Visions of Azeroth - an EQ Ending


I was tired.

I knew exactly why. I'd just woken up from camping with my sister, near the river in the Plane of Storms. She'd been having horrid nightmares recently, and sleeping near the sea seemed to help relax her. She couldn't explain them to me. They always shook her awake during the night, or from any sleep she got, really, the little she could. Sometimes she snapped awake screaming, others, gasping for air and holding her chest.

I knew it wasn't any sickness... after all, as a Knight, she was strangely resistant to most of those thrown at her.

Maybe she felt bad about the three of us - Damai, Arrana, and myself - falling to a tree, of all things, near the entrance of Storms. But I also knew that, over the last months, a new serenity has come over her, and she's accepted quite a lot more than she used to. The retirement of Braitha from adventuring. Master Bard courting the Chieftess. Her own vision at the Hand of the OceanLord. The arrival of Wavecrasher.

Something else was bothering her... something... not Clan, maybe not even Norrath. When we were walking through the forest of Toxxulia to visit our Mother - as she'd been really ill those last few weeks - she would whirl around sometimes, as if reacting to a voice, hearing someone that just wasn't there.

Wave didn't seem worried; in fact, even Tidal was quiet usually.

Then Mom died. Arrana was devastated, as she never did tell us anything more about our father.
And the visions seemed to come to a head.


He crashed headlong through the overhanging brush, the sounds of the approach getting louder. Branches tore at his hooded face, rocks bruised his bare feet, still frozen from his careless flight across the icy lake. The unearthly howling behind him seemed to get ever closer, no matter how far he ran.

In his arms, he clasped the salvation of worlds, the single spell which would break the bonds of evil and cease suffering for all upon the world its runes were uttered. Or at least, that's what his research told him, and the dozens of demonic guardians, hordes of elemental abominations, and single dragon guarding the tiny box seemed to indicate.

He needed to get to the town... it was his only escape, even if by air he was an easier target. At least he'd have a chance on his own. Maybe he could get to help... No, this task could only be finished in one of two ways... He needed to make it to the Portal of Worlds, cross it, and close it... Or he would die, and Norrath's fate would be sealed...

The cobblestones of the path were tiny comfort to him as he plodded along, ignoring the bloody tatters of skin hanging from his legs, the stinging pain of thorns embedded in his cheeks. He'd not taken the time to assimilate with this culture, and perhaps he was paying the price... but what was his own sacrifice for the salvation of millions?

The graveyard on his left passed by now, and he could make out the tiniest outline of the spirit healer, hovering above the largest tombstone. Her face was impassive, and yet smiling... she obviously knew something he did not. He wished returning to life on Norrath was as easy as it seemed on this world... but one's gods (or goddesses, the learned corner of his mind goaded) were those who decided such things.

Cresting the final hill, he leapt as best he could manage over the wooden barricade seperating the encampment from the road, and onto the sprawled hay of a creature's bed. Tossing a coin that was, in the recipient's eyes, probably too large, he slid the tome into the carrying pouch at the base of the huge bird-lion's neck, and swung a leg over its wing.

With a loud growl, his pursuers burst from the earth beneath his feet, scaring his mount into the sky. She wheeled for a moment, then took off south, trying to entice the abominations into following her too close to the fortress at the top of the nearby hill. When they did not, she banked west, and over the mountains, back over the ice and snow-clad valleys.


Arrana woke up that early morning, clutching her sleeping roll to her bosom, and let out such a piercing shriek, she woke both myself and the horses, and I even heard flights of birds crashing from tree branches all around us.

Then she fell back to her pillow, unconscious.


The tome-sized package fell to the ground with a large thud, a bounce, and a tumble, landing in a fallow pool of water.

A wolf-sized disembodied hand that happened to be foraging nearby skittered aside, startled, then returned to the object.

Prodding, probing, the animated hand realized instinctually that the object was not a threat, and it continued on its hunt for a lone adventurer or a stray soul.


Arrana woke with a start. She looked for a moment as if she didn't know where she was, then she focused, and looked around. I'd put her in her old room, the one I'd originally shared with her, so I could take care of her. Then she realized she was tied to the bed. She turned to me, sensing me nearby, and asked to be released.

She'd been unconscious for almost four days. Fits of thrashing, sudden outbursts, speaking of strange places, and bits and pieces of half of a conversation were all I could relate to her as I helped her sit up. I showed her the few parchments I'd kept of her ramblings; she looked at them blankly then at me.

"You don't look so good," she said.

I ran a hand through my unwashed hair. "Well, I have been at your side for four days straight, ever since you passed out in Storms. Mind telling me what's going on?"

"I really wish I could, love, but... I can't. I don't know. I barely remember what I dreamt, and I know there were a lot of dreams..." She sighed. "Maybe we should talk to Lana."

I nodded and stood, perhaps a bit too fast because suddenly I was overcome with weakness. Even having been laid - and tied - up for four days, Arrana still had the strength to catch me. "And of course you didn't take care of yourself, hmm?" she accused me, in that motherly tone she'd picked up from Lana - even though neither woman would admit it.

"I have," I insisted quietly. As soon as I stood straight, I pushed her hand away from my hip. The room tilted slightly, but I stayed on my feet. "I just haven't been feeling all that much like my usual peppy self lately."

Arrana stared at me for a few moments, then reached over to my bed, and picked up my robe, wrapping me in it. She grabbed a dirty robe off the floor, wrapped herself up, and we walked together to the bath.


The rapid scratch of a letter being written would be heard if anyone was nearby.

It has been a week since I saw my sister do anything more than sit up. That last hunt, two weeks ago in JaggedPine, was taxing for her... I've never seen her succumb so easily to fell magicks - fire blasts, cold bolts, and disease clouds - as she had been. Even the younger folks - Neillen, Kurilya - went relatively unscathed. Only Lanladori, who was bringing the nasty creatures to meet our blades, had been hurt more, but then, Lanladori is quite a few seasons less trained than my dear sister. I hope her knee is okay...

I've spent the last three days with her, keeping her fed and giving her company, as she did me when I was ill. Seranyea has been bringing her books occasionally, and Briqitta - when did she start living in the castle? - has been bringing news of places Unu and I'd never hunted. (Lovely girl, by the way. Isn't she attached to Bresson?)

Anyway, I need to get out of the castle. I haven't seen Braitha in two and a half weeks... Something's wrong. I can't sense her... I can't contact her. Perhaps she's on one of her sabbaticals... Usually when The Mother takes her, or she's dreaming, she's cut off from me anyway. I haven't seen either Mileron or Lanadena... It seems the Castle is empty, as folks are out and about, and it is only a few of us who are here now.

I'm leaving instructions with Briqitta and Seranyea to keep watch on Unu, and Sarella will take me to Veksar. I need to vent some of this anxiety about my sister.

Tuesday, after morning meal.

~Arrana Procellae~


"What do you mean she just collapsed?" Sarella asked, her stormy green eyes flashing as she speared a bloodgill through with her Scimitar.

With a shrug, Arrana replied, "She just collapsed. I'd been watching her since my own 'episode,' when I noticed she wasn't looking too good."

Nodding, Sarella turned and flung her hands out, causing large roots to sprout from a nearby tree and entangle a rushing golem.

"I even bespoke Damai, to see if there were any remedies I could give her... Lana's been awfully busy of late with Clan business it seems, and I didn't want to bother her." Arrana relaxed from her battle stance as Sarella cast wave after wave of damaging magicks at the golem. She cast her own blessing, and the Dragorn Claw Scepter glowed a brilliant blue as Nife's energies filled it.

A scream from behind the women caught Arrana's attention, and she danced aside, tripping the undead sentry as it aimed for Sarella. Bringing her Scepter down, she locked its tines about the abomination's head, and twisted it sharply. Energies from the blessing coursed through the animated corpse, and it vanished into a cloud of dust.

In the center of that cloud, Arrana spied a sword... and a package.

She tossed the sword aside, onto a pile the women had been collecting... "Forty one," she said, as she bent down to grasp the package.

Worn and wet, she saw a blot of ink which may have been a label of some sort. She untied and flipped the package many times to get into the center. Whomever had lost this, had wrapped it extremely well. She even had to cut it out of a layer of ensorcelled metal.

"Someone really wanted to protect this," she said. "Oilskin, metallic insulation..."

The last of the shiny metal fell away, and in the center of the remaining book-sized object, rested a platinum medallion inset with a deep blue sapphire, shaped amazingly like the Scepter Arrana had set aside.

Staring in shock, Arrana almost dropped the tome, but sat down on the stone bench the two had been occasionally resting on.

Turning from her recent kill, Sarella saw the item in Arrana's hands, and the shock on her face. "What is it?"

Her olive face now a ghastly pale, she looked up, and paused a moment, collecting her voice and thoughts before responding. "Whatever this book is... It has my father's symbol on it."


Two vortices of energy dissipated from the misty gloom of Veksar...

Some fortunate traveller will someday soon find a pile of unused weapons, and think themselves rich...

But when the two vortices reformed on the Plane of Knowledge as Arrana Procellae and Sarella of MacLear, the pile of weapons was all but forgotten.

Arrana whistled, and Wavecrasher trotted through his own magical portal, up to his companion's side, and up onto his back Arrana swung. She captured Sarella's wrist in her hand, and hauled the druidess up as well, then set the warhorse at a gallop, across the streets, through the throng of vendors and seekers, to the portal that would lead them to Everfrost Peaks, and then... Halas.

Luckily, the portal had already been opened as the trio sped up to the keystone, and they nearly ran down a young shaman on their way through the twisting tunnel of energies. The blasting cold of Everfrost didn't even slow them down as they raced up the ramp. A quick blessing by Sarella made Arrana's holy steed - and his passengers - lighter than air, and he careened out of the entrance cave across the frigid waters of the city's protective moat.

When they approached the gates to the Castle, Arrana dismissed Wavecrasher, and the two women, suddenly unsupported by equine, flew through the air towards the gate. They straightened out, and touched down as the guards swung the gate open just enough for the two to enter side-by-side.

Finally slowing as they entered the Great Hall, Arrana tossed the tome down on the table. Pointing to a lamp nearby, she stared at the medallion until Sarella carried it over.

The medallion, connected to an intricate web of chains covering the book, was barely larger than Arrana's palm.

Meticulously examining the tome on all sides, Arrana could not find a catch or lever to disconnect the chains.

She looked helplessly at Sarella.

"Maybe if you talk to it..." Sarella offered, only to be met with a skeptical look from the Knight. "Don't look at me like that. You know I talk to plants and animals to get things done..." She shrugged, and left the Knight alone with the tome, wandering off to find some warm soup. "I'll bring you back something to eat and drink," she said offhandedly as she disappeared into the kitchen.

Arrana stared after the girl, then looked back at the tome and the medallion.

She turned the tome over once again, looking at the back side, holding the medallion in her palm to steady it.

As she held it, noting the intricate weave of chains again, she commented derisively, "Talk to it. That's pretty funny..." Her voice trailed off as she felt the medallion against her palm warming, the more she spoke.

Turning the tome back over, she noticed a faint blue glow inside the sapphire.


Arrana placed her palm back on the medallion, and the tome back on the table. To no one in particular, she said, "I found this tome wrapped tighter than an elf on her first trip to Everfrost, and opened it, and here we are..."

Arrana lifted her hand, and noticed the glow had intensified, but as soon as she removed her hand, it began to dim again. She frowned, brow furrowed.

She decided to try a different tactic.

"I am Arrana Procellae, Knight of Clan MacLear, Crusader of the OceanLord, sister of Unu, daughter of Isaurana, and I hereby request that this tome be opened."

Lambent auras rose around her body; a strobing blue flashed from the sapphire and through her hand. She heard the tinkling as the tiny web of chains began seperating, and then retracted into the medallion, leaving the tome unsecured.

The Journal

"It has been over sixteen years since I left the lands of Norrath," the flowing text began.

And that was five years after my wife returned to our homeland, the temperate isle of Odus, to bear our children. Twins, if the Coldain healers were correct, and I had no reason to believe they weren't. They'd had so many years, alone in the desolate wastes of Velious, to learn about themselves and their lands, I questioned only that which I wished to learn more of.

I've spent the last few years in this land called Azeroth. A land of magic and nature, dwarves, humans and gnomes, orcs, trolls, and even sentient undead. It was here they welcomed me as a wanderer, after my appearance through what they called the Dark Portal, injured and near death.

I couldn't tell them, when they asked, what had injured me so, for they apparently sensed my skill with the magics of my land, and felt the strange-yet-familiar radiation of the arcane flowing from me.

To try to recall... leads me to sweating and anxiety... my soul does not wish my mind to remember, and this I do not question.

Three years I spent in their human city of Stormwind, studying with their mages, assimilating mostly into their society... Except for the magic. For some reason, unbeknownst to myself or any of the sages and scholars we spoke with - even some of a race called the Kaldorei - extremely tall elves, almost a mix of the Norrathian Koada'dal and Tier'dal - could not determine why the magics of Norrath were not leaving my body, to be replaced by the arcane magics of Azeroth. I offered up display after display to their learned, defeating troggs (some sort of ogre-kobold), sea monsters, and even more fell creatures, and they were surprised. Whispers in the shadows, conversations shared just out of human earshot led me to believe the arcane magics known by these spellweavers were nowhere near as powerful, and yet infinitely more corrupting.

But I am not human.

I dreamt nightly of my wife, Isaurana, and my mind's visions of the two daughters I'd never met. "And probably would never meet", a tiny voice inside of me kept saying. I dreamt of battles on Norrath I'd never seen, saw two strikingly beautiful women - twins - who after months of dreams I recognized bits of their mother in them... The tiny voice was silent. I dreamt of their companions - a tall, furred feline, much like the Kerrans I used to hate with a passion. A lithe Fier'dal ranger. A matronly shamaness, a bear and his protege, a wolf and her martial artist sister, a bard... A number of people who apparently were so special to my daughters, that they left their homeland of Odus - if they ever could truly call it that, considering how the dreams told me they were raised - and set roots in the lands of the North.

I saw bits and pieces of their lives, sometimes out of chronological order, sometimes blurry, others happily or painfully lucid. I almost felt... present. I wondered occasionally if they thought of me; if their mother had told them of me. I wished often that I could be there for them.

Then the visions started, a few months ago.


Coughs wracked her body, her throat raw from the incessant hacking. She had trouble standing right after waking, and sometimes couldn't even hold the cup of tea - Braitha's special mix - to sip from it. The flavored liquid always irritated her throat even more, even if it was lukewarm and oversweetened with honey. She couldn't walk to the bath, and indeed, standing to clean herself was out of the question, but she was able to take care of nature as it called, and the occasional softly salty broth brought to her by Seranyea seemed to be helping.

The Erud woman spoke with her when she visited, and indeed, a number of other people visited her, offering well-wishes or bringing tidbits of news from across the Planes.

Unu sighed as she looked about the empty room, and the bed her sister had occupied again briefly before...


Briqitta didn't recall ever having dreamt as often as she did, after moving to Castle MacLear.

A number of sheets of parchment lay haphazardly stacked in the top drawer of the desk in her guest quarters. Each one dated, with a quick description of the dreams of the night before, they painted the picture of her unconscious mind's sudden awakening.

14th of the month,

The dreams have started becoming more clear. There's a lot of snow, much like the home I've chosen for myself. Perhaps as my mother has said, being smitten can lead to unintelligent life changes, but truly, he is an intelligent man, and I know through that frozen exterior there's a soul desiring to love and be loved...

I've lost track.

A lot of snow, however, the skies were crystal clear, as those I've seen over the Qeynos Hills, or even - from what Unu was describing to me, when I tell her of my dreams - as brilliant as in the Plane of Tranquility. There are rabbits, and squirrels, boars and leopards, bears, and of course, endless stands of snow-laden trees.

I turn to my right, and he stands there, smiling at me, and he points to the mountainside ahead of us. I look. A fortress inside the mountain, much like the Castle is situated in its valley near Halas, with groups of people running to and fro.

I turn back to him, and his normally silky-smooth face is suddenly festooned with a large, fiery beard.

And another...

18th of the month,

Bresson's beard appears at the beginning of the dreams now. I've noticed his dream voice is becoming more gruff - although, it does sound somewhat the same as he does, after emerging from the Vault or the Library, his nose and throat thick with dust. It's such an attractive quality to his voice, but then he goes through all the coughing and choking to clear it up...

Again, I digress.

I've noticed that his usual platemail has become a rather ornate robe, and he's actually kind of attractive, in a hairy human sort of way.

We walked along a frozen river, that lambent sky above us, sun shining brightly, wind chilly, but his mere presence helped warm me.

A lock of hair fell in my eye, and I brushed it out of the way... Odd, it was purple.

Briqitta stood in front of her mirror later that day, brushing her chestnut hair, and tied it back into a ponytail.

A sudden urge overcame her, and she let the ponytail out, then parted her hair along the back of her head. Carefully rolling it, with a twist, she pinned two buns to either side of her head, just above and behind her ears...

The Journal

"Time flows differently on the myriad of existences, unseen and unheard of, which lie adjacent to our own. Rather, adjacent to Norrath, my origin... And only through the Plane of Time (no, not the one recently discovered attached directly to Norrath) as well as the assistance of some... rather unique beings, in my travels, have I been able to keep a solid footing on my own existence, sanity, and indeed, my life.

Travels many... friends nonexistant... acquaintances, contacts, and even enemies I've stopped keeping track of. Besides, the tome to keep that information would be much heavier than I am...

Three years passed on the plane called Prime Material, by those of the planet called Toril. I arrived in what their scholars told me was a time of troubles, as magic was missing, or worse, out of control. I did not cast any spells there, and merely lived as a knowledgable sage... Of course, I had to do a lot of studying to fulfill this role...

Four months and several days on the planet Earth... (I cannot imagine how those folk live, with no magic at all... but they seem content.) I did hear about some game which allowed people to explore a virtual representation of a far away land... But the portal which it required, I did not have means to acquire. In any case, those four months were equivalent to two and a half years elsewhere...

Only a few minutes passed on my stop into the city of Liberty, where a woman - dressed in entirely too little clothing and with the oddest hairstyle that looked quite reminiscent of the cockatrices of The Overthere, and was ice blue at that - shot bolts of frost at me, screaming, "Die Tsoo scum!" Apparently, these Tsoo were something to be hunted, and luckily my portal had not yet dissolved, so I jumped back inside (and received a bit of a chill in the process).


Pages flipped carefully, contents devoured completely as Arrana read through her father's journal, pages upon pages of his travels in other lands. Lands she'd heard of, from her rare visits to the Dream Manse; others she couldn't fathom or begin to imagine.

The Knight was so entrenched in the tome, she didn't even register the scent of hot soup assaulting her senses, when Sarella set it down.

She also didn't notice the druidess caress the sapphire medallion, or see the slight flaring of its light.

Arrana - The Temple

Deep chill threatened to overrun the sense of purpose that hovered at the edge of her senses as she tread water. The constant tingle of her fishgill necksash at her throat as she breathed was a comforting feeling; the enduring breath spells always left her feeling dried out and breathless.

"And not in a good way," the younger used to say...

Gentle swishing of the current floated past her head as the shark finally swam back from the tunnel she needed to go. As she rose from the niche she had taken refuge in, she tugged on the rope attached to her 'package'...

Up the long tunnel she swam, and she propped the long object in the corner, and noted it moving just slightly. Bolstered, she crossed her legs and floated in the alcove, praying, regaining her energies for the upcoming fight.

The Journal


The time I spent in the Oceanlord's presence seemed an eternity, and yet I could not ask all the questions I had, in that span of mere moments.

His words were terrifying; his worry even moreso.

"The youngest will fall," he said, "to an affliction of so many worlds, that I cannot cure it. You, however, can make her suffering less, and help her survive, in a fashion, until the means are available to help her."

I cried out in despair and worry, disbelief and horror. My own god, unable to cure this? Surely something can be done!

"Powerful though I am," his voice resounded in the whirlpool we floated above, "this is something beyond myself, even beyond the Mother of Nature herself - as it is not a malady of the body, but of the spirit. Those-who-tried to corrupt the eldest failed, quite miserably in fact. While they were unable to touch the younger, strictly from a has-been-done-already point of view, they introduced into her spirit this malady, which has slowly degraded her body, unbeknownst to anyone except to those who recognize it. Some may have noticed her declining health... but it is her spirit which is dying."

An enormous hand was waved, and the gigantic trident he carried as his symbol of power speared into the center of the whirling maelstrom, and flicked towards me a clamshell.

"Inside you'll find the means to their salvation. Use it. Find the tome. Send it to her. Save her. Begone... and good luck..."

And with that, I was thrown from his presence, across the planes of eternity... and back to my room at the Goldshire Inn.

Next to me, on the bed, rested a clam shell easily as large as a giant's fist... and from the slightly parted lid emanated a sharp, blue light.

The Temple

If there had been much oxygen in the water, deep inside the lost temple of the Kedge, or even a surface from which to view it, witnesses would have described the water's state as 'frothing'.

Back and forth swung fiery blade, and pointed scepter. Great gouts of flame, and jagged bolts of lightning struck the seahorses. The holy shine of heals being channeled made the surroundings glow, as the Blessing of Nife's righteous blue aura struck out repeatedly against evil foes.

The Journal

During my research to save my younger daughter, I discovered - well, not quite a prophecy, but a vague mention - of an evil that would try to destroy the love of music.

I found this extremely interesting, as music is a nonliving entity, that is given form through minstrels and bards.

I researched it further. I found another text to say that 'the one with Favor from her god would love the music of his soul, and evil will striketh at him through her.'

I've no idea what this means, or why it came up along my quest for knowledge to find the answers for my family.

The Past - The Meeting of Hearts

Years ago... on the shores of the Oasis of Marr...

The staccato reverbrations echoed off the walls surrounding the oasis as the sisters and their new companions - elf and Vah Shir - fought orcs along the area known as the Orc Highway. Barely audible above the ringing of steel against steel, grunts of pain, and the inhuman chanting of the orcish priests, it steadily increased in volume.

The younger rested as best she could, her magicks taxed, the elder drawing the attention of the orcs charging for her, having recognized her as the healer of the small party.

Their wounds becoming dire, and a madman suddenly attacking the younger, the drumming - unnoticed by the fighters - stopped, and an elven figure dropped out of the air unseen by either side. Lute replaced drum in hand, and he began to play a replenishing melody for those around him.

Staggering paladin became refreshed, failing ranger stood stronger, hidden rogue began stabbing more sure. Priestess stood and placed a healing prayer on the three as her magicks recovered.

As the din of battle faded away, the four fighters looked at the wandering minstrel and thanked him. He smiled, bid them good day, and vanished...

But a blessing upon the paladin allowed her to see him still floating there quietly.

As they resumed their fight, she kept sneaking glances at the elf out of the corner of her eye, and felt her heart warming. Tiny strains of humming occasionally caressed her ears, even beneath the garish helmet she wore, and she felt empowered by his music.

And somewhere nearby, a completely invisible being - even to the paladin's blessing - noticed the change, marked it, and vanished in a puff of magic to inform its master.

The Past - After the Meeting of Hearts

Shortly thereafter, in the ether between worlds...

"So the elder has fallen in love with him, has she... I shall make ready my plan. It may take some time to come to fruition, but when it is complete, he will lose everyone he loves, and The Others' plan will take effect..."

The amorphous being turned to a nearby spirit, floating in the ether. It twisted the 'creature,' gave it an aura of evil, shaped it into what some would call a water elemental, and threw it across the nothingness, aiming for the world called Norrath.

The Temple

The seahorse bodies disposed of in the entrance hall, the Knight swam back to the top central dome of the inner Temple. Below, watching her, the humanoid fish looked at her. The distance between them, bridged only by cold, dark water, would normally have not allowed the erudite to see the creature.
But the plainsight enhancement of her helm brightened her vision, and she saw him preparing a scroll, saw him in the throes of spellcasting. A sudden tickle of the hairs on the back of her neck alerted her, and she pushed herself aside, dodging a lightning bolt which ricocheted off the ceiling, and off to one side where it dissipated. Bracing her legs against the ceiling, Arrana tensed, and sprung deeper into the inner sanctum, arm outstretched, Windrider's Lance locked firmly in hand.

The fishman dodged. Another unholy chant caused her neck to tingle, and away the Lance was cast, and shield raised, blocking the string of fireballs, repelling them into a cloud of boiled seawater.

Arrana started her own chant, stunning the last of the Kedge, then completed a second which drained some of his mental energies. She saw him stagger, and he stopped mid-chant of yet another spell.

Some Months Ago

The ether between worlds after a very strange, unprovoked attack...

Miniscule trails of glowing vapor gradually came into existence near the amorphous being, and slowly coalesced into the remains of the water elemental.

The being stretched out part of itself, and absorbed the elemental. If the being had eyes, they would have widened at what it learned from the elemental's tattered remains.

Suddenly expelled from the being's body, the elemental reformed a short distance away. It shrunk in on itself as the being's ire began to build.

Its ethereal voice rang out loudly, if volume could be given a quantity in such surroundings. "WHAT DO YOU MEAN SHE WAS TALLER?"

The elemental imploded into nothingness.

The Temple

The broken body of the last of the Kedge floated near the ceiling, his robes shredded, features unrecognizable. Turning to the wrapped body of her still-breathing sister, Arrana tugged and swam deeper with her into the depths of the Temple.

Complete silence rang in the Knight's ears, a sharp counterpoint to the sounds of battle she'd been inundated with over the last few hours as she journeyed here. From her pack, Arrana drew the Tome, wrapped again in its protective coverings, and slid the gem from under her chestplate. Shining dimly, she felt it pulsing slowly as she placed her sister upon the star-shaped altar at the bottom.

Arrana breathed deeply, and began to carefully unwrap her cocooned sister.


Mummy-like wrappings floating away, Arrana gazed lovingly at her sister - still catatonic and without pain from Lanadena's draught - and stretched, working the kinks out of her muscles.

Around Unu's neck Arrana tied the sapphire, and pulled a small crystal from her pocket. Enacting its magic with a couple words, a bubble of air formed around the altar. Unwrapping the tome, she turned to the last page.

The Journal

The entry is smudged with blood, dark soot, and tears.

And so it comes to the end. I lay here battered and broken before the Dark Portal of Azeroth, the object of one quest in my hands. I try to imagine the world that the spell's utterance will create, and I'm both thrilled and scared... But the important quest, the one to save my daughters, is the one I will finish. If I do not...

If I do not send this near-sapphire crystal... and my journal... They will fall, and the hope of many people will be lost.

So into the ether I toss this package - tome, crystal now inserted into my old Oceanlord medallion... And I can only hope the last vestiges of my Norrathian magicks can direct it to her...

Before I finish this, instructions must be imparted.

Step one: Shatter the crystal over the corrupted's body in a consecrated temple of the corrupted's deity.
Step two: Brace yourself.

Not too difficult, aye?

I wish you luck. If I perish with one other wish, it would have been to actually see you, to meet you, to see the women you've both become... And to thank you for giving me the strength throughout the years to keep on going.

Thank you, my daughters, and I hope that my sacrifice is not in vain.

I love you.

The Temple

Unu's eyes opened briefly as Arrana steadied her grip on the War Maul. She saw none of the love, the spirit, felt none of the connection that she used to have in her sister. In her mind, the Knight heard a very faint voice saying, "I love you, Arrana."

A single tear forming in the corner of her eye, Arrana's arms swung over her head, propelling the War Maul, then snapped forward, faster, faster, and came crushing down on the suddenly brightly shining sapphire.

Light flashed; time seemed to stop. A brilliant aura of blue enveloped the Maul, travelled up Arrana's arms, and surrounded her, as a similarly brilliant white aura ensconced the body beneath the gem. Silence pervaded the bubble of air, deep in the heart of the last Temple of the Oceanlord, until a slight crack was heard.

The War Maul vanished from Arrana's hands, allowing the Knight a full view of her sister's body. Tongues of white flame lapped at Unu's body, bits and parts of it vanishing under the onslaught, leaving a deep blackness in its place. From her legs and her arms, in towards her torso the aura travelled, as Arrana stood motionless, powerless, weeping.

The eyes opened again - and this time, they returned to the original amber color that used to belong to Unu - even though they rested in a head formed of complete corruption. Again in her mind, Arrana heard her voice saying, "Thank you..." before the orbs vanished.

White flame writhed with blackness, shattering it, splitting it apart, spreading it so far when all that remained was the crushed sapphire and a floating point of purest white light, the sapphire fell to dust. As the point of light began to rise from the altar, one last form of blackness reappeared from nowhere, striking it - and for a moment it seemed to do nothing. But then a scream erupted in Arrana's mind, the most silent and yet painfully near scream she'd ever heard or felt - and the point broke, smaller parts of it floating away.

Arrana yelled, that single syllable of negation carrying with it all of her will and righteousness. The last vestiges of corruption vanished completely, as the points of light began to whirl slowly in a circle. Faster and faster they whirled, til one fragment left the others and struck Arrana squarely in the chest.

The rest, spinning so fast the seperate parts could no longer be discerned, launched straight up, through the ceiling, and away. Arrana fell to her knees, sobbing uncontrollably.

Outside in the cauldron, onlookers would have seen a brilliant point of light flaring up from the center of the volcanic lake, flying into the sky, where it broke apart, some pieces falling back to Norrath, and others continuing on into the stars.

The whirling effect of the priestess' departing spirit caused a whirlpool to form inside the temple, abolishing the air bubble erected by Arrana. Kneeling still in the center of the altar, unperturbed, she looked up at a sound. A crystalline portal slowly began to form below her, in the marble of the altar, and into it she fell.

She stood at the end of the bed, laying her sword at the feet of her Chieftess, tears streaming down her face.

She stood off to the side of two women - one glowing with deific radiance, the other nearly nude, kneeling in supplication. The goddess waved, and the other, a Feir'dal elf, stood.
The slender Koada'dal elf nodded slightly as a strange violet magic began to surround her, the force of it creating a fast swirling wind within the chamber.
Suddenly a shaft of white magic hit the feir'dal. The elf opened her mouth to scream but nothing came out.
The deity held the magic as she watched the sliver of a girl rise into the column. As the child disappeared, the violet swirl began to fade and the wind died down. After a few moments, all was quiet and the goddess returned to keeping watch on the children of Norrath, a small silver tear running down her cheek.

She stood slowly, her eyes on the scene before her, looking out over the stars. Flames danced, beams of light streamed across her vision, as the hulls of broken ships drifted dead in space. Brushing back a lock of chestnut hair, her fingers grazed the metallic earring at her ear, and she grinned, then stood strong.
An order given, then carried out, and she knew her duty.

Lights snapped on, their electric hum vibrating her bones. Their stark beams highlighted her target, down in the center of the makeshift arena, face distorted from the dose of holy water it had been given.
She jumped down from her vantage point, landing squarely on her feet, and walked slowly to the center. Dropping into a battle crouch, brushing her blonde hair from her face, she charged at her opponent, determined to win, determined to teach.

She surveyed her home, in shambles and a lot of her family dead or missing. Leaning down, she plucked her shining spear from the weapons' rack, and looked to the place the singing sword had been up til recently, then to the armor dummy that now wore the leather exercise gear.
Reaching into a pouch at her waist, she turned, scattered some magical dust about her, and called for her spirit wolf. As she exited the room, her guard backed her up - the blue-clad elf, the orange-clad human, and the leather-clad shamaness.

Straightening after the chamber shook her to her knees, she placed a hand on the console for support. Turning to the screen, three vessels approached. Turning to her grey-skinned companion, she gave a suggestion. His alien countenance brightened in surprise, and she turned to watch her suggestion carried out. Moments later, a flare erupted from hyperspace, as the four vessels were destroyed.

Sitting in the shadow of a pile of driftwood, the dark-haired woman finished her impromptu meal and drew her sword. A sound caught her attention; she leapt up and faced her foe. Taller than she, the hunched-over walking fish-man erupted with its horrible gurgling sound.
A quick, intense battle, and the creature fell... and she turned again at another sound, her ship's wheel shield blocking the downward swing of a halberd. Brushing a lock of hair from her eyes quickly, she wrinkled her nose at its stench as her blade bit into its leg.

Resting on a log, she looked up at his words. His finger gently brushed her lips, silencing her words. He grinned; they embraced.


The voice spoke quietly in her mind as she looked down at the world... "The faces you saw... were those like you, with a purpose, a task, and more courage than can be explained in mere words. This is your new home now. You'll meet a lot of familiar souls, and many more unfamiliar ones. Some of them have changed, but the world is completely different. Your task is the same... Find a way to save her. Find a way to survive... and in the process, help them."

A tall pool of water, rippling gently in the ethereal breeze, sparkled before her. She stepped forward... and found herself in a desolate wasteland, naked, alone, and standing at the feet of a towering demonic creature - who just happened to be holding a sword bigger than itself.