August 2, 2013 – 5:48 pm
This post is brought to you by Hinote. For my readers who are not part of Feathermoon, Hinote is a member of the Order of the Rose, and to say that she and the Wildfire Riders have bad blood is a bit of an understatement (Tarquin once threw her into a volcano. She got better. Yes really). However, this does not extend to our out of game interactions, and… well. You’ll see.
Previous posts in this series include Coming forth by Day, The Magical Rogue, and Demonology 101.
It had been some time since Hinote had made a commitment to stop asking too many questions about how she ended up doing some of the things she inevitably ended up doing. Fate, she’d noticed years ago, was not without a sense of humor, and often an ironic one at that. But there were some things she couldn’t help but dwell on in spite of it. Her current situation was a perfect example of both; there were few things she wanted more than to just not be a part of this, but here she was, coming to the aid of…sworn enemies was perhaps too strong a term – in the grand scheme of things, the Riders were more like an irritation she couldn’t seem to get rid of – but nevertheless people she couldn’t trust and, in all likelihood, didn’t trust her either. And it wasn’t as if it was by coercion or happenstance. Just the opposite, she’d volunteered. And, as a result, she’d spent an inordinate amount of time since then wondering just why she was even bothering.
She stood now in front of the full-length mirror in her bedroom, alone save for the translucent reflection that stood just before her. It was an antique piece, dating back to the days of the Highborne who originally produced it, and, like most Highborne designs, it was lavishly decorated, with gold filigree around the frame and an old kaldorei inscription along the top that Hinote had never bothered to have translated. Ordinarily she wasn’t prone to such vanity, but the soul mirror was one of the first projects she’d brought home after she’d started digging around old ruins in her spare time, and there was some practical use in a mirror that projected a three-dimensional reflection of whoever stood before it. And what good would it do to just let it sit unused?
So before it she stood, absently combing her hair in the company of her own simulacrum while her mind wandered to current events.
Just stay silent and walk away. You don’t owe them anything. That was her first impulse. Spite was always her first impulse with them. But she’d forfeited the opportunity to follow that impulse when she walked in the door of the Pig and Whistle that night instead of just setting fire to it. It was irksome, but if Pandaria had taught her anything, it was that the cycle was hers to break and nobody else’s. So, for better or for worse, the warlock had elected to be helpful instead. There was no going back on that now.
Hinote shifted her head to the side a bit to get a better angle, then resumed combing. It’s not about debts, she thought to herself. The teeth of the comb snagged on a small knot of hair, and she winced slightly as she pulled it free. The momentary discomfort it afforded her was somewhat indicative of her instinctual response to the whole situation, but both soon subsided. She knew she was right: it wasn’t about debts. It wasn’t about gaining anyone’s favor. That was a game she tried to avoid playing as best she could. It wasn’t even because Shaila had been watching at the time.
She paused for a moment to look over her reflection’s straight, auburn hair. Satisfied, she set the comb down on the dresser adjacent the mirror. The warlock stood there for a bit longer, staring at her own image as if in search of something. Why was any of this even up for questioning? She had her answers; hell, she’d given them to Tarquin when he asked. More importantly, though, she knew they were right. To some, that sort of conviction was irrelevant, but as things currently stood, the knowledge that she was doing the right thing was likely all that was going to carry her through the whole mess.
At least this time it wasn’t her mess.
A knock at the bedroom door got her attention, followed by a girl’s voice. “Mooooom, are we going or what?”
Hinote remained fixated on her reflection for just a second longer, then looked to the door, the beginnings of a smile forming on her lips. “I’ll be out in a minute.” She turned back to the mirror, staring into her own green eyes for another few moments. Finally, she stepped away and towards the door, her reflection disappearing without so much as a sound. Sarah was there to greet her as she opened the door, and she couldn’t help but smile in earnest at the sight of her.
She was worried that Arrens might have gone rogue; that was part of it. She also didn’t trust either of the other warlocks that had been present that night; that was part of it too. More than either of those reasons, though, was the fact that even though she knew almost nothing of Aely or her husband, Hinote understood the predicament she was in, understood the feeling that came with having loved ones just disappear, without notice or warning or explanation. She’d been that person before, and it had occurred to her that night that what she was seeing unfold wasn’t unlike what she’d done to Sarah, to her family, to the Roses, to everyone, a number of times before, whether by choice or by circumstance.
She’d called it sympathy when she told Tarquin, but the truth was it was guilt as well; the somber realization that she had put people through exactly what Arrens was now putting his wife through.
August 1, 2013 – 9:56 am
This was written primarily by one Sarcanna de Roux.
Previous posts in this series include Coming forth by Day, and The Magical Rogue.
I trust Kirase more than I do de Roux. Tarquin’s warning rang through Aely’s head as she followed the familiar path along the lush grasses of the Mage district. Kirase hates my guts, but she’s at least predictable. De Roux is all niceness an’ manners, but I’ve seen her work. She didn’t know exactly what kind of “work” she’d be seeing, but hopefully a visit to someone’s apartment to talk about a book wasn’t going to get her bled dry on the carpet for a summoning. Besides, Yva Darrows had sort of cornered the market on “unhinged warlock shit”, and even she was fairly benign when it came to talking shop, if you had the stomach for that sort of thing. It was just when she was trying to perform unhinged warlock shit that things got sketchy.
Sarcanna de Roux’s townhouse wasn’t far from the University, but it was definitely in a different part of town. It wasn’t the arcane-laden finery of the area around the Blue Recluse, but it wasn’t the Slaughtered Lamb either. By all accounts, this block of townhouses was fairly straightforward looking, and Aely could easily see any of the professors from the university happily living there. She followed along the row until she came to the building with the appropriate street number, let herself through the little gate, and rapped firmly on the little door knocker. She noted idly that it was shaped like a proud Stormwind Lion carrying a ring in his teeth, which juxtaposed nicely with the sorts of magic that probably happened inside, and waited to see if the building’s creepy inhabitant was at home.
The door swung open on well oiled hinges, revealing a long corridor leading into the townhouse. Paintings hung between the doorways, small tables with a scattering of curios; sculptures of birds, crystal wine glasses, miscellaneous books. The hallway, however, was devoid of any persons. Aely blinked and glanced about and back down the hallway, before looking down. Holding the door open was de Roux’s void spirit… servant? It beckoned her with one claw once it had her attention, before turning and bobbing further into the hall. Aely shrugged and stepped into the house.
The spirit led her down the hallway, to the stairs leading up to the first floor. They ascended, and at the landing the spirit gestured towards one of the many doors leading from the landing. Aely stepped forward, gripping the doorknob. She looked over her shoulder to the spirit, who did its best approximation at a nod. She stepped inside.
The library appeared much bigger than the size of the townhouse would’ve suggested. Shelves lined all four walls, reaching all the way to the raised ceiling. Books crammed the shelves wherever they could be fit, and stacks on the floor made of those which did not fit. Ladders hung off rails, allowing access to the very top-most shelves. A great desk sat in the middle of the room, piled high with books, papers, inkwells and quills, paperweights and knick knacks; all the accoutrements of academic study with a dark twist. Candles cast guttering light from candelabra and a chandelier hanging from the tall ceiling. A stand in the corner stood draped in the crow-themed robes the warlock habitually wore – the crow-skull mask hanging off-kilter from it.
Standing on one of the ladders, about halfway up the rungs, stood the sorcerer in question: Sarcanna de Roux. Dressed in simple breeches, shirt with sleeves rolled up, and a vest, she cut a much less… intimidating figure than she did dressed fully in her crow-themed regalia. Her silver hair pulled back in a short ponytail, she had been in the process of reorganising a number of titles before Aely had entered the room. Turning at the sound of the door, de Roux looked down from her perch and smiled.
“Ah, madam Caltrains. How good of you to have come so promptly.”
The woman’s cultured tones gave no indication of her origins, instead merely marking her as one who had come from an expensive education. She slid lightly down the ladder and came over to where Aely stood in the doorway, dusting her hands on her thighs as she approached. With the same banal smile, she offered the paladin her hand.
Aely glanced at the proffered hand cautiously for the briefest second before grasping it in return.
If she had noticed the hesitation, she did not show it. Her smile widened to show the barest hint of teeth, and she waved her hand as if she was brushing imaginary motes aside.
“Please, madam Caltrains, in here you can call me Sarcanna.”
She turned and gestured to the study’s desk, piled high with parchment and thick tomes.
“I imagine you wish to get to the core of the matter with haste, but before I regale you with the details of what I have found, do you wish any refreshment? Tea, wine?”
Aely broached half a smile. “I’ll call ye Sarcanna if ye’ll call me Aely. An’ tea would be lovely, if ye dinna mind.”
“Of course then, Aely.” de Roux turned back to the door. “Librarian? Tea, if you would. The proper stuff, not what we generally serve to visitors.”
She faced Aely again. “Now; let’s get to it, shall we?”
Sarcanna walked to her desk, pulling the great chair out with a touch more ease than one would have expected. Before she sat down, she moved a smaller, dining room chair around beside her own, to allow an additional person to oversee what was displayed across the desk. Sitting down, Sarcanna scooted the chair in, placed a small pair of ivory and crystal optics on the bridge of her nose, and steepled her fingers over the mess of papers and inks. The paladin sat in the dining chair, putting on a pair of small, oval glasses of her own. They looked a bit out of place on her otherwise generally strong and capable looking frame, but Sarcanna pretended not to notice.
“Now; what I have found. First off, I have managed to successfully translate all the notes in all the papers you gave me. Like I surmised earlier, they are the notes taken in study of separate tome; the On Concordance Of the Shifting Ways. A copy of which I have as of yet been unable to get my hands on. However, I have been able to piece together a lot from these notes, and references to the On Concordance in other volumes I own.”
The void spirit Oriax returned carrying a platter; on which sat a porcelain teapot, milk jug, sugar bowl, and matching teacups. It placed the platter on a small stool, and began fussing about with cups and silver teaspoons. Sarcanna shuffled some of the loose pieces of parchment containing Arrens’ scratchy handwriting, pointing to examples as she spoke.
“At its most basic, the On Concordance is what is generally termed a ‘libram ex nihilus’ – that is to say, a work penned by either something from the Void, or by a mortal ghostwriting for such an author. Caltrains’ notes don’t make it clear which, but I would say at this juncture that is a moot point.”
Sarcanna pushed the optics back up to the bridge of her nose, shuffled the papers, and began gesturing to other writing – Arrens’ notes, supplemented further by Sarcanna’s translations and notes. The tea had apparently finished brewing, as the void spirit was pouring tea from the pot into the teacups.
“More specifically, the work is a manual, a guide for acquiring greater power of the Fel and the Nether, for denizens of our world and the Broken one. I would wager a large sum that the On Concordance was traded for by a mortal sorcerer of our plane from a being of the Nether. Quite a risky proposition; that may indeed be why this book found itself… without a scholar.”
The tinkle of silverware against porcelain interrupted de Roux’s monologue. The Librarian bobbed over to the desk, carrying two teacups. It handed one to each of the women, and retreated back out the door to… nowhere? Sarcanna barely acknowledged the spirit as she took the tea and had a sip, before continuing.
“Unlike most tomes of its kind, it appears that the On Concordance was concerned with the three main foundations of the Triad of Fel magic; flame, darkness, and the enslaved. The book was, or is, three separate volumes in one. Each devoted to one of the foundations, with instructions, rituals, maps, commands, and Light knows what else – all with the sole purpose of wringing greater power out of a conjunction of location, sorcery, and will.”
The paladin across from her paused slightly, teacup in midair, but aside from a hitch in the gesture, made no move to interrupt.
“Now, most of this I had to surmise based on my research on the title in other tomes I own that reference the On Concordance. Caltrains’ notes are entirely focused on one of the volumes; on the enslaving of Nether and Void entities.”
De Roux snorted in derision.
“The conceit of those who bind and attempt to control beasts with free will? With alien cunning and an infinite desire for revenge? I have nothing but contempt for demonologists.”
Sarcanna glanced up from the parchments to the other woman.
“No offense meant to you and yours however, of course.”
Aely nodded, with little emotion registering behind her carefully impassive face. “None taken.”
“So Caltrains’ notes are entirely concerned with the volume on demonology. It appears that the tome is concerned with a ritual which involves the summoning and binding of multiple Nether entities – no mean feat on its own – and then consuming them to fuel the sorcerer’s own ascension. Ascension which is not elaborated upon, sadly. I’m curious as to what the devouring of multiple demons would accomplish specifically…”
Sarcanna cleared her throat slightly, and continued.
“The ritual, such as it is, requires a locale of strong attunement to both the void, and the practice of summoning and enslaving the denizens thereof. This,” Sarcanna jabbed down at the scrawl with a finger, like a dagger.
“There are a few locales which fit these particular requirements. In Azeroth, there is the Altar of Storms in the Blasted Lands and the Burning Steppes, remains of covens in the Twilight Highlands, and certain hidden burrows and lairs in the ruins of the lands of Lordaeron.”
The pale woman drained the remaining tea in her cup, and placed it absently on top of a haphazard stack of dusty books. The void spirit Oriax manifested itself again, taking the teacup and returning it to the serving tray.
“In the lands of Kalimdor, there is the Mannoroc scar in Desolace, Demon Fall Canyon in the kaldorei forests, and Darkwhisper Gorge on the slopes of Mount Hyjal. Through the Portal in the Broken world, there is the weak barrier between the planes in the Netherstorm, the altars of Guldan in Shadowmoon, and the ruins of the necropolis of Auchindoun. There are also the other Planes of existence; specifically, the Plane of Elemental Fire.”
Sarcanna steepled her fingers again.
“Unfortunately, I cannot be any more specific than that. There is a lot of potential locations, and none of the notes taken by Caltrains indicate which he was interested in, or even what locales are more likely than the others. It appears that more specific research, or tracking, is required from this point.”
Sarcanna straightened the sheaves of papers and straightened her posture in her chair. Removing the optics from the bridge of her nose, she turned to face Aely.
“Despite not having a distinct answer for you, I believe I have provided you with new avenues of investigation. Now, there is only to decide what your next step is to be, no?” Sarcanna raised an eyebrow in mock askance.
July 26, 2013 – 9:53 am
For the next part in this story, we turn to the ever talented Lorelli.
Aely had done a damn good job of turning the office over. Ungraded papers were strewn about, the waste bin still sat overturned and an inkwell had toppled oozing across the desktop. Lorelli moved around the desk, pushed the chair in then gathered up a few of the papers. She skimmed them quickly but found nothing new. She hadn’t expected to.
Lorelli returned the papers to the desk and pulled the door shut on her way out. It didn’t stay, due to the fact that Aely had busted the door knob to get in. The rogue chuckled with a shake of her head: paladin lock picking.
She turned as she heard someone approach. Deputy Headmistress (well, acting Head Mistress now) Landris couldn’t help but shuffle her tiny feet as she hurried down the hallway. “Miss Tymara!” The gnome called stretching her arm as high over her head as she could to wave.
Lorelli sighed, damn academics. “S’Lore, Landris. I’ve told you many times. You’re as bad as Arrens.”
Landris frowned, “Yes, well, Madam Caltrains told me you were coming. I thought I’d see if you need anything or if you needed to be let into…” she trailed off, frown deepening is she spotted the broken door.
“Doesn’t look like Aely missed anything. Y’all swap classrooms occasionally too, so no use searching there, yeah?”
The professor nodded, “Correct.”
Lorelli raked a hand through her hair. Suddenly she turned back to Landris, “He say anything to you before he disappeared? Anything seemed odd or off color?”
The gnome started to shake her head then paused. “There was one thing… I didn’t think much of it at the time. Headmaster Caltrains and I always viewed our craft a bit differently so often pursued paths that the other did not understand and while I respect him greatly…”
“Right. Yes. Sorry.” The professor pushed her glasses up her nose. “Well, I needed the Headmaster’s signature to approve a new class we were adding for the next semester. I came down to his office after hours because I’d forgotten to take care of it earlier. You know how it is, so many students so little…”
“Get to the point, shortstack!” Lorelli interrupted.
Landris gave her an offended look, “Fine fine.” She brushed imaginary dust off her sleeve. “He was immersed in demonic writing and muttered something about a ‘magical rogue’.” The professor shrugged, “It made absolutely no sense to me, especially given the context. Does it mean anything to you?”
Lorelli frowned, “Yeah. Yeah, it does. Thanks Landris.” And she went sprinting off down the hall, leaving a bewildered gnome behind her.
Once outside Lorelli pulled the buzzbox off her belt and set it to the guild channel. “Okay, so there was nothing else of interest in his office. However, I did run into Landris.”
Aely’s was the first voice to respond. “An’?”
“She said she came in to get his signature and heard him muttering something about a ‘magical rogue’.”
“…Tha’s a bit nonsense?”
Tarquin’s voice followed, “What?”
“Actually, I’ve heard it before.” Lorelli said as she glanced around the Mage District looking for any of the kids that ran messages for coin. There was a small gang that worked each district in Stormwind, one or two districts assigned to each.
“It’s a very catchy title.” The new girl, the deader, Ilyra.
“If it’s who I think it is, he’s going to be a bitch and a half to track down.” Lorelli spotted a young boy hanging around outside one of the nearby inns and waved him over.
“Who?” Asked Fells.
“He’s a dealer in… things. All things. You want it, chances are he’s either got it or can get it. Fenced an item or two for me in the past, though I’ve never met him in person.” The rogue paused, thinking a moment. “Problem, is, he’ll only see you if you’re buying or selling. And if you’re buying you better know exactly what you’re after.”
The boy had reached her now and Lorelli kneeled down, whispering in his ear and pressing a coin into his hand. He nodded and turned, running off joining another boy and exchanging words before exiting the Mage District. Word would be traveling now and hopefully she’d know in short order if the Magical Rogue was even in Stormwind currently.
“If we have a title now, I suppose we do know what we’re after, don’t we?” Ilyra asked.
“Figure he won’t sell the name o’ the book Arrens wanted.” Came Bricu’s reply.
“The Creepies get us a title on our tome then?” Lorelli questioned, referring to the unlikely warlock translation team of Sarcanna de Roux and Hinote Kirase.
“On Concordance of the Shifting of the Ways.” Ilyra said.
Tarquin cut in again. “You need something to sell, Tymara?”
“If what Miss Volcano said is true, he might be able to find a copy.”
Lorelli tapped her lips thoughtfully. The ‘Magical Rogue’ probably wouldn’t believe she wanted to buy the tome and if only one existed he’d deny her anyway. She was better off going the other direction.
“We got somethin’ worth selling, boss?”
“Take yer pick. An’ take company.”
“Might not be my call on that last bit.”
Lorelil handed the list of book titles that Annie had given her to the little red haired girl. The child nodded and ran off and now all the rogue could do was wait and see if they could do business. She took care of a few errands and when she returned to the Pig later in the evening, another child was waiting for her.
“The Magical Rogue is interested in what you’re selling.” He gave Lorelli a location and a time before disappearing back into the streets of Stormwind.
She pulled the buzzbox out and flipped it on. “Teeth, Hownen, you two busy?”
She hadn’t been told she couldn’t bring friends, but in their line of work it was generally frowned upon to bring uninvited guests. So Lorelli left Tirith and Ilyra hanging out nearby in case she called. She switched the load of books to the other arm and waited.
The meeting spot was a side alley that connected to one of the main streets. She stood in the shade of a building watching folks on the road hurry about. Many of them were trying to complete last minute errands before the sun finished setting. Lorelli shifted the books again and as she did a flash of something caught her eye. She turned and a wiry blond man detached himself from the shadows.
“Had a feeling I wouldn’t be able to sneak up on you.” He looked her up and down and have a soft whistle. “First appointment of the day and seems I’m a lucky lucky guy.”
Lorelli rolled her eyes. “Magical Rogue, is it then?” She wasn’t sure what she had expected and somehow this man managed to feel like he was and wasn’t it at the same time.
“The one and only. You are?” He leaned in eyeing the books with an almost hungry expression.
“Teal.” She replied, swatting at his hand as he reached out attempting to caress the dusty tomes.
He blinked and straightened up, “Are you then?” He tilted his head a little as if trying to get a better look at her. She had at least a full head of height on him but he wasn’t complaining about the view at eye level in the least. “Not sure what I expected, but I guess you’d fit the bill.” He waved his hand, “Come, step into my office. I know you elfy folk don’t like the harsh light of day.”
He stepped through the wall and Lorelli followed.
“Couple of interesting bits you tossed my way last time we did business. Kind of sorry I’ve never gotten to meet you in person before now.” He stepped up to a table and patted it indicating she should set the books down.
The room was empty except for the wooden table in the middle. It was too small to be a shop, but too big to be an office. Guess one did business where they could find space. Lorelli deposited the books and watched the man as he began flipping through the first one.
“Been some time since I sold something for you.” He said, still inspecting pages.
“Had a slight shift in occupational responsibilities.” She said, watching him. There wasn’t really much else in the room to look at.
“Course, course. Too bad though.” He glanced up at her with a grin, “Definitely too bad. I know I shouldn’t, but I can’t help myself. Where did you get these?”
Lorelli returned his grin but it wasn’t entirely friendly. “How about a trade?”
He closed the first book, set it aside, opened the second. “Depends on what you want, sweetheart.”
“I’m wondering if you sold a book recently.”
“Sell lots of books, you’ll have to be more specific.”
“This one was written in a language not commonly spoken among Alliance or Horde territories. Some form of demonic maybe?” Lorelli paused, gauging his reaction.
There was a slight jerk in his usually smooth page turn but that was all that gave him away. He was a professional, after all. “Sorry, haven’t seen anything like that.”
“Are you sure? Perhaps I can jog your memory with the man who bought it. Arrens Caltrains. Tall, lanky, blond hair probably in a ponytail. Proper. Almost too much so, nice robes.”
Page turn. “You just described half my clientele.”
Lorelli was across the table in an instant, fist tangled in the front of his tunic. He’d almost managed to dodge her but she was just that much faster. He made a strangled sound as the books were knocked to the floor.
“Careful with those, they’re valuable!” He protested.
She slammed him into the wall with a thud. “I’m done playing games. My friend is missing and right now that book is the only lead we have to where he may have gotten off to.”
“You know, if you wanted to get close to me all you had to do was ask.” He offered her another grin, twisted himself and was loose. He straightened his tunic and waved his hand at her. “You can put those away, I’m satisfied.”
Lorelli nodded and returned the daggers to her belt. Neither of them had been one-hundred percent sure the other was who they said they were. He’d tested her and now they were on even ground.
“So, about the book and the professor?” She prompted.
He looked up at her as he was in the process of picking up the books. “What you’re asking isn’t worth what you’re giving. What else you got?”
Lorelli produced a small leather journal from somewhere and held it out to him. He returned the pile in his arms to the table before accepting it from her. After a few moments of paging through it he eyed her.
“Okay, I really want to know where you got this.” He said, waving the book at her.
“Not part of the deal. That one’s been in my personal collection for a long time and that’s all you need to know.”
He looked extremely disappointed, “Fair enough. Yeah, I did a deal with your friend. Sold him an old book written in demonic, like you said. I did ask him if he knew what he was getting himself into.”
“Yeah, well, that’s Arrens. Likes to bite off more than he can chew. Can you get another copy?” Lorelli asked.
He pocketed the journal and shrugged, “Not sure. I can certainly try. It’s gonna cost you though.”
“Course it will. Just let me know, yeah?”
He nodded and ran a finger through the dust on the spine of one of the other books. “These are actually for sale, aren’t they?”
Lorelli chuckled, “Yes, they are.”
“Lovely!” He pushed the pile to the side of the table and dropped a bag onto it. The coins inside clinked together as it landed. “So, Teal’s not your real name of course.”
She debated a moment before answering. He knew what she looked like, all it’d take was some asking around Old Town to find out who she really was. “S’Lore.” She answered.
“Well Lore, pleasure to meet you, call me Zable.” He held out a hand for her to shake. “We should do business more often. You’re welcome to threaten me again. Or let me buy you a drink.” He winked as she took his hand and they shook.
“Maybe when I’m not working.” She said, scooping up the bag from the table.
“And when would that be?” Zable asked, but she was already gone.
Tirith and Ilyra fell into step with her as she passed their positions on the streets outside.
“How’d it go?” Tirith asked.
“About as well as I expected. Zable did sell him the book. Gonna see if we can get our hands on another one.” Lorelli replied.
The deader’s eyes bored a noticeable presence into Lorelli’s shoulder. “I assumed this magical man’s hands were already on a second copy. Did he point you to it, or are we still looking?”
The rogue shook her head, “He said he didn’t have a copy at present. Certainly could have been lying but if we kill him we won’t find it anyway. Better to wait and see if he decides to come around or not.”
“I suppose he won’t be coming or going much of anywhere if we killed him, would he? Not to mention the disruption that would have on his business.” Ilyra paused mid-step. “Oh. That’s an idea. Do either of you know if our magical rogue has any competitors? Perhaps they might have a copy. Either way – if you’re right about him being dishonest, the threat of losing our business could put him off it.”
“There are plenty of fences in Stormwind. But he’s the best. If the book’s as rare as it sounds I’ll be surprised if anyone else has it. S’worth checking into though.”
The corpse made an encouraging sound. Or, at least, tried to. “It’ll give him time to think, at least, about how foolish it would be to hold anything back from the two of you. You’re positively frightening.”
“That’s kind of what we’re paid for. I’m more worried about compounding Aely’s concerns, but I suppose that’s unavoidable now. I think all we can do is reconvene and take stock.”
“And find the stock we’re after somewhere else.”
Lorelli shrugged, “May or may not be necessary, need to check with the creepy twins. Come on, if I have to deal with Hinote and Sarcanna, I need a few drinks in me first.”
July 23, 2013 – 9:42 am
Alonzo Higgins hadn’t had it. While he wasn’t always the best supplied when it came to magical tomes, Arrens had held some hope that he – the last of the rare book dealers he knew of in Stormwind – would be able to help him track down this book that was turning out to be little more than smoke and rumors.
Still, if it was rumor enough that the demons were talking about it, he’d take the chance and keep an eye out. Something that powerful didn’t come along but every once in a great while, and even if it didn’t turn out to be all that it was cracked up to be, the school’s rare book collection could always use a new tome or three, and his advanced languages students could use it for translation practice. There just weren’t that many good grammar books for Abyssal these days, and most of the Demonic ones were either too basic for advanced students, or contained little more than various kinds of creative swearing.
What Alonzo Higgins did have, though, was a lead. It was a bit of a long shot – something called the Magical Rogue, or so he thought. He wasn’t really sure, and he couldn’t give an exact location except “in one of those alleys in the Dwarven District”.
Arrens put the time at around 3:30 – plenty of early June daylight left before he had to worry too much about what else might be skulking about in the alleys behind the various shops in the Dwarven District – and headed towards the smog that perpetually occupied the northern corner of town. /Someone/ in Stormwind had that book, or his demons were all in a tizzy about nothing.
Two hours later and he was sure his robes were going to need a thorough airing out before they didn’t smell of old motor oil. And nobody had ever heard of a shop called The Magical Rogue. He turned down a final alley, hoping that this might contain the shop he was looking for, and came to a typical dead end. Arrens leaned against the wall… and promptly fell headfirst through a false doorway.
“Afternoon, Mister…. er…”
A wiry blonde man with a shambling grin peered down at him.
“I… erm… yes. Well. I’m Arrens Caltrains. I’m looking for The Magical Rogue.” Arrens peered back, attempting to fix his skewed robes.
“THE Arrens Caltrains? I had no idea I’d made the ranks to be sought after by one such as you, your esteemed professorship. As for the Magical Rogue, you’ve found him.”
“Hmm? You mean you can show me where the shop is? I’m looking for a rare book.”
“Ain’t no shop, sir. Just me. Call me Zable. I’m the magical rogue.”
“I wasn’t under the impression that rogues were particularly magical. I thought most of your work was done in the fairly concrete domain of knives and poisons.”
“Any sufficiently skillful bit of thievery is essentially indistinguishable from magic, as I figure most folks who get their pockets picked have figured out. Anyway, they call me that because I find things. You’re looking for a book?”
“Yes. A fairly rare book, probably in Demonic, though possibly Abyssal. I’m not particularly sure even of its title, only that it exists, and there is supposedly a copy floating around Stormwind.”
Zable peered at the professor in front of him, as if sizing him up.
“Don’t strike me much as the Demonic sort, if you don’t mind me sayin’ so, sir.”
“I am a trained warlock, if that’s what you mean.”
Zable shrugged. “Don’t much matter to me, if you’re willing to pay the right price for it, I guess. It is pretty rare.” He carefully unlocked a crate that had several padlocks and key-mechanisms on it. Arrens watched intently as he produced first two bottles of wine, then a small cask, then two scrolls, and finally a very old, fairly large book.
Arrens cleared a spot on his desk and set the book down in front of him. It wasn’t much to look at, and after the price he’d paid, part of him said he’d probably just been thoroughly fleeced. Still, if this book was all it was cracked up to be, it would be worth whatever price some eel of a rogue had managed to wheedle out of him.
He poured himself a glass of wine, grabbed a pencil and a notebook, opened the book, and began to read.
A little while later, he scrubbed at his eyes with the back of his hand, wondering what time it was, and why he felt so hungry. A quick trip to the kitchen revealed that all the bread he’d bought earlier that day had gone moldy – he’d have to have a talk with the Millers about that – and opted to head down toward the cafeteria and see what he could scrounge up for dinner.
Odd that they were serving pastries and oatmeal.
He shrugged, decided it was better not to ask, heaped a plate with pastry, and headed back to his study. There was something about that book that he just couldn’t put his finger on.
**Story Title is an allusion to the direct translation from the Egyptian for what we now call “The Book of the Dead”. I found it fitting.
November 19, 2013 – 4:46 pm
Bad things are happening in Stormwind – and beyond.
The Hand of Lothar, they call themselves.
Yva Darrows was their first target.
Tirith and Aely were their second and third.
They have since… expanded their reach and escalated their methods …
November 13, 2013 – 9:59 am
The cathedral bells stop ringing overnight, except for chiming the hours. Three bell strikes, and Angoleth padded softly around another corner of the Cathedral District, staying carefully in the shadows. Trained ears picked up Mogget’s soft breathing – nearly inaudible …
November 7, 2013 – 1:33 pm
(Written by Jolly, Tarquin, and Annalea)
The highlands of Lordaeron were not for the faint of heart; be it the putrescence of the Scourge’s long-lingering remnant, or the rock-strewn hills and valleys that made farmers out of only the most …
September 13, 2013 – 7:11 pm
(With Tarquin and Annalea)
Once more, four people made their way through the thickets and hills of Lordaeron, this time in the crisp chill of late morning, seeking after the Rider. Aelflaed had snatched what sleep she could while Chryste …
September 11, 2013 – 9:47 am
She hadn’t wanted to leave Jolly – not so soon after finding him again – but once away, it took about five minutes for Aely to figure out she had a problem.
That problem had just announced that …
September 9, 2013 – 10:05 am
It was an uneasy goodbye for him, but it was agreed by both he and Aely that a stroll back to Hearthglen would not be very easy to explain, nor would the explanation needed for the three Argent soldiers once …
September 7, 2013 – 9:02 am
“Light sent me ye when I needed ye afore – an’ now again when I need ye. I canna ask fir more than tha’.” She sighed and slung the shield back across her shoulders. “It’s… Light. Been awhile hasna it? …
September 6, 2013 – 2:02 pm
She blinked, but did not drop either of her shields. “Aye, though I’ve been Caltrains fir th’ last near three years. Canna say I’ve any memory ay ye.”
“Yeh’ve far moar’n yeh realize,” he replied evenly, his grip tightening on …