Thanks goes to Umodin for lore advisory and Joe Lawyer for beta reading.
Also, a shout out to Joe Lawyer's Star Trek SI fanfiction, which he was previously co-authoring. If Star Trek is a fandom you enjoy, then it's worth checking out.
First, I must apologize for writing this letter in Common instead of Orcish. I do not yet have a good enough grasp of your written language to try my hand at it.
Next. allow me to summarize the events that led to the writing of this letter.
My wife and I built a dwelling in the hills between where Splintertree Post and the Warsong Lumber Camp used to stand.
I say 'used to stand' because Mastok Wrilehiss, the leader of Splintertree Post, sent a squad of orcs led by Krak Steeltooth to kill me without provocation as soon as his scouts reported our presence. I responded in kind by razing Splintertree Post to the ground and killing everyone in it.
That would have normally been the end of it, but Krak was most convincing in his assertions that the Warsong Clan would continue trying to kill me. I am a busy man and have no time to play games with unruly children, so I decided to obliterate all traces of the Warsong Clan east of the Falfaren river. I left the Zoram'gar Outpost on the western shore alone, but I suspect the night elves will not.
As proof of my deeds, Krak should have also brought you a bag of orc tusks along with this letter.
I have no quarrel with the Horde – the true enemies are, after all, the Burning Legion and the Undead Scourge – but in light of this incident I can no longer trust its members to conduct themselves with civility.
From here on out, I will consider any unauthorized groups of Horde larger than five people entering Ashenvale to be invaders and treat them as such.
Should you wish to discuss anything or use my tower as a neutral meeting ground with the night elves or other members of the Alliance, you may send an emissary or come in person.
- Unaffiliated Archmage
- Master Alchemist
- Master Enchanter
- Master Blacksmith
- Master Jewelcrafter.
- Master Stonemason.
- Master Carpenter.
P.S. You should keep a closer watch on the Warsong Clan. Their warmongering will make it difficult for you to talk to the Alliance.
Thrall lowered the letter, bewildered.
He looked at Krak Steeltooth, looked at his brutalized face where his tusks had been carved out and looked at the bag of tusks with its contents spilled across the floor. There was also one tauren horn and a couple of troll tusks in there.
While orcs placed no great cultural importance on their tusks, the act of cutting them out reminded Thrall far too much of the internment camps where some of their crueler human jailers had done such things.
The polite and respectful tone of the letter in his hands clashed starkly with this sorcerer's actions and he wasn't sure what to make of it.
"What do you think?" He asked his friend and advisor, Vol'jin of the Darkspear troll tribe, a few minutes later when it was just the two of them.
"I be thinkin' that this human gonna be trouble, mon." Vol'jin said in his characteristic troll accent after reading the letter. "He say he be unaffiliated, but to me it be lookin' like he lean towards the Alliance."
"Or at least the night elves." Thrall grunted in agreement.
"The Warsong is gonna be wantin' blood for this." Vol'jin warned.
"I know, and without the lumber they've been bringing in from Ashenvale, we are going to start running out of wood soon." The Warchief grunted again, not terribly pleased by what had been done to his old friend's clan either. "But going up against an archmage isn't something to be done carelessly."
He did still vividly remember Jaina Proudmoore and the kind of power she could bring to bear. A powerful archmage could devastate whole armies if given a chance. They had to be killed by stealth, overwhelmed before they could focus or countered by someone capable of matching them.
Wait, Jaina! His old ally and friend might know something about this mysterious archmage. Was he Kirin Tor or something else? There couldn't be that many archmages in the world. It was worth asking her at least.
"He be makin' a claim to an awful lot of skills." Vol'jin commented after going over the letter again. "I ain't never heard of a mage blacksmith or stonemason."
That was true. Warriors, mages, druids, shamans and so on…they usually weren't craftsmen. Conversely, craftsmen usually didn't know how to fight. Thrall had never heard of anyone with such a diverse skillset, especially not an archmage, which was generally considered to be something that needed complete commitment to achieve. Why would a mage even care to learn most of those skills?
"He said he would treat any groups of Horde larger than five people as invaders." Thrall said thoughtfully. "That implies that smaller groups will be left alone. If he is being honest about that, then it would make for an easy way to spy on him."
"You thinkin' of sendin' an assassin?" Vol'jin guessed.
The Warchief shook his head. "I doubt he would be careless enough to leave his back exposed, even if the assassin claimed to be a diplomat. And that isn't the kind of reputation I want the Horde having anyway."
"Just keepin' an eye on him, then?" The troll leader asked, rubbing his chin thoughtfully.
"For now." Thrall confirmed.
The tower was mostly done, the parts that needed to be done for it to be considered livable at any rate. Bedrooms, bathrooms, kitchens, library, relaxation spaces, sex dungeon, actual dungeon, workshop, larder, fridge, storage…
Furniture had been brought out of hammerspace and set up and the relatively small amount of books Harry had cared to bring along with him – most of them being left behind for the benefit of his descendants and disciples – still needed sorting, but it was pretty much done for now.
And it had been done fast. Not only was it much less of a strain to use magic here than he was used to, but once Luna got back from her escort mission and created a large moonwell in what could be considered the backyard, Harry was actually able to feel his strength being rejuvenated by Elune's blessing. Luna explained that it was the Moon Goddess' gift to Azeroth's defenders.
A goddess whose shrines gave tangible benefits and was practical enough to extend those benefits to all her allies even if they didn't worship her? If she wasn't careful, Harry was actually going to start liking her.
In any case, he was ready to start really sinking his teeth into this world…now if only he could decide where to begin. That flask of fel magic from Felwood interested him, the elementium ore Luna brought back from Stormwind interested him, the satyrs and other demons interested him, and the realization that since he had already found a few there was bound to be more Forsaken that nobody really cared about somewhere on Kalimdor, ripe for abduction and experimentation (for their own good of course), all had him standing still with indecision. And that wasn't even the end of it, there were sentient elementals roaming around certain lakes to the south and that portal to the Emerald Dream to the northeast and probably loads more shit that he hadn't even discovered yet and it was just one small part of this world.
He hadn't been so spoiled for choice on what to research since he was a teenager.
"I'm definitely going to need more time." Harry said to himself, deciding on his next focus. Bronze Dragonflight and their self-proclaimed monopoly on temporal magic be damned, he was remaking his Hyperbolic Time Chamber, this time with even more time dilation!
"Hey!" A high-pitched voice called out, practically the very moment that he felt someone show up behind him.
Harry spun around in surprise, staring at the little blonde gnome in front of him. She was wearing a white robe with bronze accents, along with a gleaming bronze breastplate and shoulder pads that looked decorative more than functional. Her four-fingered hands were settled on her hips and she was giving him a stern stare, which was in turn giving him a very confusing reaction.
On the one hand, it was a gnome trying to be intimidating, which came off as downright adorable. Sure, he was reasonably sure that gnomes had a significantly higher average intelligence than humans, which would make them formidable mages, but there was no getting around their looks.
On the other hand, his less mundane senses were telling him that this was definitely not a gnome. Given the vast raw power emanating from her, the color scheme, what he had just decided to do and the way she didn't quite feel as if she really belonged in the here and now, he could only assume that she was a bronze dragon in disguise.
"You know that the anti-teleportation wards are there for a reason, right?" He said calmly. "It's rude to ignore them."
"You forgot to block temporal translocation." She advised cheekily.
"How silly of me, I'll be sure to fix that later." He continued to remain calm. "So, what can I do for you, Ms. Bronze Dragon?"
"Chronormu, but you can call me Chromie while I look like this." She introduced herself.
"And you can call me Harry when I look like this, but I suspect you already knew that."
"Darn right I did!" Chromie nodded, crossing her arms across her tiny chest. It was still cute. "What I don't know is what you're doing here, you and your wife and that evil woman you brought along."
"At the moment I appear to be talking to a rather sassy dragon that enjoys shapeshifting into a gnome of all things for some reason."
"I'll have you know that gnomes are adorable!" She shook her fist at him in offense. "Everyone always picks elves or humans, but gnomes don't get nearly enough appreciation."
"I'm sure that's true." Harry raised his hands in surrender, beginning to grin at the ridiculous situation. "But wouldn't the length of your stride get a bit annoying?"
"Not if I teleport everywhere." She retorted smugly.
"Fair enough." He conceded. "So, what brings you over? And would you like something to drink?"
"Thank you, but no, I'm good." Chromie declined politely and then straightened up to her full height of three feet and some change. "As for why I'm here, that would be your time dilation room."
"My Hyperbolic Time Chamber," Harry nodded, having already figured that was the case. "which I haven't built yet."
"But you were going to." She accused.
"Well, nothing really. I was just sent here to warn you that the Bronze Dragonflight will be keeping an eye on you." Chromie shrugged. "Don't take it personally, we do it to everyone that has ever or will ever meddle with the timestream, intentionally or not. You're one of the more reasonable deliberate meddlers, so we're just giving you a warning that only the Bronze Dragonflight is authorized to make changes to the timestream."
"I always thought that was more trouble than it was worth, so all I can say is 'better you than me'." Harry snorted.
"It is when amateurs do it!" She huffed. "You would not believe some of the messes we've had to fix. Honestly, if this was the prime timeline, we might have had to get rid of you pre-emptively since you're not supposed to be in any of the timelines."
"Well nobody posted a 'keep out' sign, so it's too late to complain."
That was actually a thing, sort of. Certain sections of the multiverse were governed by entities that didn't allow trespassers and Harry wasn't going to argue with them on their immigration policy. He didn't like uninvited immigrants either.
"It's fine, you playing around in this one won't destabilize the entire timestream, so have at it." She waved off, but then quickly amended. "As long as you don't do any time travel!"
"I already said I wouldn't." Harry replied mildly. "Would you like to stay for dinner? My wife would love to meet you and I would enjoy the opportunity to discuss Azeroth's history with you."
"We'll do that on another occasion." Chromie said, not as a promise but as a statement, as if she already knew it would happen, or had already happened. "Right now I gotta get back, back to the past…"
She looked at him expectantly and Harry offered the first thing that drifted to mind at those words "…Samurai Jack?"
Chromie grinned and winked out of existence.
Harry assumed a thinking pose, arms crossed and chin in hand, and considered that encounter. "Either she already met us and was faking not knowing me, or…something. I didn't even remember Samurai Jack until just then. Now the questions is, am I going to make that reference because of this incident or in spite of it?"
Chromie popped back in with a slightly harried expression, startling him. "I forgot to mention! No matter how gross it is, you should check the body for loot!"
And she was gone again before he could respond.
"It must be something really gross if I, of all people, would be tempted to skip out on the looting." Harry contemplated, shaking his head. "I wonder if Luna's day turned out as interesting as mine?"
It probably had. She should have been back by now, which would be worrisome if the life-bound bracelet around his forearm was registering any danger, but it wasn't so he figured that she was just enjoying herself.
Earlier that same day…
Luna had the uncanny feeling of being watched as she walked up the barely visible path to the Raynewood retreat.
"Hello?" She called out. "Keeper Ordanus? Anyone?"
There was no reply, but she got the uncanny feeling of being watched. Quickly turning around to see if there was anyone peeking from behind the trees, all she saw was a flash of green and a giggle.
"Who's there?" Luna asked with a smile, hoping it was dryads. She knew that they wouldn't be the same as the ones she and Harry made together, but that just made her more curious. "Don't be shy."
She went to the tree, but found nothing. Another giggle sounded from a few trees away and Luna quickly ran over to it, hoping to catch whoever was playing games with her.
Alas, she was too late again. Yet another giggle goaded her to keep searching.
This went on for a few minutes and she started seeing glimpses of her playmate; a flash of green hair or the spotted brown hindquarters of a fawn.
The game of hide and seek somewhat distracted Luna from her original purpose and she hardly noticed herself being led towards Raynewood, the Great Tree from which the Raynewood Retreat got its name.
She did notice that her original playmate had brought along several friends and that they effectively had her surrounded, but paid it little mind as she felt no threat.
The forest thinned somewhat around the Raynewood and offered less cover, so she was able to see what looked to be a night elf woman with the lower body of a woodland fawn bounding away.
"I've got you now!" Luna declared and ran after her quarry. Unfortunately, she had to abandon the chase when she nearly ran into what she assumed was the person she'd come searching for in the first place.
He was easily eight feet tall, over nine if you counted the impressive rack of antlers growing from his head, with the upper body of a night elf and the lower one of a stag. His left arm was gnarled and wooden from the elbow down, the hand shaped into an intimidating set of claws.
Luna skidded to a stop and looked at him with shining eyes full of excitement. "Are you Keeper Ordanus?"
"I am." He nodded, looking down at her curiously. "Who are you, human? I sense my grandmother's touch upon you."
Luna blinked as she processed that. "Big Sis Elune? Yeah, she asked if I wanted to be her priestess and I agreed. She's your grandma?"
Ordanus lifted a curious eyebrow as he replied. "Indeed. My father, Cenarius, was born of the union of Elune and Malorne, the Great Stag. How is it that you claim kinship to the Moon Goddess?"
Luna smiled, thinking that Elune was more adventurous than she'd thought if she boinked a stag. "I was a moon goddess on a different world, but Elune is older so she gets to be the big sister."
"Interesting." Was Ordanus' only comment. "Why did you seek me out?"
"My husband figured that you would want to know that the orcs in eastern Ashenvale are gone. He's also planning to start wiping out the demons in the area soon." She explained. "And he was hoping you would come by and help heal the damage they caused."
"The orcs are gone?" A perky female voice asked hopefully from behind her, causing Luna to spin around.
The dryad was similar to Ordanus, except lacking in antlers, the gnarled wooden arm and having the lower body of a fawn instead of a stag, as well as being a good bit shorter.
"Yep!" Luna answered, taking in the magnificent creature in front of her. "I was escorting a friend of mine and Harry's to Stormwind while he started building our home here in Ashenvale, then the orcs attacked him. He decided that he didn't want them as neighbors after that."
The dryad cheered, echoed by several others that came bounding out of the trees.
"Were they bad neighbors to you, too?" Luna asked, a bit puzzled by the happiness on display. People weren't usually so pleased when Harry got into one of his moods.
"They were harming the forest!"
"Yeah! And they would kill us whenever we tried to stop them! Ordanus had to keep resurrecting us."
"That wasn't fun at all!"
Luna gasped, appalled at the notion. "How could they do that? You're so beautiful." She said and lunged forward to hug the dryad around the waist.
"Thanks, so are you." The magical being beamed at the compliment, returning the hug as if it was normal to be so affectionate with virtual strangers.
Luna's expression suddenly turned conniving and she dug her fingers into the dryad's sides. "tickle tickle tickle tickle!"
The dryad squealed with surprised laughter and jumped away, staring at Luna with wide-eyed shock.
"Haha, I got you." The witch/priestess gloated, dashing off into the woods. "Now you have to catch me!"
All the dryads suddenly sported huge smiles as they realized that the human still wanted to play.
"That was sneaky!" The one that got tickled protested, already giving chase. "I'll teach you to fear the fearsome fury of the forest fawn!"
In seconds, Keeper Ordanus was left alone and sighed in fond exasperation. They hadn't even waited for his response to the invitation and now he had no choice but to follow along and make sure his sisters didn't get into any trouble. Not that he would have refused, but it was the principle of the thing.
As he watched Keeper Ordanus regrow a portion of the trees that the orcs had cut down, Harry began to realize why the night elves didn't consider druidism to be magic. He wasn't manipulating arcane forces, but raw life energy.
It would be impossible to do without magic of course – the connections required wouldn't be there – but it wasn't magic in the traditional sense. It also explained why especially powerful druids often sported animal or plant parts. Connecting your own life too deeply to other life tended to have that effect.
There was no denying the results, though. Harry and Luna could encourage trees to grow faster and stronger, but only with significant preparation and with nowhere near the control. Compared to what Ordanus was doing right now, that was the mage's equivalent of a cantrip. To say nothing of archdruids that could do ridiculous things like grow mountain-sized trees in a handful of years or create foliage so dense and massive it might as well be a mountain range.
He couldn't help but smile. Even if he had no intention of delving too deeply into druidism, this was still absolutely fascinating to him.
But there was one thing he didn't get, though.
"How are you growing all these trees without any seeds?" Harry asked, puzzled.
"It is done by reaching into the Emerald Dream." Ordanus explained.
"Hmm." Harry hummed in thought. "If I understand correctly, the Emerald Dream is a spiritual reflection of Azeroth as it would have been had intelligent beings never walked its surface, yes? A pure wilderness?"
"That is correct." The keeper of the grove nodded.
"Ah, so you're materializing an echo of the life there and then using yourself as a catalyst to root it in reality, giving the appearance of creating life out of nothing. I'm guessing that it's also easier to do in places with abundant life energy, like Ashenvale."
Ordanus was visibly surprised by his analysis and commented. "You are quick to understand. Perhaps you would like to leave behind your sorcerous ways and walk the path of a druid yourself?"
Harry chuckled and shook his head. "Thank you, but no. A mage I am and a mage I will remain. But, if you are willing, I will be glad to learn anything you have to teach."
"You cannot walk the path without devoting yourself to it fully." Ordanus replied.
We'll see about that.
"Are we done here?" He asked instead of voicing that thought.
"Yes, this is all I can do for now. Nature herself will take care of the rest." Ordanus declared, looking around with some satisfaction.
He made it sound like his powers were weak, but he had effectively regrown most of the forest around Splintertree Post. Years worth of logging undone in hours.
"Do you want to move towards the remains of the Warsong Lumber Camp across Felfire Hill and clear it of demons as we go, or would you prefer we take the north road past Satyrnaar?" Harry asked.
"If you believe you have the power we should attempt to destroy the demons, but we will be unable to regrow the forest there until the fel corruption is purged, and that will not be done quickly." Ordanus admitted.
"How do you go about purifying it anyway?" Harry asked, curious about the druidic method.
"The dryads have a natural ability to destroy magic, be it arcane or fel. With their help, and with the purifying power of Elune to bless new saplings, we can slowly push the fel corruption out of the forests." The keeper of the grove explained.
"Hmm." The wizard hummed. That sounded...inefficient. "Would you be able to work faster if the fel corruption was concentrated in a single place instead of spread out?"
"Indeed." Ordanus nodded, looking at him curiously. "Are you capable of doing such a thing?"
"I don't know enough about fel at the moment to say for certain, but I could probably figure something out with a little research and experimentation."
"No good comes of dabbling with fel magic." The keeper warned.
"Don't worry, I'm not planning to summon demons or make idiotic bargains with the Burning Legion, I just need to know how fel behaves." Harry reassured. "With that in mind, would you and the dryads be interested in joining me for a raid on Satyrnaar on the way back? I'm going to need some test subjects and I don't imagine either you or the night elves enjoy having hundreds of satyrs congregating around these parts."
"I still do not believe it is wise for you to treat demons and their corruption so casually, but it is past time the satyrs were purged from these lands." Ordanus said. "You will have our aid in this, sorcerer."
The Warsong Clan had been fairly easy meat because they had almost nothing in the way of magic users and he could fly, but the satyrs had warlocks and other casters among them. Harry wasn't going to be that chump that got himself killed right at the starting line because he was too certain of his own power.
Now they just had to find Luna and the frolicking dryads, get some rest and then they could get moving.
Felfire Hill was home to a disorganized mob of mostly felguards and some succubi that the Warsong orcs had trapped there by barricading both bridges leading to the area. The Infernals that had been summoned there and gave the hill its name had long since dissipated, their limited lifespans expended.
The felguards were vicious brutes, just like the ones in the Shadow Hold had been, but they relied more on rage than tactics. Harry was easily able to slay them at range, especially with Keeper Ordanus summoning up thick masses of roots to grasp at their legs.
The succubi tried to support their demon brethren, but their powers were not well suited for direct combat. Plus, of all those present, Ordanus was perhaps the only one that would have been vulnerable to their mental prowess, lacking a mastery of the Mind Arts or the natural resistance of his sisters.
That was how Harry learned a very interesting fact about Azeroth's dryads. Against steel, they weren't anything to worry about, but against casters they were pure death.
Boasting absolute magical immunity and the natural ability to simply cancel out any magic they came across made them a nightmare for casters to fight. A clever enough mage would still be able to fight them by using spells that affected the environment or created kinetic force, but anything else was just wasted effort. The succubi were effectively powerless against them.
If Harry thought he could find some evil dryads somewhere, he would skin them alive and make armor from their hides. Alas, with the kind of existence they were, the odds of that happening was basically non-existent. Even if he somehow found some corrupted dryads or something, Luna would never forgive him for hurting them instead of trying to purify them.
So he put that idea out of his mind and hogtied a few succubi before forcibly teleporting them directly to his dungeons over the concerned protests of Keeper Ordanus. Harry didn't blame the druid for his worries, as he was sure that more than one wizard had a bad end doing exactly that, but he needed more information.
"What's over there?" Harry asked after in an effort to change the subject, pointing southwards towards an ominous-looking canyon in the distance.
"Demon Fall Canyon." Ordanus said grimly. "The Pit Lord Mannoroth was slain there by the Horde Warchief Thrall and Grom Hellscream, my father's murderer. The demon's corrupted blood has drawn many lesser demons there."
"Ah." Harry knew about that. "You want to go kill them all?"
"I would like nothing better, but their numbers will be much greater there than what we faced here, and gorging on Mannoroth's blood will have made them stronger. My powers will also be significantly weakened in that defiled place." The keeper of the grove replied, obviously disgruntled. "It would be reckless to attack when there are so few of us."
"Fair enough." It was, after all, just him, Luna, Ordanus and less than two dozen dryads. Hundreds of bloodthirsty demons that won't break in the face of massive casualties could very well overwhelm them even if they faced nothing of noteworthy individual power. He and Luna would probably be able to escape if things went sour, but they'd have to abandon their allies. Luna would be very depressed about that. "I'll do some research on fel first, then we can talk to the night elves about putting together a cleaning crew for that place."
He would also need to make some better gear first, because this dragonscale armor was starting to make him feel vulnerable.
"I still do not think it wise for you to dabble with demonic corruption."
"We'll just have to agree to disagree on that."
"Don't worry, Harry is really careful about these things!" Luna piped up from nearby.
The reassurance from a favored priestess of Elune had the keeper of the grove going quiet, but he still didn't look happy about it.
Their circuit continued eastwards from there to the remains of the Warsong Lumber Camp and after that back west across the northern road. Before splitting back up, their group launched an attack on Satyrnaar.
Their strategy was much the same as it had been on Felfire Hill.
Ordanus played crowd control, Luna spread around blessings and protective enchantments, the dryads went after the casters and Harry targeted the more physical types with overwhelmingly powerful spells.
It was a slaughter. The satyrs had the numbers and home field advantage, but with their melee specialists getting either rooted or obliterated before they could reach the dryads, the casters were getting their shit kicked in by the anti-magic deer girl squad. With the powerful blessings Luna bestowed on the whole group, they were able to curbstomp the disorganized satyrs without much problem.
The only danger would have been if they got surrounded by the superior numbers of the enemy, but Harry had them advancing slowly and carefully to prevent exactly that from happening.
Their attack went so well that they continued it into nearby Xavian and purged the satyrs there as well.
Keeper Ordanus and his dryad sisters were very pleased with their achievement, although slightly less pleased by Harry occasionally taking a satyr captive and teleporting them back to his tower. They split up after that with the understanding that they would finish the miniature crusade against demons in the near future, once the cooperation of the night elves was secured.
Luna invaded the Temple of the Moon in Darnassus like a stealth aircraft of happiness and friendship, floating up the High Priestess' balcony without invitation.
Invitations weren't necessary between friends.
"Hey, Tyrande!" She called out, startling the night elf, who was once again doing paperwork.
Luna didn't like that. It was one o' clock in the afternoon, which was way past a healthy night elven bedtime. She had suspected that it would be the case and wasn't happy to be proven correct in her assumptions. This would not stand.
"Luna?" Tyrande asked with a frown. "Why are you here? Did something go wrong in Ashenvale?"
"Eh? No, why would you think that?" Luna was perplexed. "Harry already has the tower mostly set up, the orcs have been kicked out and we just came back from a joint mission of demon butt-kicking and forest fixing with Ordanus and his sisters."
"But…you only left here a month ago…" Tyrande said numbly. "I did receive a report from Astranaar about the destruction of Splintertree Post, but you say that all the orcs in Ashenvale are gone?"
"Well, most of them." Luna admitted. "Harry didn't do anything west of the Falfaren river, but he was pretty thorough east of it. By the way, you might be getting a letter of protest from that Thrall fellow. Harry apparently thought it was a good idea to cut out the tusks of every orc he killed and send them to him in a bag. Or not, I don't know how orcs do things."
"Thrall once told me that orcs make no apologies for past actions, nor demand them, so the most I expect to get from him is a request for information." Tyrande explained.
"Oh, they'll get along great with Harry, then." Luna enthused, then paused to think of that in more depth. "Err, maybe? Harry doesn't much care for apologies either, so they should understand each other, right?"
Tyrande sighed. "Where is your husband anyway? Did he come with you?"
"Oh no, Harry went into research and development mode after we got back to the tower. With all the stuff he has to play with, I figure that I have a day or two to spend with you. Oh! By the way, do you know a bronze dragon named Chromie? Harry said she visited him while I was off talking to Ordanus."
"Chronormu came to speak to him, at his tower?" Tyrande blinked in surprise. "But she would only do that he were meddling with time."
"He was." Luna confirmed. "Sort of, anyway. He likes to stretch time out when he wants to do his research without feeling rushed. You do know Chromie, then?"
"Yes, Chronormu is the ambassador and emissary of the Bronze Dragonflight to the mortal races, as well as one of their most powerful members." The High Priestess explained. "So, Harry disregarded Jessir and Arko's warnings about time magic, and he remains alive? That speaks rather well of him, as Nozdormu is not known for his tolerance of such things."
"Speaking of time, shouldn't you be in bed in bed by now?" Luna's tone suddenly became stern and disapproving.
"I will, as soon as I finish this correspondence." Tyrande replied, not quite defensively, but definitely a bit terse. Over ten thousand years of experience and authority gave her quite the imposing presence.
Which Luna completely ignored.
"Nope!" She said, hopping off the balcony railing she had been perching on up to and walking around the table.
"What?" The senior priestess could only blink at being so casually disregarded.
"I said 'Nope!' Your paperwork won't go anywhere and you need to get some rest." Luna declared, putting her hands on the night elf's shoulders. "Jeez, you're tense. How can you expect to get anything done when you're this wound up? Come on, I'll give you a massage and then you're going to bed."
Luna began tugging the ancient woman up, but she was uncooperative. "Luna! Let go of me, I do not need a massage and I can get to bed on my own."
"Nope, I have spoken. You're getting a massage. Don't worry, I'm really good at them."
Tyrande found that her strength was strangely not up to par with the human woman and tried to draw upon Elune to bolster herself, but for once, the Moon Goddess refused to provide.
"See? Even Big Sis Elune agrees with me, now stop being stubborn and let me take care of you." Luna said, sensing both Tyrande's attempt and the equivalent of a giggle from Elune bubbling up in her soul.
The High Priestess was so stunned at this 'betrayal' by her patron deity that she put up practically no resistance as Luna led her into her quarters and undressed her.
Luna also took a moment to appreciate Tyrande's beauty. Her body was all graceful lines and muscle hidden beneath a layer of flawless light purple skin. She had more curves than the word 'elf' usually evoked, with fantastic breasts and an inhumanly narrow waist making her hips looks even wider.
She could see why Harry found her so attractive, if not for the fact that Tyrande already had a man of her own – absent though he currently was – Luna would have tried to bring her into their relationship. It had been a long time since Harry had found a woman he could respect as an equal and it would be nice to have a proper sister wife again.
"Alright, now just lie down and prepare to be loosened up." Luna said, removing the night elf's hair clasp and letting her teal hair flow freely down her back.
That snapped the High Priestess out of her shock. "This is ridiculous." She said and resisted being manhandled over to the bed.
"Nope!" The vastly younger woman refused and pushed her senior down on the bed. "You're overdue for a pampering and as your friend I can't let that stand."
"Ugh. Has anyone ever told you that you are incredibly frustrating?" The defeated High Priestess huffed.
"Adrastia says it a lot, but I can never figure out what she means by it." Luna shrugged, positioning her fingers at the base of Tyrande's spine and beginning to manipulate muscle and bone.
Tyrande swallowed a groan as a series of incredibly satisfying pops went off in her spine, only just now realizing how much tension she had accumulated. Maybe, just maybe, her impertinent junior had been on to something.
Luna smiled as her friend relaxed, redoubling her efforts to attack every one of the numerous knots of tightly wound muscle in the night elf's back. She began to humm a relaxing tune she'd heard somewhere, happy that she was able to help.
Meanwhile, back at the tower...
The fel sat in its crystal container innocently, as if it wasn't basically chaos made manifest.
"Now, let's see what you're made of." Harry murmured to himself, pouring half of the stuff into the alchemical apparatus.
One very important thing that Azerothian alchemy had apparently never figured out was dissolution; the act of separating something into its components. Basically reverse transmutation, very useful when you were trying to reverse engineer an end product.
The apparatus vibrated, trembled and wheezed a little. There was a bubbling sound and then two streams of liquid poured into two separate flasks, one a bright glowing golden and the other blacker than tar.
"Light and Void?" Harry's eyebrows shot up in surprise. "Well, well, well, isn't that interesting?"
He had never successfully manifested either of these in 'physical' form before, the magical density back on Earth being too low. It would explain the chaotic effects his early magical blundering had had on his soul, though. Had he done such a thing on Azeroth, he would have apparently turned into a demon. Or died, that was always a possibility.
"Alright, so fel and the Twisting Nether are presumably a consequence of the conflict between Light and Void at the beginning of the universe, because…what? Was there not enough room for both or is it a matter-antimatter kind of thing?"
"Now, I am going to ask you some questions. If you answer them honestly I will reward you. If you lie or refuse to answer, I will find other uses for you. Do you understand?" Harry asked.
"Is this some peculiar new method of demon enslavement?" The succubus chained naked to the wall asked with a raised eyebrow.
"No, I'm just trying various interrogation techniques until I find one that works." Harry replied. "Torture has failed completely, because you kinky demon sluts apparently get off on pain, even your own."
"Have you tried rape?" The succubus suggested with a saucy smirk.
"Did you know that, in my entire life, I have not once encountered a situation where rape was the optimal solution?" Harry mused. "I suppose it would work if I was going for pure humiliation, but that never came up."
"Could you…describe to me some of the things you've done?" The succubus was visibly aroused.
"If you cooperate with me, maybe I will." Harry bribed. "I could even show you the memories."
"Oooh!" The succubus moaned, pressing her thighs together as much as she was able. "Will you still rape me afterwards?"
"I can't rape you if you want it, that's not how rape works." Harry deadpanned. Deciding to test something, he reached out and started painfully twisting one of her nipples. "But if you tell me what I want to know…well, maybe we can figure something out, you and I?"
Not fucking, though. During sexual penetration, friction opens microscopic wounds on both the penetrator and the penetratee, resulting in minute amounts of blood mixing. Nothing noteworthy in the normal course of events, but not something to risk with a literal demon. It could be a trick to corrupt him, but there was a better than even chance that succubi were just that horny.
"You tease." She moaned wantonly. "You horrible, horrible tease. Go on, ask your questions, then give me the reward you promised!"
Note to self, lower level demons appear to have extremely poor impulse control.
"Alright, first question. Do you need to eat?"
The succubus threw her head back, tongue almost hanging out in lust. "…no."
"Alright, sustained entirely by fel energy." That would mean that the Burning Legion had little in the way of logistics to worry about. Most unfortunate.
"I suppose that means you don't poop either?" A hard twist to the nipple punctuated the question.
"Ah, yes!" She cried. "My ass is for fucking only."
That she even had a butthole implied the presence of a digestive tract, which meant that succubi had most likely been a mortal race once, just like satyrs used to be night elves. He would need to find a pure demon to confirm that, though.
"Fascinating. Moving on, can you get pregnant?"
"It hasn't happened before, but please try it! Fill me up and let's make beautiful babies together!"
"Dirty talk me some more. When you die in the physical universe and get sent back to the Twisting Nether, how long does it take you to respawn?"
Harry had already noted that demons didn't seem to 'die' properly when they were killed. He started playing with the other breast to encourage an answer.
"Mmm! Not long."
"Does it take longer for more powerful demons?"
"If you were killed in the Twisting Nether, would you die permanently?"
With every question Harry had increased the roughness of his handling, but now he reached down and brutally jammed two fingers into her pussy, stirring up her insides like he was trying to scrape the flesh off her vaginal walls. "How about location? Do you show up somewhere randomly in the Twisting Nether or do you have a fixed spawning point?"
"ARGUS!" The succubus screamed in orgasm, simultaneously expelling a great gush of fluids from between her shuddering legs. "We always…spawn on the…eredar homeworld of Argus…ever since Lord Sargeras…brought them into the fold." She panted out.
Harry pulled his hand away and shook it off, splattering the dazed succubus with her own juices. Then he pulled a towel out of his hammerspace and wiped it off. That stuff was probably infested with fel too, so he'd have to perform a cleansing ritual later, but any contamination should be minute. The skin on the fingers was significantly thicker than the one on a dick. "Thank you, that was most helpful."
"I aim to please." She purred, apparently unconcerned about sharing potentially critical information. "Say, how would you like to be my master? You seem like just my type of man."
"You have a type?" He mocked. "Bitch, please. We both know that you're an indiscriminate pain slut that will do anything and anyone for a thrill."
"But I could be your pain slut!" She nearly begged. "You're taking a lot of prisoners, so you're going to need a torturer, right? And you can use me to satisfy all the dark lusts that priestess you hang around with won't take care of."
Harry raised a sardonic eyebrow. "I'll have you know that that priestess is my wife and she's more than willing to satisfy all my lusts."
A look of such jealousy flashed across her face that the words 'Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned' came to mind immediately. At that point, it no longer mattered whether she was a demon or not, because jealous females were dangerous, unstable psychopaths regardless of race. That was his experience at least.
"She doesn't love you like I could!" The succubus spat angrily. "Let me go and I will show you pleasure like you've never dreamed of! A night with me and you'll forget all about her!"
"Sorry, I have a strict policy about not sticking my dick in crazy." Harry replied blandly and turned to leave the room.
"Wait, don't go!" She abruptly begged. "I'm sorry I talked bad about your wife, we can work something out. Please? I love you!"
Her final desperate cry rang with truth – or at least what she believed was the truth – and it only made him more certain that keeping her around was a bad idea. The poor impulse control he'd noticed was apparently a lot worse than originally estimated if all she needed to 'fall in love' with him was a little sexual molestation. Odds were good that the average succubus 'fell in love' with whoever held her attention for longer than ten minutes, including her torture victims.
Besides, there were more important things to think about.
"Argus, huh? Rings no bells at all, but if demons always respawn there after dying then it must be important. I wonder if I could jam a planet-destroying doomsday device into a demon's soul and use it as a delivery system? Now if only I had a planet-destroying doomsday device…"
Luna came back from her visit to Tyrande, only to see that Harry wasn't done working yet. There were signs that he had been in and out of his Hyperbolic Time Chamber a lot, but the main one was a note left on a table, along with a bar of thorium, a bar of arcanite, a bar of adamantine and a pretty yellow crystal that radiated with magic.
If I'm not out by the time you read this, could you hop over to Stormwind and buy up as much thorium, arcanite, adamantine and that crystal over there as you can? Thanks.
"He must really be enjoying himself if he's still working." She determined, smiling. "I'll ask Adrastia to join me for that shopping trip and then we can hang out for a while. She must miss me by now."
Adrastia could only sigh with utter resignation into Luna's breasts, the huggy woman having once again completely disregarded the notion that some people might not want to be hugged.
The things she had to put up with…
"So, how have you been?" Luna eventually asked, beaming.
The bright expression was downright painful to look at.
"I've been fine. Progress has been slow but steady."
Stormwind was a medieval culture, a monarchy through and through even if their king was currently missing. For a foreigner to insert herself into the higher echelons of power was no simple matter, especially because this wasn't a collection of mundanes. They had wizards and priests that could detect any magical foul play that was too overt.
Frankly, the easiest way to go about things would be to find a likely man and fuck him cross-eyed until he proposed. She had even identified Highlord Bolvar Fordragon, the Regent of Stormwind during King Varian Wrynn's absence and Anduin Wrynn's youth, as the optimal candidate.
That plan had multiple problems, however. One; the man was a widower and already had a daughter, which would by default leave her as the second most important woman in his life even if she succeeded. Two; he was a powerful paladin with abilities she had not the faintest understanding of, which would make using magical means of control risky, further compounding problem number one. Three; it would severely limit her freedom if she had to play the role of a loyal wife. Four; poking around the darker elements of the kingdom would be a lot more difficult for the wife of the Regent Lord than it would be for an unknown.
There was more, such as the confrontation if her relationship with Harry ever reached Fordragon's ears and having to actually perform the duties of a wife, but that was the gist of it. In short, it was not a particularly viable course of action.
If she could score a mistress position, that would be better, but Fordragon was by all accounts and indications one of those insufferably moral types. He would probably reject any such offers. It was still worth investigating, but she didn't have high hopes of success there.
"That's great, you can introduce me to the friends you've made later." That was a terrible idea. "Right now you can join me for a shopping trip. Harry asked me to get him some things."
"What kind of things?" Adrastia asked, surrendering to the inevitable. There would be no dissuading Luna.
"Just some metals and gems. To the Trade District!"
And so they went, Adrastia gesturing to the one man currently in her employ that he should follow. Luna did not fail to notice this.
"Who's your friend?" She asked.
"That would be Gaige, my bodyguard." Adrastia explained. The man was a fairly typical beefcake warrior type, with dark brown hair cut short, brown eyes and a small scar on his chin. He had been a sword for hire before she got her hands on him. "He doesn't talk much, but he is good at his job."
Luna leaned down and whispered. "Are you boinking him?"
"Of course I am."
What kind of question was that? Aside from being a decent source of orgasms since this was a long term assignment, fucking one's bodyguard was a great way to make him go the extra mile. Plus, should the opportunity arise, she could frame him for rape to score free sympathy points from a potential mark in the future.
The shopping trip proceeded without major incident, although Luna once again raised a bit of a commotion by throwing around gold like it was going out of style. The moonbrained witch had a very loose grasp on the value of money and haggling seemed to be a foreign concept. She technically got fleeced horribly, but what did that matter when you had infinite gold?
The blank gold coins did get a few raised eyebrows, but in the end, gold was gold. Azeroth had bigger problems to worry about than what was stamped on the coins they were being paid with.
Adrastia had heard that the knowledge of transmuting iron into gold was unfortunately not unknown, but given the lack of some ultra rich alchemist conquering the world through economics, it would likely not be a problem. At least there seemed to be no alchemists on Harry's level, who could turn rocks into gold.
"Alright, that's done." Luna declared after teleporting her bounty back to Harry's tower. "Introduce me to your friends!"
Adrastia didn't do friends, but she knew that Luna wouldn't accept that, so she led them towards Stormwind Keep. She had needed to petition young Anduin Wrynn, his regent Bolvar Fordragon and Lady Katrana Prestor, the royal councilor, for permission to have a mansion built inside the city.
Stormwind was actually quite badly strapped for cash at the moment, so that went through a lot more smoothly that it might have normally. The House of Nobles had gotten involved and abruptly materialized multiple 'legal fees' and 'property taxes' that apparently needed to be paid in order for a foreigner to live so lavishly in the kingdom.
Adrastia had played the naïve sucker and let herself be fleeced, knowing that it would only serve to make people underestimate her in the future. All the while, she took careful note of everyone's reactions.
The various nobles were easy, their greed barely concealed.
Bolvar Fordragon had grimaced distastefully the whole time, the expression of a man doing something he felt was repugnant that he had no choice but to tolerate. He had put his foot down against the worst of the extortion and still obviously felt guilty over that which he had allowed. Not long after that meeting, she had learned that the kingdom's peasantry was being crushed by heavy taxation, which was probably why Fordragon had allowed her to be fleeced at all – to spare them some of the burden.
His counterpart, Katrana Prestor, had not seemed pleased either. Her expression had been carefully neutral and she had actually tried to talk the nobles down from squeezing every coin out of her purse. Unlike Fordragon, however, Adrastia rather doubted that it had anything to do with morals. The noblewoman put on a superb act, but the Black Widow saw the monster lurking behind those cold pink eyes.
Harry had asked her to sniff out any problematic actors and she had probably stumbled upon the worst one right off the bat. Sure, it was just a suspicion that most of Stormwind's recent woes were that woman's doing, but it was a strong suspicion.
Adrastia was too uncertain of this world's dangers to actively dig deeper than that and chose to leave it up to Harry if he wanted to do anything after he received her monthly report, contenting herself with using the nobility's obstructionism to build a relationship with the guilty Bolvar Fordragon and the conniving Katrana Prestor.
And now Luna wanted to meet them.
Katrana Prestor, in truth the black dragon Onyxia, stiffened imperceptibly when Adrastia walked into the throne room.
Not because of the woman herself. No, while the broodmother of the Black Dragonflight had been able to sniff out the geas binding the dark-skinned woman and wondered which meddlesome fool had sent her to Stormwind and why, she would never feel threatened by such a weakling.
It was her companion that caused a frisson of worry to shoot up her spine. As tall as a night elf and bearing both the mark and the distinctively glowing moonlight eyes of one of Elune's favored, her appearance matched the rumors of a human priestess of the moon that Onyxia had previously dismissed as nonsense.
The two human approached and for a fleeting moment, Onyxia thought that she would remain undiscovered, but then the blonde woman's eyes widened and she darted in front of the disguised dragon like an excitable puppy.
"A dragon!" She squealed gleefully. "Adrastia, you didn't tell me one of your friends was a dragon!"
There were certain people and beings that a dragon had to avoid if they wished to keep their true nature hidden. Tyrande Whisperwind was one such person, and apparently so was this other favored of Elune. The Moon Goddess was not fooled by the flesh any being wore and neither were her chosen.
Bolvar Fordragon jolted in shock and stared at her with dawning suspicion, hands already twitching towards his sword. His eyes demanded an explanation.
"A dragon?!" Onyxia feigned surprise with the ease born from decades of masquerading as a human. "What a thing to say!"
She was still faintly hoping to salvage this situation.
"Eh?" The overly tall blonde tilted her head sideways. "But you feel like a dragon and Big Sis Elune says you are one. Oh! Were you trying to keep that a secret? I'm sorry, I was just so excited to meet a dragon."
Fordragon was already pushing the shocked Anduin behind him and drawing his sword with grim purpose. The various other people in the throne room were whispering, pointing and generally looking both suspicious and apprehensive. Adrastia had long since started backing off, covered by her bodyguard, eyes wide with fear.
Rage bloomed in her heart like an inferno. So many years of planning and scheming, ruined by random misfortune. It was intolerable.
Pink eyes shifted into reptilian yellow slits, skin flaking off to reveal black and purple scales. She suddenly exploded in size to take up most of the throne room and roared her fury.
The blonde priestess, despite her seemingly goofy demeanor, reacted quickly to the threat, but not to save herself. Instead, she went for the petrified Anduin Wrynn, engulfing him in a hug and turning her back to the enraged dragon.
That suited Onyxia just fine. Massive claws lashed out, aiming to cut the human to shreds along with the boy. To her shock, however, her claws merely scraped against the priestess' bones instead of cutting through them. She and Anduin were smashed towards the ground, with the blonde priestess using one hand to brace herself and protect the boy. The force of the impact should have snapped the bone like a twig, but that once against failed to happen. The priestess merely grunted in pain as her momentum was arrested, tumbling over but never letting Anduin take any damage.
The black dragon was too furious to be baffled by such a feat and moved to finish taking her vengeance, but a barrier of shimmering moonlight enveloped the priestess and the prince, shielding them from further harm.
Pain cut through her rage as Bolvar Fordragon hacked into her foreleg with his sword, Holy Light imbuing him with supernatural strength and toughness. The throne room was too small for her to fight in properly and the powerful paladin was not a foe that could be disregarded.
Onyxia buffeted her wings to give herself some room and snarled in rage.
"I may have been discovered here, but you have not seen the last of Onyxia!" She promised with a roar before teleporting out.
Luna kept her eyes clenched shut and focused on maintaining the barrier around herself and the young prince, not even daring to split her attention enough to heal her lacerated back.
Oddly enough, this was the worst she had ever been hurt in her life and she knew that she would have died if not for the spellforged bones of her artificial body. She had also been lucky that the dragon had struck her across the upper back, where the ribs had protected her organs, instead of across her neck above or stomach below.
It was only after she heard the dragon's furious departing promise that she relaxed a little and called upon Elune for healing. The pain quickly faded as the flesh knit together, but Luna knew that the healing wasn't perfect. Powerful magics, be it from spells, enchanted weapons or beings, always left a mark. No doubt there was some fairly hideous scarring on her back now, but that didn't matter. She had gotten those protecting a child, which made it all worth it.
Besides, Harry was a master of shaping flesh. He would be able to fix it.
Luna slowly pushed herself upright, still cradling the scared boy in her arms, and blinked when that paladin fellow knelt in front of her so that they were eye-level.
"Priestess, you have exposed a great evil in our court and protected our prince." He said, bowing his head. "Stormwind is in your debt."
"No biggie, I was glad to help. Too bad about my clothes, though." She said, looking down as the shredded remains of her top fell apart and exposed her boobies for all to see.
The paladin coughed awkwardly, a bright blush on his cheeks. "Someone bring me a cloak!"
"So let me get this straight…" Harry began very calmly. "In the two days of real time that I have been MIA, you have exposed a black dragon screwing with Stormwind's politics, got mauled by said dragon while protecting their prince, been declared a hero to the kingdom and you've also promised my aid in searching for their missing king. Did I leave anything out?"
"No, that's pretty much it." Luna chirped. She was lying down naked on a padded surgical table, her face in the provided hole.
"Luna, what did I say about promising my help to people?"
"But Anduin was looking at me so hopefully, I couldn't say no." She whined.
"Was this before or after you said something about me being able to help?"
"Of course it was." Harry sighed in exasperation, placing his thumb at the base of Luna's neck and twisting it like he was turning a key. It was mostly for visualization, but it helped.
Luna's body immediately slumped, losing all feeling beneath the neck.
"You'll do it, right?" She asked, unperturbed at suddenly becoming a quadriplegic.
"I don't have much choice, seeing as you already made promises in my name." He grumbled. Getting a reputation as untrustworthy would be troublesome. Plus, it would help with his goals to give Stormwind back its king…unless Varian Wrynn was a warmonger with a massive hate boner for orcs.
Not that Harry wouldn't understand the sentiment, given that the greenskins had razed Stormwind practically to the ground at the end of the first war. If Harry had been the king of Lordaeron at the end of the second one, he would have killed the orcs down to the last child just to spare himself a future headache. Varian Wrynn would be more than justified in holding a grudge, but it wouldn't be very helpful at this point in time.
"A Kinfinder should do the trick if he's not being hidden under anti-scrying wards."
"Great, I'm sure Anduin and Bolvar will be happy to hear that." Luna enthused.
"But things sure did pile up quickly." Harry mused, using a special knife to flay the badly scarred skin from his wife's back. There was no bleeding, as the edge sealed shut the veins even as it cut through them. "With this new thing you've got us involved with, we're up to three concurrent projects, not counting my research."
"Ooh, did you make any progress with the demons or the Forsaken thing?" Luna asked excitedly, ignoring the wet tearing sound of her flesh being peeled off.
"I did, actually." Harry snickered. "I'm pretty sure the druids are going to think I'm the Antichrist, but my little beauty will work to suck the fel right out of the ground."
"That's cool, and then we'll be able to get the forest back to its old self again." Luna beamed. "What about the Forsaken thing?"
"Hmmm." Harry ignored her question, running a finger across her exposed ribs. "Damn, I was afraid of this."
"What?" She asked, instinctively trying to turn around to look even though it would be impossible to see with or without her current paralysis.
"Your ribs are dented. Not enough to really matter, but the fact that the dragon bitch was able to damage spellforged steel with brute force is telling me that it's time for an upgrade." Everything in Azeroth just had so much more conceptual weight that what was previously thought to be indestructible was reduced to being merely very durable here.
"Ooh, new bodies!" Luna was excited. "Can I get multi-flavor breast milk?"
"Of course you'd focus on the gimmicks." Harry snorted. "Sure, I can give you multi-flavor breast milk, but you'll have to eat whatever it is you want it to taste like."
Eat tasty things to get tasty breast milk? Luna considered that a double win.
"So, did you find any Forsaken to work on?" She decided to press her earlier question.
She might not have Harry's compulsion to fight slavery, but all those poor people suffering in undeath tugged at her heartstrings in a much more natural fashion.
"Yeah, turns out there's actually a few them not far from here. They were experimenting on separating some sleeping druids from their spirits. Probably trying to get a better understanding of their own condition, but all they ended up doing was driving the druids insane." The Forsaken's undead state would have made the ethics of such a thing a non-issue. "And there's apparently a member of the Royal Apothecary Society up in Felwood, experimenting with fel corruption or something. I'll round them up and put them in the dungeons before they can cause any more fuckups."
"That's good." Luna nodded to herself. "Are you going to replace my skin now?"
"Hang on, I want to try something first." Harry said and put a potion flask with a straw in it in front of her face. "Drink up."
Not questioning what it was, Luna caught the straw and started sucking up the potion. It tasted kind of bitter, like a really strong herbal tea. She couldn't feel what it was doing, but she knew it was doing something.
"Well I'll be damned." Harry said, sounding impressed. "Troll's Blood Potion really works as advertised. Your skin is growing back layer by layer, using your existing tissue as a base."
"Hey, what would you say to becoming part troll?"
The night before he and Luna were to set off to Stormwind and give finding Varian Wrynn as she had impulsively promised a try, Harry found himself sitting crosslegged on the grass near the moonwell in their backyard.
During the subjective several months that had passed for him while he was working in the Hyperbolic Time Chamber, Harry had continued his attempts to commune with Azeroth's world soul. Progress had been slow, with the sheer enormity of the entity's consciousness overwhelming him almost instantly every time, but that 'almost' was what kept him trying.
He knew that his own reflexive defensiveness in the face of such power was part of the reason. It was only natural for a smaller animal to avoid the feet of a large one. Still, he refused to give up, far too fascinated by such a massive soul. And she seemed like she was trying to ask for help, and if such a being was asking for help then it could only be against a threat that he would come into conflict with anyway.
Harry assumed it was either the Burning Legion or the Undead Scourge, both of which were definitely threats to her, so he had been trying to assure her that he was already working on it in the hopes that she would calm down a bit.
Communicating complex ideas between such vastly different life forms was not easy, however. One of his digestive microbes might as well be trying to explain to him how it was going to combat the evil plots of a bit of bad meat that he had eaten last night.
Well, sort of. It wasn't a perfect analogy, obviously.
Harry submerged himself once more into the ebb and flow of the planet. Azeroth was becoming steadily quicker to notice him and as she always did, rushed towards him with something bordering on desperation. He forced himself not to flinch away as the colossal consciousness washed over him.
Usually, this would be the point where he failed and came back to himself with his heart hammering wildly, but this time something got through.
A great desert on the southwestern corner of Kalimdor, giant sapient bugs swarming everywhere, a city that was also a prison, and a great darkness lurking below.
Harry's eyes snapped open with a gasp, the sense of terrible fear still echoing in his soul.
Once he calmed down, he couldn't help but snort at the irony. He had told Tyrande that he would consider joining the war effort against the qiraji with a complete lack of sincerity, but now the planet itself was begging him to help. "Alright, I guess I'm doing that then."
He had assumed that the Legion and the Scourge were the only global-level threats, but if it had the world soul this scared then something down there must be as well.
That didn't mean he was going to go there willy nilly, though. When fighting giant bugs, one should always bring some super strength bug spray.
Omake – What if the Auction House Wasn't Just a Game Mechanic?
"Welcome to the Stormwind Auction House. How can I help you today?" The teller asked with a Customer Service Smile(TM).
"Hello!" Luna replied brightly. "I would like to buy all the arcanite, thorium, mithril, truesilver, elementium and adamantine on sale, as well as all the magic dust and magic essence, all the alchemical reagents, all the gems, all the crystals, one crate of each type of potion, ten crates of each type of herb or flower as well as any seeds of them, twenty crates of each type of cloth, the one hundred most expensive magical items – that's one hundred from each category – and I would also like to take a look at a catalogue of your secret sex section."
The teller's face had long since frozen, her practiced Customer Service Smile(TM) frozen into a rictus grin. The other patrons of the auction house had also ceased their business in favor of staring incredulously. Utter silence swallowed the building, even the noise from outside seeming muted.
"Why are you all looking at me like that?" Luna asked, confused.
"The Stormwind Auction House does not have a secret sex section." The teller replied mechanically, that being the only part of the request that she was able to muster a response to.
Luna gave the woman a pitying look for the terrible lie. "There's always a secret sex section."
"I…need to go talk to the manager." The teller said faintly, walking into the back rooms without another word.
"Hey, you think she's on to something?" A curious adventurer asked his fellows.
"Could be worth a look." One of his party members grinned salaciously.
One week later.
"Hear ye, hear ye!" The town crier…cried. "Adventurers expose collusion between Alliance and Horde Auction Houses, the banks, numerous goblin cartels and a multi-racial warlock cabal! Sale, purchase and creation of demonically possessed, ahem, 'marital aids' now forbidden by law! Alliance and Horde leaders in talks of mounting joint effort to dismantle global prostitution ring with ties to the Burning Legion! Stormwind House of Nobles placed under investigation by Highlord Bolvar Fordragon after Lord Gregor Lescovar and his son were found in the company of a succubus!"
Harry silently raised an eyebrow at his wife as the town crier repeated his news.
"I just wanted to see if they had any interesting toys." Luna pouted.
Another shout out to Joe Lawyer's Star Trek SI fanfiction, because I know that a lot of you don't read the start-of-chapter author's notes. It's worth a look if Star Trek is your thing.