Friday, March 15, 2013

Aza and the Green Fire: Chapter II

Zevrost handed a book to Aza. "Azadelta, take this - the journal of Jubeka Shadowbreaker. Read the journal and use the information contained within to track down where she went. Find her soulstones and use them to locate her."

Aza took the book and bowed to Zevrost.  "I will return, Master Zevrost.  And I'll share all I know with you."

Zevrost clapped a hand on Aza's shoulder.  "This journey will probably be one of your most challenging, Azadelta.  You will need all your knowledge and your power to succeed."

Aza inclined her head in acknowledgement and headed to the Dark Portal.

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Aza stood in Hellfire Peninsula at the Legion Front and opened Jubeka's journal.  The journal of one of the master demonologist warlocks... Aza shivered in delight, wondering what she would learn. Where did Zevrost get this?  Why had Zevrost not shared this knowledge with her and all his others students?  Aza wondered where to start seeking the soulstones.

The pages were filled with random notes, the occasional drawing of an imp's internal organs and the occasional tidbit on the preferred diet of felhunters.  But, near the end, an entry caught her eye...

Day 26:
It has been nearly two weeks since Kanrethad and I arrived in Outland. Almost immediately afterwards, he departed for Shadowmoon Valley. I didn't bother to ask why, as long as he doesn't get himself killed.
My research here in this dusty wasteland continues as drudgingly expected. While the Legion's onslaught has subsided, a number of the rarer demon specimens remain.
Day 28:
The fel imps of Felspark Ravine in Hellfire are remarkably chatty. I've discovered that they're just as easy to contract into service as their names are to learn. The ritual to summon one is trivial, at best.

Voidlords are rather difficult to stumble across, but it takes very little persuading to convince one to divulge the name of a rival lord. 
I have wondered once or twice if Kanrethad will ever return, but in the end, it doesn't actually matter. The council can put me to death, so long as my grimoires last, so will my legacy.
Day 32:
While examining the nauseating Ruins of Farahlon today in Netherstorm, I was ambushed by a race of floating eyeball squids. Calling themselves observers, they were unexpectedly intelligent. They expressed a deep desire to bear witness to all forms of magic and willingly offered their services in exchange for the opportunity to consume new forms of magic.

The ritual to summon an observer is unexpectedly complex. While natives of the great dark beyond, they are highly migratory and the summoning ritual must compensate for their travels. Without their willing assistance, summoning an Observer would be nearly impossible.
Aza was fascinated.  Reading how the original warlock masters learned the secrets of summoning the higher demons so that all warlocks could learn it was a history lesson that made her appreciate her Grimoire of Supremacy even more.  Aza thought about Bragmek, who was such an intelligent demon, that you could have a decent conversation with it, about all manner of subjects.  Without the work of Jubeka, he might never have been able to summon her Observer.  Aza shook herself from her thoughts and returned to the journal.
Day 35:
Kanrethad returned, looking incredibly grim. Considering his undisciplined technique, it should be no surprise that his research has been less than successful.
I'm ready to attempt the binding of a higher order member of the burning legion, but I dare not attempt the ritual alone. In fact, perhaps Kanrethad would prove the perfect test subject...
Day 36:
Remarkable! My first attempt to summon a higher order member of the legion failed as spectacularly as planned. The shivarra broke free almost instantly after Kanrethad completed the ritual.
I expected the frail human to be struck down while I banished the creature. Instead, in the instant that the Shivarra's razor-sharp blades sliced through the air, Kanrethad's form shifted and the blades bounced as if striking stone.
Unlike the typical form of metamorphosis, he did not complete the demonic transformation... perhaps his research has been more successful than I expected.
Day 40:
The key to binding a wrathguard was ironically reducing the number of runic symbols used in the summoning circle. Wrathguards are highly resistant to charms and compulsions, but readily respond to basic expressions of strength.
Kanrethad was unexpectedly insightful into the conditioning the legion uses to compel the wrathguard into action. His ability to express his dominance over lesser demons is remarkable, if short-lived. With great pains, I've been able to inscribe the forms he uses to summon multiple demonic servants at once.
Unfortunately, while he can bind two lesser demons indefinitely, I can only do so for a short time.
Aza put the journal down for a moment.  When she had first started reading she had felt an obvious kinship with the Forsaken Jubeka, and a disdain for the human Kanrethad.  But after reading these last few entries, perhaps Kanrethad had some hidden potential.
Day 47:

We left a few ogre corpses in our wake, but studying the ritual circle of Vim'gol revealed additional ways of bolstering our power using demonic sacrifices. While the act greatly enrages our demonic servants, fusing their life energy to our own provides a dramatic increase in power. 
With a little experimentation, I discovered that the more closely linked you are with the demon you sacrifice, the greater the power of the ritual.   Kanrethad's ability to restrain his demonic transformation seems to have reached a plateau. Once again, his lack of power disgusts me. Things that would be trivial to most Warlocks take him an eternity.
Day 50:

At Kanrethad's insistence, we headed for the Altar of Damnation in Shadowmoon Valley. He seems to be convinced that there's more to the Hand of Gul'dan than just a show of power. 
I'm not convinced, but at this point my Grimoires are complete. I don't understand his obsession with controlling the flow of demonic power granted by his   transformation. While he plays around with ancient altars, I intend to try my hand at opening a gateway to conjure many wild imps at once...
Day 60:
Kanrethad is up to something. To say that I'm concerned about our next move is a dramatic understatement.
There were no more diary entries.  Aza leafed through the remaining blank pages and found some notes scribbled on the back cover of the leather journal.
I'm convinced there is no chance that we will return from this next adventure alive. There's simply no way I can take the risk that my Grimoires go unread. For that reason, I've contracted the imps to leave four fragments of my soulstone at the locations listed in my journal. 
I'm sending this journal to you, my trusted friend, that should the need to locate me arise, you bring the four stones together, find my body and ensure that my grimoires are brought back to Azeroth. 
Signed,
Jubeka Shadowbreaker
Aza closed the journal.  So that is how Zevrost came upon the journal.  Jubeka sent it to him for safekeeping.  And Zevrost had entrusted HER to investigate it.  Pride swelled within Aza before it was rapidly quashed by the niggling feeling that Zevrost needed HER to do the dirty work, to be the guinea pig, like Jubeka tried to do to Kanrethad when enslaving a shivarra.

Aza shrugged it off.  Whatever the reason, the power would be Aza's if she completed this task.  Where to start?  She shivered, as an aura of cold descended upon her.

Jubeka had been spending a lot of time studying demons.  It would make sense to find large congregations of demons - and Azadelta had an excellent memory.  She recalled all the demon quests and tasks given when she had spent time in Outland, and thought those would be good places to start.

Hellfire peninsula had a lot of demon activity in Felspark Ravine.  As Aza descended into the ravine, a warm sensation tingled through her, making her feel confident this was the right place.  The sensation changed to hot as she explored, and she saw it, a tiny purple shard on the ground.  She seized it and squealed in delight. Her first fragment!  Only 3 more to find!

Blade's Edge Mountains was her next stop.  Jubeka had mentioned the ritual Circle of Vim'gol in her journal, and so Aza made her way to the border of Blade's Edge and Netherstorm.  The sensations tingled through her again as she neared the shard, and when she picked it up, she could sense a memory within the shard.  She activated the shard and a fragment of memory assaulted her.
Kanrethad: I tire of your evasive babble, doomguard. Explain to me why you and your kind are drawn to sacrificial magics.
Doomguard: My contract is to fight for you, not to reveal the Legion's secrets, mortal.
Kanrethad: Do not attempt to decieve me, demon! Your kind far predates Sargeras's betrayal. What WERE you?
Jubeka: This knowledge is useless... what are you trying to achieve, Kanrethad?
Kanrethad: STAY OUT OF THIS! The demon will answer, NOW!
Doomguard: What an odd demand. Not even my own kind care about our origins. Why should you?
Kanrethad: If you do not care then there is no harm telling me.
Doomguard: ... before Sargeras freed us, we were the Titan's hounds. Forever enslaved to police the use of arcane. Sacrificial magic was considered the greatest violation of life and we were attuned to instantly punish those who delved into such... delicious sorcery. You have your petty secret, Kanrethad. Now, I demand knowledge from you... why do you care?
Kanrethad: I don't believe that is part of our contact. We are done here. Jubeka, complete the ritual.
Similar memories were contained in the other fragments.  At the Ruins of Farahlon in Netherstorm the fragment was easy to spot.  The memory within dealt with observers.
Jubeka: Such strange creatures. Why do they remain so long after the legion has left.
Kanrethad: ...there's a slight flaw in that supposition.
Jubeka: Oh?
Kanrethad: The Observers were in the service of Illidan... not the Legion.
Jubeka: Well, he's gone too... so why are they still around?
Kanrethad: How should I know?
Jubeka: Well, I've spent weeks trying to understand how to summon one of these things. If you know something I don't, I'd appreciate it if you'd share it with us "lesser" mortals.
Kanrethad: What's the problem? You handled the binding of the Fel Imps and Voidlords effortlessly.
Jubeka: They were trivial by comparison! These things are never in the same place. There's something... strange about them... something out of place... Oh dear...
Aza was disconcerted.  The memories seemed to show Kanrethad that had a lot more authority than Jubeka.  It didn't sit well with Aza.  Or perhaps it was just the human's arrogance showing in Jubeka's memories.

The final fragment was in Shadowmoon Valley.  The Alter of Damnation held the last fragment.  Aza's curiosity was peaked as she accessed this final memory.
Jubeka: What is it you wished to show me…?
Kanrethad: …I've seen the fear in your eyes, Jubeka.
Jubeka: What…? No! I.. I have… no idea…
Kanrethad: Gul'dan destroyed the world in his bid for power… you're concerned I will do the same to Azeroth.
Kanrethad: …
Jubeka: No! Stay back! You…you're dangerous. I remain content summoning demons, but you…
Jubeka: …you toy with becoming one yourself!
Kanrethad: There are two sides to the blade of Demonology…
Kanrethad: …the threats that besiege us from the outside…
Kanrethad: …and those that threaten us from within.
Kanrethad: I chose you as my companion for a reason.
Jubeka: And what depraved reason is that…?
Kanrethad: …If I fail, I need you to banish me forever.
The shards were glowing when Aza finished watching the last memory.  She held the shards in her hand and watched as they fused together to form a soulstone.  However, there didn't appear to be a soul within the stone. Aza tried to seek the signal or source of magic, but instead, the stone seemed to be drawing power from somewhere within Shadowmoon Valley.   Azadelta looked to the east, and could feel the power linked beyond the mountains, to the very gates of the Black Temple .  Aza headed to the gates, wondering why the stone would lead there.  Was infiltrating the Black Temple going to lead her to the secret?

Aza entered the Black Temple and found Jubeka's mark on the door.  She touched it and was transported within the Black Temple.


8 comments:

  1. oooooooo...I'm sitting on pins and needles...what happens next????

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    1. Spoiler, I die a lot.
      - Aza

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  2. Oh boy, maybe it's best Sasche forgets to loot champions and doesn't have it yet. If Aza died a lot I don't like her chances lol.

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    Replies
    1. I just realised his version of a lot is not that much :p

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  3. WoW. I got so into this story/info that I actually got goosebumps at the end. Thanks Navi!! :D

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