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Dark Choices September 20, 2012

Posted by Ben in Narrative.
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The continuing adventures of a Tauren Paladin…

I was grateful that our mission did not involve lurking in shadows. I had concerns when I was assigned to lead the incursion and the team was composed of two blood elves who delved in shadow magic. Tori had been recruited to be a soldier of the Light, but found greater pleasure in wielding shadow magic to exact retribution upon her foes. Suzanne had been a student of shadow magic from the beginning, and she treated her Felhound servant as others would treat a beloved dog. I’d worked with the pair of them occasionally during the campaign against Deathwing and knew them to be capable and honorable, but I remained cautious.

Our small craft drew close to the piers of Theramore as the main thrust of Garrosh’s assault withdrew from the city’s main gates. The attempted invasion hadn’t gone well, but an important blood elf mage had been taken hostage by Proudmoore’s forces, and Tori and Suzanne slipped off to search the boats in the harbor as I provided watch. My weapon and shield at the ready, I silenced the few soldiers patrolling the docks.

Tori and Suz soon reappeared at my side, grinning in a way that made me slightly uncomfortable, but I healed their wounds as they informed me that the mage must be somewhere inside Theramore. We had moved about a block into the city itself when I felt the force of a massive explosion behind me. I spun around to see all six ships moored in the harbor aflame and sinking into the water.

“No escape.” Suzanne mumbled with a dark glee.

“That was not the plan,” I said gruffly.

“Not your plan.” Tori replied. “But we don’t have time to debate it. We have to find the mage.”

I adjusted my grip on my shield as I reluctantly continued forward. My reservations with Garrosh’s methods had been steadily growing, but it seemed that not all members of the Horde shared my views.

My contemplation was interrupted by the screech of a gryphon above us. I raised my shield just in time to deflect the electrified hammer of the Wildhammer dwarf riding the fearsome beast, but I was still knocked to the ground. I managed to regain my composure as my companions assaulted him with shadows. I leapt into the fray releasing my Holy Judgment, demanding his attention be diverted from my less armored friends. The fight was intense but short, and the gryphon’s blood mixed with the dwarf’s on the stone street. I readjusted my armor as I continued down the road.

“Where are we going to find the mage in this city?” I asked no one in particular.

Tori smiled. “We could ask someone.”

A lone guard stood at the next crossroads and he hadn’t yet looked our way to see our approach. Tori spoke a few words, and I saw his posture shift slightly before he turned and walked towards us.

“Tell us where they’re holding the elf,” Suzanne demanded.

“He’s in the basement of the main keep. Just north of Jaina’s tower.”

“You’ve been very helpful.”

I watched as he brought his sword to his chest and pushed it through his own body. Tori released him from her control as he collapsed to the ground.

“That was unnecessary.” I said.

“We were going to kill him anyway.”

“Let’s get this over with.”

I tried to control my frustration, but with each group of guards we dispatched, it boiled closer to the surface. As we rushed into the keep, I could feel fury radiating off of me with each blow of my weapon. The guards were no match for me in this state, and Suzanne and Tori were racing to keep up with the path I cut through their lines. When finally I stood the cellar before the captured mage, I was gasping for air.

“Are you going to unbind me, or do you have something else in mind?”

Suzanne and Tori snickered, but I just cut loose his bindings.

“Not a moment too soon, this place is about to be reduced to a crater.”

All three of us looked at him in shock.

“The assault was just a diversion to get the airship in place. I was captured after I placed the beacon for the device.”

“Device?” Tori repeated with fear in her voice.

“A deliciously strong mana bomb is going to be dropped any moment.”

The mage summoned a portal out of the dank basement, and stepping through we found ourselves on the deck of the very airship he’d mentioned.

“Bombs away,” the goblin captain cackled as I watched the glowing purple sphere fall towards Jaina’s tower.

The explosion was immediate. I hadn’t seen a mana bomb explode before, they’d been outlawed under Thrall after witnessing their long-lasting destructive potential in Outland. There was no sound to the explosion, just a quickly-expanding translucent purple sphere that was centered on the base of the tower. The soldiers who had been celebrating what they thought was a victory were now screaming in terror. When the bubble encompassed the entire island, it pulled in on itself in a blink before a white light blinded me.

The wreckage of the city was almost absolute. Some of the thicker structures were still partially intact, but Jaina’s tower was gone. A glowing purple crater all that was left. I went below decks to be alone with my thoughts, not sure if I could continue to be a part of Garrosh’s Horde, or even if I had that choice.

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