Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Words of Warning

(Normally, these pieces of fiction percolate in my head and in draft form for quite a while before I'm satisfied enough to release them into the wild. This time it was a bit different.

I wrote this very quickly, within the span of a few hours, and it passed through a couple of basic tweaks after I removed one big chunk that really had nothing to do with the story at hand. I'm not totally satisfied with it, but the release of Wrath Classic forced my hand.

As you probably know from reading the blog, I'm not fond of the entire Malygos questline. It makes no sense, and even if you knew the comics and/or other fiction Blizz puts out that isn't in game (see: why the hell Varian Wrynn is King of Stormwind in Wrath of the Lich King and not his kid) it still doesn't make sense. But it is what it is, and I'm determined to make some lemonade out of the lemons that Blizz presented us with.

Hence this piece.

As is usual, this is a piece of short fiction. Any resemblance to people, living or dead (or a dragon, I suppose) is purely coincidental and really, I'd have to ask if you've been dropping acid if you think dragons are real. Card and company are property of Redbeard, who thought up this whole mess. Blizz retains the rights to their characters and setting; this was based on Wrath of the Lich King Classic, and not Retail.)

Words of Warning
by Redbeard

“Do you really have to go, Aunt Cardwyn?” Lewys asked me for what had to be the twentieth time today.

My nephew flopped on my bed and propped up his chin with his hands, while he watched me organize my pack. He was flanked by his younger sister Starlys, whose face was contorted into a permanent pout. Their big sister, Carys, made her displeasure known by her pointed absence from my room, in the vain hope that giving me the silent treatment would make me come to my senses and stay back at the farm instead of heading off to Northrend, the fabled northern continent where the Kingkiller Arthas ruled.

“Yes, I really do,” I replied with a sigh. The kids were making this harder on me than they likely knew, as once my temper cooled off after the flashbacks from Naxxramas I found myself reluctant to leave home. I had made the commitment to finish what I’d started, to see Kel’Thuzad destroyed once and for all, but I was afraid. I knew what it was like inside that dreaded floating citadel, and I would have to walk those passages once more, facing old enemies that no doubt could smell my fear.

“Why?” Starlys demanded. “Why are you going, Car-wyn?”

“Because Kel’Thuzad is back, kiddo. You won’t remember this since you were just a baby, but a couple of years ago Kel’Thuzad led the Scourge in an invasion of Stormwind, and the Scourge even attacked the farm. Auntie Evelyn sent Carys to Stormwind to find me, and I brought friends here to help fight them off.”

“Oh!” Lewys exclaimed. “I remember that! Elsharin came and brought Elves with her!”

It would figure that my nephew was more impressed with Elsharin bringing some Silver Covenant Rangers here than seeing my friends, since they played Rangers and Trolls just like I did when I was their age. Still, my mistress never let on exactly how she pulled that off; she only vaguely mentioned that someone owed her a favor.

“Yes,” I replied, stuffing another article of clothing into my pack. “When that attack was over, I swore an oath that I would defeat Kel’Thuzad for threatening your lives. I thought I’d fulfilled it when we killed Kel’Thuzad, but he won’t stay dead.”

“Can’t you just stay here and protect us?”

“I wish it were that easy, Lewys. But if Naxxramas comes here to Elywnn, we likely have lost everywhere else. Even in Orgrimmar and Ironforge. It’s better to defeat them far away from home, so the rest of Azeroth can fight together.”

“Like how Auntie Evelyn fought at… Hyjeel?”


“Yeah, at Hyjal.”

“Yes, like that.” Mistress Evelyn spoke about that battle in only vague terms, but out of that she gained far more sympathy for the plight of the Orcs than in all those years of the Second War. A sympathy, I might add, that was not shared by Mom and Dad. Still, the formal letter from Thrall thanking me for my part in defeating would-be usurper Rend Blackhand was framed and hung on the wall in the house. “I’m going to fight the Scourge far away so that they never come here to the farm.”

“We’re going to miss you, Aunt Cardwyn,” Lewys added.

“I’ll miss you too, kiddo.” I wanted so much to tell him that he had a talent for Magecraft, but I didn’t want him to get a huge ego over it. Better to let it lie for now and me just be there to nudge that talent along slowly than try to force things. “While I’m not around, you three are supposed to keep up your studies with Auntie Evelyn, right? I’m sure she’ll keep you busy so the days will just fly on by.”

“Hmmph.” Starlys doubled down on her pout.

“Well,” I said, cinching my pack closed, “that’s most everything I need. I can always come back and grab something if I missed it, so I’m sure that I’ll see you three from time to time. After all, it’s nice and warm down h—”

A shadowy blur zipped past my window, followed by Carys shouting something outside.

I whirled and put myself between the kids and the opening, summoning the arcane into a protective shield. Were the Scourge here already?

The door slammed, Carys’ voice carrying throughout the house. “Awwwwwwbeeeeeee!” she cried in one long wail that carried her up the steps and into my room. “Awbee is here, Aunt Cardwyn!!” she shouted, bursting through the door.

I relaxed and snuffed out the shield. I was getting too jumpy.

All three kids began shrieking and ran out of my room in a collective tornado.

“Wow,” I said into the sudden emptiness. “At least I know where I stand in the pecking order.”

Mom and my brother’s wife Karyn met me at the bottom of the stairs. “Awbee is back,” Mom said, her lips twitching with suppressed mirth.

“I can’t hear you, I’m deaf from all the shouting,” I replied with a smile, then allowed it to fade. “I doubt this is just a random visit.”

“Like mother like daughter. Let’s go see what Awbee wants.”

We came out the front door and watched as the children flocked around Awbee, jumping up and down and trying to figure out how to give the Blue Dragon whelp a hug without getting scratched. Nearby, Dad and Jas leaned against a railing, bemused smiles on their faces.

“Yes,” the whelp said, extending their wings, “it’s good to see you again, children.”

“Awbeeeee!!!” Starlys screamed, jumping up and down in place.

“This is the happiest I’ve seen them all week,” Karyn said as she snuggled up against my brother. “Who knew that all they needed was a visit from a dragon?”

I snorted at the sheer incredulity of it all. Sure, a pair of Mages may live here, but this was still a small farm in Eastern Elwynn, and a dragon whelp dropping by for tea had to be one of the most unlikely things I could imagine. What was next, the Warchief of the Horde assisting during next harvest?

“Carys, did you—” Awbee began and then the whelp noticed me on the steps. “Oh good. I will be back shortly, because I have a message for Cardwyn. Wait here, please.”

Awbee flew over and landed on the railing, their blue scales gleaming in the sun.

“Good to see you again, Awbee,” I greeted the whelp, inclining my head and saluting with my arm and fist crossed against my chest. “You’ve grown since we last met.”

“Greetings to you, Cardwyn Songshine. Yes, I have molted once since Mother took me back home.”

“I hear you have a message for me?”

“Yes, Mother sent me to find you. She hoped you had not left for Northrend yet.”

I suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised that Awbee’s mother, Haleh, the Matron Protectorate of the Blue Flight, knew of my impending departure. After all, we’d met a few times. Still, I was concerned that Haleh found me notable enough to send Awbee here. “Is it a private message?”

“I was to keep it away from the children, but if you decide your family is trustworthy then there is no need to stand apart. I will defer to your judgement.”

“Very well,” I replied, “I have nothing to hide. What’s the message?”

Awbee paused a moment, the whelp’s expression changing to distress. “Something is wrong with Father, and Mother is dreadfully worried.”

Malygos the Spellweaver? Surely Awbee –or Haleh— didn’t think that I could do anything for a sick adult dragon, let alone the Dragon Aspect of Magic. I made it a point to not attract the attention of the powerful of Azeroth, and the Dragon Aspects are about as powerful as you can get. But if a Dragon Aspect were deathly sick or dying, I couldn’t stand idly by and hope that he got better. “Is your father ill?” I asked, concerned.

“No,” the whelp replied, then paused a moment. “Well, not ill or injured in the way I was. I don’t understand it all, but his proclamations are such that Mother sent me to warn you.”

“Should I go to see your mother?” The snowy land of Mazthoril was half a world away and then some, but if I really needed to get there quickly I could probably manage in a couple of weeks. It’s not like I could ask my local blue dragon for a portal.

The whelp’s oversized crystalline eyes grew even larger as the lids peeled back. “No!” Awbee exclaimed. “It is too dangerous for you to go. The others obey Father’s will.”

Oh oh. “And what is your father’s will?”

“That all rogue arcane wielders be purged.”

That didn’t make any sense. Did Awbee mean hedge wizards? People who aren’t affiliated with the Kirin Tor? Mages who are part of a criminal gang, such as the Wastewanders? How could the Blue Dragonflight keep it all sorted? “Wait,” I replied, “‘rogue arcane wielders’ could mean almost anything. How is this being interpreted?”

“You comprehend the problem,” Awbee’s voice came out as almost a whine. “Many of us were confused as well, until Father made his intentions clear. Everyone not directly working for Father is considered a rogue wizard.”

My heart skipped a beat. Lewys! “Everyone?”

The whelp followed my gaze to my nieces and nephew, who were performing a silly dance nearby and singing Awbee’s name. “Oh,” Awbee said quietly. “I suspected as much. Talent does run in families.”

“Are they in danger?” Mom appeared at my elbow, her voice hard.

“Not yet; Father is focusing on the North first.”

“Quel’thalas?” I asked. If the Blue Dragonflight were planning to attack there, the alarm had to be raised. I began working out in my head how I would reach Elsharin’s niece in time.

“The far north. Mother knows that you will go there to oppose the Lich King.”

So Northrend, then. I wondered why Malygos was starting there. “Why do I get the feeling that the Scourge are involved somehow?” I grumbled.

“What can we do here?” Dad piped up.

“We will be here, Darin Songshine,” the whelp replied. “I will inform Mother and she will protect this place. We honor our debts.”

I crossed my arms. Reliance upon some of the same dragonflight who wished us harm didn’t sound like a good idea to me. I’d no doubt that Awbee wanted to protect us, but that’s a big leap from the whelp’s desire and whether Haleh would send aid at all. And how were we to know that the Spellweaver wouldn’t force her –or those she sent to protect us— into obedience? I could easily see how this could all go wrong. “Awbee, I’m not so sure that it would work. Wouldn’t your father get suspicious?”

“While it may seem that most of us follow Father, not all do. Mother and others are rallying support for all wielders of the arcane, and Mother is using me as messenger. We can protect this part of Elwynn.”


“We have ways.” And I thought I was bad at being evasive.

“Fine,” I grumped, “you don’t have to tell me how. But all the assurances in the world won’t stop a Blue Flight determined to kill my nieces and nephew.”

“Cardwyn, you misunderstand. People here honor the Blue Flight. You saved me and others from Nefarian, and you let me return to my kin. Others in your place may not have done so, and we do not forget. The Dragonflights know your name and those of your companions.”

I was pretty sure that Haleh would have been impossible to stop from coming and getting Awbee regardless of what I did, but I let it pass. “Maybe I should stay back and protect them after all,” I admitted.

“The Lich King still must be defeated, Card,” Mom said quietly. “You can go where we can’t. And we are not defenseless here, either.”

“Don’t fear for your kin, Cardwyn,” Awbee added. “Mother’s warning was to prepare you for what is ahead of you in Northrend. There you will find an enemy you did not expect, but also allies.”

The whelp straightened to their full height. “I wish to spend some time with the children before I go. I am bound for the Temple to bring messages from Mother to the Queen, but I have missed seeing them. Goodbye, Cardwyn; we will meet again.” Awbee leapt upward and flapped over to my nieces and nephew, who erupted in cheers.

“You must go now, Card,” Jas spoke up. “I know you wanted to finish the job with Kel’Thuzad, but this is personal.”

“Damn straight it’s personal,” I replied as I watched the four frolic near the barn. “But I have no idea how I’m going to do it. I can’t just go up to Malygos and ask him if he needs a hug.”

“Awbee mentioned allies,” Dad mused, rubbing the stubble on his chin. “Could there be a Fifth Column of Blue Flight resistance?”

“If I thought we were in a precarious position, any resistance to his directives would be even more so. Haleh would be fighting against family and her mate. I can’t even begin to understand the relationship complexities of dragonflights, but I believe that a civil war brewing like that would be devastating.”

“Card,” Mom said quietly, “you’re dancing around the obvious. What if in the end you have to defeat Malygos to ensure our family’s safety?”

“I—I don’t know, Mom. Just the concept of it alone is hard for me to wrap my head around. I mean, Deathwing is still around, somewhere, and it took an army to kill Onyxia and Nefarian each. I don’t know how we’d manage it without assistance, and I don’t think any other Dragon Aspect would even consider it. If we tried, we might find ourselves fighting three dragonflights, not just one.”

“Well, Elsharin likes to invoke the Lifebinder from time to time; I sincerely hope that the Dragon Queen would listen to a plea for aid.”

My stomach did a flip flop. “Nobles give me hives; are you actually suggesting that I seek an audience with the Dragon Queen?”

“You heard Awbee; the dragons know your name. Maybe you can use that to your advantage.”

I sighed. “And then we’ll see if the Queen really has earned the name The Lifebinder.”

“Better you than me, Card.”

I snorted. “True. Okay, first things first, I go to Northrend and find out what’s really going on with both the Scourge and the Blue Flight. Once I attune myself to a portal up there, I can then come home, and we’ll plot our next move. Hopefully Linna will get reassigned from Outland, so that she can discuss this with us.”


Setting my shoulders straight, I faced Jas and Karyn. Their faces were drawn, like they’d just been told their kids had an incurable disease. And in a way, they had. “We’re going to find a way to keep them safe,” I swore, “I promise you that.”

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