A Human Mage has been sent on a quest to rescue a dwarf lord's son. He thought it was a wild goose chase. He was wrong. One of ten short stories I am writing/plan to write for World of Warcraft.
Garadin the Mage
This is bad.
Garadin stood before a mighty demon lord. He was in the darkest dungeon in Khaz Modan, a dismal place that was possibly only a few miles from the Molten Core. He stood on the edge of a tremendous chasm, the demon lord standing on the other side. A single bridge of re-enforced stone a half a mile long, hand crafted by the finest dwarf quarry-masters of ancient Ironforge, was all that separated him from his foe.
The Demon Lord, if that was what it was, was huge. It stood over a hundred feet tall, its skin covered in a rock-like substance. Between each crack in the rock that showed the creature’s flesh, red light glowed out like veins in a volcano. A tremendous tail spanned out from behind its tremendous legs, its spine covered in dagger-like spikes. Arms as thick as oaks, with spikes running down its underside, and hands as large as Garadin’s torso, graced its upper body, the hands holding a pair of long, sharp Fel-blades. Its head sported a pair of horns, and razor-sharp teeth adorned its crocodile-like snout.
Garadin stood, poised as the monster just stared down at him. Garadin was a very experienced Mage. Normally, he would have been able to take on this monster by himself, just so long as he had the aid of those individuals with similar experience, such as a group of warriors, another mage, some priests, and the odd shaman. Although he hated the art, even a warlock could come useful right now, as their power over Fel-magic might distract the beast enough for them to flee.
However, all he had with him was a couple of juveniles in the wrong place.
He had been sent to rescue a Dwarf Lord’s son, who had taken a group of friends with him down into the deep tunnels, following evidence of a Dark Iron Dwarf temple location deep beneath the mountains. Although they had been missing for a week, Garadin and his Priestess partner, Mara, thought it was all just a wild goose chase, and that they had nothing to worry about.
They were wrong. Turned out that one of the boy’s friends, a fellow dwarf, had been seeking out the Dark Iron Temple to follow in the footsteps of his ancestors. It turned out that the boy was secretly learning on how to become a warlock, and believed that by summoning a Demon Lord to Azeroth would grant him absolute power.
He was wrong. Although Garadin and Mara managed to rescue the adolescents from becoming the Demon Lord’s first meal on Azeroth, they could not save the warlock dwarf, for he had sacrificed himself believing that he would be reborn in a short while. Instead, the creature that he had summoned destroyed his body, and began chasing the rest of them back up the passage.
By that time, the Demon Lord managed to summon a couple of friends. Although the mage, priest, and their charges managed to deal with several of them, a Succubus managed to almost capture a human boy. When Mara intervened, the Succubus wounded her, although Garadin managed to destroy the beast before it could do more harm.
The noble’s son, Karg, was currently carrying Mara upon his shoulder, easily picking up the elf’s weight with his dwarven muscles. The boy, Geoff, an esquire to Karg’s father, carried her other shoulder, still thankful that the priestess managed to still the Succubus which would have, moments earlier, took him and done who knows what to him.
In the firefight to follow, Mara gave much of her strength to Garadin, allowing him the power to block most of the demons from leaving. As a result, all of the portals formed by the demon lord were closed, but the monster in question was still a hazard.
That was about when they got to that point. Garadin stared the monstrous demon down, his hands on his sword, his eyes gleaming in the darkness. The demon stared back, its own eyes burning with Fel-energies, an everlasting fire smoking from within its depths.
The adolescents stood behind him, their bodies shaking in fear. A boy and a girl were embracing each other tightly in the darkness, staring up at the monster before them all. Garadin felt for them. If this were to be the last moment in their lives, any love shared shouldn’t be lost in this dark hour.
Garadin shifted his attention back at the demon lord, who was still staring down at them. It chuckled slightly, its horrific face screwing up in what Garadin guessed was its best attempt at a smile. It started to speak in a rasping, grinding voice, like the sound of two stones grinding against one another in the echoing halls of a temple.
“So, mortals,” it said, “You have every right to cower before my might. I must thank the dwarf that released me…were it not for him, I would still be stuck in the Twisted Nether, unable to take my vengeance on this world and declare it the sole property of the Burning Legion. He proved his purpose well, and he will be rewarded…”
Suddenly, a small wisp of light poured out of one of the Demon’s veins. The light formed itself around the stone, calling upon it like a magnet. The stones started to swirl around the light, forming itself into a body, complete with a head, arms, and legs. When it was done, a monstrous transformation of a dwarf was all that remained. It looked at itself with primitive eyes, and groaned a sound of mourning at itself.
“Although it is nothing like the stoneform of their kind,” the demon continued, “he shall get used to it. Now, I shall also give you the honor of becoming my first true meal in Azeroth.”
The girls squealed. The human couple embraced tighter in the darkness. Garadin bravely stood his ground. “Why have a meal when you are about to leave so soon, demon?” he asked, his sword poised in a guard that enabled him to protect himself from whatever attack the demon would throw at him, even if the attempt was foolhardy.
“A wise question,” the demon said, “but foolishly asked at the wrong time. I don’t intend to leave this world until it is under the control of the Burning Legion.”
“I am sorry to disappoint you,” Garadin said, “but that isn’t going to happen…”
Mara made a slight groan. Garadin turned towards the elf, kneeling to where she lay. She looked up at him, her eyes glazed over in pain.
“Garadin,” she whispered, “You must…get them to safety-”
“Don’t worry, Mara,” Garadin replied, “I will make sure to get all of you back to the surface.”
“You can’t,” Mara replied, wincing at the wound on her chest, “The demon had poisoned me. I won’t last much longer. You need to…get them out.”
Garadin felt a tear form in his eye. He and Mara had been with each other ever since the beginning. To hear her say that she wasn’t going to make it tore him apart.
“I will give you the last of my strength,” she said, and Garadin suddenly felt a surge in power lift the exhaustion within him, though it did nothing to ease the pain in his heart, “I am counting on you.”
Garadin held her hand in the darkness. Though it was cold, her smooth skin felt good in his hand. He held it tightly as he gazed down at her.
“I will never forget you,” Garadin whispered.
“It will not be long before we meet again, my old friend,” Mara replied, then the last of her strength left her, and she was gone from the world.
Garadin still held on to her hand, tears flowing freely from his eyes. The adolescents shared the moment, one of the girls crying freely, her eyes hidden in the shoulder of one of the boys. Karg stared down, his head bent over in sorrow.
A low chuckle brought Garadin back to reality. The demon was laughing.
“Love,” the demon said, its hand hugging at its heaving chest in laughter, “a dreadful and easily severed bond. It is one of the many problems that I have in my legion, and yet I can easily destroy that bond with a single thought, as easily as I will destroy you!”
Garadin stood, his eyes burning from tears and hatred at the monster that stood before them. He sheathed his sword, and took out his staff, a large piece of wood strengthened with metal and Azsharite crystal. Its head glowed blue-green in the darkness, the Azsharite that focused its power surging with magic.
“I will make you regret every second you spent on this world before I send you to whatever afterlife awaits you!” Garadin shouted.
A blue-green bolt of arcane power shot out from the tip of the staff. The demon reflected the bolt with one of its own, then the battle began.
While the demon and mage shot magical bolts at one another from the opposite sides of the bridge, Karg noticed the demon-dwarf that was once his friend attempt to cross. The newly made demon quickly and silently passed the concentrated mage as its new master attacked the human spellcaster. Before it could get far, Karg was upon it, his broadsword pointed at the demon’s throat.
The monster stopped, then looked up at Karg with its hideous, trogg-like eyes. It spoke in a sound like granite being struck by a hammer, “Karg? It’s me! Don’t hurt your friend!”
“You are no friend of mine, traitor!” Karg replied. His sword made a stabbing motion, and the demon stared down at the piece of hard steel that penetrated its basalt-like hide. It made a groan of despair, then suddenly fell apart, the rocks that was its body having no need to be held together.
Garadin stood, his staff shooting out bolts of arcane power and ice, matching every move the demon made in turn. As Fel-energies darted from the Demon’s body, sections of the cavern wall began to melt and boil, the unnatural demonic energies tearing it apart. Garadin quickly thought of a plan to be-rid of the monster, before it would shake the fabric of the mountains with its power.
The Mage turned, calling upon a shield of power that made them safe from any other attacks that the demon would make. The adolescents had their swords, staffs, and wands drawn. Karg stood in front of them all, his broadsword at the ready.
“We will fight along side you!” he said. The others nodded their heads. Garadin smiled. He had no time for foolish games, although he could see that the young ones were being serious.
“My job was to rescue you,” Garadin replied, “If you do not get to the surface in Ironforge, then my job would have been a failure. You must warn everyone about this monster before it escapes!”
Karg hesitated, then nodded. The others looked to him for leadership.
“May you succeed in your task,” Karg said.
“And you as well,” the mage answered back.
Karg and the others quickly fled up the stairs. Garadin looked back at the Demon, who was chuckling once more.
“Sacrificing yourself won’t save them,” the demon said, “when I am finished with you I will slay or enslave them just as I shall do to the rest of their kind. You and your world are doomed.”
“That’s what you think!” Garadin said. He looked around, seeking a weak spot anywhere in the caverns; something that would give him an edge in the battle.
He found it. He didn’t realize it before, but the bridge, not built to support the heat of a Demon Lord’s energy, was starting to melt, the carved stone barely holding on as the Demon began to walk across it, getting nearer to the mage.
“There is no escape,” the demon lord said, “But, I could use you as one of my lieutenants for the legion. Join me, and I will spare you and those you care for, and I will let you rule as my second here on Azeroth.”
Garadin looked up at the demon’s eyes. The monster actually thought that it could persuade the mage in changing sides.
It was wrong.
“If I can’t forestall my fate,” Garadin shouted, “then I might as well quicken it!”
He raised his staff, and struck the bridge. The staff glowed bright red, already starting to draw energies from the spell that Garadin had started to conjure. In moments, a mighty pillar of fire struck down from the roof of the cavern, striking the bridge just a few feet from the demon’s body. The heat was almost unbearable, but the demon seemed to welcome it like a summer breeze.
“That was refreshing,” it said as it raised its wings to full length, almost touching the sides of the cavern, “but you missed.”
“Are you certain?” Garadin asked.
A tremendous rumble, followed by the sound of cracking stone, caused the demon to look down. A huge hole was melted in the center of the already heated bridge, and the demon was already in the center of the bridge. The demon looked into the hole, seeing the chasm go deep into the mountain, so far that not even it could survive.
“Uh-oh,” it said.
The bridge suddenly collapsed. The demon roared as it fell amongst melted stonemasonry. Garadin watched as the monster fell, pleased with his actions.
His pleasure was stolen away when the demon’s tremendous tail came down and struck the piece of the chasm wall that he was standing upon. It collapsed under the weight, and Garadin fell.
He managed to grab a rock on the side of the chasm. He looked up. The adolescents, witnesses to the entire battle, stared at him in shock. He stared back, a look of concern and understanding in his eyes.
“Go,” he said, then he fell.
The distance that he covered while falling was almost incalculable. Falling like a rock, he looked down to the place of his fate. He was shocked to see that the demon was still alive, although grounded.
The monster’s wings, having been unfurled in the display of power it showed on the bridge, had broken during the fall. As such, it could no longer fly, but just fall like a tremendous stone pillar, roaring in pain and anger as it struck the walls of the chasm.
Garadin looked about for a weapon; his staff was lost when he fell, and he could not locate it. He spotted what he was seeking in the form of his sword, which had slipped from its sheath when his section of the chasm wall fell. He grasped the hilt of the sword, surged it with his arcane power, and dove like a hawk chasing a robin.
When he reached the leg of the demon, he struck. The monster roared in pain, the tendons in its leg splitting in two, rendering the limb useless. Molten blood poured from the creature’s wound, flaking the rapidly rising walls of the chasm in Fel energy.
Garadin lay the other limb low with a similar swipe at the ankle, but was caught by the monster’s tail. With a single swipe, the creature had grasped him by its prehensile end. It began swinging him back and forth, attempting to strike him against the sides of the chasm. It wasn’t successful, for when it got to Garadin, the walls of the chasm opened up into a tremendous cavern, its walls more than hundreds of feet apart.
Garadin’s sword quickly came down, cleaving the prehensile end of the tail. Before he could get out of the way, the blood of the creature poured out on his sword arm. He gasped in pain, his arm numbing up. He grabbed his sword with his left hand, and dove once more towards the creature’s body. His sword went down and rendered the creature’s right arm and wing permanently useless, taking out some of its fingers as well. All the while, the monster began bashing itself back and forth against the sides of the cavern.
Before Garadin could do anything more, his right arm felt a massive jolt of pain. He looked to see the creature’s pointer finger on its right hand sticking straight through the now useless limb. Suddenly, the demon’s left hand came up and grabbed his torso in a tight and burning grasp, its grip nearly suffocating him. It brought his body close to its face. It glared at him with dark and twisted eyes. “You shall now see the true meaning of fear when I am finished with you!” It hissed at him with rage.
Garadin brought his glazed eyes down towards the ground. They had entered a tremendous cave, and the chasm seemed to finally end…
In a tremendous lake of goundwater!
Garadin smiled. The demon looked at him confused. “Is there something amusing that I have said, or are you finally accepting your fate?” it asked.
“A bit of both,” Garadin replied, “Look down, demon, and behold the fate that awaits you!”
The monster looked down. As it did, it forgot about something that cost it its life…
Garadin was still armed.
Within seconds, the demon felt the bright-blue steel pierce through its neck, freezing its blood. It attempted to look back up, only to find that Garadin had left the frost-spelled blade in its throat. It roared in pain as its Fel-energies began to writhe within it.
Before it exploded, the monster’s already burning body struck the lake. Garadin was flown aside to the lake’s edge, and he struck the water, plunging into its depths.
He was well on his way to the bottom when an explosion almost as large as the lake hit the cavern. His body was flung from the lake’s surface, and he hit the ground.
His eyes glazed over into unconsciousness, and his vision was no more…
The seven companions made their way to the surface. They met a crowd at the entrance of the tunnel, each dwarf, gnome, and human praising their return. What they got in return were not thankful looks, but tears of sadness. The loss of Garadin the Mage and Mara the Priestess was a heavy toll on the seven adolescents. The people of the Khaz Modan Mountains knew the incredible duo well, and almost all mourned for the passing of the magical duo.
Karg’s father, on request of his son, funded the creation of a pair of statues of their likeness to be built in the halls of Ironforge. On order of the King, the passage to the lower dungeons of Khaz Modan were closed until further notice, and all Dark Iron dwarven artifacts were to be destroyed henceforth.
Karg took it up onto himself to always live in Garadin’s memory, even though they had only known each other for little more than a day. He vowed that he would do his best to ensure that Garadin’s memory wouldn’t die like all those other heroes in Azeroth whose deeds were great but their names were not as known. He has remained true to his vow ever since.
Deep within the caverns, in the midst of the Dark Iron temple, something emerges from within. The temple was the center of a great artifact that the Dark Irons found long ago, and kept at bay for an untold number of years within its reaches. With the destruction caused by the monster summoned from the temple’s reaches, the dark force had been freed.
A single egg, black with crimson veins, was all that sat in what was the altar of the temple, where the dwarf Warlock had summoned the demon lord. The egg was calling for power, seeking it from where it was released.
It found it, in the form of blood. The blood of the demon lord flowed freely from the rocks, brought to the surface by some unknown force.
At the foot of the altar, a mighty clawed foot stood upon the stone steps. Black scales covered the limb, which reached up many feet towards its owner, a mighty Black Dragonflight. It was Nefarion, the son of Deathwing, and keeper of the dark stronghold of Blackrock Spire.
It looked down at the demon blood that it had summoned from the rocks. Daring not to touch the maddening Fel energies, he used his magical power to grace it upon this egg of his father’s. The egg twitched, glowing red with newfound power. A single embryo, long thought dead when taken in by the Dark Irons, writhed within the egg.
This is interesting, the Dragon thought. It gently picked up the egg from its perch, and carried it in the crook of his claw, like a brooding parent handling its young. He prowled back to the entrance where he came from, a single cave in the chasm wall. A pair of Black Drakes awaited him, following their brother as he walked down through the tunnel. Something long foretold is about to come to pass.
This is a short story of my creation.