Shadows of the Future
Waves batted against the pylons at the base of the pier, the spray of the ocean wafting over the bustling port. The ambient swearing and trading of blows echoing from the tavern did little to stir the populace.. It was a normal day in Boralus alright. “As good a day as any to peruse the local bazaar at any rate…“ Elanor thought to herself. The monthly dueling club was scheduled the following night and the young Ren’dorei would seek any advantage she could to garner the awe of her peers, and more importantly win a giant cookie prepared by the guilds master chef, Sidda herself!
The young sorceress wandered from stall to stall , each boasting a “wondrous” collection of “magical” trinkets and bobbles. To the discerning eye of an aspiring archmage it was obvious the vast majority of it was junk. It should come as no surprise, considering the many organizations of the Alliance and Horde had already scoured the continent for any artifact of significance they could find to aid in the war effort. Just as the young void elf was about to resign herself to preparing for the tournament with what she had, a particular item had caught her eye. A ring, black as ebony and braided in the shape of interwoven sea serpents. It resonated of the void.
“Ah, y’have an eye fer quality!” Said the merchant with a raspy voice. His hair was a matted mess and his clothes were faded, no doubt from his travels across the sea.“Thief ‘gave it t’me said ‘e found it at the base o’ Nazjatar ‘fter tha’ sea witch split the ocean.” The young mage nodded… “Do you mind if I try it on…?” The merchant furrowed his brow…”Yer a mage aren’t ya? How do I know ya won’t poof away an’ make off with it the second ya do…?” She frowned, “Come now, do I look like the thieving type…?” The old sailor chuckled. “Lotta things I could say ‘bout yer looks lass, but I been jipped by plenty a pretty face. Ya wanna try the ring, ya gotta pay up front.” The elf blushed a bit and sighed,”You could have just said you weren’t the trusting sort… How much for the ring…?” The merchant scratched his chin as he pondewred… “Fer that piece I’d run you fer ‘bout a hundred fifty gold pieces…”
The elf looked at her coin purse. That was nearly her entire budget… “And if I don’t find the ring to be special you’ll reimburse me, I trust…?” The sailor flashed a toothy grin… “Dunno… You fancy yerself the trustin’ type…?” Elanor glowered… “This better be some ring!” She huffed as she handed the man his gold pieces. The old man chuckled, though something in his laugh seemed off… “I take it we have a binding pact..?” “An odd way of phrasing it, but yes.” The Ren’dorei said as she slipped on the ring. As soon as she did, she could feel the power course through her…
Yes, this could be the edge she needed! No sooner than these thoughts filled her mind did she notice something change about the merchant. His eyes glowed red and his skin began to pale. Soon his head began to twist and deform swelling into a gelatinous shape as tentacles sprouted from the bottom half of his face, a K’thir! The Sorceress had little time to process this however, as soon enough changes began to happen to her as well. A sharp pain shot through her hand, the veins around the ring blackening as the coldness of the void spread through her body. Soon a shadowy haze erupted all around her as her vision faded, her entire body engulfed in darkness…
As Elanor’s vision started to return she could hear the muffled screams surrounding her. Straining her eyes, the blur began to dissipate… at last she could see… tentacles! Sprouting from the ground all around her, tearing the docks to splinters! Aberrations pouring in through void rifts to chase down the stragglers! Already the streets were lined with bodies… This must have been the work of that cultist! This called for action! First things first, crowd control. She needed to ensure the townsfolk were able to evacuate safely.
“Everyone, remain calm! If you can, try to get to an underground place like a cellar and barricade yourselves!” At least… that’s what she wanted to say… What came out of her mouth was… “Ilk thok gulgak muk whlssk! Klt’thar mlkthar billk nokkk lissk!” These weren’t her words… What was going on?! Before she could think on that help began to arrive! Paladins of the Lightforged stormed the scene, what a relief! “Thank goodness you’re here! These citizens need help getting to safety and…” “Ilk thog yogg salk vok krilsk…” were the words that came out of her mouth once again. Thankfully the Draenei didn’t need to be told to rise to action. Priests erected barriers to protect the surviving townsfolk as they evacuatted, and the lightforged ballistae took aim… at her?!
The light enhanced bolts soared through the air at breakneck speed! The mage barely had time to raise an ice wall against them before they made contact! After the first volley it had already begun to crumble. To make matters worse the paladins began to charge the wall, striking with all their might to tear it down. Focusing her energy, she poured more power into the shield, and to her success it blackened, spiked tendrils shooting out to impale her assailants… No… that wasn’t what she meant to do! “I’m sorry! I didn’t mean to…” She tried to apologise but again all that came out of her mouth was Shath’yar gibberish… What was going on? Neither her magic nor her tongue were obeying her… Not since she put on… the ring! That thing must have been cursed!
Something had to be done… more of the army of the light were pouring in over the horizon, and she couldn’t defend herself… not with her spells acting against her will. She needed someone to help her… she needed… Emmy! No sooner than the thought crossed her mind did she see the blue dragon Sorvegosa flying up behind her… “Emmy, I’m so glad your here!” She said in Shath’yar… She was sure it was among the languages her teacher spoke. “My magic isn’t working right and the lighhtforged think I was the one who summoned these aberrations!” In response, the dragon inhaled deeply, her maw glowing with arcane power.
“Emmy, wait we don’t need to kill them!” Elanor stammered, “We just need to escape so we can explain later.” It was then she noticed the tears streaming down from the dragons eyes. “Emmy…? Why are you crying…?” In seconds the young mage was engulfed in the blue flames. She barely had time to raise a barrier. “Emmy! Stop! Why are you-?!” It was all she could get out before the flame broke through the barrier and began to sear her alive.. Only screams followed before she closed her eyes and prepared for oblivion.
“This isn’t real… this can’t be real… This is a nightmare! The void must be messing with my mind again!” She shouted! “Emmy would never hurt me! She would never kill me! Not unless I… I…” She stopped short… “Fell to the void…? Like you did already…?” A deep voice said… “No… I would never succumb to the void… The lessons at Telogrus… I passed every single one!” She argued. ‘“Barely.” The voice retorted, “And you’ve struggled with it ever since.” “No… I’ve resisted the whispers just like everyone else!” She shouted. “You repress the whispers without paying them any mind… you run from them and stumble all along the way, just like with everything you do… You’re a poor fit for a Ren’dorei and an even poorer fit for a mage! They only let you out of Telogrus our of pity! And Mrs. Bluefire only took you as an apprentice so she could keep an eye on you! Everything else was lip service!”
She gritted her teeth as the flames cooked her alive… Her tears evaporating in the heat… “This pain is real, and so is this future! But go ahead and run away, again, it will just make it all the easier to control you when N’zoth reshapes this world! Or you could give in now and spare yourself the pain!” The words and the dragonflame burned her in equal measure... It was all she could bear. “MAKE IT STOP!” She screamed as she faded out once more…
Elanor stirred in her bed, a warm ray of sunlight rousing her from her slumber… She blinked the sleep from her eyes and rose from the covers only to feel a strange coldness. Her bedding was soaked through with sweat. She turned to see Arlea up already and getting dressed for the day. “Ah, good morning sis.” She said in Thalassian. “It looked like you were having a rough night. Bad dreams I take it…?” Elanor sighed… “You could say that… I had a nightmare that I… Huh…” Her sister raised a brow… “A nightmare about what…?” The sorceress shook her head. “I don’t remember…”Ah! I still have to get ready for the Dueling Club tonight!” Hurriedly she tossed on her robes, brushed her hair and made her way for the campus. In her rush she failed to notice the black ring around her finger, black as ebony and braided into the shape of interwoven sea serpents.