Across worlds, across universes, throughout many different species and cultures (at least ones that have a diurnal cycle), there is a universal truth that practically any sentient being will agree with.
Mornings come way too soon.
A soft knock on the door to his quarters reminded Dahkar, Archmage of the Tirisgarde, that this truth still remained in his own universe, and he groaned quietly to himself. Sitting up in his own bed, he rubbed the sleep from his eyes and called “Enter” to the man waiting on the other side. He didn’t bother to look in the direction of the door, or stop attempting to clear the bleariness, as he knew full well who it was. It was an unspoken rule among the Tirisgarde that only one man had the authority to wake the Archmage, and that was the order’s second-in-command, Meryl Felstorm. Sure enough, when Dahkar finally removed his hands from his face and looked in the direction of the person who had entered his quarters, he found himself looking at his Forsaken friend and confidant. Meryl carried a large stack of unfurled scrolls, doubtless various items of business the two of them needed to deal with.
“One o’ dese days, Meryl, you gonna have to let me sleep in later, mon.” Dahkar said with a mock edge to his voice.
“Oh, excellent, Dahkar! I wasn’t aware you’d found a way to permanently seal the Tomb of Sargeras from the outside! Or perhaps you’ve reasoned out a spell that will enchant Sargeras to end his crusade to kill us all and instead spread love and cheer throughout the Great Dark?” Meryl replied, his voice dripping with mirthful sarcasm, a grin coming slowly spreading across his face.
Dahkar simply smiled and shook his head ruefully. He quickly conjured a glass of water for himself and downed it, hoping the cold liquid would purge the last vestiges of tiredness from his body. “Aight, mon, what we got today?”
Meryl’s grin quickly ended, his expression becoming all business. He handed Dahkar a single scroll, still rolled and sealed. “First, and possibly most pressing, one of our apprentices was given this by a vrykul warrior on the streets of Dalaran, along with instructions that it be read only by you. I believe there was a bit of threatening involved. Luckily, the apprentice had the good sense to be diplomatic about it, and brought it straight to me rather than indulge in his idle curiousity.”
Dahkar accepted the scroll and began examining the seal. As he suspected, Odyn’s sign was pressed into the wax. He quickly broke the seal and unrolled the parchment. There were only a few words written on it, and he recognized the handwriting of the Battlelord of the Valarjar immediately.
We strike tonight. Be ready.
Dahkar looked up into the magically glowing eyes of his second-in-command. Concern showed on Meryl’s face. Briefly, Dahkar admired just how expressive the dead flesh on his face still was. He made a quick mental note to ask Meryl if he’d used some sort of magical means to facilitate that. If he survived the night’s events. And that was a big if.
“It’s happening, then?” Meryl asked, snapping him out of his reverie.
“It be happenin. De Battlelord be callin on all his allies. His friends. We be goin into da Tomb. One way or anudda….dis ends.”
“Well then, I suppose we’d best get through the rest of the items then. After all, you only have the fate of all Azeroth resting on your shoulders, right?” Meryl replied, smiling as he said it.
Dahkar shook his head, a smile forming on his own lips. “What else is dere, mon?”
Meryl return his gaze to the stacks of parchment. “First of all, Modera and Esara returned from their expedition to Suramar, successful in their mission. The Nightborne terrorists have been dealt with, the First Arcanist sends her thanks, and so on. They also managed ro recover a vial of liquid from the Nightwell, one that had been isolated from the destruction of the greater whole, and still contained a good deal of power. They handed it over to Kalec, he and Alodi are already working on extracting it’s inherent arcane energy to add to Felo’melorn”. He quickly spared a glance to the elven blade, resting on the dais where Dahkar kept it when not wielding it against the Legion, surrounded by protective spells to prevent anyone but him from removing it. “The Invokers they took with them, however, all sustained injuries ranging from minor to serious, none that should prove fatal, but they will been some time spent with the healers to fully recover. Grand Conjurer Mimic, as you might surmise, is already requesting more of the Tirisgarde’s resources to refine her training methods and provide us a new crop of them. You know her, she takes it as a personal point of failure when they don’t come back in one piece. However, since we really have far too many things that need our attention, I decided we could not afford the wait and approved the allocation”.
“Agreed” Dahkar replied evenly. It didn’t bother him that Meryl hadn’t asked for his approval, Dahkar trusted him to manage the day to day minutiae of the Tirisgarde completely, allowing him to focus on the bigger picture. And he was right, there was always too many issues the Tirisgarde needed to address. The Legion’s assault on Azeroth was both relentless and wide spread across the Broken Isles. They were frankly lucky that between their work and that of the other Orders, the Legion had mostly been contained on the Broken Isles. “What else?”
Meryl ruffled through a few more sheets of parchment. “Actually, nothing else pressing. Go and prepare for the delve into the Tomb. I’ll handle things here….and prepare everyone for the possibility that you don’t succeed”.
Dahkar glowered at Meryl “You got so little faith in me, mon?”. He smirked slightly, betraying his lack of anger.
Meryl smiled back. “I have all the faith in the world and beyond, Archmage. You and your allies have accomplished the impossible. It is why so many of you are in charge of the other orders that have assembled down there on the Shore. But you know we must be prepared for every eventuality. Even if that eventuality is likely to lead to our deaths regardless.”
Dahkar stood. He considered summoning the regalia he wore into battle, brimming with enchantments of various sorts, but in the end decided for a simple robe, common among the rank and file of the Kirin Tor apprentinces. He quickly donned it and grabbed one of his lesser magical staves. He turned back to Meryl. “I got much preparin to do of my own den. Can’t be any less prepared den me own ordah. Folks might start talkin’.”
Meryl laughed “Indeed. Plus I imagine you’ll want to spend some time with a certain Archdruid before you both are needed at Deliverance Point.”
The two of them exited Dahkar’s quarters together. Meryl turned towards the chamber where the Forge of the Guardian was kept, doubtless to check on Kalec’s progress. Dahkar headed for the portal leading to Dalaran City. There was no need for any further goodbyes between them, both knew Dahkar would return to the Hall of the Guardian later that evening, they’d say proper farewells then.
For now, he wanted very much to find someone very important to him. Someone who no doubt had also received a similarly sealed message from Skyhold this morning. Someone who understood the weight of the responsibility that being Conjurer of the Tirisgade pressed upon him, because she bore a similar weight of her own leading the Cenarion Circle.
It didn’t take him long to find her. He had guessed, correctly, that she would be found in the Scribe’s Sacellum shop, working with the scribes there to create the wonderous Vantus Runes they had discovered. They had proven invaluable during their raid on the Nighthold, and as she was the sole person in their band of allies capable of crafting them, he knew she would want to be prepared with as many as they might possibly need.
Professor Pallin, the gnome who headed the shop, was overseeing the apprentices helping in the craft. He threw Dahkar a grin and a wave, then gestured to the table off to the side in the shop where the object of Dahkar’s search sat, busily drawing away. Archdruid Adaeze, head of the Cenarian Circle, current wielder of the Scythe of Elune, and the woman who held Dahkar’s very heart.
Dahkar quietly walked behind her, taking only the smallest of precautions to minimize the noise he made as he approached. Adaeze tended to get absorbed in her work and shut out the rest of the world.
“Ello, my love” he quietly whispered in her ear, wrapping his arms around her. She jumped, giving only a very small gasp, and glared at him in her peripheral vision. “I be gettin you fo dat” she muttered back at him. Her harsh look faded as she then returned the embrace.
“You got da lettah too?” she whispered.
“Ya. I’m heah to get some supplies, but I needed to see you first. Dun worry, I know you want to get dese finished now, so I won’t stay to distract ya. But later, ya?”
They released their embrace. Adaeze turned to look up at him. ” O’course. Da usual spot?”
“I be dere, wit ya favorites” he replied. He bent down to touch their foreheads together. Both briefly closed their eyes, then reopened them to stare into each other’s gaze. Soon, far too soon for his liking, he rose again and left, letting her resume her work.
Their “usual spot” had changed many times over the years, but currently was a small grove in the Northern part of Dalaran, not far from the statue of Antonidas. They’d meet there later, share a meal, and some additional private moments, before Tetsemi expected them. And then…then would begin yet another battle in what seemed to be the never ending series of them in their lives. He wondered if there would ever be a day when “trying to kill something to stop it from wiping out life on Azeroth” was not an event in their immediate future.
Dahkar shook his head. No point in thinking about it now. Without a means to end the Legion’s endless numbers and regeneration cycle, it wouldn’t be a day that came anytime soon. For now, he needed to focus on getting what he needed for the Tomb. Sealing the Legion’s latest portal into Azeroth was a stopgap measure, but a necessary one.
Hope you all like the glimpse into Dahkar’s life!