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Teldrassil was never a good idea.

There, I said it.

I hadn’t completely agreed with Shan’do Stormrage’s assessment that it was necessary to sacrifice Nordrassil — and our immortality — to stop the demon Archimonde, but it had been done. Instead of trying to regain what we had lost by trying to grow a new World Tree, however, we should have been more focused on reclaiming some of the other things we had lost. The forest now known as “Felwood”, for one. The regions of Ashenvale that had become infested with orcs, for another. If we’d cleared out the orcs from Ashenvale when we had the chance, then their so-called allies the undead might not have defiled the Dor’danil Barrow Den and killed my grandfather…

And perhaps if we had not been so determined to “not interfere with the development of less advanced societies*” (utter rubbish, given our interactions with the furbolgs), we might have been the ones to save the tauren from the centaur, denying the orcs one of their most valuable allies. The tauren could have been our allies, instead — not just the ones who’d been invited into the Cenarion Circle, all of them. Hadn’t it been my own grandmother who had argued that the existence (and sophistication) of music created by the tauren tribes demonstrated that they were a more intelligent and advanced society than their centaur, harpy, quilboar, and gnoll enemies?

But I digress. Teldrassil. It was Shan’do Staghelm’s idea. When the Aspects, especially my beloved Ysera, initially refused to give it their blessing, that should have been a clue that it really wasn’t a good idea. After all, hadn’t Shan’do Staghelm already been involved in the creation of a failed World Tree, Andrassil-that-had-become-Vordrassil up in Northrend? Like Andrassil, which had created the leak into the Emerald Dream that allowed the Emerald Nightmare to begin, Teldrassil also was corrupted.

Furthermore, Teldrassil and Darnassus had only even existed for, what, fifteen years? Twenty? Maybe thirty? Even for a young kaldorei like myself, less than a millennium old, born after the War of the Shifting Sands, that was still an absolutely insignificant amount of time. I didn’t understand how any kaldorei could truly think of Teldrassil or Darnassus as “home”, except perhaps the handful of children who had been born there.

Watching Teldrassil burn, I was infuriated by yet another Horde atrocity, and I grieved for the innocent lives that I could not save. But for the tree itself? I found no sorrow in me for the loss of a false home.

~*~*~

* Yes, that is a sideways reference to Star Trek‘s Prime Directive.

~*~*~

Remember, this is an RP story! Kerithian’s opinions are not necessarily my opinions!

…Okay, maybe they are. Apologies to my Night Elf friends, but Darnassus and Teldrassil have never particularly captured my imagination. I don’t dislike Darnassus the way I deeply dislike Undercity — it just never “clicked” with me (I am glad to see Undercity gone — definitely no tears there at all!). When it comes to Night Elf zones, I’ve always preferred Ashenvale to Teldrassil.

I played through the War of Thorns first as Horde, then as Alliance. I’m glad I chose to do it with my Rogue on the Horde side; I don’t think any of my other characters (except perhaps the Warlock) could have stomached doing what Sylvanas commanded. My heart ached through the whole thing, as Horde as well as Alliance.

Look, I play Horde because I want to play Tauren and Blood Elves. I don’t play Horde because I like or agree with the role they are too often given in the overarching plotlines of the game. I am tired, so, so very tired, of the Horde always having to be the bad guys. And there are those who might say, oh, but the Alliance sometimes does bad guy things too — but the Horde always has to do more and worse bad guy things. For example, the things the Horde sees the Alliance doing versus the things the Alliance sees the Horde doing in the first part of the Jade Forest storyline, or the Horde killing the Astranaar guards with a swift poison versus the Alliance using sleeping powder on the Horde guards in the captured furbolg village in the War of Thorns.

The kaldorei have now suffered a population decimation on par with that suffered by the quel’dorei when Arthas and the Scourge burned the Dead Scar through Eversong Woods and what is now the Ghostlands. The Warbringers: Sylvanas short draws that parallel very clearly. I’m not sure what I want to say about that beyond pointing it out…

~*~*~

Kerithian is the granddaughter of my Night Elf Mage, Keriluna, through Keriluna’s son, Ceredion. She was born, raised, and spent most of her early life at Feathermoon Stronghold in Feralas before becoming one of the caretakers of Nordrassil during its recovery after the Battle of Mount Hyjal, then one of the vanguard on the Molten Front during the Cataclysm. The events relating to her grandparents that she mentions are described in Keriluna’s Song.

Keriluna herself survived the inferno by virtue of not being in Darnassus when it happened. When she resigned her position as one of the Temple of the Moon musicians at the beginning of Cataclysm to pursue the Arcane arts, she moved herself and her belongings to Feathermoon Stronghold — a place that had long been something of a secondary home for her — so that she could study under the tutelage of Estulan.
I didn’t actually move the character to Feathermoon Stronghold and set her Hearthstone there until a week or two ago, though, shortly before playing through the War of Thorns campaign.

On the other side of the faction fence, Kivrinne had been traveling back and forth between her home lab in Undercity and Plaguewood Tower in Eastern Plaguelands, where her on-again, off-again romantic interest Argent Apothecary Judkins resides, for some time. After her friends Parqual and Vellcinda failed to return from the events chronicled in Before the Storm, she moved herself and her belongings out to Plaguewood Tower permanently.
As with Keriluna, I didn’t actually move the character there until recently, and in this case, the nearest place where she could reset her Hearthstone is Light’s Hope Chapel.

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And now you have seen the other project that I’ve been working on for the past few weeks.

I was sad to see that the insta-WQ item was gone. It makes sense why, though. Like the Garrison & Order Hall gold missions, it would have been a thing that some people would have felt compelled to keep coming back for, and so they removed it. I have gotten enough from it, though. I accumulated enough Marks of Honor to get all the Legion PvP sets I wanted — as well as a number of PvP sets or items from previous expansions — with a small pile left over. I also got enough Honor that when the Patch 8.0 changes went through, my collective Honor level went up to 10 and earned me the default tint of the PvP appearance for my Artifacts — something that I wasn’t even trying to accomplish.

Rogue, Monk, and Hunter completed their Order Hall Campaigns.
Knowing what will be beginning today, and knowing that the devs are working story on at least the rough outline level an expansion or two in advance, the ending of the Rogue campaign left a slightly bitter, sour taste in the mouth.
The voice of the Dwarf Monk champion Angus Ironfist reminds me of that of my paternal grandfather.
If the Hunters need specialized ammunition to take on the felhounds being bred by Hakkar the Houndmaster at the felhound place in Faronaar, how is it that everyone else can just waltz in there and take them on with only their usual toolkits?

I hoped to get Warrior done, too, but then I hit a “do some more Champion missions” and didn’t want to stay up all night waiting for them. At this very late stage of the expansion, I didn’t have any trouble with the Ulduar scenario stage of the Warrior campaign, but with so many huge AOE packs!, I can see how it would have been absolutely brutal early in the expansion.

So I’ll finish Warrior tonight, and then I’ll have Priest, Paladin, and Death Knight left. I probably won’t be able to finish all of them by next Tuesday, because the chemical education conference that I’ve been anticipating all summer is Sunday through Thursday of next week. I should be able to finish them before August 13th, though… and hopefully I can get my Demon Hunter through Argus by then, too…

Although I would dearly like Kaelinda to have the golden eyes, her face is not one of the three golden-eyed faces.
Kelisanna’s face, though, is.

Kelisanna was probably at the Sunwell the day that Quel’Delar was purified there; she would have known that Kaelinda and Karaelia were travelling there, and why, and as a member of Lor’themar’s intelligence corps, she would have considered that she ought to be there for security reasons. She would also have been at the Sunwell the day that Kaelinda brought First Arcanist Thalyssra there and Alleria Windrunner showed up coincidentally (but not, to a spy, unexpectedly), for similar reasons. Either one of those events could have given her enough of an infusion of Light to cause the change in her eye color. She claims, however, that it was merely the extended exposure to all that gold in the Vault of the Uncrowned that did it.

But… I wasn’t really feeling it. If Kaelinda couldn’t have the golden eyes, it didn’t seem quite right for another of my established Blood Elf characters to have them instead. After a few days, I changed Kelisanna’s face back to the version with green eyes.

I still wanted a golden-eyed Blood Elf, though.

Long ago, I had a Blood Elf Paladin. Then Cataclysm gave us Tauren Paladins, and having two Horde Paladins felt redundant. So I faction-swapped my Blood Elf Paladin into a Dwarf, because Dwarf Paladins are awesome. I’ve been happy with my Dwarf Paladin — but in the back of my mind, I’ve missed my Blood Elf Paladin.

So I rolled a new, golden-eyed Blood Elf Paladin. She has the same hair color as and is indirectly named after the female Blood Elf Paladin who was the guild leader and healing leader of the guild with whom BTH and I raided Karazhan through Ulduar.

Before I faction transferred her, I’d gotten my original Blood Elf Paladin up to about level 63 or 64, which was high enough to solo the pre-Cataclysm Blood Elf Paladin mount quest chain. Because by that point in Wrath the Paladin mounts were learned automatically with riding skills at level 20 & 40, I did the quest chain primarily to get the auxiliary reward of the Blood Knight Tabard — which then got transmuted into a generic guild tabard when I faction transferred her. I was relieved to see that my new Blood Elf Paladin had access to the Blood Knight Tabard in the Appearances collection.

Speaking of interesting character appearances… There’s these blue-haired Eversong Elf Mages who show up in Kirin Tor places. I’m not sure if they’re actually supposed to be High Elves that have become blue-haired because of their exposure to arcane energy, or blue dragons in humanoid form. At any rate, the only way to achieve that look as a player character is to be a Blood Elf Death Knight (Void Elves don’t have that exact shade of blue, and their hairstyles are different, so I couldn’t quite replicate that look with my Void Elf Mage — though I’m sure she’ll mimic their clothes anyway).

I’ve lost track of how many times I’ve made and deleted a blue-haired Blood Elf Death Knight.

If I can create a new character just to have a golden-eyed Blood Elf… then I can create (again — and keep this time) a blue-haired Blood Elf.

Meet Kandrista the Eccentric, a Frost Death Knight who will frequently run around in a cloth robe, pretending that she’s a Frost Mage.

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“Now,” Jubeka continued, “I have something to confess to you.” She smiled broadly with that unnerving Forsaken rictus grin. “It is a secret, but you are already geased to keep this secret by your attunement to my journal. How did you come by The Codex of Xerrath?”

“It came to me in the mail, from someone I do not know, but who claimed to be a friend of a friend of a friend.” Kalaneia thought about it. The handwriting on the parcel and the accompanying note had suggested Stormwind, so probably a human warlock, who would therefore be a friend of the human mage Kinevra, who was a friend of Kalaneia’s younger cousin Kaelinda.

“Let me have it for a minute. I will re-set the lock, and then you will send it on to some other warlock. Or you may sell it on the Auction House, for all I care. Though after all this time, I think there are probably few warlocks remaining who have the willpower and skill to taste the fel and not be overpowered by it who have not already come to me.”

What?!

The Codex of Xerrath is a real volume, and I have it — but your Codex of Xerrath is a fake. A fraud. A forgery. A hoax. There are several other copies just like it, circulating among the warlocks of Azeroth. After I first Banished Kanrethad, I considered many methods for keeping the Banishment stable and reducing his excess power. At length, I devised this ruse for bringing other warlocks here to siphon off the fel power, a little bit at a time. Don’t look so surprised. Surely you’d observed other warlocks wielding green fire, and wondered where they’d learned it?”

Well, yes, Kalaneia had. Aeda Brightdawn at Frostwall Garrison was the first to come to mind.

But if this had happened many, many times…?

Jubeka saw the question on Kalaneia’s face and answered before she could verbalize it. “Oh, yes, Kranosh and his Alliance counterpart are in on it. So is Akama. They play their parts quite well, don’t you think? And now, when Azeroth has a true need for the Council of the Black Harvest, perhaps enough of that excess fel power has been bled away from Kanrethad that I think we might, under the proper circumstances, and with the proper safeguards, be able to release him.”

~*~*~



~*~*~

Author’s Notes

This story and the one about the Battered Hilt are linked on a meta level by more than both being epic lore-filled quest chains. It was when I acquired the Tome of the Lost Legion (from the AH, in fact) that I decided that I’d better actually go do the Battered Hilt questline. And it was when, having read that the Warlock Order Hall Champions were the remaining members of the Council of the Black Harvest, I decided that I ought to do the Green Fire questline with my Warlock before doing the opening Order Hall & acquisition of first Artifact weapon sequences of Legion — you know, so that she would have already met these people and know what they were about — that I then decided that I’d better get the story about Quel’Delar written up and posted before I set out to write a story about the Council of the Black Harvest.

The Green Fire questline came out with Patch 5.2 — the Throne of Thunder raid patch. This story, however, is set at the point in the overall timeline when I actually did the questchain — between my Warlock’s participation in the Battle at the Broken Shore and when she began her Legion leveling. Dealing with the time-skip of having spent all of Warlords idling in my Garrison was a challenge, but ultimately a good opportunity, as I hope you can see from this final installment.

Like most of my stories, I wrote about half of it, then got stuck and let it gather dust in my Drafts folder for a year or two before getting around to finishing it. In this case, I wrote through the end of Part 2 in the initial burst of inspiration, then wrote the rest of it over the past couple of weeks.

Because I’d just reviewed the Green Fire questline, when I went to do the part of the Legion Warlock Order Hall Campaign that involved recruiting Kanrethad as the 9th Champion, I felt like the characterizations of Jubeka and Kanrethad didn’t quite match up. In the Green Fire questline, it seemed like Jubeka and Kanrethad utterly despised and detested one another, and yet now Jubeka was calling Kanrethad an “old friend” and feeling guilty about having had to Banish him? Well, I suppose that some years of living mostly in isolation with just Kanrethad’s Banished form for company might distort Jubeka’s perspective a bit… I decided to let my interpretation of Jubeka in the Green Fire questline for this story lie where I’d left it.

In case you were wondering, here’s what Kalaneia was wearing for this adventure. It’s outfit #21 in “Things my Warlock Wears”.

Shadow Reaper

Yalia’s Cowl, Earthripple Shoulderpads, Robe of the Shadow Council, Felcast Cord, Exiled Dabbler’s Gloves, Saltarello Shoes, Staff of the Left Hand Path

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A Taste of Fel Energy (5/6)

Kalaneia dropped Jubeka’s soulstone into the soulwell and a final memory appeared. A grandiose Demonic Gateway unfolded from the ground. Kalaneia only recognized the demonic figure that stepped through as Kanrethad Ebonlocke because Jubeka’s memory labeled it as him.



Kanrethad viciously attacked Jubeka. During the fierce battle, he summoned a Pit Lord, then an enormous pack of Wild Imps. Jubeka cleverly defeated Kanrethad’s minions, though Kalaneia could see that it was taxing all of her resources to do so.



At last, when Kanrethad had exhausted himself channeling a massive spell of destruction that he claimed to have stolen from Deathwing, Jubeka gained the upper hand and Banished him.

As the memory ended, Jubeka herself stepped out from behind one of the serpent statues.

“Hello, Kalaneia,” Jubeka said, “You have found me. But this is no place to talk. Come to my home and you can tell me why you have sought me out over tea.” She cast a Demonic Circle on the ground and gestured Kalaneia to step into it. When the familar crackling sensation cleared, Kalaneia found herself in a cave that had been furnished into a moderately comfortable dwelling.

“Go ahead, look around a bit,” Jubeka said, emerging from the Demonic Circle behind her. Kalaneia walked over to the cave entrance and looked out. She could see that this cave was very close to the Altar of Damnation, but its entrance was difficult to spot from outside. Turning back into the cave, she saw at the very back the statue-like Banished form of Kanrethad.

“Cheery company, isn’t he?” Jubeka smirked. “Kanrethad’s power is too great to allow him to be free. I’ll ensure he stays Banished, for as long as I exist. Still, a taste of the fel energies he is saturated with should cause no ill. Feel free to drain some for your own use.”

At Jubeka’s continued urging, Kalaneia hesitantly reached out to touch Kanrethad. The fel energy flowed into her, flowed through her — she felt herself somersaulting high, high into the air as the fel energy overflowed her — she was dimly aware that she was not hitting the cave roof — she landed, feeling at once exhilarated and nauseated.

She looked around for something to light on fire, to see how this new power would affect her spells. Spotting Jubeka’s fireplace, she cast a very small Incinerate. A sheet of green fire rippled across the room and the wood burst into green flames. They were oddly beautiful.

“Ah, thank you, dear,” said Jubeka, setting a teapot on a hook over the fire. “Should you ever grow tired of these effects, return to me here and I can purge the fel energy from you — for a price, of course. Now, tell me what you really came to find me for.”

Feeling somewhat abashed after all that had happened, Kalaneia brought The Codex of Xerrath out of her satchel and handed it to the Forsaken woman. “I was hoping that you would be able to read Nathrezim.”

“Alas, I cannot. But I know someone who can.” As Kalaneia watched, struggling to conceal her astonishment, Jubeka summoned an Observer and politely requested that it inspect the book.

The Observer scanned the pages as Jubeka held them up in front of its oversized eye. “Of course! This codex is written in the ancient Nathrezim tongue. Nathrezim, or the Dreadlords, as you call them, were once an enlightened and powerful race. Their skill in summoning and gateway magic was unsurpassed by any in the Great Dark Beyond. This particular tome contains instructions to open a gateway to another world. Sadly, I fear that world no longer exists. It was destroyed as a show of power during the enslavement of Xoroth. The tome is useless, I’m afraid. No warlock could open such a gateway alone.”*

Jubeka thanked the Observer and dismissed it. “I am sorry that you have come all this way for nothing,” she said, pouring Kalaneia a cup of tea. “But I sense that there is another, truer need that perhaps I can help you with.”

Not quite “nothing”, Kalaneia thought, considering all that she’d learned about demonology, the green fire, and how she now had an “in” with the Council of the Black Harvest. She explained about the Legion attacks on Azeroth, the failed battle at the Broken Shore, the escape of Illidan’s demon hunters from the Vault of the Wardens.

“Hmmm….” Jubeka tapped an already tea-soaked biscuit against the edge of her teacup until it broke and fell into the cup, spattering droplets out onto the tabletop. “Thank you for bringing me this news. The return of the Legion to Azeroth is indeed a dire matter. I think the time has come at last to reconvene the Council of the Black Harvest. I will make preparations to contact Rittsyn and the others. We’ll be in touch with you when we’ve reassembled.”

“But what will you do with Kanrethad?” Kalaneia asked.

“Oh, I’ll take him with me. He’s not actually all that hard to transport in this form, and much better company.”

~*~*~

*If a Warlock who has the Grimoires of Supremacy talent summons an Observer for the quest to ask your demons about the book near the beginning of the quest chain, this is what the Observer says.

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Kalaneia studied Jubeka’s soulstone. Somehow, this object was supposed to help her find its creator. Would the object, as a whole, play hot-and-cold with her to find Jubeka in the same way that the fragments had to help her find them? She turned this way and that, holding the soulstone out in front of her. It didn’t seem to change temperature, but whenever she faced east, toward the Black Temple, it seemed like it began to tug at her.

As she approached the Black Temple, Kalaneia was a bit surprised that the tugging of Jubeka’s soulstone did not pull aside to the breach in the side wall that led to the sewers. Even after the defeat of Illidan, the mopping-up crews assembled by the Aldor and the Scryers — still competing with each other to prove that they would be the best helpers for Akama and the Ashtongue Broken — had continued to come in through that sewer entrance, leaving the great gates into the main courtyard of the temple sealed. But no, Jubeka’s soulstone pulled her right up to those gates.

When she got close, Kalaneia could see an elaborate sigil glowing on the gates — the same sigil that was embossed on the cover of Jubeka’s journal.

This, too, she suspected would only be visible to a Warlock attuned to Jubeka’s journal. She reached out to touch it — and instantaneously, with the same sensation as stepping into one of her own Demonic Circles, she found herself standing beside a much smaller rendering of the symbol, at a relatively inconspicuous location inside the courtyard.

Many Ashtongue Broken were patrolling the courtyard. At first, Kalaneia thought she might have to sneak past them. She was attempting to do so when one of the Ashtongue looked at her directly — and to her surprise, he nodded at her and waved her by. There was something vaguely familiar about his face. It occurred to her that some of the Ashtongue might recognize her from all that time she’d spent here with those Scryer mopping-up crews. It seemed that, because of the assistance she’d given them, they also respected* and at least minimally trusted her. Good. This would make trying to find Jubeka somewhat easier — if she was still here at all, given that it had been a few years since she’d sent her journal to Kranosh.

Entering the Sanctuary of Shadows, Kalaneia began scanning for signs of Jubeka — perhaps other instances of the sigil, smaller and more subtle? At the foot of a pillar, she spotted a scroll emblazoned not with Jubeka’s mark, but with the rune of the Illidari. Odd, that. The last time she’d been here with the Scryer crews, a year or two ago, it had looked like the Ashtongue were finally getting the place properly cleaned up, getting rid of the mess left behind by Illidan’s lackeys. Had the Ashtongue here even heard yet of the events at the Broken Shore, of the escape of the demon hunters from the Vault of the Wardens?

As she bent to pick up the scroll, something heavy smacked the back of her skull. As she stood there, stunned, ears ringing, Akama stepped out of the shadows. “Foolish warlocks,” he snarled, “I knew you would try again to ransack our temple!”

Through the pain, Kalaneia began to contemplate how she could convince Akama to help her find Jubeka. Before she could get her aching brain to form coherent words, Akama spoke again. “Wait… You’re not one of those warlocks that snuck in here before. Why then are you here… Scryer Kalaneia?” He recognized her. That was good. “What do you want from the Black Temple? Stay a moment and speak with me, rather than skulk about like a rogue.”

What to say came to her in a flash of inspiration. “Sylvanas Windrunner, Warchief of the Horde and Dark Lady of the Forsaken, urgently requests and requires the return of her advisor Jubeka Shadowbreaker.”

Akama harumphed. “Scryer Kalaneia, you and your Horde did much to aid my people in freeing the Black Temple from Illidan’s grasp. I will help you as a show of mutual trust and repayment of the debt we owe you.”

He turned and began walking toward the formerly orc-infested area of the temple. “It has been some years since those two warlocks broke into the temple… but I’m still not sure what they were after. They visited the Shrine of Lost Souls and the temple summit.” Akama paused to speak to the guard at the entrance to the Halls of Anguish. “I have decided to trust this warlock… for now. Allow her to move about the temple freely.” The guard nodded and stepped aside to let them pass. “It will take many years for us to undo the damage that Magtheridon, Illidan, and the fel orcs did to this holy place.” Akama sighed heavily. “Within lies the Shrine of Lost Souls. The souls of thousands of my fallen brethren remain within this area. Use caution, there are many traps here.” His voice turned sour. “Perhaps one of your demon spells will grant you the ability to scout ahead before advancing forward.” He stalked away.

Kalaneia decided to take the hint as another good-faith gesture. She was certain that Akama knew exactly what “demon spell” he had referred to so obliquely. She summoned her Eye of Kilrogg and began to explore the broken hallway leading down into the shrine. Through the Eye, she saw a maze of shadow traps.

This was… new since she’d been here last with the Scryers… The Eye of Kilrogg wasn’t just useful for spying, though. By using it to place a series of Demonic Gateways, Kalaneia easily navigated the invisible maze.


When she stepped into the Shrine of Souls, Jubeka’s soulstone released another memory.

















No sooner had the memory ended than an entity similar to the Essences of Suffering, Desire, and Anger that Kalaneia had defeated before arose from the back of the chamber and sprang to attack her.

Between being caught flat-footed and the fury with which the Essence of Order attacked, Kalaneia barely defeated it. In fact, she died to its flames mere moments after it succumbed to her spells. Fortunately, she had taken the precaution of storing her soul in a soulstone of her own before entering the maze.

As it fell, the reliquary shouted, “If you love demons so much, then you shall have them!” The hallway leading back to the Halls of Anguish was now free of the shadow traps and filled with demons that had apparently been bound within the Essence of Order. If Kalaneia had come here a few years ago, when she first received the mysterious book in her mailbox, these demons might have been troublesome for her. As it was, she and Mezzthyk squashed them like bugs.

Akama was waiting for Kalaneia near the exit of the Halls of Anguish. More fallen demons lay all around him. He glared at her suspiciously. “Kalaneia!” he barked, “Some of my men are trapped in the basement. There is little time. Help me save them!” Without waiting for her reply, he ran through the door leading down to the area where Gurtogg Bloodboil had once been kept.

Kalaneia almost started after him, but then she remembered that he’d said that the other warlocks had also gone up to the temple summit. Now could be her chance to get up there and locate Jubeka without interference! Pausing briefly to dismiss Mezzthyk and summon Pagnar, she headed toward the Den of Mortal Delights. The imp became very excited as they entered the lair of Illidan’s blood elven minions. “There’s gotta be some riches around this place!” Pagnar exclaimed. His voice took on a pleading, whining tone, “C’mon, boss, you know you want to…”

Sure enough, the Ashtongue had not yet finished cleaning up this part of the temple. Small gems and gold coins lay scattered all about. Kalaneia began picking up all that she saw. Soon, she noticed that there were more valuable items, such as rings, necklaces, and golden dishes, too. She began to collect these items, as well. After about five minutes, however, she stopped short. “This is a waste of time,” she said, dumping the pile of trinkets on Pagnar. “Take this junk and get rid of it, and bring me whatever money you get for it.” Pagnar took the loot and vanished, cackling gleefully.

A lone Shivarra remained on the terrace once occupied by Mother Shahraz. It was easily defeated. Kalaneia raced through the promenades and council rooms of Illidan’s higher-ranking servants until she reached the doors to the temple summit. Illidan’s runes still glowed there, but they no longer bound the doors shut.

As she pushed open the doors, Pagnar popped out at her side. “We got a lotta cash for all that crap!” he chortled. Kalaneia glared at him, and he shut up.

Looking across the temple summit, Kalaneia spotted a soulwell at the far side of the platform. She hurried across to it. Somehow, she knew that if she placed Jubeka’s soulstone within it, she would know where to find the Forsaken warlock.

~*~*~

*Kalaneia had reached Revered with the Ashtongue Broken from soloing Black Temple for Mog gear.

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Studying the journal, Kalaneia wondered at first why Jubeka was wasting her time with the elementary summons that every novice Warlock learned. Eventually, she realized that the Forsaken woman’s methodical, thorough mastery of the simplest summonings was what allowed her to dare to attempt much more dangerous bindings.

The journal discussed Jubeka’s research at four locations in greater detail than others: Felspark Ravine in Hellfire Peninsula, the Ruins of Farahlon in Netherstorm, the Vim’Gol ogre circle in Blade’s Edge Mountains, and the Altar of Damnation in Shadowmoon Valley.

~*~*~

It still seemed wrong to go through a Mage portal in Orgrimmar instead of the Dark Portal in the Blasted Lands to get to Hellfire Peninsula. Almost as soon as she stepped out into the oven-like heat of that ruined land, Kalaneia became aware of a curious tingling sensation on her arms, her shoulders, and the back of her neck. It felt cold, somehow. She flew slowly along Felspark Ravine toward Thrallmar, scanning the ground below her and wondering how well Jubeka had hidden her soulstone. The tingling sensation began to feel warmer, then suddenly flared into a burning even hotter than the ambient temperature. The burning subsided as quickly as it had begun, and her arms were feeling chilly again by the time she approached the outer stockade of Thrallmar.

Seeking a hidden object… Cold — and then hot — and then cold again… It was like a game that children played… Kalaneia turned her flying mount around and went back along Felspark Ravine, even more slowly this time. When the tingling sensation flared into almost unbearable heat, she brought her mount straight down. Carefully, she searched around and underneath the rocks where she had landed. Hidden in a crevice, so deeply in shadow that she might have missed it if she didn’t know what she was looking for, she found it: a dark purple gem, glowing faintly with a swirling inner light, smooth on some of its faces and jagged on the others. As soon as she grasped it, the tingling sensation completely disappeared.

This Jubeka is very clever, Kalaneia thought.

~*~*~

Although the Vim’gol ogre circle in Blade’s Edge Mountains was closer — and she would pass it on the way — Kalaneia decided to go next to the Ruins of Farahlon, in Netherstorm, because that was the next place that Jubeka had mentioned in her journal. Once again, as she approached the indicated location, her arms, shoulders and neck began to tingle: cold — colder even than the ambient temperature of that wasteland — then warmer, then suddenly burning. She found the soulstone fragment buried in a heap of shattered furniture and other rubble in one of the collapsed dwellings near the outer edge of the ruined town. When she pulled the gem from its hiding place, ghostly figures appeared in the street outside the house. Kalaneia realized that Jubeka had imbued this fragment with a memory of something that she had learned here…








~*~*~

The Vim’gol ogre circle was littered with a disgusting detritus of magical implements, ingredients, and residues that contained several soulstones or fragments of soulstones. Some of them even still glowed. When Kalaneia put her hand on the correct one, though, she knew it immediately — not only because the tingling on her skin stopped, but also because another memory appeared…













~*~*~

The final soulstone fragment lay at the foot of the summoning cirle that still glowed in the earth before the Altar of Damnation. Although it seemed to be lying in plain sight, Kalaneia was certain that only a Warlock who was attuned to Jubeka’s journal would see it as something other than one of the myriad dull pebbles scattered around the site. This fragment, too, held a memory…














This memory was clearly non-trivial. Quite astute, that Kanrethad, to choose someone who disliked and distrusted him, to ensure that they would banish him, and banish him well, should he fail.

With all four fragments of Jubeka’s soulstone now collected, it took Kalaneia only a few minutes to puzzle out how the jagged faces fit together. Holding the broken soulstone with the pieces correctly aligned loosely in her hand, she wondered how to make it whole again. Aha — in the rituals for summoning and for banishing, there was a repeated string of syllables that meant something more or less like “binding”. Perhaps if she incanted just those syllables… Even as her lips began to form the syllables, she saw that the pieces had fused together and the soulstone now lay whole in her hand. But it was empty.

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Kalaneia considered what Mezzthyk and Aelyla had told her about the book. A text that was perhaps about a ritual to connect two stars — worlds, most likely — written in the script the Nathrezim used on their homeworld… this tome could be more ancient than she had originally thought. It might even pre-date the assimilation of the Nathrezim into the Burning Legion. Fascinating, indeed.

Now where might she find a reader for the dead tongue of the Nathrezim?

Hmm, perhaps the Forsaken? The Banshee Queen had had Dreadlords in her service — until their sudden, yet inevitable betrayal. Though Aelyla had said that the Dreadlords rarely used their ancestral script outside of their home, perhaps there was a Forsaken warlock who had been able to learn some of it.

Assuming that Sylvanas would have brought her most powerful servants to Orgrimmar with her after she became Warchief, Kalaneia traveled to Orgrimmar. To her disappointment, only Orcish warlocks were in residence in the Cleft of Shadow.

“What…?” The apparent chief of the Orcish warlocks, Kranosh, seemed quite taken aback by Kalaneia’s request for information about the whereabouts of Sylvanas’s warlocks. “Where in the great dark did you find that?” he exclaimed when she showed him the book, by way of explanation.

Kalaneia shrugged. “I didn’t find it. It found me.”

“Well, now,” Kranosh mused, “this book may be just the leverage we have been seeking.”

Now it was Kalaneia’s turn to be taken aback. “What…? You didn’t even know this book existed until I showed it to you just a moment ago.”

“Exactly,” said Kranosh. “Tell me, acolyte,” — Kalaneia bristled momentarily at the junior form of address — “what do you know of the Council of the Black Harvest?”

“I… have not heard of any organization by that specific name,” Kalaneia admitted. There had been rumors, though; rumors filtered through the gossip mill at the Halfhill Market, rumors brought by the adventurers who trickled through the Frostwall Tavern, more potent and believable rumors discussed by the coven of warlocks that Kalaneia had been carefully cultivating at Frostwall. “I have heard, however, of a society secretive even for us, a society said to ignore the boundary between Horde and Alliance. A society thought to be responsible for the disappearance of Shinfel Blightsworn.”

Shinfel was a Sin’dorei warlock who had honed the art of using shadow and fel magic to afflict and torment her enemies to a very fine edge; she was notorious for her cruelty. Shinfel had been part of the raiding party that had finally taken down Cho’Gall in the Bastion of Twilight; her blood had become corrupted during the fight and her arms were now covered in black marks where the corruption had erupted from her skin. It was after that experience that she had taken the name “Blightsworn”; it had only served to increase her sadism. Shinfel hadn’t been seen by anyone since about the time that the Sunreaver Onslaught and Kirin Tor Offensive began their effort to control the Isle of Thunder*; there were many even in the secret chambers of Silvermoon who were glad that she was gone.

“Is this the society of which you speak? What does this have to do with my book, and with my search for someone who can translate it?”

Kranosh chuckled. “Ha ha, to know even that much, you are very well informed!” He continued, “Your instinct to seek out a Forsaken to help you was good; if there is anyone who is not themselves a demon that knows enough about demons to read your book, it is Jubeka Shadowbreaker. Unfortunately, she, too, has been missing these past few years — and your mysterious tome might be just the thing to lure her out of whatever hole she has been hiding in.”

“Why do you think she is in hiding, rather than just outright dead?” Kalaneia asked, puzzled.

“Because, like Shinfel, she was a member of the Council of the Black Harvest. After the defeat of Deathwing, six of the greatest warlocks gathered together with the intention of teaching all warlocks advanced forms of magic stolen from our defeated foes. They made a pact, and then they all disappeared. Jubeka kept a record of that meeting. She left it here when she departed on her quest. Let her tell you what happened…” Kranosh gestured toward a slim sheaf of loosely bound parchment lying on a nearby shelf.

Kalaneia skimmed through the notes. It was remarkable how well-balanced this Council was: three from the Horde, three from the Alliance, one from each faction of the three main paths that warlocks tended to follow — destruction, affliction, and demonology. They had divided up pairwise by favored school** and gone in search of the darkest, most powerful magic they could find: the Orc, Rittsyn, and the Worgen, Zinnin, to the Firelands to search for Sulfuras; the Sin’dorei, Shinfel, and the Gnome, Zelifrax, to hunt down the remainder of the Twilight’s Hammer; the Forsaken, Jubeka, and the Human, Kanrethad, to Outland to pursue greater mastery of demons. The pact had been that they should return together — or be destroyed by the others.

“And when the year was up?” she inquired, though she already thought she knew what the answer would be.

“None of them returned,” Kranosh replied. “But we already suspected that they would not. About three months after they left, we received a package from Outland. It contained this.” He turned to the shelf and rummaged through the other books and scrolls lying on it until he found a book that looked like one of the experiment logs used by the Royal Apothecary Society. He handed it to Kalaneia, flicking the note on the back cover as he did. “Jubeka’s journal of her research in Outland. It seems that a need to locate her has now arisen. Read the journal and use the information contained within to track down where she went. If you can find the soulstones she talks about in that note on the back, you should be able to use them to locate her.”

~*~*~

* The Green Fire questline came out with Patch 5.2, which was also the Throne of Thunder raid patch. Dealing with the time-skip of having spent all of Warlords idling in my Garrison was a challenge for this story. The wording of Kalaneia’s information on Shinfel Blightsworn is mostly directly quoted from page 3 of Legacy of the Masters (Part 1). It seemed logical to me that if the six members of the Council of the Black Harvest were such powerful and prominent Warlocks, they ought to at least have been known by members of their own races. Thus, Kalaneia should already know about the Sin’dorei member of the Council.

** It bugs me a great deal, therefore, that as Order Hall Champions in Legion, four of the six members of the Council of the Black Harvest have their specializations all mixed up. Rittsyn is still Destruction and Shinfel is still Affliction but Jubeka the Master Demonologist is now Destruction. Kanrethad the Master Demonologist is now Affliction. Zinnin who was Destruction is now Affliction. Zelifrax was Affliction, but his replacement Lulubelle is Demonology.

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