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Jeraint’s revulsion

September 26, 2012

Theramore fell. A bloom of purple fire shook the earth and the sky. Walls tumbled, bodies disintegrated and for a moment no sound could be heard.

Jeraint shook his head and called power to him. As his momentary deafness cleared, he shook his head in disbelief. How had the Warchief contrived such a blast. It was impossible. The sin’dorei mage did not think that all the magisters of Silvermoon, working together would have been able to achieve something like that. Perhaps Malygos at his most powerful but the Aspects had lost their power and no one now should be able to do that.

He shook his head. The bomb had fallen from a goblin zeppelin. The little mercenaries were more dangerous than he had ever considered. He whispered a spell and teleported, arriving back in Silvermoon in the blink of an eye.

Hurrying, he made his way to the Grand Mage’s tower to report. He found himself one of a number of other perturbed mages who had been assigned to the Horde’s advance.

One only knew what was happening. A young Mage named Aethar told how he had heard Garrosh explain that the power of the blue flight’s potent artefact, the Focusing Iris had been stolen and used.

Disbelief and fear turned to outrage. “The dragonflight are our allies now!” Jeraint snapped. “The Nexus War is over and Kalecgos helped in the purification of the Sunwell. “How does Garrosh dare to profane their most sacred relic?”

“Does it matter?” Asked another, we are tied to the Horde now. Their protection is needed.”

“The alliance betrayed us.” A fourth mags said. “I will not grieve for them.”

“They did not help us. That’s not the same as betrayal!”

Jeraint listened to the argument with despair in his heart as he heard the case for appeasement being put. Many feared, others disliked, what the Warchief had done but the consensus moved towards a lak of action. The a messenger entered.

“Grand Mage, you are bidden to the Regent Lord’s court.”

Jeraint followed. He was not a member of the court but as a magister in good standing he was perfectly entitled to attend. And so it was that he was present to hear both Aevas Sunreaver’s denunciation of the attack, the Regent Lords expressed sorrow and the firm order that none should do anything other than support Garrosh.

The burly, dark skinned Orc standing in watch nodded in satisfaction. His cold and bloodthirsty eyes tracked and noted those who had protested and Jeraint saw death in them. He said nothing but left silently.

“Jeraint, wait!” It was an old friend and a fellow initiate in the mystery cult that Jeraint led. The Mage paused to allow Simion to catch up. “Are you alright?”

“No! I’m so angry I cannot think and I hate what has been done. We are better than this.”

The paladin shrugged. “Yes, but we do what is needed. Silvermoon would not be standing were it not for the Horde. We must persevere.”

Jeraint looked at his friend and sighed. “I wish I had your faith. I cannot. Look after the mysteries will you?”

Without another word, he teleported to Dalaran in an angry crackle of magic.

Once there, he saw further proof of the dangerous political fallout that this would cause. Dalaran had traditionally stayed neutral in the wars between the alliance and horde. But now angry look followed Jeraint despite his reputation, built over months of warfare. Mages of the Kirin Tor had died in Theramore and their families murmured as Jeraint made his way to the Violet Citadel.

Vereesa Windrunner was a legend among his people despite her estrangement from them. One of the greatest archers on Azeroth, she had fought the orcs in the First War and had refused to ever believe in their honour. In Dalaran, her voice had been a vocal opponent of the Horde, despite her sister’s inclusion in it.

Now, she sat in a small sitting room as the angry young Mage entered. Her eyes were red and tired looking and she had no smile for her distant cousin. But she had agreed to see him and that was sufficient in his mind. The two talked for hours and when Jeraint left, it was with a letter of introduction and a goal.

Jeraint was one of the youngest ever magiater’s of Silvermoon and his skill was in no small measure due to his links to the Sunwell. His mind had been trapped in it once and he had leaned much as a result. Now however, in his little room in the Underbelly, he faced a true test of his skills.

The room was hardly a proper meditation chamber but Jeraint did not dare return home or, given what he had seen of Garrosh’s willingness to deal harshly with anyone who expressed dissent, to take a room in the nicer rooms of the Sunreaver sanctuary.

Instead, he gestured and summoned the magical carpet he used to transport himself. It would not like the dirt on the floors but not did he. Sitting cross legged on the carpet, he pulled out a small enchanted lantern and set it in the air in front of him. Then, staring into the magical blue flame, he sought out the root of his power.

It was not easy, the Sunwell burned in the hearts of all the high elven people, whether quel’dorei or sin’dorei but he knew it was necessary. He would be pursued and he dared not give them so clear a link to him. Slowly he found those links and severed them. Each line cut with a pang that ran through his soul and shivered through him.

It hurt, by the Light it hurt. But he did it and survived although by the end he was not sure that was a good thing. And the changes that it had wrought on him were more drastic than he had expected; in the mirror he saw a familiar face and midnight blue hair. But the face was drawn with new lines and the hair was coarsened. Even his posture had changed an his limbs thickened as they tried to adapt to the lack of the energies they were used to.

Jeraint stared in horror for a few minutes and then shrugged. He had known intellectually that the sin’dorei were closely related to the kaldorei but it was odd to really understand that it was largely their intuitive drawing on the Sunwell that had perfected their forms. His body had coarsened and thickened without any of the links to the Sunwell or even fel energies that he was used to.

He felt, empty. Magic had always been so much part of him that it was hard to be without it. But he could not feel any of his usual power sources any more. After a while he stood and packed away his belongings. He hoped to regain his powers but that would only happen if he was able to survive this, the most dangerous part of his defection.

The guards of the Silver Covenant were polite after he showed them Vereesa’s letter but disbelieving. Jeraint had been well known in Dalaran and his changes, while extreme, were not sufficient to disguise him totally.

He entered the sparkling magical portal the Silver Covenany maintained and appeared in a city he had seen only in the covert warfare between Horde and Alliance. Stormwind was a magnificent creation, he thought. Blocky and ugly compared to Silvermoon but bustling and alive. A tribute to the human spirit that had rebuilt it.

He drew curious looks as he walked the streets but not as many as he had expected. The physical changes to him were evidently enough that few realised he was not a member of the kaldorei himself. Jeraint grinned mirthlessly, in some ways he supposed he was. Certainly more so than sin’dorei and probably more than he was quel’dorei. Even the high elves drew upon magic instinctively and he had ripped that ability from himself.

There was a long queue of petitioners at court and Jeraint did not seek any special treatment. As such he had plenty of opportunity to study the infamous Varian Wrynn. He was impressed by what he saw. The man burned with energy and purpose but a hard core of discipline held raging fury in check. Not a man to cross but one who, if reluctantly, might listen.

Some time later, The former magister walked out, a full member of the Alliance, sworn to Wrynn’s banner. He had not been given duties although he suspected these would come. But he had been accepted an formally welcomed by the King of Stormwind. Now he had to seek out the one who might be able to help him regain his magecraft.

Archmage Mordent Evenshade was a tall and ancient elf. For one so powerful, he had surprisingly light a presence. Self-contained and dignified, he lived in Darnassus and taught there but did not make a point of the magnitude of his abilities. However, Vereesa had pointed out, if anyone would understand Jeraint’s problem, he would.

Thus it was that te young Mage sought the ancient shen’drelar out. He found him sitting in the Howling Oak, talking to a young worgen. Jeraint’s neck prickled when he felt the restless energy of the curse all around him but he managed to disguise his feat and bowed smoothly to the Archmage and held out the letter that the Lady Windrunner had given him. The ancient elf took it and read it carefully then looked at his petitioner.

“I see. Do you realise what you have done?”

Jeraint winced. “Better than I did before I took this step. But probably not well enough even then.”

“No, even with the most cursory look, i can see that you have undone many bindings and ties. You truly are closer to the ancient highborne than nearly any in these days.”

“I had a feeling that might be the case.” Jeraint’s chuckle contained more than a touch of bitterness. “Once I looked in the mirror anyway. But from my point of view the major problem is that my powers barely work. I was so used to calling on the Sunwell that I can barely light a candle without it.”

“Yes. I can see that you would be uniquely weakened. It is possible that you could be aided by the training I give to my students. I have grown to distrust the use of specific power sources, whatever they are. Instead, I have developed techniques that allow the use of arcane power drawn from leylines and even the ambient magic of the world itself. You would find the magic slow to replenish but it has its advantages. Chiefly to my mind that it does not depend on others for its force. Would this be of interest to you?”

“Yes, Archmage. I would be extremely grateful for such knowledge.”

“We’ll, I bargained for my own place here in the Alliance with the offer of teaching so I suppose it would be churlish to refuse. But before I accept, tell me, why?”

Jeraint did not bother asking the ancient Mage to explain what he meant. Instead he paused to marshal his thoughts. “For a long time now, I have been uncomfortable with the direction of the Horde. Under Thrall it was uncivilised but at least honourable and I can respect those doing what they must to survive. In most ways, that sums up our own decisions, many of which were morally suspect but necessary for the survival of the race.” He shrugged. “Garrosh has changed this. He no longer fights out of necessity or for needed resource, he fights for a meaningless and unnecessary victory. He spends the lives of his soldiers like water and his spies lurk. Even before Theramore I heard whispers of black orcs who would ‘reason’ with dissent.

And then there is Theramore. Not only was it an atrocity, it was a slap in the face of the Blue Drsgonflight who I respect and who are our allies. And more, it was a misuse of magic such as I have never seen and from what I know is unequalled since the Sundering. Deathwing nearly broke the world, I object to the idea that we would complete the job.

But I have seen Draenor and know the orcs have done this before. If they are going to do it again, I cannot simply step aside. Refraining from the fight, joining the Kirin Tor does not work, even if they would have me. The only people who will oppose Garrosh that I know of is the Alliance.

And so, I decided to betray my people, give up my life and start anew. I hate what I have done and what I will have to do. Close friends will be on the other side of my fight. But I cannot ignore what was done and so I must fight it.

That is why.”

The Archmage sat silently for several moments and nodded. “I will train you.” He gestured to the young worgen who had been siting with eyes pricked. “This is Courtenay who has also asked for my teaching. He and you will be supervision partners. I expect you to progress faster as you already know much of magecraft, but it will be good for both of you to work together.”

Jeraint bit back an instinctive protest and nodded. Courtenay simply grinned like a street urchin with a toffee apple.

The lessons were both simple and hard. Much was already known to Jeraint but the lessons of discipline were strict. Archmage Mordent was a firm believer in the virtue of repetition but mostly he insisted that a Mage must control his power. Over and over, he insisted on this to Jeraint. “You cannot simply let your power flow. You must control it. Or you too will eventually succumb to the illusion that power is all there is.”

“What do you mean?”

“Look at the lessons of the past, Illidan, Kael’thas, My own prince, even Garrosh though he is no Mage. All of them have fallen to corruption and all because they longed for more power and jealously try to preserve what they have.” Jeraint nodded. He did see. “So you must have control, you must understand that you are taking power from the world around you and use it responsibly. That does not mean you cannot use it for minor tasks,” the Archmage waved at the arcane lights that dotted his work room, “but you should never use it for a minor purpose.”

“I see.” Said the newly Highborne Mage softly.

Courtenay was his opposite. He drew power from his own cursed nature but had had to learn to control his nature already. Control of his power came easily, what did not was learning how to summon it from under the ritual blocks that had been placed upon him. The two students found a surprising amount of help from each other.

Jeraint quickly learned the lessons the ancient Mage ha to offer on how to summon power to him. In some ways, he thought ruefully it was astonishingly simple. And potent, the lessons Archmage Mordent offered showed the younger mage routes to many skills, including he suspected the route the older elf had taken to his near immortality. But the lessons in control came harder and the Archmage was unwilling to let his pupil go without full confidence in his discipline.

“The trouble is, boy, that you have too much anger.” Jeraint scowled at his teacher. “It’s an unusual problem I grant you. Most arcanists tend to intellectual arrogance as their chief fault. You are willing to learn but unable to see past your fury.”

Jeraint could not deny it. He still dreamed of Theramore. Of the fall of the central tower, of the twisting corpses and piles of ash that had once been women and children. Mixed in with his nightmares was the pain and despair he had felt when he severed all contact with the pool of power that he had known so long. How could he avoid anger when he thought of the Orcs who had precipitated this. He had not betrayed the Horde, it had betrayed him.

He was spared from further introspection by the arrival of a messenger. It appeared the King of Stormwind was summoning him to battle. With both relief and regret, Jeraint bad his teacher farewell.

“Go then. Good luck and what blessing I can give go with you. But, my boy, be careful. You must work on your discipline.”

Jeraint nodded and, bowing, left his teacher’s quarters. One part of his instruction had included the keys to the wards over the teleportation foci installed in the alliance cities and as the rush of magic flowed through him, he could not resist a wry smile. The wards of Silvermoon and other cities of the Horde would not recognise him now, his metaphysical being had changed too much. It seemed a fitting change that the alliance ones would work for him for the exact same reason.

As he appeared in Stormwind however and moved quickly away as he felt the surge of power accompanying another hurried entrance, he felt his smile grow. Mage after mage was hurrying to the Palace of Stormwind, whatever the summons was to do with, it was a major operation. The Alliance was going to war and he would go with it.

Jeraint felt his smile turn into a snarl. The orcs would pay for what they did to Theramore and what they had done to Jeraint himself, pay in their heart’s blood. And someday soon, Garrosh himself would pay.

Yes, Garrosh would pay a price for Theramore. Jeraint had paid all that he valued. Garrosh would pay that and all that he was as well.

Garrosh would pay.

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