midnight12181: (Default)
Sprink ([personal profile] midnight12181) wrote in [community profile] hardmode2011-07-31 10:32 pm

Fic - Flame Keeper - World of Warcraft

Title: Flame Keeper
Author: [personal profile] midnight12181
Media Creator: [personal profile] jack_of_none
Media Link (if it doesn't show up where it's supposed to in the fic): http://ofb.net/~ticktock/wowhardmode.png
Word Count: 10375
Fandom: World of Warcraft
Characters/Pairing(s): Sprink, Derull, various other cast
Rating: PG-13
Warnings: None
Summary: Sprink has always dreamed of joining the Kirin Tor, ever since she started training as a mage. Along her way, she proves herself to various Horde leaders, meets a sometimes un-orc-y orc, a businessman blood elf, and generally stumbles her way to Dalaran.

Mod: Can I get an author tag, please and thank you? ^_^



Her mother was a mage. Her father was a mage. Both parents had great renown for their skills with the pyromancer's art, and both of them had fought against the Scourge when they first tried to take the Sunwell. They had received accolades from the House of Sunstrider itself, earning a place, though small, in the history books.

On the other hand, her sister was a warlock, but it seemed there was one in every family nowadays. It was something they didn't talk about at family gatherings, especially when her imp was always putting its fingers into whatever dishes were served. They also didn't talk about the chance of her cousin joining the Farstriders, a group known to shun the arcane in favor of physical prowess and merit.

However, Felo'shala thought it was only natural that she follow down the path of her forebearers and learn the arcane arts. Even though 'arcane' was almost a dirty word in her family's homestead.

The Pyreheart household was known to be descended from a long line of fire mages, and Felo'shala wasn't one to disappoint. From a young age, she'd held a certain affinity for fire, and at current, she was two steps away from removing all non-useful arcane and those other spells – her family had an almost abhorrent view of frost magic – from the spellbook she carried with her. She had mastered all the basic known fire spells thanks to her mother and father's tutelage prior to her schooling within Silvermoon, and she had been ready to learn more even before finishing the basic lessons taught to all Sin'dorei. After completing her training in the glorious city of Silvermoon, she set out to make her way in the world. A way that her family was sure was bound to be filled with fireballs and random acts of arson, but the Pyreheart way nonetheless.

Her ultimate goal was the glorious city of Dalaran, the city of magi. Her parents had spoken of it as a sort of Shangri-la for magic users, and their stories had placed brightly burning stars in Felo'shala's eyes. A pilgrimage was necessary to introduce yourself to the members of the Kirin Tor, especially if you were a mage who was hell bent on joining the ranks of the mage elite. And if ever there was a mage who was hell bent on joining the Kirin Tor, it was Felo'shala Pyreheart.

She had done tasks in Eversong Forest, endearing herself to her fellow Sin'dorei there as she helped clean up leftover Scourge, spying Kal'dorei and rebellious Amani. After a very short while she had already reached a reputation of honored within the city, allowing the benefits of training enchanting with some of the best instructors in the city.

Felo'shala had traveled to the Ghostlands, lands darkened by the Scourge in their march to the Sin'dorei capital to take the Sunwell. It was populated by a strange – or not so strange if you had a head for politics – combination of blood elf and Forsaken inhabitants. There she worked out of the base city of Tranquillien, eventually reaching an exalted status with the city for her deeds.

Her reputation proceeded her in the northern lands of the Eastern Kingdoms, and she felt she was ready to finally start her pilgrimage to the prestigious city of Dalaran.

But first, she had a meeting with the esteemed Regent-Lord Lor'themar Theron, acting ruler of the Sin'dorei.

Dragging the head of some wretched who claimed to be the direct successor to Dar'Khan Drathir – he even went so far as to take the traitor's name as his own – she waited at the bottom of the steps that lead to Sunfury Spire. After her victory over the traitor, Magister Kaendris had instructed her to personally deliver the severed head, and she wondered if it was the burning smell what caused him to ask her to do it instead of taking it himself. She had to admit, the smell of burning flesh and hair was pretty disgusting, but Felo'shala figured it was something she should get used to. Fire mages set things on fire, and sometimes, those things were people.

She pulled the head from her backpack, knowing that it was never going to smell the same again. She would have to try to sell the handful of useless gear she had acquired that she was unable to disenchant into it's most basic magical components. She really hoped someone would be willing to give her even a few copper for those items, otherwise she was just going to end up disposing of them. Leaving her thoughts of the contents and smell of her backpack to be pondered later, she straightened her robes and walked proudly up the steps.

Felo'shala watched as the royal guards' eyes watched her, smiling at a few of them as she walked past. She swung the head she carried by the charred hair a little as if to either gross them out or show them that she was indeed worthy of speaking with the regent lord. It seemed the former had worked on a couple of them, as their pallors took on a more pale than usual appearance. With a few more steps, she stood at the doorway.

There they were. Lor'themar Theron, Halduron Brightwing, and Grand Magister Rommath. Those three men were responsible for the well-being of all Sin'dorei on Azeroth, and while she had seen the Regent-Lord in passing or during celebrations back when he was Ranger-General, that didn't make her awe at their presence any less apparent. The current Ranger-General's presence and the ambassador of the Sun Prince were just as awe-inspiring to the young blood elf. Listening for a moment, she heard them discussing some political thing or another, and she knew she would not be acknowledged by just standing there, waiting. After a few more moments, she cleared her throat to announce her presence.

The Grand Magister raised an eyebrow as the three of them turned to look at her. “Can we help you, child?”

A large smile split Felo'shala's face. “Bal'a dash, Regent Lord, Ranger-General, Grand Magister. I have something you gentlemen might be interested in seeing.” As Halduron raised an eyebrow of his own and Rommath raised his other eyebrow, Felo'shala proudly raised the severed head in her hand. “I bring you the latest incarnation of Dar'Khan Drathir, for your viewing pleasure.”

There was a moment of silence between all of them, and she could have sworn she heard one of the guards in the room make a small gagging sound behind a curtain. The four of them stood there, unmoving, for far longer than Felo'shala had hoped. Just when she was about to say something far more eloquent in apology, a laugh broke the tension.

“Now that's one face I was not expecting to see so soon,” Lor'themar chuckled, his laughter dying down to a lower level after a few moments. “What is your name, mage?”

“Felo'shala Pyreheart, sir,” she responded with pride. She knew that her family's name would be recognized, even just a little, and every little bit of recognition would help in her eventual pilgrimage.

“There were doubts about our capabilities among our potential new allies. Of what use could we be to them when perceived as unable to deal with our problems at home? This changes everything. No longer will our individual power be questioned,” As Lor'themar spoke, he walked over towards a small table that sat near the vacant throne. A throne he could have easily ascended and claimed, what with the fall of the House of Sunstrider. Were it not for Lor'themar Theron, the fall of their price could have split the Sin'dorei irreparably, dooming the race as a whole to either obscurity or extinction at the hands of any who would bring even a small military force.

Lor'themar picked up a paper, scrawling something quickly on it before sealing it with wax and his personal seal. “You're to join the Horde as an equal, Mage Pyreheart.” The Regent Lord handed the document to her, gesturing for one of the guards to take the head she still held. “Take this letter to Sylvanas Windrunner, ruler of the Forsaken. She's already on our side but the news of Dar'Khan's follower's death will be music to her ears. Prepare for a long trip, Felo'shala Pyreheart. If all goes well, she will send you to Orgrimmar.”

Felo'shala bowed deeply, first to the Regent Lord, then to his comrades. The guard who had taken the head from her handed her a bag, and by the smell alone Felo'shala knew it held the singed head of the newest, dead-est incarnation of Dar'Khan Drathis. Gripping the document like it was going to disintegrate if she loosened her hold on it even a little bit, she turned to leave. The small sound of a throat clearing made her stop.

“There is an Orb of Translocation upstairs. If you please, Miss Pyreheart,” Halduron said, gesturing towards the back of the throne room.

“Oh. Ah, thanks,” she replied sheepishly. Making her way quickly to the second floor, she stood in front of the orb, marveling at her people's magical abilities. The orb activated its magic as she touched it, and within a moment, she was in the ruins of Lordaeron above the Undercity.

-----

Undercity was disgusting.

Felo'shala stayed at what passed for an inn for a couple weeks, learning what she could of Lady Windrunner's new home before approaching the dark lady herself with her commission. However, she was certain that if she stayed much longer, she would never get the smell of sewage, decay, and something she didn't want to know what it was out of her hair. Her daily trips to the barber shop were getting expensive. She had to replace her headband at least twice now since her arrival. But it was all worth it because if there was one thing she needed to keep, it was her sanity. That, and her keen fashion sense. She'd taken up tailoring when she was very young in Silvermoon, and the trainer in Undercity had a few things to teach that she'd been unable to learn back home.

Having taken about as much of the Forsaken's home town as she cared to in her lifetime, she dressed herself in a nice, new robe, grabbed the document given to her by Lor'themar Theron, and made her way to the Royal Quarter.

She nodded to the royal guards that watched her pass, and stepped into the royal chamber. She paused, taking the scene in. She expected it to be more... deathly. Lady Windrunner stood atop of large dais, forgoing any sort of throne or other pomp that was usually involved in dealing with monarchy. In fact, it looked more like the room was used for large gatherings of people more than a base of power. The Dark Lady herself didn't look much different than she had in life, not that Felo'shala was a close, personal friend or anything. When she was a child, much like she had with Lor'themar Theron and Halduron Brightwing, she had seen the then Ranger-General during some of the holiday celebrations, but they had never met face to face. If not for the difference in skin tone and a strange feeling of dread that seemed to emanate from the Forsaken Queen, Felo'shala would have sworn she was still the illustrious Ranger-General.

She hadn't realized how long she'd been standing there, staring, until she noticed the two blood elves with very raised eyebrows standing just a little ways from the Dark Lady. She climbed the small set of spiral stairs that led to the top of the dais, fully aware of Lady Windrunner's eyes on her the entire time.

“Ambassador Sunsorrow,” she said in greeting, bowing slightly to the man chosen to assist in strengthening the relations between the Forsaken and the Sin'dorei. She turned to the other blood elf, raising an eyebrow slightly as she took in the markings of a Blood Knight. She knew the Order of Blood Knights were showing up more and more in city's that the Horde held, and if she remembered correctly this particular one's rank was... “Champion...?”

“Dawnrose. Champion Dawnrose, mage,” the woman replied with a clip to her voice that spoke of how long she'd been with the order.

“Of course, Ma'am,” Felo'shala replied with what she hoped was a disarming smile. “Selama ashal'anore.”

Sylvanas' eyebrow raised to match the other blood elves' previous facial expression. How long had it been since Sylvanas Windrunner had heard the language of her people? Felo'shala knew better than to think she could speak secrets in the native tongue they both shared. Not that she really had anything worth trying to hide anyway.

“Bal'a dash, malanore,“ the Banshee Queen said with a small smile quirking the corner of her mouth. “What news do you bring?“

“News of justice, the best kind of news,” Felo'shala replied, handing over the message from the Regent-Lord.

After reading the letter, Sylvanas looked over Felo'shala and gestured for the bag that the young woman held. Without further ado, Felo'shala handed over the bag, grinning a little like a kid who had gotten away with taking the last mana biscuit. The eyebrow the Dark Lady had let return to its normal place on her face rose again in both curiosity and... was that pride?

“It is done then. The foul traitor got what he deserved.” Sylvanas looked up from the bag to look Felo'shala in the eye. “You did this yourself?” Felo'shala nodded once, not losing the grin from her face. “What is your name?” Sylvanas asked as she handed the bag, head and letter to one of her retainers.

“Felo'shala Pyreheart, my lady.”

“An impressive feat that proves that your race remains worthy, Felo'shala. I see that Lor'themar has additional news that will greatly improve his relations with Thrall.” She gestured to the retainer that had returned with a sealed letter. Felo'shala hadn't even realized he'd left or returned. “I haven't lost any love for my homeland or its people, as you know. I've fought tooth and nail for Silvermoon to be allowed a place beside Undercity and Orgrimmar at the negotiating table. This should continue to silence any possible opposition. Take this letter to Thrall in Orgrimmar. As leader of the Horde he will have the final say on accepting your pledge. I've added my own seal to the letter as a personal endorsement. Go northwest of the city and board the zeppelin bound for Durotar at the tower.”

Felo'shala bowed deeply after taking the letter, trying to contain her excitement. She was going to Durotar! The seat of the Horde was one step closer to heading to the Alterac Mountains, the home of Dalaran. After leaving the Royal quarter, Felo'shala let out a whoop of excitement and raced for the zepplin tower.

She raced up the stairs of the tower, almost tripping over a few others that were moving at a much less break-neck pace. At the top, she waited for the arrival of the zeppelin, shifting slightly as the goblin that was in charge of the tower got uncomfortably close.

-----

Ogrimmar was filthy.

This time she didn't bother waiting around to see the city. She'd seen enough on her way in. Champions of the Horde, all decked out in gear that was so impressive she could only dream of achieving that level of mastery, were dueling outside the city gates, obviously honing their battle skills to fight the good fight for their respective races and causes. If anything was adding to her drive to acceptance into the Kirin Tor, it was seeing these world-wise champions displaying their various skills.

She stopped at a mailbox on a whim, wondering if there was anything from home or any of her friends. There was a letter from Kaelenos, a blood elf hunter she'd met in the Ghostlands, and another letter from someone from Silvermoon named Llementas about looking for an orc named Derull. Both of those could wait for a response until after she'd seen the Warchief of the Horde. She tucked those aside as she approached one of the local guards.

“Hello,” she said, knowing her Orcish was heavily accented. “Could you please tell me where I might find the Warchief?”

The orc looked at her, his head tilted to the side slightly.

“Forgive me, but my Orcish is not the best,” she offered with a smile.

The orc just looked at her for an uncomfortably long time. For a moment, she wondered if she had been dismissed by the guard without her noticing it. When she was certain that she'd missed some local custom that was meant as a gesture of dismissal, he finally spoke.

“What is your name?” the orc asked.

“Oh, how rude of me. Where are my manners? My name is Felo--” she started, only to be interrupted.

“Sprink. Not very elfy name.”

“No, uh, no, my name--” she tried again, frantically thinking of how she messed up saying a basic Orcish phrase.

“Sprink. Me heard you. Me not deaf.”

She sighed, her mind working to figure out just exactly what she had said. Felo'shala was certain she'd said at least enough words correctly to convey meaning, but she did have a pretty heavy accent on her Orcish. After a few more minutes of confusion, she finally realized what had happened. Between the thick accent on her Orcish and her flubbing a couple words, she had managed to say that basically that her name was Sprink. She frowned to herself. It wouldn't do to have her accomplishments attributed to someone that wasn't even her.

Sprink was, like the orc had said, not a very elven name. On further consideration, it wasn't such a bad nickname. It was a very unusual name for a Sin'dorei, but unusual wasn't necessarily bad. Unusual got you noticed, remembered, and ultimately, could get her into the Kirin Tor perhaps that much faster. She straightened herself, standing in a very typical Sin'dorei stance of authority, and looked at the orc again, her mind made up.

“Your Warchief, orc,” she demanded. “Where is he?”

The orc smiled, showing that he possibly had more intelligence than he let on. “Now you ask properly,” he said, pointing his hand towards another area of the city.

“Thank you,” she replied, bowing slightly towards the grunt before turning on her heel to walk in the direction he pointed.

It didn't take long for her to find what the locals called the Drag. While there, she walked down into a darker area, only to pass a barber shop, something she'd grown to spend a lot of time in during her stay in Undercity. While that barber shop catered more to those whose hair would never really grow again, here in Orgrimmar they had to cater to the living a little... better. Besides, for some reason you didn't see any barber shops in Silvermoon. Sure, there were plenty of spas and bath houses that would cater to your every need, but this was an honest to goodness barber shop for the living. That was when the thought hit her. Perhaps with her new name, she should adopt a new hairstyle? Without missing a beat, she stepped backwards a few steps, then walked into the doorway, only to be greeted by a small female goblin.

“Welcome, welcome. I got what you need,” the goblin said with a smile. “I'm Bebri. Have a seat, and let's get to work.”

Sprink nodded, sitting down delicately in the chair. While she'd been to a barber shop before, it had never been run by a goblin. So this was a first, appropriate for her first time in Orgrimmar. Before she could pull the headband from her dark auburn hair, Bebri had already done so. This goblin was quick!

“So what are we doing here?” she asked, running a brush through Sprink's hair far more gently than the blood elf would have guessed she could. She played with the ends of the blood elf's hair as she spoke. “Time is money, babe.”

“I'm looking for something different. But nothing short. Maybe... some sort of elegant updo?” Sprink offered with an unsure tilt to her lips.

“Elegant isn't 'in' here in Orgrimmar, and if I can be honest with you, honey, you don't seem the elegant type.” Bebri stood back for a moment, tapping the brush on her hip as she thought. After an uncomfortably long moment, a smile that would look far less scary on anyone not a goblin spread across her lips. “I got it.”

As she worked, Bebri talked nonstop, and it was all Sprink could do to not nod her head as her hair was twisted and pulled up into... a pair of pigtails. She shook her head, feeling the weight, watching the way her auburn hair moved in the mirror in front of her. It seemed the hairstyle showed off her large hoop earrings a little better, too. After a moment, she smiled wide, turning to the little goblin woman.

“You're a genius, Bebri,” she said.

“Well, let's just say that I'm a full service kind of girl,” Bebri replied with a smile.

She payed the goblin far more than she should have for a new hairstyle – something Sprink had learned when she was growing up in Silvermoon. You always paid more when you got a good haircut or hairstyle, that way, the next time you went in, the barber would take good care of you, knowing that you paid well. With a final nod of thanks to Bebri, she walked towards the place she had heard the goblin talking about: Grommash Hold in the Valley of Wisdom.

-----

There he was. Thrall, Warchief of the Horde sat atop his throne in all his orcish glory.

Or at least, that's what Sprink should have thought. All she could think about was how that man ate with those tusks. She knew she should have stopped for a bite to eat before standing in line to see the leader of the Horde.

After what seemed like forever, she was waived forward to bow before the orc.

“You've come to see me, blood elf? Speak and be quick. I've no time for the formalities of your race,” Thrall's voice was as gruff as any other orc's, but there was a certain look in his eye that betrayed his harsher words. That, and Sprink knew that the Sin'dorei were well known for going on and on and on at length about, well, just about anything given the opportunity. She could understand how it could get on some people's nerves.

She smiled pleasantly as she handed him the letter from Regent-Lord Theron and Lady Windrunner. Waiting patiently, she watched his eyes scan the letter. There was a part of her that wanted to know just what it said, but she hadn't dared to break the seal on the letter prior to delivery.

“Sylvanas is a persistent one,” Thrall said softly, shaking his head to himself. He looked up at Sprink, eying her up and down as if she were nothing more than a hawkstrider at the livery. “So she's sent another of Silvermoon's own champions... how does this change anything?”

Sprink opened her mouth to answer, but was silenced with a raise of the orc's hand.

“Your people had suffered a great betrayal by the Alliance. However, you've succeeded in fending off Darnassian attacks as well as spies from Ironforge. Now you've defeated a powerful Scourge leader at the footsteps of your home.” Thrall took a breath, straightening his shoulders as he took a step closer to the blood elf. “Your worthiness is no longer in question. It is now apparent that you need us and we need you. Return to Lor'themar. Tell him I received his message loud and clear.” She watched as the orc crumbled the letter in his hands, and it made her eyes go wide. “Welcome to the Horde, elf. “

Sprink bowed deeply, dropping her eyes to the floor in reverence, something she was sure was not lost on the Warchief. Straitening herself, she walked with her head held high as she left Grommash Hold, accepted into the alliance her people had chosen over the deceitful races of the Alliance. She couldn't wait to tell the Regent-Lord of her successes with both Lady Windrunner and the Warchief. Reaching into her pack, she searched the bottom for a few coins to get a bite to eat before she made her way to the zeppelin, but her hand brushed against a pair of letters.

“Shit,” she cursed, causing a passerby to look her way before she realized she'd spoken in Orcish, not the Thalassian she'd meant to speak. Face reddening, she threw her pack across her shoulder as she opened the first of the two letters.

Kaelenos' letter was pretty straightforward. He wanted to know what she was up to, how she was doing in her quest, and whether she had made it to the Alterac Mountains yet. If she didn't know better, she'd think he was hitting on her, in letter form. You never could tell with that man, she'd found. He was gruff and almost stoic one minute, and chucking at some obscure joke that only he got the next. Shaking her head, she penned a quick response and dropped it into the nearest mailbox.

Which left the letter from this blood elf named Llementas. As she opened it, she could almost smell the smells of Silvermoon and... something she didn't recognize, but it was sharp to her nose and smelled a little of burning.

Dear Ms. Pyreheart--

I hope this letter finds you well. You don't know me personally, but there have been rumblings from the mages of a certain firecracker who was headed to Orgrimmar to pledge her allegiance to the Horde. I, too, have business in Orgrimmar, but circumstances keep me from traveling at this time.

There is an orc that has not been responding to my summons for a meeting. He and I have business to discuss, but without his personal attendance, I'm afraid this matter cannot be concluded.

If you could personally request this orc's presence at my home in Silvermoon, I would greatly appreciate it and am happy to compensate you appropriately for your time and effort. Enclosed, please find a small sum to cover traveling expenses you may incur during this trip.

The orc is a warrior called Derull, and he can usually be found outside the Auction House in Orgrimmar.

I eagerly await your return. Al diel shala.

Sincerely,
Llementas of Silvermoon

P.S. That orc is smarter than he appears. Do not underestimate him.


Sprink blinked at the letter. It was both surprising and unexpected. On one hand, who was this Llementas guy to think that she would play his message carrier? She was a member of the Order of Mages of Silvermoon! Giving it further thought, she pulled the small coin purse that was enclosed and her mouth dropped.

On the other hand, ten gold spoke for itself. She had an orc to find.

She jogged over to the Valley of Strength, eyeing the signs in front of the doors for the one marked “Auction House.” It took her a few tries to find the right building, including no less than three trips into the bank for no reason, but she finally stood in front of the right place. Looking around, she found too many orcs to count. That didn't include the multitude of trolls, Forsaken, tauren, and a handful of other Sin'dorei. She had her work cut out for her.

It was too loud to just call out his name and hope he revealed himself, so she looked around for another way to determine which orc was the one she was looking for. This Derull character was a warrior, which meant he was probably of a more mercenary mindset. Which meant that at some point he was likely to look at the job board a little ways away. Without further thought, she pushed her way through the crowd – which included a disturbing amount of people dancing naked on mailboxes – towards the job board.

“Excuse me,” she asked a rather bright yellow orc that walked up. “Would you happen to be Derull?”

“No,” the orc responded, looking over the blood elf strangely.

“Do you know of him?”

“No.”

“Oh, well, sorry to bother you.”

The orc shook his head as he grabbed one of the papers from the board and walked away. This happened with several orcs and a couple trolls, but they all answered that they either weren't or didn't know anyone named Derull. Taking a break from annoying the local populace, she looked at the job board herself. Perhaps there was something there she could do to kill time if this Derull wasn't in town at the moment.

“This looks promising,” she muttered to herself, reading one of the postings.

“I don't get it,” a voice said behind her.

Sprink jumped a little, turning to see a large, bald orc standing behind her. Forgetting her task for the moment, she addressed him.

“Do you need help?” she asked.

“I don't get it,” the orc repeated.

“Would you like me to read it for you?” Sprink offered helpfully.

“I can read.”

“Oh,” Sprink replied intelligently. After a moment, she turned back to the orc. “Then what is the problem?”

“I've done this before,” the orc responded.

“Excuse me?”

“I killed this man.” The orc pointed to the job she had been looking at. It was to kill someone suspected of consorting with demons, and not in the fashion that warlocks were known to consort with demons.

“Possibly,” Sprink offered, hearing someone in the Ghostlands say the same thing about Dar'Khan Drathir when she was taking on the quest to kill the fallen blood elf. “Sometimes, when a group is rallied around a particularly charismatic leader, when that leader is killed one of the members of the group will take his or her name in order to carry on the legacy. It's more of a title than a name at that point.”

“Uh, zug zug,” the orc replied after a moment.

Sprink took a good look at the orc in front of her. His skin was a yellowish-tan, and his five o'clock shadow was noticeable. He bore a large sword that would probably take even him two hands to wield, and his plate mail had a few dents in it that spoke of possible scraps he'd gotten into. She raised her eyebrow a little, then spoke again.

“I'm Sprink,” she said, offering her hand in greeting.

“Not a very elfy name,” the orc responded.

“So I hear. What's your name?”

“Derull.”

“Ha!” Sprink cheered, leaping a little into the air in triumph. “I found you!”

Derull just raised an eyebrow in response.

“I got a letter from Llementas, asking me to deliver a message to you,” she explained.

The orc's raised eyebrow fell as he pulled his sword from his back, inspecting it in his hands.

“He said you two were business partners,” Sprink continued obliviously. “He needed to finalize some things with you regarding... something. He didn't say. But either way, he said he needed to see you in Silvermoon. And since I happened to be in Orgrimmar, he asked me to find you. It also just so happens that I'm heading back to Silvermoon to report to the Regent-Lord, so we could travel together.”

“You're not the first he sent,” Derull deadpanned.

“No? But I'm the best. Future member of the Kirin Tor here and all.” Sprink's smile went from ear to ear.

“Do you know what I did to the others?”

“Nope.” Previous hunger from before visiting the Warchief forgotten, she gripped up Derull's wrist and pulled. “Let's go. I think the zepplin to Undercity should be arriving soon.”

“But...” Derull started, shutting his mouth audibly as he was pulled towards the gates of the city by the small elf.

Sprink was surprisingly quiet for the short trip out to the zepplin tower, trying not to open her mouth in awe as Derull got a few requests for duels from some of the Horde's champions at the gates. She had long since dropped her hold on the orc's wrist, but for some reason he was still walking with her. Either her skills of persuasion were more amazing than she originally thought, Derull was humoring her, or something else entirely.

“Going home to see the wife?”

The soft voice from beside her made Sprink jump. Not a moment before that space had been empty, but now it was occupied by another blood elf dressed in tight leather armor. A brightly coloured tabard covered her chest, and as Sprink turned to look at Derull's response, she couldn't help but chuckle.

The orc just stared at the path they were walking, not sparing the other woman a glance.

“Bal'a dash, malanore,” Sprink offered politely in their native tongue.

“Don't bother with that. Derull doesn't speak Thalassian, and he gets cranky when he doesn't know what's going on,” the other blood elf said, her tone somehow simultaneously flippant and serious.

Sprink's eyes widened a little as her cheeks pinked. “My apologies, then, to both of you,” Sprink replied in Orcish. “My name is Sprink. I take it you know Derull?”

“That's not a very elven name,” the woman said. “And yes, Dee and I go way back. I'm Phentilus.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” Sprink said cordially.

“What do you want, Phen?” Derull asked with a sigh.

“Nothing,” Phentilus responded with a small smile. “I just happened to be in Org, and I hear someone's looking for you... again. You leave him high and dry?”

“Oh, do you mean Llementas?” Sprink asked innocently.

“Has she met the wife?” Phentilus asked with a quirk to her lips.

“It's not like that,” Derull said pointedly to Sprink as the group reached the zepplin tower.

“How so? He calls, and eventually, you come running.” The smirk on Phentilus' face widened just a little.

“You should come with us.” Sprink's voice cut through the friendly banter like a pyroblast to the face.

“I'm afraid I can't,” Phentilus sighed with mock resignation. “Ravenholdt's got a job for me, and they pay better than seeing Dee and Llem bicker.”

“Oh, well--” Sprink started, only to find that she was talking to thin air.

“Rogue,” Derull replied to Sprink's next question. “She's still here, but let's go.”

“Safe travels, Phentilus!” Sprink offered to the area around them before following Derull up the zepplin tower's steps.

-----

Undercity was still disgusting.

Derull had insisted on stopping there instead of going directly to the Orb of Translocation that would take them to Silvermoon. If Sprink didn't know better, she would think he was trying to postpone the trip just a little bit longer.

Either way, she found herself standing in front of the resident chef, him discussing the merits of sewer sludge in dishes and she countering that his tastebuds had decayed to the point of not tasting anything. She had been at it long enough to get bored with the conversation, which meant something. Deciding it would be beneficial to find Derull and leave the city of the Forsaken for the city of her people, Sprink bid farewell to the insane chef.

After looking around a little for the missing orc, Sprink stopped at the Mage Quarter to learn a few new spells.

“This would have been easier if you knew any portal spells.”

Sprink jumped, a small shriek falling from her lips before she could stop herself. She turned to face Derull, ears red in embarrassment at being caught unaware.

“Where have you been?” she asked, nodding farewell to the class trainers she had previously been speaking to.

“Around.”

“Are you ready to go?”

“No.”

Sprink raised an eyebrow. “This Llementas can't be that bad to deal with, can he? I mean, he is a Sin'dorei, afterall, and while we're known for rambling on occasion, he can't be that scary to a big orc like you, right?”

“Llem is... Llem,” Derull answered with a non-committal shrug.

“He seemed nice enough in the letter he wrote...” Sprink mused.

“I didn't say he couldn't be nice.”

Sprink rolled her eyes. “I still don't see why it's such a big deal. You go, you take care of whatever you need to take care of, then you go back to doing whatever it is that orcs do when they're not smashing things.”

Derull just nodded towards the direction Sprink originally came from, surely meaning that they should probably be on their way.

“Unless it's an appearance thing. Is it an appearance thing? The big, tough orc doesn't want to be seen with the weak-looking blood elf?” It took a whole ten seconds for Sprink to make the connection between her statement and what she'd implied. “Are you embarrassed to be traveling with me?”

“No, I... ugh,” Derull sighed. “Let's go.”

-----

It was good to be home.

Sprink inhaled deeply as she walked slowly down the ramp towards the throne room. It smelled of magic here, and she was happy to have that familiar small prickling on her arms as the arcane energies of the area delicately soaked into her skin.

“So, now that we're here, are you going straight to see Llementas, or can we make a quick stop first?” Sprink asked the orc in front of her.

Derull nodded, stepping through the alcove that lead to the seat of the blood elven regency. As he walked past the three leaders of the faction, he raised a hand lazily in acknowledgment to them.

“Selama ashal'anore, Regent-Lord, Ranger-General, Grand Magister,” Sprink greeted each of the leaders of the Sin'dorei in turn. Oh, did it feel good to be speaking Thalassian again. “I have returned from my meeting with both the Lady Windrunner of the Forsaken and the Warchief of the Horde, Thrall. Both of which send their best.” Sprink took a moment to take in what the three men could possibly be thinking. On one hand, she was certain she was not the first one sent to pledge their allegiance to the Horde, as each Sin'dorei that reached a certain level of skill and renown was sent to personally introduce themselves to the other members of their alliance. However, she had done it at a rather young age, considering most adventurers were at least a few years older than her, even in their society. “I am happy to report that I have been accepted as a full-fledged member of the Horde by the Warchief himself.”

“Your work has helped advance our race's cause a tremendous deal. Not only does this prove further to Thrall that we're capable of handling ourselves in the face of the enemy, but it also confirms that he also believes that he can use our link with Outland as a means to reach his people.” Lor'themar spoke evenly, his eyes meeting Sprink's at the end of his statement. “Not exactly the truth, but not a lie either.” Sprink raised an eyebrow at that, but said nothing. That would be something interesting to delve into, perhaps if after joining the Kirin Tor she was sent to Outland for further magical study. “Brace yourself for great changes, Felo'shala. You are now officially part of the Horde.“

A smile split Sprink's face at the Regent-Lord's words. That was one hurdle down, now she just needed to head to the magical city of Dalaran, which would require a visit to the Alterac Mountains. With a deep bow, she turned to see Derull waiting for her in the door. That reminded her...

“Oh, I almost forgot!” she said, turning back to the trio of men. “It seems I've been given a nickname by the orcs of Ogrimmar, so if you hear anything about someone named Sprink, especially if it involves anything being incinerated, it was probably me.” Turning back towards the doorway, she jogged towards her orc companion. “We can go see Llementas now, if you're ready.”

Laughing at the exhausted look on Derull's face, she almost didn't hear the Grand Magister's words behind them. “Sprink... is not a name usually associated with the Sin'dorei.”

The walk to the residential district was nice. A few people nodded to them, mostly people Sprink recognized as shopkeepers on their day off. More than a few people gave them a wide berth, probably due to the overly intimidating orc that walked with her, his face sullen. After a few turns down sidestreets, they stood in front of a rather nice house. The two story residence wasn't too fancy or lavish, but it was very tasteful. The lawn was well kept, but there were only a few decorations placed around it, a stark contrast to the way some Sin'dorei would almost overload the outer face of the house with enough makeup to make them seem garrish.

Sprink brushed some dust that wasn't there from the front of her robe as she walked up to the front door. She raised her hand to knock, but found that it wouldn't move. She looked at it, finding her wrist entirely encased in a yellowish-tan hand. She looked at Derull quizzically.

“I never go in the front door,” he explained, as if that was all Sprink needed to know.

“But--” Sprink started, but the look Derull gave said that he was not to be argued with on this one. And if there was anything Sprink had learned from being a mage – other than how to set things on fire – was that you had to pick your battles.

She followed Derull as he walked to the side of the house, opening the side door that led to a staircase downwards. Still not saying anything, she followed him as he walked down the steps, pausing at the bottom step as she looked around.

There was what appeared to be a workshop in this basement. The walls were covered in schematics for various machines and tools. There were boxes of explosives meticulously labeled from mild to heavy to something that looked strangely like sheep. Something that looked like a training dummy sat waving in the corner, drawing Sprink's attention like it wanted to be set on fire. A small mechanical creature that looked almost like a bald metallic gnome floated a foot off the stone floor, apparently waiting for someone to interact with it. The floor, however, was immaculately swept.

At the center of all this was a workbench, and facing away from the pair stood a blood elf, his long reddish reaching his waist. His fingers moved quickly, but carefully as he tinkered with whatever it was he was working on.

“How many times do I have to tell you not to bring people in through the workshop, Derull?” Llementas said, not turning to face them.

“Last time you said I tracked mud in your house,” was Derull's answer.

“Fair enough. However, the workshop is no place for a lady.”

Sprink's eyebrows raised. How could he know she was also... oh. There it was. She spotted a small mirror that hung just right so the person standing at the workbench could see whomever was behind them.

“You must be Llementas?” Sprink asked politely.

“That I am, miss,” he answered, wiping his hands on a rag from the workbench. He turned, and Sprink was surprised to find that the face that she saw had not a smudge of grease or soot on it, even though his work apron had markings of working on it. “You must be Felo'shala Pyreheart. A pleasure.” Llementas gave her a charming smile that had probably melted many a heart, but Sprink didn't have time to contemplate that. She had an organization to gain acceptance to. “Derull, if you'll please show Ms. Pyreheart to the sitting room, I will join you there in a few minutes after I clean up.”

Derull opened his mouth to say something, but was interrupted by Llementas' raised eyebrow.

“It's the room with all the chairs,” Llementas offered with a sigh.

“I know where it is.”

Before Llementas could counter, Sprink bowed, her own charismatic smile touching her lips. “Come on, Derull. We haven't had a chance to sit down on comfortable chairs in a while.”

With a grunt, Derull lead Sprink up another staircase, down a hallway, and into a room near the front of the house. The room itself was simply decorated, which seemed to be this Llementas' style. The bookshelf that lined one wall was filled with tomes about various topics: religion, machinery, smelting practices. There was a divan with its back to the bookshelf, with a shorter table in between it and a pair of chairs. The chairs were comfortable and soft, and Sprink sighed pleasantly as she sank into one of them.

It was only a few minutes before Llementas joined them in the room, his work apron and gloves gone. He sat on the divan, leaning forward to toy absently with a small scale and weight set on the short table in front of him as he spoke.

“Forgive me for taking so long,” Llementas said, turning his attention to Sprink. “I'm sure you'd both like to know why I requested Derull's presence here.” The blood elf didn't wait for either of them to answer before continuing. “I require something for a project I'm working on, and unfortunately I have to repair my damaged wormhole generator before I can return to Dalaran.”

“Dalaran?” Sprink asked, her eyes wide with excitement.

“Yes. The city of mages. I'm sure you've heard of it?” Llementas returned with a smirk.

“Heard of it?” Sprink squeaked, sitting on the edge of her chair and leaning forward.

Llementas' smirk widened just a little more. “I need the two of you to go there and fetch a package for me.”

The only thing mildly overshadowing the loud “Yes!” from Sprink was a stunned “What?” from Derull.

“So, I take it you'll accept my offer?” Llementas asked, his eyebrow quirked.

“Yes!” Sprink repeated.

“Why can't I just use...?” Derull started, his hand going into his pocket to fish something out.

“Because she has shown an uncanny ability to do something no one else seems capable of doing, and if you do that, she won't be able to follow,” the blood elf replied, shaking his head slightly at where Derull's hand was.

“We won't let you down!” Sprink cheered, walking towards the doorway.

“Don't you wish to know what it is I'm sending you to fetch?” Llementas asked off-handedly.

“Oh, yeah, um...”

“There is a vendor named Jepetto Joybuzz. He sells an item called the Paper Zeppelin Kit. I require one for... personal reasons.” The blood elf handed Derull a small satchel of money. A lot of money from the sound it made just falling into the orc's hand.

“Right,” Sprink affirmed, nodding her head to herself. “Then it's off to the Alterac Mountains.” Without further comment, she walked out of the room.

“Does she know...” Derull started as he stood to follow the overly exuberant blood elf.

“It is something some mages have to see to believe,” Llementas replied knowingly.

-----

Traveling with Derull was something Sprink had never prepared for. How could one prepare for traveling with an orc that seemed a little off sometimes, a little less orcish and a little deceptively intelligent? They had taken the Orb of Translocation back to Undercity, and from there set off through Silverpine Forest and the Hillsbrad Foothills to reach the famed Alterac Mountains. The orc never complained when, along the way, Sprink insisted upon returning to Undercity occasionally to train further in her craft as she advanced. He never complained when she also insisted upon another detour back to Silvermoon to purchase her first hawkstrider, a pretty blue bird she cooed over relentlessly. All and all, it took them far longer together than it would have taken Derull alone to travel the full route to the Alterac Mountains. Sprink was surprised at how indulging he was to her requests.

“Are you sure you're ready for this?” Derull asked as they rode along the road that would take them to Alterac.

“How can I not be?” Sprink asked dreamily. “Dalaran is a magical city. The Council of Six and the magocracy has been studied by all mages from all walks of life since the city was built. You're taught at a very young age in Silvermoon of the history of Dalaran and the known members of the Council. There are whole classes dedicated to the history of the city, including it's near destruction and rebuilding.

The mages of Dalaran were the originators of the tri-school of study. It was their dedication to magic that lead to the creation of many spells mages are taught today. I hear Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider himself was instrumental in the evolution of Fireball into Pyroblast and the creation of the shortened cast Flamestrike. There are even rumors that he was the force behind the creation of WHAT THE FUCK?!”

By the way Derull perked up slightly at her exclamation he must have been nodding off a little during her babbling. He looked at the crater off a little ways where the city of mages used to reside and shrugged.



“No, really, what the fuck is this shit?” Sprink raged, riding to the edge of the crater. She ignored Derull as he dispatched the handful of residual guardians of the crater to stare down the edge of the violet-hazed crater. “Where is it?”

Derull raised an eyebrow. “You didn't know?”

“What happened to Dalaran?” Sprink insisted.

“You didn't pay attention to your history classes, did you?”

“How can you joke at a time like this?” Sprink huffed. “The bare ley lines that powered the city are exposed. How could a whole city just up and vanish like that?”

“You got the up part right.”

“Be serious, Derull. This is a tragedy! The entire civilization dedicated to magic has disappeared, and all you can do is make light of it!”

“Purple light.”

A string of Thalassian curses spilled from the blood elf's lips in an elegant flow of rage as she paced her mount back and forth along the edge of the crater. She continued pacing as she cursed, her attention completely drawn by the missing city of mages.

“You have a long way to go,” Derull said, digging into his pockets.

Sprink stopped short. She dismounted, a single command returning her mount to her home in Silvermoon until it was summoned again. “What are you doing?” she asked, leaning towards the orc.

“I'll see you in Dalaran, elf,” Derull said, placing a small ring on his finger and activating the magic contained in it.

“What?” Sprink squeaked indignantly.

“Try Northrend next time,” Derull said with a small smile before he disappeared into the ether.

The shriek that came from Sprink's mouth was surely heard as far away as Undercity, possibly farther.

-----

She had traveled far and wide, gaining power and magical ability as she did. Eventually, she was sent through the Dark Portal to do some work for the Horde in Outland. She had spent some time in Shattrath, gaining reputation with the Scryers before traveling further to the areas of Nagrand and Netherstorm. She had thoroughly enjoyed her time in Netherstorm, simultaneously reveling in the loose mana that permeated the zone and bringing justice to those of her people who had betrayed those that were back on Azeroth.

Sprink had even gone so far as to work tirelessly to continue the war efforts found on the Isle of Quel'Danas. The Shattered Sun considered her an exalted champion worthy of their highest honors, and when she wore their tabard, she wore it proudly.

After mastering her art, she finally found herself in Dragonblight, riding her swift green hawkstrider towards the outpost of Agmar's Hammer. The word throughout the area was that Dalaran was floating above the ground in Crystalsong Forest to the north. Who would have guessed the Kirin Tor would decide to bring the fight to the Lich King himself, taking the whole city with them? It was truly a testament to the power of the Council of Six, and to mages in general.

Completing many of the tasks given to her by the various inhabitants of Agmar's Hammer – including Koltira Deathweaver, a most intriguing death knight – the image of a mage would finally speak with her regarding the floating magical city.

“Welcome, mage.” The image's voice was eerily distorted. “By now you must be wondering where Dalaran is and how to get there.” Sprink had to bite her tongue, lest she offend an obvious member of the Kirin Tor. “But before I can teach you how to teleport to our great city, you must attune yourself to the ley lines of Northrend. Otherwise you risk destroying yourself in the process. Take this attunement crystal and use it in the pit under the surge needle at the Moonrest Gardens to the west-southwest. Then you will be ready to learn the spell.”

Sprink nodded, her trip to Moonrest Gardens not worth mentioning upon her return. The crystal she had glowed softly, pulsing slightly as she held it. Without a word, she raised the crystal in front of the image.

“Are you attuned? You mustn't lie about this, Sprink,” the image warned. “If you fail to prepare yourself properly, and I teach you the spell, the first time that you cast it will be the last time anyone will ever see you!”

The Sin'dorei had enough waiting. She had a meeting with a certain orc who was going to see the wrong end of a Pyroblast, and she had an organization of mages to join the ranks of. Sprink was about as attuned as she was going to get. She just stared down the image until it spoke again.

“Very well. If you are ready, then so am I.“

Sprink listened carefully to the words spoken by the image of Aethas Sunreaver, nodding when she understood and asking questions where she didn't. After a few failed attempts, she found herself standing in front a woman dressed in the colors of the Kirin Tor.

“Welcome to Dalaran, mage,” the woman said pleasantly. “You are among your peers here.”

“Thank you,” Sprink said gratefully, ready to scour the city for an orc that had a Living Bomb spell with his name on it. “Do you happen to know an orc by the name of Derull?”

The woman looked puzzled for a moment before her smile returned. “There are many orcs in Dalaran. However, just in case you didn't already know, you can--” Sprink had already walked away from the woman and into the center courtyard of the city of mages.

Dalaran was beautiful.

The center courtyard had a fountain in the middle, benches with mages discussing theorycraft relaxing after long days of... whatever mages that were not adventuring did. Sprink didn't care. She could almost taste her goal; all she had to do was find a Derull, then set up a meeting with Rhonin, the leader of the Kirin Tor.

She walked directly to the Violet Citadel, straightening her robes and brushing off any dust from her travels that happened to be on them. Butterflies fluttered in her belly as she ascended the stairs, her anticipation only growing more that she was there, in Dalaran, at the Violet Citadel, walking up to see the Archmage Rhonin and his wife, Vereesa Windrunner.

“Welcome, mage, to the city of Dalaran, home of the Kirin Tor,” he said with a small smile as she approached. “I am Rhonin.”

Sprink bowed deeply, holding her breath as she did so. She did it. She was there. Talking to Rhonin. Only... she wasn't talking. Why wasn't she talking?

“I, uh...” she stuttered, blush covering her ears and cheeks.

“There is no need for formalities here. You are one of us,” Rhonin chuckled.

She took a deep breath, then started again. “That is why I'm here, Archmage. I have traveled Azeroth and beyond, training myself to become well-versed in the ways of the arcane arts, in hopes of someday proving myself worthy to become admitted as a member of the Kirin Tor.”

Rhonin glanced to Vereesa, the high elf woman not removing contemptuous eyes from the blood elf before her. After a moment, his gaze returned to Sprink, his eyes taking on an almost fatherly light. “What is your name?”

“My birth name is Felo'shala Pyreheart, but I am called Sprink by all who know me.”

“I see, Sprink. There are many mages that wish to pledge themselves to our order. You are not the first, nor am I sure you will be the last.”

Sprink's face fell. She could hear it in his voice. He was going to deny her. She wasn't strong enough, wasn't powerful enough, wasn't knowledgeable enough. All her hard work, all her trials, and her dream was going to be snatched away from her right at the end of her journey.

The Archmage's eyes softened as he continued. “I can see that you have worked very hard to reach your current point in your studies. You are a very determined woman, Felo'shala Pyreheart. I have no doubt that as you continue to grow in your knowledge of the arcane, you will find yourself eventually courted by we of the Kirin Tor for membership in our order.”

Sprink raised an eyebrow in question.

“You are still young, Ms. Pyreheart. I can still see the forests of Eversong in your eyes. Give yourself time. Might I recommend, from here on in your travels, championing the causes of the Kirin Tor? Your personal reputation, along with upholding the reputation of the cause you champion, can go a long way in making yourself known within organizations.”

Sprink stood there for a moment, Rhonin's words sinking in after she replayed them in her mind. Her eyes focused on the ground at her feet as she replayed them again and again. After a few more moments of silence, she looked back up at the archmage.

“I understand,” she said. Her chin was set in a prideful fashion, but her eyes held no malice as she spoke. “This is not the last you will hear of me. Remember the name Sprink, Archmage. You'll be hearing it cheered in the streets soon enough.”

Winking at the human, she turned to leave the Violet Citadel. Well, that was one of her tasks completed. Now, to find that damn orc.

Her eyes were wide as she walked into the first building that looked like a meeting place, the sign above the door proclaiming it was the Legerdemain Lounge. A high elf stood behind the bar, washing a glass in his hands as he watched her enter. While it wasn't that long ago that they were of the same allegiance, since the split of Quel'dorei and Sin'dorei, Sprink felt a little uncomfortable around her racial cousins. Her eyes moved to the occupants of the establishment and settled on someone sitting in a chair, a mug of ale in front of him.

“Took you long enough,” Derull said, taking a drink from his mug.

“One, what the hell was that thing you used? Two, how long have you been here? Three, who the hell do you think you are?”

“Runed Ring of the Kirin Tor. Since I left Alterac. And Derull,” the orc deadpanned.

“You're an asshole. You know that, right?” Sprink sighed, flopping down in the chair across from him.

“I already picked up Llem's whatever,” Derull replied, finishing off his ale.

“You're less of an asshole.”

“Mailed it to him, too.”

“Even less of an asshole.”

They sat in silence for a few more minutes before their table was approached by a slim, deathly pale blood elf. She stood with the imperiousness of the Sin'dorei, but the dark runes that were etched into her armor and weapon were not of Kal'dorei, Quel'dorei, or Sin'dorei origin.

“Are you ready?” she said, her voice reverberating through the air in an eerie fashion as she looked at the orc.

“Yeah,” Derull said, looking at the bottom of his mug. He looked up at Sprink. “This is Vengilus. She, a paladin named Amenthas, a death knight called Gorbash, and I are going to go clear out some Infinite dragons from the Violet Hold. I guess if you want to come along...”

Sprink's eyes lit up as she looked over both people. “Can you give me a minute? There's a tabard I need to buy.”

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