danna’s mistake”. Aelna looked at me with wide eyes, and she quickly understood what I meant. She nodded and desummoned herself to give us some privacy.
“I’m… sorry, Lady Briade. It was stupid of me”, she said. “’Inadequate’ with be the word that I would use. We warlocks and our demons have learned to mistrust most actions that seem dangerous to us because… they usually are”, I said. “Let us just forget about this ever happening and tell me what you want to speak with me.” “Yes”, she started, still nervous, “I noticed that you seem to handle the fel energies in a very different way than most warlocks I’ve read about. I don’t mean to offend you in any way if this offends you but, it seemed to me that you relate to the fel energies more closely to the way a shaman does to the elements, than a warlock usually does to the energies he uses”. She giggled a little after saying that, but she tried to hide it as best she could.
“Oh, that is no offense at all. I never thought of it that way, but you are probably right. My teacher wanted my feeling towards my powers were positive, not negative. He didn’t want to see me grow with hate and rage as my companions,” I said softly and with a smile, remembering my uncle teaching me about the fel arts in these same lands where I now was dictating a class to my own students. “And, if you think about it, the fel energies and the elements have many things in common: They both give great power to a masterful user; they can easily turn against an inexperienced wielder; they both have a mind of their own; and they both can be pretty mischievous!” We both laughed. “Oh! That would be an understatement, indeed!”, she said.
“Now,” I said as we stopped laughing, “will you please be so kind as to reopen that portal?” “Oh, right!”, she said, immediately reopening it, “I’m sorry.” “Just, tell me what’s on your mind next time”, I smiled at her as I stepped through the portal back to Stormwind.
Later that day, speaking with Aelna about what happened with Danna, we came to the conclusion that she was very interested in becoming close to me. I will not close my doors to her, but I will be cautious; after all, I DO know that my heart is my real weak spot.
((First fel art’s class given by Valerie. :) I’ll continue posting classes and discoveries as part of the classes and talking about the students one at a time (and showing more about Val’s personality). :) Hope you enjoyed!))
General Ethics Class - #2
The night was falling onto the Blasting Lands. As the students arrived through the demonic gateway, I started thinking about Nassar, my only uncursed human student. Even though all of them have an immense potential, I do think that he may be the most gifted one. He always seems to learn easier than the others and he has an impressive control over the fel energies. He will probably become more powerful than me in a few years, even though he is just eighteen years old.
They all finished gathering in front of me, inside the big circle of torches. The ethics classes are always difficult to plan. I do not want to teach them what is right and what is wrong, but better let them decide how and why to fight for. I do not want to tell them that using their powers against an innocent person is bad, but better that they find, by themselves, why they shouldn’t do it. I hope that, at the end of the program, they are capable of knowing the best ways and the best occasions to use their powers for the wellbeing of our world.
My concentration was disrupted when I fel Nassar’s powers. They have increased greatly since the last time we met; more than what I’m at ease with. It is as if he is constantly keeping them active, always stirring them. I felt concerned for him because, even though doing so will help him increase his control over the energies, it will also make the corruption advance faster. Looking at Aelna, I knew she felt it too.
I sat down; making sure everyone could easily see me. “In Pandaren philosophy, there is a common question… ‘Why do we fight?’”, I said in a respectful tone. I let their thoughts explore the matter in silence, for a moment. “But”, abruptly I continued, in a much more familiar tone, “this question, as basic as it sounds, has an implicit affirmation: ‘We must fight’ … Do you agree with this? Do you believe we /must/ fight?” There was, again, a short silence.
Their faces revealed both deep thoughts and sudden emotions. This topic has roots on every one of our hearts and it’s im… “Yes”, the young male’s voice interrupted my thoughts, “we must fight! Our universe is at war, and chaos is all around us. Those who are not strong enough to fight are condemned to die on the hands of those who are. This is especially true with us warlocks. We live in a world that either despises us or are terrified by us, and, in rare occasions, the just tolerate us.” The silence took control once more.
“Well”, started Danna, with calm and arrogance in her voice, “someone whose only tool to get others respect is by the use of violence, and that he relies on strength alone to solve his problems, has a whole different spectrum of weaknesses.”
The heated discussion went on for long, even after the class was over. The Horde, The Legion, Theramore, the Old Gods, were some of the discussed topics. Some thought that fighting was part of our nature, while others supported the idea that we should only fight when we don’t have another choice. I abstained from interceding except to get some facts straight, an Aelna did the same.
Later, when Aelna and I arrived home, I couldn’t keep my thoughts away from Nassar. He is brilliant and skilled, but radical and stubborn. “Nassar Ebonrapier…”, said Aelna while looking at me, “curious one… eh?” I just nodded, trying to make her speak more about her thoughts. “Don’t you feel his way of thinking is a bit… scary?”, she asked, not letting my silent observation to continue any further. “I didn’t think about it until now. Why do you think that?”, I asked back.
Aelna answered shyly, when she noticed that I wasn’t on the same page she was, “Well… it seemed to me that the way he sees the world is too similar to that of the… Legion…” “How so?”, I asked, frowning my eyebrows a bit. “He said that our universe is chaotic… and that we should always fight those who oppose us… don’t you think that’s… concerning?”, she said. “Well… it does sounds odd if you put it like that…”, I answered, more concerned now, “but he is still young… he has much to learn and much to experience.” She didn’t spoke any further, but I could feel she was still uncomfortable with the situation. “Don’t worry, Ael. I’ll keep my eyes on him”, I said with a smile. She smiled, finally, back at me.
Stormwind University is thrilled to announce that for her contributions to the field of Fel Arts, Lady Valerie Briade is eligible for promotion! On the night of Wednesday, February 24th at 6:00 PM Server, we will hold a tenure defense where she will defend her work in the hopes of rising to the rank of Associate Professor!
Assuming all goes well (which it will!), Lady Valerie Briade will be eligible for her next promotion on March 25th, 2016.
"Gazing into the abyss" (Research) - 1
Rain fell over Stormwind. The thunders had stopped but the water kept washing the city. Valerie Briade, covered by a large hooded cloak walked through the Mage Quarter at a steady pace. She was close to her destiny: The Slaughtered Lamb. For almost ten years, she shared this place with powerful warlocks, wicked magicians, and corrupted priests, but she had left it all behind some years before applying to the Stormwind University.
She stood just outside for a minute or two, seemingly taking the courage to return to this light-forsaken place. As she finally entered, she hung her coat and sat down at an empty table. There were six visible persons, in addition to Jarel the bartender, and most of them turned to look at her when she crossed the entrance; her snow white hair was widely notorious in a dark place like this. Even though she saw some familiar faces, she ignored them for now. It’s always better when they come to her.
“Oh! It seems that mistress Vasull has honored us with her presence…” said a Kaldorei woman with a playful tone as she sat down at Valerie’s table. She had a red and golden, long dress that contrasted with her dark blue skin and didn’t left much to the imagination. She had words in Eredun tattooed all over her right arm, shoulder, the right part of her neck, and even a part of her right cheek, with seemingly, the blackest ink on all of Azeroth.
Valerie didn’t even turned to look at her, but smiled. “It’s good to see’ya, Athana. I’m glad ya’r still alive and well”, Valerie said, looking at the bartender and raising her hand to ask for his services. “I don’t know about but, with this body, I pretend to live forever. I remember to take some of your jobs back in the day”, she said with a smug tone. “Why may I bring you, miss?” the bartender asked Valerie. “Bring me anything dwarven that ya’ ‘ave”, she answered, making the elf wait for her reaction. “Well, miss, we have several dwarven drinks. We have…” the bartender said until Valerie interrupted. “Then, brin’ me tha one that sells tha least”, she said harshly. The bartender nodded as he walked away.
“As far as I remember… I was tha one taking most o’ your jobs”, Valerie said boldly. Athana chuckled and said: “Well, that’s not fair! You count as two. Speaking of which, how’s that succubus of yours doing?”, she asked. “As effective and obedient as always…” answered Valerie as she received a cup of some cheap ale. “That’s good to know!” said the elf with enthusiasm. “Hey, I have a job for you two” she continued in almost a whisper, “there’s this guy, Declain Steele, which has been giving some of us some trouble lately… How about if you use your old tricks and ‘convince’ him to leave this city and avoid stepping a foot on it again?” she said with an almost seductive tone.
“Do it yourself…” Valerie said before taking a sip from her drink, “I’m not interested”. The Kaldorei frowned her eyebrows, but then return to her usual smug smiling. “So…”, whispered Athana at her ear, “what are you interested on?” “Well” said Valerie as she took another sip and moved away from the elf, keeping her distance, “I need to speak with Koltar Steamsoul. Is he still around?” Athana let out a deep sigh and walked away with angry steps.
After a couple of minutes, when Valerie was about to finish her drink, someone sat down in front of her, at the opposing side of the table. It was a gnome and an imp. The gnome was dressed in a black robe with red parts that simulated blood stains. He was bald, whit even his eyebrows missing, and apparently very old. His skin was in a terrible state, with parts falling and leaving behind horrible and pestilent wounds that became ugly scars, and what made him look almost as a leper gnome. But the most breathtaking feature were his eyelids, which were carefully stitched with a single dry-blood-covered silver wire that was wrapped around his head. Some would probably confuse him with an undead. The imp to his side was also a weird looking one. It was uncommonly tall for an imp, what made him taller than his master. He seemed as he was there both to guide and to protect the blind gnome. Obediently sitting in silence by his master, it seemed it was a very serious and calm one, especially for an imp.
“What an honor to be called to Mrs. Vasull’s table. Is there a especial occasion… a death wish, perhaps?” he said with his weak voice. “Shut up, Steamsoul. I ‘ave a serious business for ya” Valerie said with harsh tone. “You go missing for three years and then you come back asking for favors? That’s not how stuff works around here, y’know?” he said with a smug tone on his voice. “I said SHUT UP, sad excuse fo’ a gnome! I have a plan tha’ can make you even stronger” Valerie said as she asked for a refill of her drink with signs. “I’m listening…” he said in a serious tone. “I wanna make some research on demons and warlocks. I want to become mo’ powerful…” she said as her drink was being refilled.
The gnome laughed loudly, but was interrupted by a nasty-sounding whooping cough. “You know who I work for, girl. You know who will reclaim ownership over my soul when my day comes. Why would someone like you ask this from someone like me? And why should I help someone who will eventually use her power against my master?” the blind warlock asked. “You don’t ‘ave limits; that’s what makes ya useful for me. I don’t care if you plan to use y’r powers to help the Legion… I just want mo’ power, and you do to… and I know you don’t care a shit about your masters as long as you can get it” she said with an impressive amount of confidence in her voice.
“Well” the gnome started saying with a smile as he turned his head towards his companion, “she’s got that right, eh?” The he loudly laughed again. The whooping cough interrupted once more, but this time the gnome coughed some blood over the table, with some of the drops of blood falling inside Valerie’s cup. She moved the cup away from her with disgust as the imp offered a napkin to his master. Valerie stood up with an angry expression and left some silver coins over the table to pay for the drinks. “See ya’ in Felwood, three nights from now, near to the Bloodvenom Falls. Be prepared; I won’t be saving your old ass” she said as she walked away. “Say ‘hi’ to that succubus of yours from my part” he said as she was leaving. It seemed she ignored him as she grabbed her cloak and left the place.
"Gazing into the abyss" (Research) - 2
Although the fel-smelling winds cooled down Felwood, Valerie kept herself warm by staying close to one of the contaminated Bloodvenom streams. Some minutes earlier, she had summoned Gorrogg, her observer; currently he was wandering around, with his usual and obsessive thirst for knowledge. Valerie seemed impatient with the long wait for the gnome’s arrival. She was dressed in a red and black robe and a black wrap that covered both her hair and her face. Only her light green eyes and white eyebrows were visible. Gorrogg hastily went from one plant to the other, and even stopping close to some of the corrupted fauna of the zone, to scan them.
Suddenly, Valerie started feeling the vibrations caused by the steps of close-by ancient. “Gorrogg! Don’t let it see you!” she said as soft as she could, but making sure her observer would be able to listen. But Gorrogg, instead of hiding with Valerie, had to take a look at the being. No more than a couple of seconds had elapsed when she was able to see Gorrogg fleeing from the rampaging tree. Valerie let out a sigh of anger as she prepared to cast a fel fire ball to ignite the withered protector, “I’m sorry…” she muttered to herself.
She halted, just before incinerating the enraged tree, as she saw a giant rock covered in green fire precipitating over the ancient. The meteor caused the anthropomorphic tree to collapse and be ignited in fel flames, and the rocks reformed to become an abyssal wrapped around the agonizing being. Valerie was able to see Koltar maniacally laughing and controlling the demon from a distance to cause as much pain as he could. Valerie used her powers to return the demon from where it came and casted a Hand of Gul’dan on the tree to end its life swiftly. She turned to look at the cloaked gnome that was still laughing, “Was tha’ spectacle necessary?!” “Of course!” he answered, “it would seem to the short-sighted that you had compassion for that ancient”. “Look little filth!” she said as she stood towering in front of the short warlock, “if your stupidity causes us to be in any danger, I promise right here and right now, I’ll gut you myself as an animal. And let you to rot in these woods. Understood!?”
Koltar chuckled a little and muttered, “It seems someone woke up with the wrong foot this morning…” “Do ya even know why we’re here?” she asked, with a little more calm. “No. You weren’t very explicit about it at the Lamb”, he said as he was starting to summon his imp. “Don’t” she said, “brin’ yer succubus, we’ll need ‘er”. The gnome took some seconds, and then summoned her succubus. The demoness was tall and skinny; with blue eyes and red hair. “Oh!” the succubus said as she eyed Valerie, “I can almost feel how hot you are under those… don’t hide from me, darling”. Valerie ignored the sayaad, and started summoning Aelna. “Ms. Vasull, this is Nazxia” the old gnome said. Even though Valerie found her gorgeous, she knew she shouldn’t give Koltar any opportunity to trick her, and showing any sign of humanity could be perceived as weakness by someone like him.
When Aelna appeared, she gave a very different impression from the one she usually gave to the members of the university. She was frowning and her eyes seemed as if filled with apathy and, even, hatred. “Who are these two, Sarah? Members of the Darkmoon fair, perhaps…” Her sweet and soft tone was masterfully disguised with an ironic and annoying one. Valerie said with a serious and plain tone, almost as if she hadn’t listened at Aelna’s commentary, “this is the plan: We’ll use our succubi to lure two o’ the Jaedena’ guards that usually cross a close-by path. One is a female sin’dorei and the oth’r one ‘s a goblin; they won’t realize we’re not them after changing into th’r clothes and usin’ the wraps they do to cover th’r faces. We’ll infiltrate the main buildin’, take whatev’r information we can get our hands on, and get the fel out of that place. If we find someone that seems to ‘ave enough information, we kidnap him or her too. Any questions?”
“Yeah… why I don’t simply walk in as an ally, after all I’m a follower of the Legion as they are, and ask them about that information. I don’t even need you for that”, Koltar said with a joyful tone. “Well, you insignificant gnome, you are not even able to make friends among the Legion worshippers within the Lamb; I wouldn’t bet a single copper for you entering Jaedenar and not being sacrificed to Kil’Jaeden within the hour… and neither should you. But if you want to waste your life like that, be my guest”, she said as she pointed with her hand toward the Shadow Council base. Koltar was obviously angry, but he nodded: “We’ll go with your plan, then.” “Don’t worry, this won’t fail” she said.
Official report to the Stormwind University:
“I am very excited to start this new chapter in my life as a professor. This will mark the starting point of Professor’s Briade research in the fel arts. I contacted an old and dear friend to help me with this quest for knowledge. He was kind enough to accompany me if I mentioned him as a research assistant of any paper I would write using the information gathered in this expedition; something I was planning to do anyways. We started our search around the fel corrupted forest of Felwood. We plan to come close to the abandoned Shadow Council camp of Jaedenar. It may seem as a dark and dangerous place to go to but, after all the attacks that they received by the Alliance and the Horde some years ago, killing their leaders in the process, I highly doubt we will encounter any of the base’s former inhabitants.
I will make sure to write every single finding so that the university is fully informed about the state of my research. (I don’t need to make everyone even more nervous after the situation with the wraith.) I feel that this is the perfect occasion to proceed with this project, taking into account the few moments I am visiting Stormwind in order to keep myself from the dangers of being attacked by the wraith. I have many reasons to keep myself alive right now...”
"Gazing into the abyss" (Research) - 3
The two Jaedenar guards, one male goblin and a female Sindorei, were patrolling the outer perimeter of the base, near one of the fel-contaminated rivers. They were joking around when the two succubi appeared from within the forest; no clothes covered their bodies and they had a seductive look as the confidently walked towards the guards that were, now, ready to fight.
“Those are succubi!” yelled the goblin as he began casting a shadow bolt towards Nazxia, Koltar’s succubus, “don’t let them get close to us!” Of course, these were warlocks, far more prepared than most mortals to look through the tricks of those of their kind. Aelna materialized her double ended whip and used it to strike the goblin. The whip’s tails wrapped around his neck, and, with a swift pull from the succubus, violently brought the goblin to the ground, interrupting his spell.
Without delay, Nazxia jumped over the fallen goblin and used her powers to charm him. “Dodge!” shouted Aelna at the distracted succubus. The Sindorei had already casted a soul fire ball against her. The spell travelled quickly through the air and hit Nazxia, throwing her against a nearby tree and badly burning her right arm. The yells of the injured sayaad filled the area of the forest as the warlock prepared her deathblow. Aelna used the steel claws at the end of her whip to strike the elf trying to prevent her from further hurting Nazxia.
Both claws were gruesomely embedded into her face and neck, making the warlock to collapse, lifelessly to the ground, over a puddle of her own gushing blood. But it was too late. The guard had already casted a hand of Gul’dan that Aelna was able to watch as it fell over the helpless sayaad, killing her. Horror filled Aelna’s face as she had been unable to save her from this fate. She was staring at her sister’s dead body when she heard someone approaching.
“Pitiful…” Valerie said harshly. Koltar approached Aelna and stood to her side. He placed his hand over the back part of her naked thigh and said: “Don’t worry, darling. She’ll be just fine. I’m sure you know that you demons can’t truly die on our world. You are just sent back to the Twisting Nether. That’s the pact that Sargeras has with all of his sons and daughters.” Aelna recoiled with disgust, moving her leg away from the filthy gnome’s hand as soon as her skin felt it. She walked to Val’s side as she approached the fallen goblin, which was starting to snap out of Nazxia’s charm. “Maybe she still lives, but it must still hurt like fel… And, also, don’t you dare call me a demon or a daughter of Sargeras ever again if you plan to keep your balls attached to your body” said Aelna. The anger in her voice would be enough to frighten anybody, even with her soft tone.
The gnome chuckled loudly. “I had heard about your succubus attitude, Vasull, but this is way more than I expected” he said with a wide grin before finishing with a nasty sounding whooping cough that made him spit blood to the ground. Neither Valerie, nor Aelna even turned to see if he was alright. The female warlock and her succubus stood to both sides of the horrified goblin. Valerie stepped on his green face and said loud enough for him to hear: “You now have a choice to make, scummy goblin. Option one: You tell me all I want to hear and keep your worthless life to shove it up your ass, if you want. Option two: You don’t speak and I’ll make you closely experience what Ner’zhul may have experienced in the hands of your lord, Kil’Jaeden. In summary, I’ll make you regret being born. So, which will it be, filth?”
Aelna smiled wickedly. “I hope he doesn’t snitch. I haven’t tortured a goblin yet.” The goblin tried to say something, but he was only able to make a mumbling sound under Valerie’s shoe. “What?” asked the female warlock a she shoved her foot stronger into his face. “What!?” she asked again, placing even more pressure on the goblin’s face. “Oh, sorry” she said with a playful tone as she moved her foot away from his face, “you were saying?”
“I’ll talk!” he said with a weak and tired voice. “I want to know every single detail relevant to our plan of infiltrating Jaedenar: Guards turns and routes, places we shouldn’t go to, and places where you keep you secret texts. I want to know everything! Got it!?” she shouted in his face. Koltar silently giggled behind her.
Official report to the Stormwind University:
“Felwood is a desolated and corrupted place. Is so sad to see how everything in this once pure and life-filled forest is not infused with fel energies. We try to keep away from most dangerous situations and keep watching our backs. We didn’t plan this trip to die in a place like this. Koltar has been of great help in our journey. He seems to know the place better than me and he is very good at finding good ways to sneak past dangers. I have been taking notes on the flora and fauna of the region to see how the fel corruption affects different species, but this is not my preferred interest here.
We placed a camp near Jaedenar to escape the dangers of the night. During our guarding turns we were able to hear voices coming from the ruins of the, supposedly, abandoned camp. Has someone taken this place as his new home? Or are have the former inhabitants returned to reclaim their lands once again? I suppose will discover the truth in the morning. Hope everything goes well for us.”
“Gazing into the abyss” (Research) - #4
In one of the deeper rooms of the corrupted barrow den of Shadow Hold, the main structure of Jaedenar, a troll was patiently organizing a bookshelf. Most of the tomes were written in Eredun, and the rest in Orcish. Two hooded guards joined the troll inside the small library. “No’ takin’ books today” he said in a mediocre Orcish, without stopping his deed. The guards got close to him and, the smaller one, placed the dark metal blade of a dagger between his legs, by his groin. “If I were you, I would stay very silent and very still” said the one with the dagger.
The taller of the two, but still way shorter than the troll, placed herself in front of him, uncovered her human face and her white hair, and said: “Where do you keep you important books, those that aren’t showed to any cultist.” The troll shook his big head slowly. “No, mon. We a’ no’ tha’ stupid. Tha new secrets and tha new discoveries a’ in tha’ memories o’ our leaders” he said with calm.
“What do you mean?” asked Valerie. “Some time ago, I heard about this method. Only the highest ranks have the important knowledge and they never write it down. That way, they can control who knows what, without the problem of it being stolen” said Koltar as he discovered his face, “it seems you waited our time, girl.” “And what about these ones?” she asked in a desperate tone, pointing at the bookshelf. “They a’ about Eredar ‘istory an’ some simple spells… Wanna learn how to summon a’ imp, miss?” the troll answered, mockingly.
Valerie was furious. She turned towards a wall, trying to think another way she could get her hands on that information, of a way her plan wasn’t a complete failure. “Accept it” said Koltar, “this is it. We failed. Let’s get the fel out of here while we still can.” She turned, her face red with anger. “I won’t accept defeat. Help me take some of these books. I have a new plan.” They packed a good number of tomes into their bags and, when they were finished, the troll said: “Farewell, cleva ones!” Valerie smiled at him and shook her head. “Oh, no. You’re coming with us” she said.
Official report to Stormwind University:
“Everything seems to get tougher by the day. We discovered that a group of Shadow Council’s cultists was able to retake their former base, Jaedenar, from the Emerald Circle. It seems that they are still fighting for some of the near moonwells, and some strategic points like the main roads that connect most of Felwood. We wanted to know more about the Shadow Council doings, but even getting close to their base could easily mean death for us. We decided to change our course towards the Emerald Circle. There we planned to ask the druids and some of the patrolling sentinels about what they knew about this new invaders. Hope our path is safe and our backs unwatched. Wish us luck.”
“Gazing into the abyss” (Research) - # 5
Valerie and Koltar arrived, accompanied by the troll, to the place where Aelna was keeping an eye on the charmed goblin. Aelna pointed with her head at the troll, confused. “He’s charmed too. Nazxia’s work” said Valerie as she kicked the back part of the troll’s left knee to make him fall near the goblin. “We are in a safe zone now. Could you please spit it out, Vasull? What’s your plan?” Valerie sighed loudly with disappointment. “Aren’t you gnomes supposed to be smart? May there is even another way you are a disgrace for your entire race…” she said.
Koltar’s face showed the boiling rage that took control of him. He quickly summoned his wrathguard, quicker than any warlock Valerie had ever seen before, and he send it towards her. The demon used his elbow to strike her face, sending her to the ground. The wrathguard placed both of his swords over her neck, making sure to pin her down and that, by only opening his arms, both blades would slice the woman’s whole neck as if it was cheese. Aelna wasn’t able to do much about it either.
“You won’t insult me again, Vasull!” yelled the enraged gnome with a much lower pitch than the one he commonly used. “Stop!” cried Aelna; her voice trembled, “you need her, Steamsoul! If you kill her, you lose your only chance to get the power you need. We all know that you will surely die soon if you don’t do something about, and the power you can get thanks to her plan is the only thing that can give you more time. The corruption keeps advancing by the second and you won’t get another chance. I know that you have endured her mistreatments with great patience; don’t let it go to waste. Don’t let your rage take everything from you.”
Valerie was staring straight at the wrathguard’s emotionless eyes; hers filled with true terror. The gnome was hyperventilating while he looked at Aelna. “I assure you, Koltar” said the sayaad slowly, “she will behave from now on. You two are not enemies; remember that.” Koltar let out a deep, furious sigh as he made his wrathguard to back off. A fine line of blood appeared on Valerie’s neck as the blades were lifted. Some of the scarlet fluid slid through her neck, but no major damage was done to her by the blade’s touch. Still, she was petrified.
Koltar walked towards Valerie and stood to her side. “Do you agree with your succubus?” he asked with much more calm, “will you behave?” She looked at him and said with a shattered voice: “I will…” He nodded back and returned his demon to his realm. He, then, walked to a near fallen tree and sat down on top of it. “So, what’s your plan, Vasull?”
Official report to Stormwind University:
“We were able to reach the Emerald Sanctuary without any problem. At first, the druids and sentinels that found us were skeptical of our good intentions. Luckily, I had brought my promotion to associate professor certificate with me, and I was able to gain their trust thanks to it. We were able to speak with them about what we had witnessed at the Jaedenar ruins, and they seemed to be aware of it. It seems that whenever they take control of the site, the Shadow Council conceives a new plan to take it back again. There have also been countless skirmishes for the control of some moonwells in the area. The followers of the Legion seem obsessed with corrupting them, no matter the cost. Have they found a way to use them for their own rituals? It seems we should take a good look at it. It can be a new way of channeling the fel energies to expand their powers, allowing for more powerful rituals, with less energy requirement. But this is just a wild speculation of my part with the little amount of information we got so far.
We accepted on joining one of their venturing teams that was planning to push the Shadow Council warlocks away from a nearby moonwell. Our research could start with that moonwell. I don’t think I’ll be able to continue writing these reports after we leave the Emerald Sanctuary in the morning. Until we return, wish us luck.”
“Gazing into the abyss” (Research) - # 6
(There is some graphic content. Sensitive ones, beware! :3)
Valerie and Koltar entered Jaedenar as if they were walking into their own homes. They were each dragging a huge and heavy bag. By this point, they were surrounded by guards and cultists, ready to attack if any of the two tried something. “Who are you? Why have you come? And what do you bring? Answer, now!” said a tall and bulky orc that placed himself in front of them, blocking their way. Koltar dropped his hood an rose his face, almost as if he was looking at the orc’s face.
“We are servants of the Legion, such as you. We want to become members so we can serve our lord Kil’Jaeden properly” he said in a perfect orcish, “inside these bags is a mere token of our will to serve the Shadow Council.” The orc gestured with his head and grunted one of the cultists to open the bags. The human cultist moved hastily to Koltar’s bag, and emptied its content on the ground. First, many blood-stained books dropped, followed by a head and limbs of what seemed to be a female Sindorei.
Some of the guards readied their weapons when they recognized their dismember comrade. “Wait!” said Koltar as he rose his left hand, and pointed at Valerie’s bag with his right one, “there are two more bodies on that bag: a troll and a goblin. These scoundrels were running off with these books. We had the luck of intercepting them on their way south, towards Ashenvale.” The surprise was shown on most members’ faces. “We want to talk to your leader” said Valerie as she uncovered her face and white hair.
“I am the only leader you deserve to meet” said the orc. “So… you want to become part of the Shadow Council forces, ehh?” Both of them nodded. “Killing some traitors should be enough proof of your loyalty… for some, but not for me” the orc said with a smirk, “only one will be accepted. Whichever one of you that stays alive will start the process of becoming a cultist… fight!” After this, her turned his back on them and started walking.
Koltar turned towards Valerie, astonished. He was about to say something when the blade of a dagger going into his throat prevented him from doing so. The blood gushed out of the gnome’s split throat as a waterfall, completely bathing Valerie as she firmly held the dagger in place. All of the cultists were gasping at the quick and doubtless attack that took the gnome’s life in a glimpse. Valerie kicked Koltar, making him fall to the ground; he still twitched and gargled with blood. She turned towards the orc. “I am ready to begin my initiation!” she shouted as she wiped the gnome’s blood from her eyelids.
“Gazing into the abyss” (Research) - # 7
Valerie’s initiation was tough, but quick. Even though she was new to the Shadow Council’s ways, she was no beginner regarding the fel control. Soon, she became well known within Jaedenar for her dexterity in controlling her demons, in addition to the gruesome display of her determination to become a member. But, ironically, she was never seen in the company of her succubus while in the camp.
“Vasull. You are being summoned to the headquarters by Lord Loro’Dath. Make haste!” said one of the of the few Kaldorei cultists. Valerie nodded back as she placed down the green chalk she was using to design a strange new summoning circle. She was not used to drawing the summoning circles since she had get her tattoos, a common practice among many experienced warlocks. Maybe this circle was going to be used to summon a new type of demon she hasn’t previously had or it was maybe a ritual to enhance ones powers; only she would know.
When she arrived, she bowed and saluted the present by saying: “Belanora mordanos nenaar ila morni farlos kada. Lord Loro’Dath, you called?” Both her Eredun and her Orcish were accurate and stylish. “I did, cultist” he said without standing up, “we have good news for you. Due to your strength and your loyalty, you will be awarded the rank of demonologist.” Valerie couldn’t hide a sudden smirk that appeared in her face. She fell to one knee and said: “It is an honor to be recognized with this gift. I will make sure to continue to make you proud, and to continue helping the Shadow Council to bring the fel flames to every single corner of this futureless world.”
The orc named Loro’Dath smiled. “You know there is an initiation ritual before you are able to accept your promotion, am I correct?” he said. “I wasn’t aware until now, my lord, but I will do what has to be done. What would our Lord Kil’Jaeden want from this slave of his?” she confidently said, still on her knee. “We need you to corrupt a nearby moonwell that the druids from the Emerald Circle just finished cleansing. This time, the corruption must be stronger than the last one if we want nothing of the sort to happen again. We want you to make sure, it’s purifying properties to be lost… forever.”
Valerie returned to her feet and nodded. “For the glory of the Legion, it shall be done” she said with an emotionless expression, “how should I prepare for this ritual? Will I need to prepare a victim for sacrifice first?” The orc offered a scrolled parchment. “Here are your orders, cultist. Burn the paper and spread the ashes as soon as you finish reading it.” Valerie nodded, grabbed the scroll, and bowed before leaving the building.
“Gazing into the abyss” (Research) - # 8
Valerie walked slowly down the hill with her eyes firmly focused on the pure waters of the moonwell below, and the large and heavy dagger on her right hand. Her steps were as slow as her breathing. When she encountered the white rocks that surrounded Elune’s purified waters, she climbed them and kneeled down. Slowly, she immersed her left hand into the shinning waters. She closed her eyes solemnly… or was it doubt? Only she would know.
It was ironic how even though she had come here to corrupt these pure waters, the welcomed her as one more of Elune’s daughters. Her right hand joined her left one beneath the waters, with a tight grip on the dagger’s hilt. The blade softly laid over the delicate skin of her inner wrist, instantly creating a slim and superficial wound. The dark red blood spread through the pure waters at a hypnotizing pace.
Valerie’s eyes showed instants of confidence and instants of doubts; both passion and fear battled inside her as the blade threatened to chop her hand. This was the first step of the ritual needed to corrupt the moonwell. The letters on the parchment that she had already burned were still in her mind, ordering her to chop her hand to show her loyalty towards the Shadow Council and the Legion. Her left hand was all that stood between herself and the beginning of a large path she would take as a follower of Kil’Jaeden.
She took a deep breath and said softly to herself: “The Legion…” The fel green of her eyes shined and a green aura appeared around her. “I must be strong enough!” she said, trembling, as her rage was building up, “I will be ready to fight the Legion with its own powers!” The tone of her voice didn’t seemed hers anymore as her eyes started to turn redish and the aura was more shiny by the second.
Suddenly, she lost her focus and the enormous flow of fel energy she was channeling through her body faded when she heard someone approaching behind her. Rapidly, she turned around and tried to stab the intruder. The tall being was able to avoid Valerie’s attack with dexterity by jumping backwards. “Whoa! It’s me, White!” said the Kaldorei with a voice that Valerie’s memory hadn’t been able to erase. “Athanna!?” Valerie said, deeply confused, “what are you doing here!? How did you found me!?”
“A mutual friend helped me” said the female Kaldorei with a smile, “I felt you may have gotten yourself into dark stuff when you left Stormwind, but this is too much. Were you really planning on corrupting this moonwell? Were you really planning on chopping your hand off!?” “I still am” Valerie answered as she turned and walked towards the moonwell, turn your back and return to Stormwind. If you stay you will only find death.” “Planning on killing me, White?” said Athanna mockingly, as she stopped Valerie by grabbing her right shoulder. “I’m starting to consider it” Valerie said with a harsh tone, “and my name is Valerie. White is how Aelna calls me… no one else.” “Hmm, you used to let me call you White… but isn’t your name Sarah Vasull” said Athanna more seriously, “to me, you now seems as the cold-hearted bitch you used to pretend to be. Don’t you see what you’re doing right now?”
Valerie turned and furiously yelled: “Who do you think you are to judge me!? Ael and I loved you and we would have given our lives for you, but you just left us behind as if we were garbage! You have no right to come here and tell me I should be doing otherwise!” Athanna nodded slowly, acknowledging what Valerie meant. “You’re right. I screwed up pretty badly, and I understand the scar won’t fade easily. But, if you think about it, you did the same” she said calmly. “What are you talking about!? I was always there for you!” Valerie raged. “No. You didn’t turn your back on me. I wasn’t talking about me…” Athanna said. Valerie’s rage stopped as she was trying to understand what she meant. “Ael…” Valerie said softly and with regret.
Athanna slowly nodded. “I remember how angry you were when I told you I had joined the Shadow Council. How ironic, don’t you think? What happened with you, Val? Why are you serving the Shadow Council?” Athanna asked. Valerie took some second before answering, immersed in sad thoughts. “I need the powers the Shadow Council can give me. I need to be stronger. I need to be ready to face the Legion when it, eventually, reaches Azeroth. I’m just doing what it needs to be done. I’m doing it for Azeroth’s sake.” “Oh, really?” started Athanna, “you’re corrupting one of Elune’s moonwells for Azeroth’s sake? You have betrayed and mercilessly killed without regret for Azeroth’s sake? You have turned your back on all of those who care for you for Azeroth’s sake? Excuse me, but it sounds more like what a loyal member of the Shadow Council would do.”
Valerie kept silent. Her head was travelling through the memories of her actions in Felwood, and the regret in her face was noticeable. Athanna stared at her and said: “Look, Val. I’m not saying you shouldn’t explore dark places, you know I do it all the time, but always remember what side you’re on and what you’re fighting for. Please… let go of that dagger. You will find a better way to get the strength you need, I know you will.”
Valerie took a deep breath and threw the dagger to the ground. Her face showed the unbearable weight of the pain. She missed Stormwind, the University, her students, her friends, but specially, she missed Aelna. Athanna smiled as she looked at the falling dagger. But there wasn’t even time to feel relieved. A shadow bolt struck one of the rocks of the moonwell, less than a meter from Val’s right knee, making her jump to her side. “It was a trap!” yelled Athanna as she was able to see the cultist robe of the attacker.
Almost as a reflex, Valerie made some strange and fast movements with her hands as she muttered some Eredun words, summoning Aelna faster than she ever had before. Meanwhile, the Kaldorei had rolled on the ground, grabbed the fallen dagger, and was now rushing towards the attacker. “Tonight the White Lady is bathing this forest with her argent luminescence! It’s a great night to spread some Shadow Council blood over this sacred ground! Andu-falah-dor!” shouted the berserking Kaldorei.
A second spell was casted, towards Athanna this time, while a third one, from a different source, was directed towards Valerie. The elf dodged the spell by jumping over it, almost tripping when she landed, but never stopping her rampage towards her objective. As soon as she was summoned, Aelna shoved Valerie away from harm, causing her to trip and land sitting on the ground. Then, the sayaad used her whip to wrap the left leg of the new attacker, the claws embedding into the flesh. Aelna pulled her whip with strength, almost with anger, making the cultist fall. She then continued pulling the terrified cultist towards her.
“We have to go now!” Valerie yelled as she stood up, “more incoming!” More cultists appeared from the woods around them. Aelna nodded, snapped her finger to make her whip disappear and started running with Valerie, heading south. Valerie peaked behind her, trying to locate Athanna. “Don’t worry, she’ll be fine. Remember who we’re speaking of. I’m more worried about you” said Aelna as they were running as fast as their legs let them.
“You’re mine, traitor!” said a sin’dorei cultist that was blocking their escape route and already casting a spell. They halted and gasped, knowing that they wouldn’t be able to dodge this one. Suddenly, a round object struck the cultist face interrupting his casting and knocking him out. “How are you still alive without me around saving your asses?” said Athanna with a creepy tone as she jumped down from a tree. She was really enjoying the fight. “Wait. Is that a head!?” asked Valerie, taking a closer look at the round object. “Maybe…”, answered Athanna with a little girl’s tone. “We don’t have time for this!” yelled Aelna. The three women continued running towards the frontier with Ashenvale.
((Well, this is kind of the end of this storyline. Hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did while writing it. There will be an epilogue for this, but I’ll place it in “A Sayaad’s Diary” in University Records because it’s no longer part of the 'research'.))