The Mage Tower

Stormwind's Mage district

“There was once a powerful mage, one so powerful that he fell into the dark magicks." Intoned the white-bearded, ancient Master Mage. "He was banned from the Wizard’s Sanctum and now lives in the Tower of Ilgalar, in the Redridge Mountains. And he has a book in his possession, a very particular tome called ‘Ur’s Treatise on Shadow Magic’. As you are such a challenging student, your last test is to travel there and retrieve that book, Lynnis!” Lynnis nodded as she stood, then ran out of the sanctum, jumped from the long, spiralling walkway that ran from Mage tower to the ground, and took her Hearthstone in hands. “Leciana!" She shouted seemingly at the Stone. "I got a mission from the Master Mage” “Oh?” spoke a young female Night Elf voice, tinted with some amusement. And Lynnis explained her mission. “I’m coming with you, after all I swore to protect you with my life…”

The Redridge Mountains

About an hour later...

Lynnis stood in front of the tower… surrounded by dead, burnt Gnolls. There, she waited. Until she suddenly heard a wonderfully familiar voice behind her. “Boo!” Lynnis jumped up, turned around and saw a beautiful, tall Night Elf. “Leciana!” Lynnis yelled when she hugged the elf. The elf's face appeared, smiling, as she took off her hood and kneeled down to hug the child. Then they both looked up at the stone-grey, forbidding apex. “So, this is the tower, huh?” Leciana said, shaking her hair in the wind. “Yup!” said Lynnis. She tried to shake her hair too, but got a strand in her eye. Leciana giggled, then, teasing aside, they entered the tower. Two gnolls immediately jumped them. Leciana grinned as a sword and a fist weapon fell down her sleeve and ended up in her hands. Quickly, she planted her metal-armoured fist in the face of the gnolls. “Don’t you touch her…” Then the second gnoll went for Lynnis. At lightning speed, Leciana used two cuts, to Paw then neck, to kill the wretch. “Nor you…” Lynnis cheered. “Yay! You’re so awesome!” Leciana grinned. “Not as cool as you!”

They continued to climb the tower's hard, cold steps, until they finally reached the top floor. Lynnis peered around the corner of a blackened door, gasped and pointed to the bookcase on the other side of the room, guarded by Morganth, the Dark Mage. “Hey Lynnis… Wanna see something cool?” Lynnis silently cheered, of course she wants so! Leciana took her bow, squeezed one eye and shot. The arrow flew across the room and pierced into the Dark Mage’s throat, slaying the Fallen Mage before he could utter a spell to save him. Immediately, the other guards attacked Leciana, and with one big swing of Leciana’s weapons, they toppled to the floor. Lynnis rushed towards the bookcase and took the biggest book out of it. “Got it!” “Let’s get the heck away from here, then!” Leciana said while putting Lynnis on her back. “Hold on tight!” she said as she jumped down the tower's insides and softly landed on her feet. On Leciana’s back, Lynnis thought of the book she had in her shoulder bag. But her deep thought was broken when Leciana asked; “Wanna go for an icecream?” “Yay!” said Lynnis smiling…

The book sat in the darkened innards of the bag, and thought/reacted/emoted. The older one, no good, no.... She had seen Shadow magics... She would serve no purpose save that of the informer, she would have to disappear.... But the younger.... aaaaaaahhh..... Power, certainly power... ambition in spadefuls... and such inexperience, such... naivete..... Perfect... If the minuscule mage had the concentration to break off her joyfully conversation with Leciana and observe the Mana currents around her, she might of seen the slow drift of mana from her bag to the tall, pale elf as a spell was prepared...

Inside Stormwind's Mage tower, the Master Mage smiled as Lynnis pulled the book from her Shoulder carrier. "A very neatly done job, Lynnis. Though I admit, your friend was quite a bonus." Lynnis gasped quietly and mentally kicked herself. The Master Mage chuckled. "Do not worry so much, Lynnis! We monitor all our students when they're engaged in dangerous activities. And we're hardly going to be angry at you for bringing a friend along, no no. Certainly the logical thing to do." He smiled again, and made as if to ruffled her hair, then took the book quietly, holding it as if a Dead rat, and droped it on a desk near him. "Good work, Lynnis" With that, he turned away, back to his work. Yet Lynnis stood there, looking quietly of the book. Biting her lip, she looked at the Master Mage, his back still turned to her. Quickly, she reached for the book, slid it into her Shoulder bag, and walked out.

Gruul's Lair

A day later

Leciana leapt back again as Gruul's fist slammed into the ground again, hurling the last standing priest straight into a stalactite. No-one left to heal her, she realised, as the elf slowly slid to the ground, her back twisted oddly. Ducking as Gruul's fist swung to send her after her companion, she realised she would have to use her Aura... she had just enough time before Gruul's next swing to use her full power. Flinging her arms up to point at the beast, she directed her Aura at the beast, hurling both Mana and pure concentration at the beast. The mana slammed into the Gronn with a blazing white lightning bolt, immediately followed by a cloud of starless night as suddenly the aura coalesced and blackened. Leciana's eyes opened wide as her own aura turned back on her, corrupted, sealed inside this traitorous cloud.

The two surviving, wounded healers, a paladin and shaman, watched in amazement as first they saw the height of Leciana's acclaimed strength of will, then saw it perverted to a much Darker cause. Suddenly, the shapeless black Mana cloud collapsed as it's owner's will left. Slowly, the shaman stood, and helped the paladin drag herself to Leciana's still form. Kneeling or lying beside her, it was obvious she was dead. Glancing quickly at the paladin's crippled body, the shaman stood and asked the elementals to perform this act for him. Calmly acquiescenting, they used their power on the corpse. Yet it did not rise, and spirit did not gladly rejoin with body. Frowning, the shaman spoke again, but the Elementals said only that they could not. The paladin, seeing this, summoned her full power and directed the Light to rejoin Leciana with her form. Yet it could not be found. Leciana's spirit was lost.

Lynnis lay on her stomach in her bed, head half-hidden by the cover of Ur's Treatise on Shadow Magic. Slowly, as her mind absorbed more and more information, and she grew tired, a tiny trickle of mana began to creep from the book to Lynnis...

The Dwarven District Guard Headquarters

Two days later

Eldin sat there in the room, chair tipped back, smiling and stroking his beard as he reminisced about old friends, and those more intimate. Quietly, as the smile grew to a grin, he began to chuckle, until Gloin Hopestone gave a loud cough. Now scowling, Eldin stopped chuckling and dropped his chair back level with the floor. Suddenly, the scowl became a grin again as Lynnis walked through the door, then froze as he looked again at Lynnis.

Lynnis was wearing Black. A dull, shabby sort of black for a robe, but black nonetheless. Black makeup. Black lipstick. Black hair. Her staff, black. This looked almost obscene on the 6 year old genius child that had done so much for Eldin. "'Ey, Lynnis!" Eldin called, quite concerned "Oh, great, now what?" Lynnis replied sullenly as she reluctantly turned to Eldin. Eldin frowned and blinked, baffled by this. "Oh N-no, this a-again...." groaned Hopestone "Oh, shut up, you!" Lynnis snapped as she spun on the wizened Tax collector. Subdued, he stared at the floor. "Wha's oop wi yer, Lynnis?" "I'm wearing black today, ok? Got a problem with that?" Lynnis immediately took out a book, sat down, and shielded her face behind the book as she read. Eldin was taken back. Aside from the book, Lynnis seemed so different. More agressive, hostile. He strode to Lynnis, and pulled the book down. "Oi, Lynnis. Nae, wha-" Eldin got no further before Lynnis pulled the book back up with a loud "Humph!" Eldin frowned, feeling particularly vexed, and instead snatched the book off Lynnis. The effect was immediate.

Lynnis shot to her feet, scrablling straight for the book. Eldin held the book behind him with one hand as he tried to restrain the frantic Lynnis, catching a quick glance at the title - "Shadow magic". Hopestone, after looking between the two, got up to help. He grabbed Lynnis' shoulder, and recieved a small fist to the chin for his troubles. Even further concerned and angered by Lynnis' new aggressive bearing, Eldin shouted "'Old 'er back, 'Opestone!" Lynnis immediately pin-wheeled on the spot, just in time to be grabbed by a confused Hopestone. Yet, as Lynnis began to squirm about, Eldin held the book up above him.

"I's this, aen' i' Lynni'? This 'wha's causin' yer anger?" Lynnis finally turned to face Eldin and bore her teeth in a hiss. Now convinced of what to do, Eldin tightly took hold of the book with both hands, closed it, and concentrated. Slowly, ink began to drip, droplet by droplet, from the base of the book. Lynnis gave a short cry and redoubled her struggles, nearly toppling the aged Hopestone as she turned and squirmed fitfully. Yet her cries and Hopestone's yelps didn't seem to even reach Eldin, as his brow began to knot and sweat began to form and drip from his brow to mingle with the now small-stream of ink flowing from the base of the book. Finally, Eldin released his deathgrip on the book to a strained gasp, almost dropping the book before fumbling regaining a hold. Lynnis was still struggling to reach the book, now with eyes for nothing else as Hopestone began to huff and puff with the effort of withstraining the manic child.

Eldin opened the book, to show completely blank pages. Hopestone asked as he struggled "Will that be enough?" Eldin shook his head. "Coul'nae d' more'n emp'y th' boo'k ae th' wordin', an' only 'cause a' my 'xperience wi boo'k magic. Th' shad' magicks still there..." Half-way through what he was to say, Chanta Trigger walked in, saw Hopestone restraining an apparently frightened Lynnis, and unsheathed her sword and took up her shield. Eldin half-turned to Chanta as she began to charge, bowling over the tired Hopestone, knocking Lynnis from his grasp, and cracking straight into Eldin.

As Eldin rebounded off the wall with a dull metallic *Clang* of his armour and a short yelp of pain, Chanta lifted Lynnis to her feet and stood between her and the battered duo.

"Go, Lynnis, go!" She pushes the child towards the door with her shield, yet Lynnis ran out and began flailing at Eldin, forgetting all magic. "I hate you, I hate you, I HATE you!" She screeched as she pummeled the recovering Eldin. "Lynn- Ow! Fellin' hell, Chanta, sto' an' LISSEN fer once!" "Oh, shut up. Go on, Lynnis, GO!" She yelled at the child again, who sulkily retreated behind the gnomish cannonball. "Fer fel's sake, Chanta, LISSEN!" "Oh, I don't need to - I can see whats happening here!" "Fer feck- Chanta, i' def'nit'ly ain' tha'. Jes' lissen, This book-" "SHUT UP! Go, Lynnis, move!" "-is full a' Shad' Magick, an' Lynnis' bin readin' i'! We' gotta fin' sum way t' fix-" Lynnis darted out from behind the armoured Chanta again, and Hopestone made a clumsy grab that ended up bringing the child to the floor. Screeching a cry, Lynnis fell beneath Hopestone. Chanta immediately roared and swung her sword up, as Eldin jumped forwards, throwing a metal trap from his pack near Lynnis. Throwing Hopestone off, she rolled to avoid it, but an arm was caught in the traps metal teeth before the air around her was suddenly occupied by an Ice block.

As Chanta spun to face Eldin, he threw the book to Hopestone, who made a clumsy catch, and yelled "Take tha' an' RUN, 'Ope! Th' Ice'll hol' fer 30 sec's more, nae GO! T' the Cathedral o' Sommat, jes' ge' i' exorcised!" Hopestone stumbled down the Headquarters steps just as a maddened Chanta crashed into the door. Immediately, she spun on Eldin and the Ice-trapped Lynnis as her world went red again. Eldin backed away from the furious glare that pinned him to the wall. "Lissen, will yer!" Chanta began her charge. "Loo'k, tha's nae wha' we'd call Lynnis i'there!" Eldin threw himself to the ground as the Cannonball Chanta shot at him, her armour clipping his and sending him tumbling across the floor. "Ow, fel - LOOK! In 30 secs, th' lass'll be free, an' soon 'Ope will a'-" He scrambled to his feet and began running as Chanta charged him again. "FECK!" Eldin cried loudly as Chanta smashed into his back, sending him tumbling into a stone bench then the wall, his backpack going flying. A quiet, tinny voice echoed from the bag, unheard in the pandemonium of Chanta attempting to re-arrange Eldin's lungs with his Kidneys.

"*Huffs and puffs* Hff...E-Eldin? I'm at t-the chapel, -pff- the High p-priest is preparing s-something!" Recruit Eldin Stran tumbled from the bench as the ironclad madwoman attempted to Shot-put him by his feet. "Hff... H-he's starting something... it l-looks bright..." Screeches and clangs resounded throughout the hall as Eldin first flipped Chanta over, then Chanta managed to hurl Eldin by his feet across the hall, smashing into the Ice cube on the way to the opposite wall. Cracks began to appear in the Ice. "Hf - I-it didn't work! He's... he's b-bringing in m-more people to a-aid him, this m-might do it" The ice shattered as Lynnis continued her delayed tumble, and burst into tears. Her robe faded to a darker shade of her usual clothes, and even her hair began to lighten. Neither combatant notice, however, as Eldin tried to charge Chanta, and became locked in Chanta's own personal Headlock. Simultaneously; A loud *WHUMPF* from the bag, followed by an exuberant Hopestone "A-alright! H-he s-said t-that d-did it!" Lynnis' clothes suddenly lose all tinge of black, and she stops crying, instead blinking and almost falling over. Leciana, on the funeral slab, suddenly opens her eyes and looks about frantically.

Chanta stopped trying to unscrew Eldin's head as Lynnis got up and shouted "Eldin!" A dazed, bloody-nosed Eldin looked up, finally seeing the old Lynnis had returned, and gave a half-smile, or as close as you can get when held upside-down with an armoured gnome's arm tight around your windpipe. A half-confused, half-embarrassed Chanta reluctantly let go of Eldin as he clambered to his feet, steadying himself on an upturned table, and gives the relieved Lynnis a one-armed hug.

"Oh, I thought no-one would ever try actually getting rid of that book.... I thought I was trapped - Trapped inside myself!" The stressed Lynnis began to cry again. Eldin tightened his hug, and hoped that someone else would sort out this mess this time...

The Dwarven District

Four days later

The slightly bemused Leciana walked with Lynnis along the main street of the Dwarven District, chatting quietly as the sinking sun's shine caught the smog over the district and turned it a husky gold. " Yes, so, it happened four days ago. Just woke up at my funeral, in a black dress that felt like it was made from a curtain, and freaked out all the mates of mine that had come to wish me farewell." Lynnis chuckled, though her eyes remained serious. "All this trouble, because of my curiosity. Just because I wanted to know more about this so called "Dark" side to magick..." She said bitterly.

Leciana leant down to Lynnis, briefly stopping the child to give her a hug, then she leant back, hands on both Lynnis' shoulders. "No. The trouble was thanks to that book, your curiosity just... well..." The elf grinned wickedly "Made it a little worse, I'll admit." Lynnis smiled slightly, but she still seemed angry with herself. Leciana sighed, and completed the hug, before standing up and continuing the walk. "I don't blame you. You shouldn't blame you. Did anyone else?" "Well... no...." Lynnis reluctantly admitted. "You see? You've done nothing wrong, Lynnis." She chuckled quietly as a bird sang out, such a rare thing for this area of the city. The beautiful golden sky and bronze sun against the pink and orange sunset seemed so out of place with what was on their minds, and Leciana felt one more thing deserved to be said. "Many bad things come of those who take no blame for their crimes, but worse comes of those who take blame for other's wrong-doings. Remember that, Lynnis." And, with a last hug and smile, Leciana strode forwards beneath the archway and out of sight.