The mage sat at a large desk in a vast study. She was carefully looking over a tome she had purchased at great price. The information she was reading was troubling her.
If the information was correct, something had changed about the flow of magic through the Dark Portal.
She furrowed her brow and ran her fingers through her shoulder length auburn hair. Her head still hurt from the gathering she had come from earlier in the night, a raucous event that had involved her closest friends and allies. She tapped her fingers absentmindedly upon the book while she thought aloud. “Come on, Poldaran, think. There has to be a reason for what’s going on.” She wished the construction of Dalaran was finished. The sounds around her tower were distracting. It was also unfortunate that her master had been killed during the sacking of the city. He’d have taught her much more than she had learned by the time she had shed her Journeyman’s robes for those of a Master Mage.
She attempted to contact Jaina Proudmoore via her scrying bowl, but had been unsuccessful as of yet. She had also considered making another trip to the portal so she could see the changes for herself, but always seemed unable to get away to continue her studies.
As she sat thinking, a drowsiness began to overtake her. Unable to resist, she laid her head down and slept.
She could see little more than a haze, but a light ahead of her drew her close. As she approached, she understood that it was the Dark Portal itself before her. That was when she heard the voice. The voice was at once familiar and unknown to her. It seemed to come from all around her, but nowhere, as though the voice spoke within her own mind.
The voice was filled with malice. “Imprisoned for ten thousand years, banished from my own homeland… and now you dare enter my realm?
“You are not prepared.”
She stepped through the portal and was greeted by many sights, fragments of individual visions: A great Draenei paladin studying a tome of mystical origins. A Blood Elf priestess feeding her addiction to magic. An Orc slaying Naga in a field of battle. A daring Troll riding his raptor through an unforgiving landscape in the shadows of the night. A Forsaken slaying a multitude of Murlocs.
Then she saw the face. Malevolence was apparent upon it. The being knelt upon a mound of corpses. He grasped a demon’s skull in his hand. He looked at her, his blind eyes seeming to see her even though she knew this to be a dream. He cast aside the skull and stood, unfolding his great demonic wings. He flew into the sky. His skin began to glow with the light of arcane symbols glistening on his chest and shoulders.
He loomed above her and grasped his great blades in each hand. “You are not prepared!” he growled.
The mage awoke with a start. She stood and grabbed the glowing helm from upon her desk. “Illidan lives! I must warn everyone! We are in great peril!”
A calm voice spoke from the shadows. This voice too was familiar to her. “The time has not yet come mage. Understand that you will be one of many to take up this cup, but this night is not through. The choice has not been made. Sleep.”
All will began to fade from her and she sat back down upon the chair and rested her head once more.
As she drifted off, another familiar voice spoke. “Go, Guardian. I will tend to this one. There are many others who we will need to see this night.”
Poldaran found herself in a dark tomb. She stood upon a pedestal in the center of a room. Great chains at once supported and confined her. The only source of light within the room was a single torch ensconced upon a stand next to her. She could see nothing else within the tomb save for five drab stone walls. No doors promised freedom, no cracks allowed in the light.
She contemplated the room. She shivered. It was cold all around and she even felt the cold within her own body. She reached out for the torch, the great chains clinking as she attempted to grasp it.
A figure appeared before her. It was a waifishly thin young girl in Journeyman’s robes. The girl’s face was incredibly familiar.
The child spoke. “You can do it. Take up the flame and extinguish the cold as I never had the strength to do.” When the girl spoke, Poldaran knew who it was. It was her. Moreover, it was her on the day Dalaran had fallen… the day she had first earned those robes that the girl wore now.
Another voice spoke from within the shadows, a sinister voice. “Do you not remember the flames that almost took your sister from you? Do you not remember the flames which you once lost control of and nearly killed several that you once loved? Or will you abandon all in your quest for power?” A great and vile Nathrezim stepped from the shadows. “Never forget the peril of the flame.”
The girl spoke once again. “The flame is what saved your sisters from the darkness of the Legion and the hunger of the Scourge. You chained yourself in fear. Take that which is yours and become whole once again!”
“You chained the power because you knew it could not be controlled. Do not make the same mistakes you made before!”
“It is wrong to fear that which is a part of you. You have the power to control it. Do not fear yourself.”
“Fear for others. It is folly to unleash the hatred once more. Do not attempt to claim that which none may control!”
As the two argued, Poldaran looked inward. She was afraid to grasp the torch, lest those around her feel its flames, but she knew she must not fear herself. She would have to control it. She reached out her hand and clasped the torch. It shuddered and changed into a chalice filled with a great burning liquid.
The change in light revealed to her a third presence.
A gnome stood behind the other two. Her face implied youth and innocence, but her eyes belied a great wisdom. She smiled at Poldaran, an impish little smile that caused Poldaran to chuckle in spite of her fear.
Poldaran brought the chalice to her lips and drank deeply.
Warmth filled her. The chains that bound her began to hiss and steam. The power infused her and cleaned the chill from the room.
The demon began to sizzle, once more engulfed in the heat of Poldaran’s power, like he had been that day, long ago, when Dalaran fell. The young girl smiled and disappeared from sight.
Only Poldaran and the Gnome remained. “Well done, child,” the gnome congratulated. “Well done.” With that, the Gnome was gone.
Poldaran was once again alone in the tomb, though now the room was lit throughout.
She felt the power course through her. Calmly, she unleashed the fury of the flame, dissolving the walls around her and revealing the light of day.
Poldaran awoke. She felt different. Whole, somehow. She shook off the last vestiges of sleep and looked at her hand. With a thought, flame engulfed it, but did not consume it. With another thought, the flame was gone.
She stood and donned her helm and she realized that a song filled her head. A song she had sung only once, though she had heard it many times before that at a tavern in Dalaran when she was young. She began to sing it aloud.
I’ve been kicking ass since the dawn of time.
I’m just a killing man that’s reached my killing prime.
I burn and I plunder as it suits my desire;
Weapon of my choice is great balls of fire!
She knew she had no time to sing, and began casting the spell that would bring her to Ironforge, where she had to speak with her allies and get a message to the leaders of the Alliance, in case they did not know already.
Edited, Feb 25th 2009 3:29am by Poldaran