Disclaimer:I do not own Warcraft or its sequels. Blizzard does.
Massive thanks to my beta, Dusty the Umbravita!
Chapter published 4/15/12
I reflexively brought my hands up, as if to ward off a blow, feeling I should have had a nightmare. When I didn't recall any fear at all from the previous night, I smiled. I groaned, pulled the covers off me, and pondered on what this meant for the wards. Whatever was causing these nightmares was right in Orgrimmar. It couldn't have been in the Emerald dream, else I would've needed wards there to stop the nightmares. It may have been because of it, but whatever it was, it wasn't in the realm of the Green Flight. It couldn't be internal, otherwise the wards wouldn't have worked. I swung my legs around and got to my feet, looking for Ialion. The whelpling still dozed in his nest, his flank rising and falling gently, eyes fluttering under their lids.
"Mrrph... Kilasion... leggo... the marrow..." he muttered between snores.
I smiled at his speech as I got out a breakfast for myself; a couple eggs, some water, and a loaf of bread with jelly. I began to eat it, and began thinking to my draconic friend.
'Hey, you there?' I asked her.
'Yeah, did I miss anything?'
'Well, somebody was taking a nap when I contacted them yesterday, so I wasn't able to talk to them about everything I wanted to.'
'You sleep over three times more than I do, I wouldn't be talking!'
I bit into the fried egg, tasting the yolk meshing with the whites. 'Yeah, yeah. So, let's get the big thing out of the way first. The cult is planning an elemental invasion in one month.'
I heard Selriona groan at the same time Ialion rolled over and muttered something about bad aim. 'Well. Shit.'
'Yeah, just about sums it up. I'm thinking of going to tell the guard, but I don't know. The invasion might not be all that they're doing. If we take them out now we might never know what else they've got hidden here.'
'Yeah, true. But all the same, you really should tell somebody. The cult's been hit pretty hard, what with the Cataclysm, and then us starting to hunt them down. Hey, how're the nightmares?'
'Great. They're wonderful, the wards worked. I slept like a rock. So it's gotta be coming from outside, not something planted in everyone's house.' I finished my eggs and proceeded onto the toast. 'What could be causing it? I know Nil Sag'ma is linked to it, but how? Sure, he radiates fear around him, but nowhere near in a large enough area.'
I could practically envision the Twilight dragon shaking her head. 'Wish I knew. Let's start practicing with the twilight realm. It'll give some answers.'
I nodded, knowing full well she couldn't see me. 'Great, let's get started then.' I drank some of my water, and stood away from the table, drawing twilight energy into my hands. I concentrated hard, doing my best to keep the energy in one place, multiple calculations flying through my mind as the energy began to flow to one side, then the other as I balanced it out, the energy wobbling back and forth in my hand.
'Keep the energy stable, and position it into a... well, have you heard of the Klein Bottle? Apparently, Nalestrasza has.'
'That gnomish invention. Made by Wilfred Klein, a bottle with a side that, if you traced it, you'd go along both sides at once. It has two chambers, with one leading into the other without creating a hole in either of the walls.' I managed to send through the math flying past my head. Knowing what she meant, I began to manipulate the energy into the form she said, before I could lose my grip on it. The energy vanished out of my hands before a shimmering, purple portal opened up infront of me, bright stars and violet clouds against a black canvas visible inside it. The edges of the portal twisted around. I still had to keep the energy together, the portal not yet open, just visible, but it was less strenuous.
'Okay. Now, reach out and touch it. Several command runes will come up in your mind. You need to provide their opposite, like healing commands to damage commands. Go ahead, try it.' I did what she told me and reached out a hand, touching the space occupied the developing Twilight portal. Instantly I saw a magical inscription in my mind, the PHASE command. I began to travel through the runes, until I accidentally placed a reversal command with a blast command. The twilight portal slipped away, disappearing with a slight pop.
"Damn it!" My outburst, combined with the sound of the portal vanishing, made Ialion stir in his sleep, yawn and briefly stop snoring, but otherwise remain unconscious. 'Didn't work.'
'Keep trying. The answer has to be in the twilight realm. I know it.'
'Yeah. I'll be able to see where the corruption is centered.' I pondered for a moment. 'Ten gold coins says that it's centered on Nil Sag'ma.'
'I'd lose that bet.'
I laughed into the link. 'Yeah, I know. Okay. Let's try this again,' I said. For the next few minutes, I manipulated the mana in me to open a portal to the twilight realm, finishing my breakfast in the process, but each time something happened and I failed. Once, I nearly opened it, but I lost the strength to hold the twilight energy any longer. Another time, I accidentally called up shadows instead of twilight energy. And yet another time, the twilight energy became a fireball that I had to quickly dissipate.
Another twilight portal snapped shut, waking up Ialion. The whelpling yawned, smacked his fangs together several times, and rolled over on his back. He groaned a few times, opened an eye, and rolled back over onto his stomach to look at me.
"Hey, Amanthe. Guess what I dreamed about?"
I 'hazarded' a guess. "You were arguing with your brother Kilasion over some bone marrow, and when he attacked you he had bad aim with his blasts?"
"How did you know?" he asked, all residue of sleep suddenly gone from him as he bolted upright, sitting on his haunches and gazing out at me.
"You talk in your sleep."
He narrowed his pupils into tight slits. "I don't talk in my sleep."
I couldn't resist. "You snore, too," I said calmly, smiling.
"I do not!" he shrieked. He turned his head away, but kept looking at me with one eye. "How badly?" he asked timidly.
"Not too bad, don't worry. You're not shaking the house or anything."
'So, any luck with the portals?'
'Some, but I haven't gotten one open yet. I'll get it today, though, I think. Gotta go to Liwatha's soon, though.'
'Good luck.' With that, the dull pressure above my ears faded.
Ialion yawned again, flying off his shelf and landing on the table on all fours. "So. Gonna tell anyone about the invasion?"
I sighed. "I don't know. I mean, of course I'm going to tell someone before it happens, but if they attack the cult now then we won't know if they have anything elsewhere in Orgrimmar. Nil Sag'ma will hide stuff if we attack. But if I wait too long, then they won't have the time to prepare for the invasion, so the cult will be able to do more damage."
"I think you should at least tell that tauren guard you're neighbors with. You need options!"
I nodded, getting out of my seat to get the still sleep-addled Ialion something to eat. "Yeah. I guess Breorn looks trustworthy enough." Truth be told, part of the reason I hadn't told anyone was because I still didn't fully trust the Horde. "But if I tell him about the cult, then I'll have to tell him about Saltio. How's he going to handle that? I mean, I can come up with something," I said, placing some pork and water out. "But he'll press."
Ialion padded over to the meat and looked up at me. "You gotta try."
I nodded. "Yeah. I have to at least try." I took a deep breath, steeling my nerves. "Wish me luck, Ialion."
"Good luck!" he said, sitting back on his haunches on slowly wagging his tail. I closed the door behind me, and took a deep breath. I walked over to Breorn and Saltio's home, raised my hand, and knocked gently. When there was no response, I did so more forcefully. As I went in for a third knock, the door opened and I conked Breorn on the forehead.
"Ow! Nice to see you too."
I laughed nervously. "Heh, sorry about that. Hey, is Saltio in there?" Please let her not be.
Luckily, he shook his head. "No, she left for work a few minutes ago. Why, are you looking for her?"
I frowned. "No. Listen, I need to talk to you. It's important. May I come in?"
Breorn stepped aside, granting me entry. "Be my guest. Be quick, though. My shift is soon." I stepped inside, and the tauren closed the door behind me. "Would you like anything to eat? Drink?"
"No, thanks for the offer. Listen, um, can you promise me something?"
"Okay. Don't tell Saltio about this, okay? I wouldn't want her to get the wrong ideas about me." Breorn creased his eyes, trying to understand what I meant. I took a deep breath."You know about the Twilight's Hammer? How there's activity in Orgrimmar?"
"Alright. I need you to not jump to conclusions. I'm spying on them."
He frowned, hands drumming by his side as he sat down, as if grasping a weapon that wasn't there. "And I should believe you... why?" he asked with tension in his voice.
"Okay. There's a group of them to the south-east of Orgrimmar. They're planning an elemental invasion on the third day of Noblegarden. I know you probably don't - "
He held up a hand, silencing me, and spoke carefully and deliberately. "I know."
I jerked back. "You know?"
He nodded. "Yes. A few weeks back, we received a tip off. We sent out our scouts, and sure enough, there they were. We're ready to pounce on them any moment, but the captain of our guard, Malg, is telling us to wait. He wants to see if we get any more tip offs about any other plans they've got. On the second day of the Noblegarden celebration, while they are busy getting everything ready, we will pounce on them." He turned his eyes on me. "I believe you when you say you're spying on them. After all, your report matches the one we heard. Anything else we should be worried about?"
Your mate is with them.
I shook my head. I couldn't bring myself to tell him about Saltio. I simply couldn't. I knew I was just making it worse later on, but I couldn't find the strength to do so. And she couldn't be the spy; she just joined recently. Nil Sag'ma hadn't recognized her. Unless she'd changed her appearance, but Breorn would've noticed that. "No, nothing. So, wait, there's another spy in the cult? Any ideas who it might be? I need to team up with them. I can't sabotage them from the inside. Their security is too tight." Nil Sag'ma's security was too tight.
"I don't know. But you say there's nothing else the cult is planning?"
"Not that I know of, no."
"Hmm. I'll tell this to Malg. I personally don't agree with what he's doing. Perhaps I can make him see reason." He stood up from his seat and moved over to me, looking down. "Amanthe, if you learn anything about them, anything at all, tell me right away. I'm trusting you for this."
I am a horrible person.
"Hey," I asked. "Did my wards work? Did you have nightmares?"
A smile split Breorn's face. "No. Thank you, Amanthe. The gesture is truly appreciated. Is there anything else you need?"
I shook my head. "No, I have to get going for Liwatha's soon. I just wanted to let you know about that."
"So, wait, that's where you were running off on the weekends? At noon?" I saw where he was going with this. He was suspicious of Saltio. I had to protect her, even if just for a little while. I had to try and save her.
"No, I occupied my time until it was time to go spy on them. It's in afternoon. I know where you're going with this, and no. Light only knows where Saltio goes. Anyway, I need to get to Seer Liwatha's soon. Thanks for believing me. The second day of Noblegarden is on a Saturday, right?"
"Yes, it is. Like I said, we're going to jump them then."
"Good. I'll be sure not to go on that day, then." I wheeled around and left Breorn's home, heading for my job with Seer Liwatha. That had gone notably better than I had expected it. Another spy in the Twilight's Hammer? This was too good. If I could find out this second person, then I'd be able to do some actual sabotaging. But that left the question of who it was. It likely wasn't anyone in the lower class; Breorn said they had received the tip about the invasion weeks ago. By now they'd have been promoted, no doubt about that. That just left the question of whether or not the person was in the middle or the high class, where I could talk to them more easily. I couldn't decide who it was. I wanted to hope they were in the high class; after all, they'd have an easier time accessing information. But I didn't know how often they 'promoted' somebody.
If I could get into the twilight realm, I'd likely have little trouble spotting the spy; just look for the person without Old God corruption. Which just made it all the more important for me to be able to open a portal to that plane of existence successfully.
I arrived in Liwatha's clinic, entering soundlessly; I knew that she expected me from the previous times I'd been here. This time there was only one patient here, a tauren with black fur that contrasted sharply against his white horns. He didn't appear to have any injuries, but then his fur may have been simply covering them up. I walked into the back of the room where I knew the Seer to be.
"Amanthe, welcome. I assume you've seen who needs treatment, yes?"
I nodded to the Seer as she stood up from behind her desk, robes ruffling as she did so. "Yeah. What's wrong with him? I couldn't make it out."
She frowned. "He has a mild skull fracture. I've already checked him over; he has a concussion, but I've been able to treat that, and there's no brain damage as far as I can tell. It's a mild fracture. I'm out of strength to call upon An'she, and I've given him whatever medicines would help. If you would?"
"Of course, Seer." I turned around and paced towards the tauren, placing a hand over his forehead.
He flinched as I did so. "Yes?"
"I'm healing your skull. Try not to move too much. Head injuries aren't easy to heal with magic." I let the Light flow through my hands, willing it to flow into his head. But drained from my expenditures on opening portals to the twilight realm - and failing to keep them open - I could only keep heal him for a few moments before I had to rest, thirst tugging at my lips and making my tongue feel like leather. I stepped back. "Alright. That should do it. I couldn't heal it all the way, though. Try to avoid any head injuries for the next three weeks while it heals, okay?"
He stood and bowed. "You have my thanks. Pass them on to Seer Liwatha too, please. I've already paid, so you don't need to worry about that."
"Thanks, I will." Once I said that, he passed out of the clinic, pushing the curtain aside.
I walked back to Liwatha. "Alright, I've healed him, but I wasn't able to entirely. I'm drained. He'll heal on his own, though, I can tell that much. He told me to pass on his thanks to you. He did pay, right?"
The priestess looked up from an accounting book on her desk, a petite little thing with chickenscratch handwriting in it that even my Orb of Deception couldn't translate. "Yes he did. Thank you for passing on the information."
"Liwatha, have you been having nightmares here?" I already knew the answer, but I wanted to be sure.
She frowned. "So you have started having them, too?" She sighed. "I am helping others attempt to track down their origin when I am not tending to this clinic. So far, our attempts have hit a dead end. Those of the druidic arts tried to follow the nightmares through the Emerald dream to their source, but were unable to do so, for the nightmares came from within the victims after they were afflicted with an outside source." She leaned back in her chair, letting out a despairing sigh. "We've placed wards against this outside source in several homes, but the nightmares always break through after a few nights." What? Oh, fuck. "It's like a constant aura, hammering against the protective magic until it breaks down. The wards aren't strong integrity wise, so it's a weak aura."
"Wait, they break through the wards? Damn it, I placed wards around my house, too. Just when I thought I'd solved the problem." Of course, I could just re-strengthen them.
Seer Liwatha smiled wisely in my direction. "Yes, it's quite a pickle, isn't it? No doubt these nightmares are a diversion tactic of who or whatever is inducing them." Nil Sag'ma. But if I told her that, she'd ask how I knew. Convincing Breorn that I was spying on the cult was simple; my report matched to the one he was told by 'Spy B'. Liwatha, on the other hand...
Ignorant of my musings, she continued. "However, if we can follow these nightmares to their source, then no doubt we can find out whatever else they are doing. Currently, we are trying to find where the nightmarish aura radiates from, but it's impossible. The source appears to be in three different places at once, and when we went to the midpoint of them all, we found nothing. We've figured out recently that the source is not three places in actuality, but a diffraction spell is making it seem that way. So we've got no lead, and no idea on how to track down the source."
She closed her eyes, waited a moment, and opened them. "Maybe you can help us?"
I shook my head. I already had to search for the other spy in the cult, not to mention continue pretending to be in it, as well as keep Ialion from getting himself in trouble, and entering the twilight realm. "No, I'm not too good with those kind of things. Best of luck, though."
The rest of the day passed with relative slowness. Nobody else came in, so Seer Liwatha and I sat around, waiting for somebody to come in, talking amongst ourselves about all sorts of different things, such as the weather, or strange events that had happened. At one point, she brought up my mom. I grimaced slightly, and told her that she was dead. She is. She died when Arthas rampaged through Lordaeron. I've had time to get over it, though. My dad, I don't know where he is. Supposedly he was still in Dalaran, but I don't remember I'd seen him.
Time passed, and soon enough it was afternoon, time for me to take my leave and make sure Ialion hadn't done anything dumb. He was, after all, only months old.
"See you tomorrow, Liwatha."
She gave me my pay and curtseyed to me as I pushed past the curtain. "Indeed, Amanthe. Take care." She vanished back into the clinic, likely watching over it, and as I turned a corner I thought I saw someone else enter.
The sun tried to beat through the cloud cover, but failed to pierce the afternoon blanket. An unseasonably cold wind swept through the streets, sending me into a fit of shivering as I made my way back to my house. A few of the citizens of Orgrimmar had prepared for this, and sported sweaters to keep them sheltered from the wind. I, of course, had no such shelter. At last, I lightly stepped into my house, closing the door and letting out a hiss as my teeth chattered against one another.
I found Ialion sitting in the center of the table, looking at me with a disappointed face that seemed to convey that I'd done something along the lines of stepping on his tail. He wore a frown, and his eyes narrowed at me accusingly. Despite the fact that I was five times larger than him, I couldn't help but get the image of a tall guard looking down at me.
"Okay, I give up, what did I do?"
He huffed, and maintained his 'you fail' face. He spread his tiny wings out to their full length before letting them fall limply to the tabletop. "Are you forgetting something?"
"Um, no, I don't think so. Why?"
Ialion raised himself onto his hind legs and took off into the air, fluttering in one place as menacingly as he could. A smile tugged at the corner of his mouth, gone the moment he noticed it. "Oh, I don't know, how maybe to you forgot to open your eyes because I'm COMING AT YOU!" Before I could comprehend what he said he charged at me, slamming into my head. The shock at what he just did let him throw me to the ground, the Twilight whelpling smirking mischievously as he 'pinned' me.
I sighed. "Ialion... you really are a kid." He stuck out a forked tongue between his fangs and got off of me. "I need to work on opening a twilight portal. Can you please not distract me?"
He twisted around in mid air to perch on his shelf, pouting. "Sorry, Amanthe. But it's just so boring here when you're out! There's nothing to do at a-a-a-all."
I walked over and patted him behind the horns. "Yeah yeah, I know, Ialion. I know. Hey, when I open the portal, you can come with me, all right?"
He perked up at this. "Then what are we waiting for? Let's open a portal to the twilight realm!" He flew off his shelf and hovered by my side.
"Hold on, Ialion. I need to drink something." I went and filled couple glasses from the cupboard with water. "Hmm, I'm going to have to go to the market soon." I downed the glasses of water, feeling them metabolize into my mana. Once I was done, I let out a little sigh, a bit light headed from drinking so much water so quickly.
"Okay, Ialion. Let's do this. And what did you mean by 'let's' open a portal?"
"Well, I was thinking, maybe if I breathed some fire into the portal, that would help you keep it stable? The twilight energy would help, wouldn't it?"
I shrugged. "Worth a shot. Wait for me to say 'now' and then help out, okay?" He nodded, but said nothing. "Okay. Let's do this." Like before, I began to bring up twilight energy from myself, forming it into a ball between my hands, struggling to keep it together. Several times it started to slip away from me, but I held it in one place. No. I can do this.
I molded the energy into the shape of a bottle inverted on itself, and watched as the starry expanse opened up in my house. "Now." Ialion opened his maw next to the portal, coils of blue flame seeping out of his mouth into the portal. I could feel the psuedo-portal stabilizing as it absorbed the energy, and I stumbled my way through the command lines, opening a portal to the twilight realm. The starry canvas of the portal rippled and faded, turning into a pure black core. I dropped my hands to my knees, panting heavily.
"Come on, Amanthe! It might close any second!"
I fought down nausea and looked at the portal. "All right. Let's go in." I stepped into the portal, Ialion right behind me.
Blackness overcame my vision. I couldn't see my hand if I poked my eye with it. I floated in the void for a few seconds, worrying that maybe I did it wrong. Then the portal vomited me into the twilight realm, Selriona's son beside me.
My room was covered in a violet haze, seeming to seep out of the floorboards and permeate the air. I moved my hand, thick coils of shadows twisting about it, and the air rippled like a pond. Ialion shivered and moaned. "Oooh, that feels sooo good."
I chuckled. "I bet it does." The twilight realm sent shivers down my spine, every noise echoing about me. I heard a crack, and turned around to see that the portal had closed. "Thanks for the help, Ialion. Come on. We've got corruption to find."
Quietly, as if he were sleepy, he nodded his head. "Hey Amanthe, you're glowing."
I looked down at myself. Nothing. I remembered what that was. "Yeah, you can see my life-essence. I can't see it. Ialion, if I stop glowing, let me know, will you? It means I'm dying."
He nodded. "Gotcha. Welp, where to?"
"The cultist camp. We can snoop around there without being caught, now." I opened the front door and stepped out, not caring that to everyone in the physical realm it looked like the door opened by itself. Once Ialion flew out, I closed it. The clouds were tinted purple, and the glow of the sun behind them was also violet. The wind that made me so cold in the physical realm barely registered in the twilight realm. Wisps of shadows curled around buildings and stones, rippling and pulsing about. "Well, let's get going."
We both started to head out of Orgrimmar. I couldn't help but look around at how different Orgrimmar appeared through the twilight realm, like somebody had painted the entire place purple. Beyond the two of us there wasn't a single living thing, but several times a rock suddenly decided that it wanted to fly, no doubt somebody in the physical realm kicking it. A few footsteps appeared in the softer parts of the city, where the ground wasn't solid stone. A few times I saw violet blobs moving about, but they were few and very far between; the cultists.
Outside Orgrimmar, there wasn't much. Ialion kept up with my pace easily, being given energy from the twilight realm. Lucky him; I got nothing from it beyond the ability to see corruption.
He narrowed his eyes. "Is that..."
"Is that the cultist camp?"
I squinted in the direction he looked, but couldn't quite make out what he saw. "Probably. You've got better eyes than I do." A few moments later, the array of tents came into sight for me, too; a violet halo surrounded them, signifying their Old God taint. As we approached, I got a feeling of melancholy, like I was in a ghost town. The violet glow of Old God corruption did nothing to me as I passed through it, hardly even obscuring my eyesight. Tent flaps were left open, but what caught our attention most of all was the enormous tent overlooking them all, as tall and wide as Selriona.
"That's his tent."
Ialion turned to look at me. "Who?"
"Nil Sag'ma, the leader of the cultists. The one who's giving the Valley of Wisdom nightmares. That's his tent." Something scurried by me, and I jumped to see a path being cut through the fine sand of Durotar.
A snake passed through in the physical realm.
"Let's go in!" said Ialion, who began speeding off to it.
"Ialion!" I ran after him, but with him in the twilight realm, I had no chance of catching up to him. Luckily for me, he stopped outside the tent. "Ialion! What were you thinking?"
"What?" he asked with big eyes. "What's going to hurt me here?" I didn't answer. He had a point. He threw his head in the air with a smug air about him. "Thought so. Come on, let's peek inside!"
"Hold up. What if he's inside? To him, it'll look like the flap suddenly opens by itself! I think he's already suspicious of me enough, with me being able to use twilight flame. He'll put two and two together. Not to mention my footsteps..."
"Then use that mind-vision thingy you priests have on me. I'll fly in, and I won't leave any footprints. If he's that smart, he'll know it can't be you, since you would leave footprints."
Hesitantly, I nodded. "Okay. Go in, I'll look through your eyes. This spell is easy enough, anyway." He nodded, and began to scoot under the tent. I cast the spell, and began to see what he saw.
Looking through the eyes of another is always unsettling at first. They have different eyesight than you no matter what, so you see things either a little worse or better than you are used to, not to mention that whatever they're focused on, so are you. With Ialion, his eyesight was leaps and bounds better than mine. The edges of his vision seemed to compress slightly, letting him see a little ways behind him. Everything was so much sharper through his eyes, every speck of dust and its shadow in clear focus. He came up under the tent, and the world went red.
The inside of the tent, instead of being covered in the violet taint of the Old Gods, was covered with a faint red mist. What that meant, I didn't know, but I remembered learning. It was right on the tip of my tongue, but I couldn't try to remember now; I had to keep my attention on maintaining the spell.
The inside of Nil Sag'ma's tent was surprisingly barren. I'd expected him better prepared. There were a few boxes around, which I knew to contain elementals for the invasion he planned. Several machines of a foreign nature - spiky, angular, sinister looking, and patterned black and green - stood at several places around the tent. One slightly denser but still sparse blob of red mist moved around between the machines. I had no doubt; this was Nil Sag'ma. He stopped once Ialion entered, and I could imagine him staring at the tent flap. The red mist approached Ialion, and he flew away. The red blob seemed to crouch down at the flap, making me hold my breath, but after a few moments of him no doubt looking for a footprint, he turned back to his machines. I was suddenly happy Ialion had chosen to have me use mind vision on him.
Ialion fluttered around the perimeter of the tent several more times, revealing nothing else, then scurried out of the tent. I broke the spell, blinking several times as my eyesight suddenly worsened. "Well, Ialion? What do you make of that?"
He shook his head. "I have no idea. There's no Old God corruption in there at all! What's the red mist supposed to be? What kind of corruption is that?"
"I know it, it's right on the tip of my tongue, but I can't quite get it. Let me see..." I delved into my memories, to the ones where I had a discussion with Selriona about the different types of corruption she could see in the twilight realm, going in order through the memory so I didn't skip anything.
"Well, there's several different types I've seen. Of course, there's Old God corruption, which is a violet color. Go figure." Yes, I know it's Old God corruption, what did she say next?
"I've actually seen black mist once, when I had a run-in with a darkened Naaru. I'm not one-hundred percent certain, but that seems to be how void energy manifests in there."
"I've never seen arcane corruption myself, but Murdonia and Pallasion have. They say it looks teal." Oh no. It couldn't be. Old God, void, and arcane. That left only one thing. By the Light, it couldn't be...
"And lastly, demonic corruption leaves a red mist."
I tore myself out of my memories. My heart seemed to slow down. "Oh no."
Ialion looked at me, worried. "Amanthe? What's going on?" My heart began to speed back up, thundering in my ears.
"Oh no. Oh no, this is not good." I wheeled back to look at the tent, suddenly picturing it in a completely different manner, backing up from it. Who knew what it was about to do? "Oh nonononono, Ialion, we need to go. Right now!" I began to run back for the gates of Orgrimmar, my footprints being blown away by the wind in the physical realm. Ialion flew beside me full sprint. I didn't dare stop despite how much my lungs burned and pleaded for air, instead shifting into the shadows so I wouldn't need as much air.
"Amanthe!" Ialion called once I reached the gates of Orgrimmar. "What's wrong?"
I forced myself to stop, my body leaving shadowform. I fell to my knees, coughing and taking gasping breaths. Ialion landed beside me and patted my back with a wing.
"Hey, take it easy. What's wrong?"
"Red mist," I managed to wheeze out.
"Yeah, it's red. What about... Amanthe. What corruption is red?"
"Demonic corruption. Demonic corruption shows up as red mist. Nil Sag'ma's is corrupted by the Legion. Damn it!"
"The Legion? As in, the Burning Legion? That big army of demons led by a crazy titan?"
"Yeah, that one. They got to Nil Sag'ma, corrupted him, and now... by the Light, what would the Legion want with a group of the Twilight's Hammer?"
The whelpling shook his head. "I don't know. Why wouldn't the Old Gods just tell the cultists that they're being used?"
"Maybe he's blocking them, somehow? Or he hasn't cast the Old God communication spell on them. That's probably it. But I think I know why they'd want the cult. Think about it; lots of mortals willing to die for a cause? They could manipulate them, but for what? Why go to all the trouble to manipulate the Twilight's Hammer when you can just invade yourselves? There's gotta be something else."
Ialion shook his head. "I don't know. But I do know this. You have to tell Broodmother."
I stood up, catching my breath. "Yeah. Yeah, she needs to be kept updated on this. Things are starting to escalate." 'Hey, you awake?'
A pause. 'Yeah, what's going on?'
'Well, Ialion and I are in the twilight realm.'
'Well, define great. Things aren't as simple as we thought. You know Nil Sag'ma? Big, scary orc that could kill me with a flick of his wrist? He's not corrupted by the Old Gods.'
'What? But, he's leading the cultists there. How can he not be corrupted by them?'
'Because the Burning Legion got to him first. He's - they're - using the Twilight's Hammer for something. A distraction, maybe? But for what?' Ialion and I began to walk back to our house.
'The Legion? Oh, well that's... interesting. Does anyone else know about this yet?'
'Just Ialion and I. We found out not too long ago. Damn it, damn it! If the Legion's doing something... damn it, they're worse than the Old Gods. Maybe not more evil, but certainly a lot more powerful military wise.'
'Oh crap, this is not good. Keep an eye on Nil Sag'ma. If the demons are trying something again, well... all the times they've invaded, it's always been a close call. Hey, does the guard know about the cult?'
'Yeah, apparently there's a second spy there. Don't know who it is, but I'm determined to find out. And I'm going to go tell Breorn about Nil Sag'ma.'
'Good, good. Titans help us all.'
'It's only one hundred cultists, though! They're not exactly a force to be reckoned with. Why even bother?'
'I don't know, I don't know...' she mused, her presence in my mind fading to nothing.
Eventually, we got to the house. I opened the door, and Ialion flew in. "Aren't you coming in?"
I shook my head. "No, there's just one thing I need to check on first. I'll be quick, I promise." He frowned, but nodded. I closed the door and walked towards Saltio's home. I knocked on the door, waiting for it to open 'by itself'. It did, and I crept in before it closed on me. I stopped once inside the two tauren's home, and began to look around. I found a two-person bed, with one indent on one side, and a second one appeared as someone no doubt went back to it. But it was the first indent that made my breath catch in my throat. It was tiny, barely noticeable, but there it was.
A tiny violet glow in the sleeping groove.
"No, Saltio, no..." I groaned.
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