On the deck of the High Elven warship, the Dawn's Fire, Yadier leaned against the railing, staring out across the sea. His stark white hair blew in the sea's breeze as he brooded. He was worried, but he wasn't sure why he was worrying. And that made him worry all the more.
He had contacted his new master, the Arch-wizard Khadgar, to inform him of the success of their mission. But even the Arch-wizard had asked him if something was wrong. After discussion, his master had concluded that surely it was nothing but concern for his friend that caused this black mood. Poldaran of Wintermoon, the young Archmage at the center of the recent events, had taken a stray spear throw while attempting to seal away the Guardian's Cache, a stash of magical weapons and artifacts hidden on Northrend by the Guardian, Aegwynn, during her campaign to stop a demon known as Sargeras.
It was now known that Sargeras was no mere demon, but instead that he was the lord of the Legion itself! He had sent his avatar to Northrend to lure the Guardian into battle, tiring her and allowing his spirit to enter her weakened flesh. He would use this as a jumping off point to entering the body of the Guardian's son, Medivh, who he later used to open a portal from Azeroth to Draenor, the home of one of his races of servants, the orcs, who had been made bloodthirsty by drinking the blood of Mannoroth the Destructor. Those events had led to three great wars.
Dalaran's agents within the Cult of the Damned learned that the Cult was excavating a Nerubian ziggurat within a mountain in on the edge of the Dragonblight. It was in this same ziggurat that the Guardian's Cache had been hidden. Knowing that the results of discovery of the Guardian's Cache by the Cult of the Damned would be disastrous, the Kirin Tor had contacted its best field agent, Poldaran of Wintermoon, and sent her to destroy it.
She had wasted no time contacting many of her old friends to aid her on her mission, as well as using her political ties to conscript a platoon of paladins to escort her to Northrend. She even bludgeoned the Arch-Wizard Khadgar into parting with his apprentice for a time, despite the apprentice's heated objections.
Yadier had just wanted to study. He was tired of all the fighting.
Once the team was assembled, they began acquiring the materials they would need, and the list was certainly an exotic one. Tail feathers of the mighty phoenix, Al'ar; red dragon scales from an ancient dragon; blood crystals stolen from the servants of Kael'thas Sunstrider; even the burning heart of Ragnaros himself was not beyond their aim.
Poldaran had first led them on an assault against the Arch-Lich, Kel'thuzad. As a former member of the Kirin Tor, he would have known about the Guardian's Cache. If he had realized why they had ventured into Northrend and warned the Lich King, the threat of their presence would have been taken more seriously. So he was eliminated. Yadier had seen him explode before his very eyes as a powerful phoenix burst from his body. Even Kel'thuzad's phylactery had exploded. Poldaran had confided that she did not believe that this would ensure the final end of Kel'thuzad. It would, however, ensure that it would take time for him to be revived. Time enough for them to complete their mission.
And complete it they did. Yadier could still smell the burning of sulfur as the land exploded and liquid magma had seeped from the ground. Dozens of cultists had been consumed by the molten rock and the Cache had been destroyed. A few cultists had survived. It was only natural that some of her foes survived when Poldaran was invoking magical horrors beyond the scope or will of normal mages.
Someone had to live to tell the tale to those who were not there.
Yadier sighed and went below to the ship's conference room, which had been acting as a war-room of sorts for the expedition. Within, he found his brother, Yoxutre and the young Draenei mage, Bythia discussing the recent battle in Northrend around a small table.
"Hello brother," Yoxutre called out. "Come sit with us." Yadier took a seat in a large chair opposite Yoxutre. "We've just been talking about how Poldaran destroyed that ziggurat. Pretty crazy stuff, if you ask me."
Bythia looked at Yadier, curiosity burning in her eyes. "Something has been troubling me since then, Yadier. You said that the Scourge hasn't attacked because of Poldaran. I don't understand how that could be possible."
"Actually, the Cult of the Damned hasn't attacked because of Poldaran, not the Scourge. Though I guess that since the Scourge rarely plans massive actions without the Cult, so I guess that's not far from the truth."
"But how is it that the Cult has become so afraid of Poldaran?"
"I guess I should start at the beginning," Yadier said with a sigh. "When I was still working for the Kirin Tor, I was a member of Dalaran's special forces. Something like SI-7, we were tasked with gathering intelligence and performing actions that Dalaran could not be seen to do officially. Each field operative worked independently, but was supported by a small task force that they reported intelligence gained to or call on if in need of assistance. Each task force, comprised of five people, aided three operatives. I was the leader of one such task force and Poldaran was one of our operatives.
"We had any number of missions, but eventually we got the big one. Poldaran was to infiltrate the Cult of the Damned. And infiltrate them she did. She rose higher in rank among the Cult in a mere few months than any of our operatives had ever before. But there had been a price.
"The scars on her back come from severe torture she underwent at the hands of those in charge of the Cult sect she had infiltrated. She never explained the details of why she was tortured, but I do know that the words were meant to be seen by all and demean her before them, so I assume she had questioned the authority of those in charge. I also know that there was more to the torture, but she's never told me what else happened. To add insult to it all, the torturers used a knife made of blackened shadowsteel with a core of mystic silver. The shadowsteel allows the blade to inflict wounds that cannot be healed and lead only to monstrous scars should the victim survive. The core of mystic silver allowed the blade to focus magical energies for the wielder, most likely spells of pain.
"Whatever they did, all I know is that after she was released from the chains that bound her to the post in the center of the Cult compound, Poldaran fled to the camp where we were stationed waiting for word. That was the only time I've ever seen that girl cry."
Bythia was tearing up a bit herself. "That's awful!" she breathed.
"Nonetheless, the next morning, she stood up, used the gem of disguise to reassume the Quel'dorei form she had been using in the infiltration. She left, but I'll never forget the look in her eyes. The cold look of a killer...it was horrifying.
"Within a few hours, we heard an explosion coming from the direction of the Cult's compound. We sent in a scout to check it out, but before he even got there, we heard screaming. It was the most blood curdling sound I had ever heard. You could almost feel the pain in the body of the man just through his screams.
"The screams would cut out intermittently. We learned that it was because the man would die and have to be resuscitated." Yadier shook his head. "They didn't finally end until a week later." He took a drink of some kind of alcohol his brother had poured him. It did not taste awful. "After that, Poldaran assumed control of the Cultist group and wore the same dagger that she had been tortured with on her belt. She used that authority to get into the Scholomance and to further put herself into positions of authority within the Cult. She became privy to a number of plots, and was instrumental in our actions against the cult. But she eventually made a mistake and was caught."
"What happened?" Yoxutre asked.
"She escaped. I'm not sure where she went after that, but she did not contact us. That doesn't mean, however, that we didn't know what was going on with her. We received reports of attacks upon the Cult. Entire sects killed in their sleep without anyone raising an alarm. Sect leaders fed alive to the hungering dead they sought to control. Even the headmaster of the Scholomance was not safe. She burned him alive for days. She sunk their ships, destroyed entire flocks of sleeping gargoyles and even leveled a massive camp of slaughterhouses where they had been assembling abominations. She was the raging fires of death devouring those who had sought to put themselves beyond death's grasp."
"How did they know she had been doing that? Surely they assumed it was an entire unit responsible," Yoxutre suggested.
"She left a calling card at each of the attacks." Yadier traced an image in the air with his finger and spoke a word of power. A crescent moon made of ice appeared and floated in the air. He then traced another symbol and a small snowflake rested upon the moon's inner edge.
"Wintermoon?" Bythia asked.
"Exactly," Yadier said. He touched the ice with his hand and it evaporated away. "Only the ones she made were much more durable. They lasted for several weeks to ensure that someone would see them. Not that they were needed. She always left witnesses alive for her more atrocious attacks. Dalaran began hearing tales of her exploits and soon we were aware that even the mention of her name was likely to bring nightmares to even the stoutest Cult members.
"The Cult nearly collapsed under the weight of that terror. But Kel'thuzad intervened. He began circulating tales of another young woman. She was already some small hero to the Cultists, an example of the power they could hope to attain. He began building up her legend, telling of atrocities of her own she had supposedly been committing, though they were all lies. He claimed that she was his daughter, hidden away until this time and unleashed upon the world in retaliation for Poldaran's acts. When Poldaran finally ended her spree, the Woman in Black was reported to retire to Northrend to work with the Lich King himself, creating further horrors for use against the living.
"This is the only part that has any basis in truth. The Woman in Black is a necromancer of some skill that became known for creating a few powerful undead weapons. Rumors suggest that Poldaran killed her during the raid upon the slaughterhouses, but nothing concrete has ever surfaced."
The door creaked as Verdaey, a Night Elven druid entered the room. "Yadier, Poldaran has awakened and refuses to stay in bed. She's up on the deck just staring out at the sea to the North. She will not respond to anyone who has tried to speak to her."
"I'll come talk to her."
** * **
Yadier found the young woman standing next to the railing near the back end of the ship. She had pulled the fur blanket from the bed around herself and was staring off into the distance.
Pol, what are you looking at?" Yadier asked. She didn't respond. "Pol, are you okay?" Still no response. He waved his hand in front of her face. Finally, this broke her concentration for a second and she looked at him. "Poldaran, are you all right?"
She looked back across the ocean. "They're coming."
Yadier looked where she was looking. He could see nothing but open sea. "I don't see anything." Annoyed, she placed a hand upon the top of his head. He felt a rush of power as his eyes focused far into the distance.
"Them," she said.
What Yadier saw was nothing short of a fleet of Scourge ships... at least six smaller frigates and three large battleships. Not to mention the gargoyles circling over them. "By the light!" he swore to himself. He closed his eyes and shook his head to refocus his vision. "Captain! We have company!"
The captain of the ship, an older Elven man in a simple mithril shirt, came to their side. "What is it, mage Yadier?"
"An undead fleet is following us."
"Surely we have nothing to worry about then. Our ships are faster than the scows the Scourge use."
"An ill wind blows," Poldaran said.
"What is that supposed to mean?" the captain asked, bewildered. "We all use the same wind."
"I'm not sure that's the case, captain," Yadier said.
"Then it's to be a fight?" He called over his shoulder, "Crewman, I need your spyglass." He peered out across the ocean. "By Anasterian! How are we to fight such a fleet? We have a mere three ships and none are carrying heavy guns to make room for the horses!"
"We'll have to think of something," Yadier responded. "Poldaran, is there any way for us to speed up the ships? I know that tampering with the wind is dangerous and difficult, but is there any other way?" Without even looking at him, she shook her head. "Well, then that's out. Do you think we can fend them off?" Again she shook her head. "So we must fight?" She nodded. "Well then captain, let's make ready. Prepare archers. Those gargoyles will be the first to hit us and if they manage to destroy a sail, we'll be dead in the water." Yadier wished he had chosen his words a little better.
Within an hour, the fleet behind them could be seen with the naked eye. They were indeed gaining, and fast. Poldaran had not left her spot at the railing the entire time. The crew and the passengers were all wearing grim expressions. It would soon be time to face the force that had them outnumbered by at least three to one. "Captain," Poldaran called out as the ships had closed another half the distance.
The Elven man approached her. "Yes, Archmage?" he asked.
"I want you to continue sailing for exactly one and a half minutes and set your sea anchor. Come to a stop and prepare to deal with those gargoyles. When they have been beaten, we need to change course for the Wetlands."
"If we set the anchor, we'll be unable to maneuver away from the cannons of the ships! We'll be as good as dead!"
She turned to him, her back to the sea. "I said one and a half minutes, captain. This is not open for debate." Her look was incredibly uncompromising.
"Yes, Archmage," he responded, beaten. He called over his First Mate. "Signal the other ships and tell them that we drop anchor in precisely one and a half minutes."
"Aye, captain," the crewman responded.
Poldaran cast off her fur blanket, revealing a robe of various blues patterned after the sun shining off of the sea below underneath. With a quick leap, she disappeared over the side of the ship. The people on board listened for the splash, but it never came. Within a few moments, the ship had traveled far enough for them to see why.
Poldaran was standing on the water. She kneeled upon it and put her ear to the surface. A few moments later, apparently satisfied, she stood up again. Then she did something that bewildered everyone... she began to sing. No one recognized the song, but the words sounded like they were in an ancient dialect of Darnassian. At the precise time asked, the captain set the anchor.
Poldaran began waving her hands through the air, almost as if she was weaving the sound waves into a web around herself. The air began to shimmer, much like in the Shadow Labyrinth near the horrifying being Murmur. Within a few minutes, Poldaran had stopped singing, but continued weaving the sound. She compacted it tighter and tighter until she had a ball of sound resting in her palm. The enemy ships were less than a mile from her when she slammed the ball into the water.
The resulting shockwave rocked the ships, but the anchor held them in place and upright. None of the undead ships were close enough to be truly affected. It looked like Poldaran had acted too soon. Several hundred fish floated to the surface between her and the Scourge ships. She spoke a word of power and they all exploded, sending fish innards floating down into the sea below.
Another rumbling sound could be felt through the Elven ships. It sounded like a much weaker version of what Poldaran had sent below. The sounds, almost like calls, continued coming, quicker and quicker. After a few minutes, they stopped. With a flash of light, Poldaran was back upon the Elven ship just as the undead fleet crossed over the pool of dead fish. The crew members held their breath in anticipation of what might be to come.
The silence was broken by a deafening crack as one of the undead battleships was struck by a monstrous claw from below the surface of the water. A beast covered in scales emerged, followed by another and yet another. "Sea monsters!" the captain called out. "Pull up the anchors and flee!"
"No, captain," Poldaran said calmly but firmly. "You have to deal with the gargoyles first. Then you may set sail."
Yadier was not exactly sure what was going on, but those beasts Poldaran had summoned looked like the one in the Serpentshrine Cavern. The creature the Naga called The Lurker. And the three of them were making short work of the Scourge fleet.
But he didn't have time to dwell on it, as Poldaran had collapsed from the sheer exhaustion of her efforts.
** * **
Poldaran looked up from the text she had been studying as his Highness, Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider, entered the room. She stood and bowed. "Time for another lesson, your Highness?"
"Yes, Poldaran," he said, "but not one of magic today." The girl was intrigued. "I must attend to some affairs of state today. Various diplomats asking me to intercede with my father for some trade agreement or another for the most part. Archmage Antonidas has asked that you be allowed to sit in and learn a bit of states craft as he believes that you may one day find yourself in a position where you might need it. If he is correct, it will definitely serve you well to be there and if he is wrong then you'll have just been bored out of your mind for an afternoon, so no harm done," he said with a laugh. "Bring some parchment and ink so that you can properly take notes and ask questions if you have any afterwards. Your master has already agreed to give your afternoon to my planned boring curriculum, so hurry along."
Poldaran gathered the supplies and hurried to his awaiting carriage. One of his personal guards opened the carriage door. She recognized this one, Nihlus. He was the son of a noble house and had been trained to guard Prince Kael'thas since he was a young child. He was well muscled and had what Poldaran considered to be the "dreamiest" shoulder length black hair and bluest eyes she had ever seen. While she would never admit it to anyone, not even her friend Pasiran, she knew she had developed a crush on the young Elf.
They reached the small estate Prince Kael'thas lived in when in Dalaran in short order. Kael'thas led Poldaran inside to a small balcony on the second floor overlooking the main room where he would be performing his duties as a prince. He had ordered the staff to place a small desk on the balcony for Poldaran's use. "Don't forget to write as many notes as you can. I'm hoping to have to answer a lot of questions when this is over," the prince reminded her.
"Yes, your Highness," she said.
"Nihlus, I doubt it to be necessary, but I want you to stay here and guard Poldaran. While I'm sure she will not be in danger, you can make sure she doesn't fall asleep."
"As you command, my Prince," he said with a bow. Poldaran smiled to herself as the young Elf responded. At least she would be spending time with him. Her afternoon was looking better already.
As the day wore on, she stole furtive glances at Nihlus, and on more than one occasion caught him doing the same to her. He was only a few years older than her, but had already proven himself to be accomplished at swordplay and other skills that had allowed his noble father to secure him a place in the royal family's personal guard. He certainly held his dual bladed sword like a well trained warrior. And the massive red and gold shield he carried must have weighed a ton, yet he carried it as though it weighed nothing. The muscles in his arm were held taut from the weight but his face showed no strain at all. And the red phoenix mask he wore didn't actually cover much of his face, only framed and highlighted his features as well as contrasting his blue eyes.
She blushed when she realized how long she had spent staring at him, and reminded herself to focus on the events of the court. Prince Kael'thas was sitting on a small throne on one side of the rectangular room. From the balcony at his right, she could easily see the entire room. Guards stood to either side of him carrying double bladed swords and shields like that Nihlus carried. Kael'thas Sunstrider was just finishing discussion on yet another trade agreement when the next delegate entered the room. Poldaran looked at the man and gasped.
"Nihlus!" she whispered urgently.
"Yes, Lady Poldaran?" he asked.
"Come here!" He set down his shield and kneeled at her side, placing his hand on her shoulder. She shivered in delight for a second at the touch but regained her purpose. "That man," she said, indicating the one who just walked into the room. "He isn't human."
"Which man? And what do you mean by 'he isn't human'?"
"The one in the blue magisterial robes. I can sense strong magic about him and I can see another face under the one he wears... a face similar to that of a dragonkin."
"Are you sure? He looks like a normal old man to me."
"I don't know, but I sense malevolence about him. The air around him is almost saturated with magic. His guards are the same, but the magic is much weaker around them."
"This could be serious. Let me borrow your quill and a piece of parchment." He quickly penned a note and summoned a page from the room behind them. "I need you to give this to His Highness immediately," he said, handing the boy the hastily written note. "Do not fear interrupting him, this is important." The boy nodded and ran off with the note. "I hope you are wrong, milady."
But she was not. As the other delegate left, Poldaran saw the dragon man draw magic around himself very carefully, so as not to attract attention. "Greetings, Magister," Prince Kael'thas said. "How may Silvermoon assist you today?" Poldaran noticed another feeling of magic tensing, but this time coming from a flaxen haired Elven woman standing in the crowd of courtiers that always attended Kael'thas' affairs of state.
"Greetings, your Highness," the dragon man said with a bow. "I have come but with a simple request from my masters." The man rose from the bow and uncoiled the magic around him. "They wish for you to die!" he shouted, firing the tendrils of the lightning spell at Kael'thas.
Poldaran felt the world lurch as everything seemed to slow down. The flaxen haired Elven woman threw aside her cloak as she ran between Kael'thas and the dragon man, revealing the paladin armor of Judgement underneath. Poldaran found this strange as Judgement was only worn by high ranking paladins, and she didn't believe there were any high ranking women among them. The flaxen haired Elf reached out and grabbed the main tendril of the spell with her gloved hand. Once again the world lurched as time resumed its normal flow.
"Your spell is mine!" the woman shouted. "The Scale will not allow you to accomplish your goal today!"
"It is of no matter," the dragon man responded. "Your time is up, slave to the past!" He sent more magic at her. Poldaran again felt the world lurch and time once again slowed. The woman grabbed the magic again and redirected it at her foe, striking him with his own fireball. Once again time resumed as normal and the dragon man collapsed to the floor. He looked across the room at Kael'thas. He was surrounded by guards, all holding their shields to protect him from any attack. The dragon man continued looking around the room, searching for something.
Finally he found it, spotting Poldaran on the balcony. "Kill the girl!" he commanded his guards. They drew their blades and leapt across the room, sticking to wall where they landed. They began scaling the wall like lizards as anti-magic shells covered them.
"No!" the flaxen haired woman commanded. Poldaran reached out and grabbed hold with her gift as she once again felt the world lurch. Everything seemed to stop around her except the flaxen haired woman who raced towards the dragon men climbing the wall. Poldaran saw the look upon her face. Time was hers. She drew a double blade similar to those wielded by the guards in the room as she ran, as well as a small knife. She threw the knife, piercing the higher of the two in the back of the skull. She then leapt towards the other, who fended the stroke of her blade with his own. Unfortunately for him, it cost him his grip on the wall, and he came crashing down.
The flaxen haired woman and he engaged in swordplay. Her blows seemed misaimed and quite frankly not very skilled, as though she was a novice swordsman, but she was quick and relentless. Poldaran felt time stop around them as she continued to hold on for dear life as the woman stepped in and out of the temporal effects. The woman's speed won out over the man's skill and soon he received a slash across his throat from her blade.
Time froze again and the woman teleported to the balcony next to Poldaran. "You know, you should be more careful," she told the frightened girl. "If you were to get stuck in the slowed time effect, you'd age years in the days it took for them to free you."
"Sorry," Poldaran said sheepishly.
"Don't worry about it, this time. Just promise me that you'll be more careful," the woman said with a smile. Poldaran nodded. The woman looked at Nihlus, frozen in time standing next to Poldaran. "I saw you looking at him earlier. He's cute." Poldaran blushed. The woman closed her eyes, though Poldaran could see them moving underneath, almost as if the woman was dreaming. "Two weeks from Wednesday if you happen to be in that tavern on the west side of the city, you know the one I'm talking about, around sundown, you may just run into him off duty. But you didn't hear that from me," the woman said with a wink. "Now, I'm going to teleport back to the main floor. I want you to release your hold with your gift when I've restarted time. Got it?" Poldaran nodded. "Good."
The woman reappeared upon the ground next to the beaten Magister. As time resumed its normal flow, she brought down her sword, severing his head from his body. The bodies of the aggressors erupted in flames and vanished. Kael'thas pushed his guards aside. "Who are you and what is the meaning of this?"
"I am no one, your Highness. And these men were nothing."
"I demand to know what your name is."
The woman smiled at the Prince. "Shorel'aran, my Prince," she said in farewell. Poldaran felt the world lurch again and the woman was gone.
The page boy took that moment to enter the room and run his message to the prince. Kael'thas read it and looked at the balcony. "Nihlus, escort Lady Poldaran to my study. I will meet you there in a few minutes. It appears we have much to discuss."
Nihlus led her to the large study, but she was too panicked to even look at his **** on the way. She started pacing as soon as they entered the room. "Are you okay, Lady Poldaran? You're deathly pale."
"His Highness sounded angry," she said, looking at the floor.
"I don't think he is upset with you. You did everything right. He's upset over the attack and was just short with you. I wouldn't fret about it," he said, putting his hand on her shoulder to reassure her.
She looked up at him and his smile caused her worry to melt away. "You really think so?"
"Of course," he replied. "I would not have said it if I didn't."
"Thank you," she breathed as she started to lean towards him. Unfortunately, the door chose that moment to make the sound of someone at the doorknob and the two separated themselves a bit.
Prince Kael'thas entered the room and sat down in his favorite chair. "Have a seat, Poldaran," he said, indicating a cushioned high backed chair opposite the one he was sitting in. She complied. "It seems that there was more going on in that room than I could see. Please tell me what you saw."
"When the Magister entered the room, I felt his presence before I saw him. Some kind of magic surrounded him and it made my skin crawl, so I looked for the source. When I saw him, there was something wrong with him. It was like he had two faces, the old man he wanted you to see, and some kind of darker face underneath. It looked like a dragonkin, but I've only seen drawings of those, so I'm not entirely certain."
"A darker face that looked like a dragonkin? Perhaps one of the black brood?"
"I don't think so, your Highness. It wasn't black, more of a dark gray, really."
"And his guards were the same way?" She nodded. "What of the woman?"
"Well, your Highness, I didn't feel anything odd about her, so she wasn't disguising herself the same way. I believe that was her true face. But the air about her crackled with power as she fought. And then there was the lurching."
"How do I describe this?" She thought for a moment. "You know how when you're in a carriage and start or stop quickly you feel the acceleration or deceleration?"
"Yes, I think I know what you're talking about."
"Well, while she was fighting, I kept feeling that. It was almost as if she was slowing and speeding up time around herself."
"That would certainly explain how she moved so quickly. Go on."
"When the Magister attacked, I felt the first lurch and then saw her with her hand on a tendril of the magic he had targeted at you. She stopped the attack, but it wasn't like a normal counterspell, which is directed at the person. Instead she was targeting the magic itself. She managed to grab tendrils of the second spell and not only stop it but she turned it upon its caster."
"I had thought she had cast that spell herself. Continue."
"Then the Magister sent his warriors after me. I'm not sure why, though."
"I have some theories on that, but I'm really not ready to share them with you until I have a better idea," the prince said. "Please continue."
"As she chased after the guards, I felt time lurch again. So I reached out with my gift and held onto it. Everything seemed to stop moving. Except her." The prince let out a low whistle. "She killed the one and then knocked down the other. It seemed like she had trouble holding the slowed time for more than a moment or two while fighting."
"While fighting? You mean she held it for a time when she wasn't?"
"Yes. After she slew the second guard, she froze time entirely and teleported up to where I was to explain to me the danger of getting caught in the time field because I had grabbed hold of her spell with my gift. She explained to me how to release the spell so I wouldn't be in danger then teleported back to the floor. Then time resumed and you saw everything I did from there."
"She didn't say anything else?"
"Nothing important," Poldaran said.
"Perhaps I should be the judge of that," he said. He noticed her eyes dart towards Nihlus, who was standing by the door. Kael'thas looked at her questioningly and she blushed. He chuckled. "Maybe you're right. It's probably nothing for me to concern myself with."
"What did she mean when she said, 'The Scale will not allow you to accomplish your goal today!'?" Poldaran asked.
"The Scale? I'm not sure entirely. I suspect however that these enemies do not come from the present. I believe that they have traveled through time to change our pasts. If I'm right, that means that the woman was likely a member of the Bronze Dragonflight come to prevent tampering with the time stream."
"Why would they target me? And what was that green bubble they surrounded themselves with?"
"It seems like you play a vital role in our future, Poldaran. And the green bubble is an anti-magic shell. It protects the user from all magic for a short period of time, but it is extremely difficult to conjure and even harder to maintain, so it never lasts long." He thought for a moment. "If we have enemies capable of using such magic, perhaps it is time you learn to defend yourself without magic. Nihlus here is one of our most capable swordsmen, so perhaps he can train you. And I think it's time you learned to fight those who would use magic against you as well, beyond simple counterspells. I will speak to your master and see about changing your schedule of study. He can teach you in the mornings, I'll train you in war magic and spell breaking in the afternoons, and Nihlus can train you in swords in the evenings, for four days a week, anyway. You should probably have the remaining three to train with your master."
"Yes. That is likely what you saw the woman do when she grasped the tendrils of magic and turned them against the caster. It's something that the Quel'dorei have been working on for decades. It's a much more complex form of magic counter that allows you to completely defend yourself from magical harm while using your enemy's attacks against them."
"Sounds like fun," Poldaran said, genuinely excited, and not just at the prospect of spending her evenings with a certain handsome black haired Elf.