“You want me to help you with what?” Keija sounded bemused, which was reassuring. Since encountering the Shas of Anger, Violence, and Hatred in Kun-Lai, the warrior had struggled to keep her temper under control. “Little sister, I could have forged you a perfectly serviceable new blade for that old hilt any time. All you had to do was ask.”
“Well, I did mean to ask you, but then I got kind of distracted…”
“Don’t we all! Let me have a look at that.”
Karaelia handed the hilt and blade of the broken prismatic sword to Keija, who studied them with an artisan blacksmith’s practiced eye.
“Hmm… These pieces are in surprisingly good condition, for being frozen in ice and banging around in the bottom of your bags for all those years… A dragonforged prismatic blade? Well, I guess I’ve seen enough replicas of Quel’Serrar — some of them better than others, to be sure — floating around… and the Titan techniques I’ve been learning at the Thunder Forge might come in handy… you’re sure those elves are sure we should be using saronite for this project? I never liked working with that stuff, even when I got decently good at it.”
Karaelia tanked, Kaohana healed, and Keija, Kaelinda, and Kregga made sure that things got dead and stayed dead. Kaelinda had come along because of her scholarly interest in the hilt, and Kregga had come because a Death Knight’s skills might be needed when dealing with the remaining minions of the Lich King. They encountered very little resistance, however, as they made their way through the Pit of Saron to the domain of the Lich King’s Forgemaster.
“Watch my back,” Keija warned, “and be patient, now. This will probably take a few hours.”
It did, but she’d said that several times as they were assembling supplies for the expedition, and they were prepared.
Keija muttered and grumbled and sometimes complained very loudly about how much she hated working with saronite and occasionally cursed at the material and the arrangements of the Scourge forge. Partway through, she called Kaelinda over to come help with keeping the enchantments on the blade stable while she manipulated the metal.
The reforging was approaching completion when they all heard the Lich King’s voice in their minds.
What is this noise that awakens me from my slumber? Ah, you have found Lana’thel’s precious sword. You are bold to try to reclaim this prize!
The Lich King began sending waves of minions at them, first ghouls, then other assorted types of undead creatures, then finally bonewyrms. Karaelia, Kregga, and Kaohana held them off while Keija and Kaelinda continued working on the sword.
Finally Keija announced, “It is done!”
Very well, the Lich King rumbled, Take it and begone. The next one who attempts to steal one of my treasures will not be so fortunate.
“You have remade the blade of Quel’Delar in defiance of Blood Queen Lana’thel’s pronouncement!” Magister Sunblaze crowed as they emerged, exhausted, from the Pit of Saron. “Now the blade must be tempered before you can show the complete folly of her words.”
“Well, duh,” Keija grumbled quietly, sounding more surly than Karaelia had heard for a long time, even in Pandaria. “That jagged saronite edge is brittle and will shatter the moment it strikes anything. What do you suggest, oh great Magister?”
“In the Forge of Souls there is a Crucible which should be suitable,” Magister Sunblaze responded, genteely ignoring Keija’s sour tone.
“Hmph,” growled Keija, “I guess that figures, for saronite.”
Karaelia could feel the Lich King at the back of her mind, watching them, but no obstacles were thrown in their way as they fought through the anguished spirits in the Forge of Souls to the Crucible of Souls.
The Crucible — an incongrously brilliantly glowing object in the dark, oppressive halls of Icecrown Citadel — sputtered, flickered, and hissed as Keija plunged the blade into it, pulled it out, hammered at it here and there, and then plunged it in again, several times until she was satisfied with the quality of the edge.
“This is the best work I’ve ever done in saronite,” Keija said at last. “It better be good enough for that elf.”
“This is exquisite!” said Magister Sunblaze admiringly, holding the tempered blade aloft and watching the play of light upon its surface. “But..” his face clouded, “tempering the blade should have restored it. Why hasn’t it worked?”
“I don’t mean physically restored,” he added swiftly, seeing Keija’s face darken and her fists clench, “the physical restoration you have done is perfection itself! I mean, er, magically restored. It feels to me as if it sits quietly in its sheath, little different from a mundane blade.”
“Really?” said Karaelia. “As I carried it back here, after we tempered it, I felt it… pulling on me. It felt almost as if the sword itself possessed a will. You don’t feel that?”
“That’s what you get for remaking it with saronite,” Keija muttered.
“No…” said the Magister slowly, “…I don’t. But if it is pulling on you, as you say… Dare you bring it where it wishes to go?”
“It is not right,” Kaelinda said thoughtfully, “that the sword should be this silent for you,” she nodded toward Magister Sunblaze, ” and yet this insistent for you.” She nodded toward Karaelia. “If we do not take it to its destination, though, we will never learn why. But where is it wanting to go?”
“We are in the Lich King’s citadel, and he called this sword one of his prizes,” Kregga put in. “I say we take it to the Halls of Reflection, to the room where Arthas kept Frostmourne, and see if the lingering resonances of that shattered blade in that room call forth a response from this blade.”
Karaelia took the sword back from Magister Sunblaze and studied how it felt as she hefted it. It seemed to be pulsing with darkness. “Yes,” she agreed, “that does seem to be the direction in which it is pulling me.”
Cautiously, Karaelia and the others approached Sword’s Rest. They were still several yards away when a spectre of Uther Lightbringer appeared.
“Halt!” the spectre commanded, “Do not carry that blade any further! Do you realize what you’ve done?”
In the presence of the shards of Frostmourne, Quel’Delar leapt out of Karaelia’s hands, whirled away, and then turned to attack her!
Reflexively, Karaelia brought her shield around and bashed at the renegade weapon. Her friends unleashed equally reflexive attacks, and the blade clattered to the ground as if it were a person who had been knocked unconscious.
“You have forged this blade from saronite,” the spectre of Uther chided, “the very blood of an Old God. The power of the Lich King calls to this weapon.”
“I told you I thought that using saronite to reforge the blade was a bad idea at the beginning, right?” Keija whispered loudly.
“Each moment you tarry here,” the spectre continued, “Quel’Delar drinks in the evil of this place. There is only one way to cleanse this sword. Make haste to the Sunwell and immerse the blade in its waters.” The spectre faded away.
“The Sunwell!” Kaelinda exclaimed. “How can we know that doing this will not defile the Sunwell again?”
“How can evil take root in such a sword?” Magister Sunblaze gasped, shocked, when they told him what had happened in the Halls of Reflection.
Keija rolled her eyes. “Uther told us, and I was telling you all along, that it was the saronite that did it. We should have taken it to the Thunder Forge and used lightning steel instead.” Her mood seemed to be improving, thankfully.
“I would not have thought it possible if the evidence weren’t here before my eyes,” Magister Sunblaze continued, ignoring Keija. “If the greatest of dragonkind’s creations could be corrupted and turned against them, why not a mere sword?” He shook his head wonderingly.
“I believe Uther is right,” he said decisively. “Trust in Uther’s words when he says that you will not always be able to control the blade while it is subject to the evil of the Lich King’s influence. You must heed his advice quickly, and take Quel’Delar to the Sunwell as quickly as possible. With Regent-Lord Theron in Pandaria, you will need to gain admission from the Ranger General, Halduron Brightwing.”
Note: the appearance of the Lich King in this part of the story is not part of the original questline. It is inspired, rather, by the role of the Lich King in certain Legion Artifact weapon questlines that take place in Icecrown Citadel.