Journals of Alhazred

Fiction based on the World of Warcraft game setting

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Tales of the Fallen: Kralnor's Staff

This is a stand-alone story to celebrate the genius that was Kralnor. For those of you wishing to find out more about this wunderkin, I recommend http://www.thatsjuicy.com/kralnor/book.htm


For Kralnor, your staff was indeed a good one…
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I was studying the alchemical uses for Fadeleaf the first time I came across the name of Kralnor. My master was fond of giving me quizzes on his favorite hobby, and that day saw me deep in the stacks of the library that the Conclave of Warlocks maintained.

It was not uncommon at any given time to find numerous apprentices tracking down this bit of arcane knowledge or that piece of trivial lore for one of their masters projects, so it was not surprising the see my friend Malachi two tables over. Only the top of his curly brown hair was visible above the fortress of books he had built around himself, and I smiled at the thought of him feverishly scribbling notes from one of the military treatise he always found so fascinating.

With a shake of my head, I turned back to the discourses of the warlock Alaric on the many, and rather boring, uses of Fadeleaf. After my fourth yawn in as many minutes, I closed the dusty old tome and decided that Malachi obviously needed rescuing from his barricade.

Quietly walking up behind my friend, I smacked him on the back of the head. With a startled yelp, Malachi jerked around in his chair and gave me an evil glare. “Damn it Abdul, I thought you were Yorgi come to tell me I had left a smudge in one of the books again!” Yorgi was the librarian, and spoke of in whispers by all the young warlock apprentices. Quick with a curse of silence when anyone so much as sneezed from the dust accumulated by all the many grimoires, Yorgi was also known to give his imp free reign to wander the stacks looking for young boys trying to catch up on much needed sleep. It was agreed by us all, that taking a succubus to one of the grand dances at the palace would have been preferable than to be in his ill graces.

“Stop barking like a gnoll before you drawn The Grumplock down on us fool!” I admonished in jest. Malachi quickly looked around then grinned sheepishly. “Aye your right, but you still had no cause to hit me.” He said. “Glad you’re here though, you should read this.”

Looking over his shoulder, I saw that I had been correct. It was indeed another of the accounts of the Second War that he always found so enthralling. Malachi simply could not put dreams of battleground glory and martial exploits out of his mind. A large lad with surprising physical strength, it was not shocking that he excelled at the weapons training that we all were obliged to take part in. But for Malachi, the lessons were more than simple precautions for a warlock that might find themselves in a situation were magic was slower than a good sword. I myself was fond of dagger work, and took some pride in praise from my instructor, but felt that if it ever came to me relying on a dagger for protection, I deserved what came for being unprepared. Malachi on the other hand came into his own when he held a fighting staff in his hands. Gone were any doubts about his skills or the taunting of the other apprentices when he was slow to grasp even the basics of rudimentary magic. Many were the snide comments that found their reply on the practice grounds at the end of Malachi’s stave.

“What now, some account of Sir Extremely Boring and how he saved the Hand-Maidens of Selune from their virginity?” I sked, in as bored a tone as I could. “Very funny, but no.” he said with exasperation. “This is an account of the Arch Warlock Kralnor, an how he fell holding the Searing Gorge pass from a Scourge incursion till Alliance troops could arrive.”

“So” I said

“So, Kralnor was the Warlock that perfected the technique for staff use while casting. He learned to alter the somatic gestures of many spells to be able to cast with one hand while welding a weapon.” Malachi told me. “It says here that his body was returned to the Conclave and buried in the Mausoleum of the Fallen.”

“I’m sure its all very noble and interesting, but how this Kralnor fell will not keep you from getting another trashing from your master Bogdan if he finds out you were in here skylarking again!” I told him. “I’m sure that is not the reason you were sent here Malachi. You really should be studying for you next test. I know you scored low marks on the last three you have taken.”

“True, but this could be something that might give me an edge.” He admitted. “I’m not as smart as you I know Abdul, but that just means I must find a way to play to my strengths.”

This was more wisdom than I was used to hearing from Malachi, and if he was willing to risk the ire of his teacher again so soon, then it must be something he thought worth the chance.

Taking a deep breath, I asked, “So tell me, what have you found so far?”

“Kralnor was said to have written down his fighting style along with his altered spells in a small manual. It may be that the manual was placed along with the rest of his most personal items in his crypt!” He said with more passion than I had seen him use for anything.

“Let me see, your plan then is to not only sneak into the Mausoleum of the Fallen, but then to rob the grave of this Kralnor?” I asked aghast.

“This manual could be what I’m looking for Abdul. With the knowledge it contains, I could start an arcane fighting school or find a position as a BattleLock in one of the Kings regiments. You know I will never have a seat of respect in the Conclave. I’ll make a good warlock, but not a great one. This might be my way of making a name for myself.” He said in all earnestness.

“What you could do is get yourself killed.” I told him. “But if you really mean to go ahead with this insanity, you will need someone with a little common sense.” I said with a smile. “When do you plan to do it?”

“Tonight. Bogdan is meeting with Master Algarve to discuss the relationship between our resurrection stones and soul shards. He won’t even know I have slipped out.” Malachi told me.

“Then I will tell Garza that I need to help you study for your next summoning test. He knows you, so might just believe that.” I said chuckling; “I’ll meet you at the Mausoleum after midnight.”

“Thanks, I knew I could count on you my friend.” He said as I gave his shoulder a companionable squeeze.

I returned then to my Fadeleaves and prayed that tonight would not go as badly as I knew it could…

****

I met Malachi at midnight. With the skills all young men bent on mischief master, it was not hard to elude the guards and make our way into the crypts. I did not fear magical traps or sentries, knowing that the Conclave traded shamelessly on their reputation to ensure that any covetous grave robber knew better than plying their trade in a tomb of warlocks. Our worst scenario was to be caught by the night watch on the way back out.

After searching for the better course of two hours, we finally found the resting place of Kralnor. The sarcophagus was impressive, being made of marble. Glyphs of Warding had been etched along its base and a crest was engraved upon the lid. Feeling more than slightly uncomfortable, I accepted one of the pry bars that Malachi had thoughtfully purchased in the Dwarvin district earlier that day.

“Ready?” I asked him

“It’s here! I know it!” he said as if to himself as he started to work the lid.

With another deep sigh, I shrugged and put my back to the effort. After a bit of near backbreaking effort, the lid finally shifted with a reluctant release of corpse gas. Gagging on the stench, I turned away as Malachi put those formidable shoulder of his to the task of pushing to lid all the way off. With a final explosive grunt of strain, Malachi succeeded in sending the lid crashing off its base.

I heard his exclamation as he peered into the sarcophagus and hurried to peek inside. Kralnor was nothing more than a yellowed skeleton encased in rotting silk robes. Clutched in his bony fingers, and running the length of his body, was a staff that gave off a faint silvery glow and seemed to be made of metal. Strangely, the stave seemed to also have a grainy pattern along its surface as of some highly polished wood.

“Do you know what that is?” Malachi turned and asked me, wonder in his eyes.

“An interesting alternative to glow lights?” I asked disgustedly.

“And you talk as if you’re the Gods gift to alchemy.” He said reproachfully; “All that horticulture knowledge and you don’t recognize Ironwood?”

“Ironwood?” I asked defensively.

“Yes, Ironwood. It comes from an extremely rare tree found in the oldest sacred groves. Harvested by druids and properly enchanted, its harder than dwarvish steel.” He exclaimed in exasperation. “It is also rumored to have the power to absorb some of the magical energies thrown at its welder to allow them to cast a stone form spell once a day.”

“So it’s a good staff.” I said in a huff

“It’s the best staff! There are warlocks that would give the entire contents of their lab for a staff such as this! Think of it Abdul, nearly unbreakable with the power of spell absorption, it can also channel the strength of the very stones…” He implored in near ecstasy.

“Warlock rocks. I get it, now can you take your new toy so we can leave?” I said testily.

Hurt by my cavalier attitude for so obviously a monumental treasure, Malachi turned back to the sarcophagus and gently pried the staff from Kralnor fingers. No sooner had the stave left its clutchs, the skeleton crumpled into dust; robes and all. Buried within the pile, was a worn leather bound book. With shaking hands, Malachi reverentially lifted the old tome from its resting place and opened the cover.

With his eyes alight and a look of pure excitement on his face, Malachi turned to me and said; “This is it! All of the secrets of his fighting art are here!”

“Great, we’ll both look it over at our leisure once we get the hell out of here!” I told him sarcastically.

“With luck we will make it of here sometime before dawn! “ I said furiously as I turned and started to walk away. “I for one don’t relish getting caught down here and reported to the Conclave.”

Just as we made it to the door of the crypt, we heard a sound behind us. Frightened out of our minds, we turned and beheld a ghostly figure leaning against the sarcophagus with its arms folded.

“Powers of Light Preserve Us!!” I cried out,the image of my life being ripped away by this spectre flashing through my mind.

Malachi took a shaking step forward toward the apparition. “We meant no harm Lord Kralnor.” He said with more steel in his voice than I thought anyone faced with such a sight ought to have. “Its criminal to let such gifts be lost to the ages. You have so much to impart to those of us you have left behind." He implored.

Kralnor’s ghost gazed at us in silence, with what I later swore was a twinkle in his eye. “Took someone this long to learn that huh? He said gruffly.

“And I suppose you believe you have the heart to take my teachings into the world boy? He asked Malachi with a scowl.

“Sir, I know my heart as well as my place in this world. Your techniques are the fulfillment of my path. I will do you justice.” Malachi told Kralnor with sincerity.

At that Kralnor gave Malachi a piercing stare, spending a long moment contemplating the young man before him. I believe he must have seen into my friends soul and knew the truth of his words for he eventually said; “ You may at that. Go with my blessing then, and leave me to my rest.”

“Thank you teacher!” blurted Malachi as he clutched the staff and book closer to his chest. “I will make you proud!”

“Get the F*** out I said!! My rest calls me and you two have disturbed me enough!! roared Kralnor. And with that, he faded away.

We both turned and fled as fast as our feet could carry us to the entrance of the Mausoleum. Taking just enough time to make sure the guard was not patrolling by, we ran till we came to the canal and there stopped before parting ways.

“You owe me Malachi.” I told him with a grin. “ That was the most idiotic thing I have ever done since meeting you!”

“Aye my friend, I know.” He admitted. “If you should ever have need of someone to guard your back, you have but to say the word and my arm is yours.”

I reached out and cuffed him quickly on the side of the head. “That’s what friends are for. Now I really must get home. If Graza finds me coming in at this hour, I’ll find myself feeling less charitable toward you in the morning. “ I said with a laugh. And with that, turned and started heading toward a long overdue rendezvous with my bed.

My last glimpse of Malachi that night was him standing at the edge of the canal, staff and book in hand wearing a foolish grin, bathed in moonlight and happier than I had know him since first we had met.

Yes, I looked forward to the next time he taught someone a lesson on the martial grounds…I looked forward to it indeed.


By the hand of Abdul Alhazred
Vizier of the Conclave of Warlocks

7 Comments:

Anonymous Zar said...

I cant put it in another words then AWSOME! Really good writing, kickass storylines and very nice interpretations of WoW.
Keep up the excellent work and you'll soon join Kralnor as one of the legends among warlocks.

//Zar

12:46 AM  
Blogger chiprj said...

I'm really glad you found a place to put these posts. Eventually, the wow post will go the way of the Kralnor post... Although, hopefully that will be much later, rather than sooner.

Keep up the great work!

1:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All I want to say is write more and write it faster.

kthxbye

4:29 PM  
Blogger Conundrum said...

very nice work again Alhazred! I <3 your stories :P
________________________________________
http://theconundrumjournals.blogspot.com

12:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kralnor was an orc. The Unholiest one, our lord Kralnor felt no compasssion towards the Alliance, as such that it is doubtful the Lord fell defending the Searing Gorge, for He would have more easily turned and shown the Alliance how to look it over instead. Also know this, young warlock. Kralnor did not die. Soon shall he return to crush the offhand users, and all shall be at the mercy of our Lord, while the true followers of the good Staff will be rewarded for our loyalty.

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