Krivax could feel his sense of excitement growing as he, a few other members of the delegation, and a small escort of knights left Lordaeron and began making their way to Dalaran.
The past week had been stressful, and the chance to be free of his normal responsibilities and instead spend his time touring a true magical city was something that he was looking forward to. While the amount of cultural misunderstandings that were happening between the delegation and Lordaeron was steadily decreasing, Krivax’s job had not actually gotten much easier.
High King Anub’arak and the rest of Azjol-Nerub’s leadership were increasingly debating the costs and benefits of establishing some manner of settlement in the Eastern Kingdoms, and where such a settlement should be built. As a result, Anub’arak directed the delegation to subtly evaluate how the locals would react to such a thing.
Needless to say, nobody was particularly enthusiastic about living near a powerful empire of xenophobic spider people that may or may not become a threat in the future. The fact that nerubians generally lived underground and that they would not be claiming land that the other kingdoms wanted made very little difference. It didn’t help that pretty much all of the northern section of the continent was claimed by one kingdom or another, the only exception being the small bits of land that still belonged to the trolls.
If Azjol-Nerub ever did decide to build a city in the Eastern Kingdoms, then it would be hard to do so without stepping on somebody’s toes.
In addition to that headache, the atmosphere in the palace was starting to grow increasingly uncomfortable as negotiations faltered between the human kingdoms. This was in spite of reports from the ambassadors from Ironforge and Gnomeregan that the Horde was making preparations to march north.
Trixie had come to him more than once to talk about the threat the Horde posed to her people and ask if there was anything that they could do to help. Apparently, Gnomeregan’s embassy had decided that she could be of more help to her people as an ‘expert’ on the nerubians than as just one more warrior to fight off the Horde, much to her displeasure.
Unfortunately, Krivax doubted that Azjol-Nerub would be willing to get involved in the war until it became clear how it affected them.
All of this meant that he was eager to get away from Lordaeron for a while and set his eyes on one of the most famous cities in Warcraft for the first time. Especially since it meant that he would get the chance to look into Krasus while he was there. Even if he allowed himself to enjoy his time in Dalaran, he couldn’t allow himself to forget that there were certain goals that he needed to accomplish.
“Krivax, how long will we be staying in Dalaran?”
Krivax was pulled out of his thoughts by the voice of his friend asking him a question and he turned his attention back to the present.
“I’m not sure, Masruk, it depends on a few different factors,” said Krivax, turning to look at the warrior. It mostly depended on how long Vizier Hadix felt like staying in the city, which would be influenced by his investigation into the Void. “Why do you ask?”
“I doubt that the trip will be very entertaining,” Masruk explained. “Visiting a magical city is much more interesting for you than it is for me.”
“Aren’t you looking forward to sparring with some of the mages there?” asked Krivax, trying his best to excite his friend. “I’ve already noticed a few differences between our magic and that of the people here. I’m sure that there will be differences in the way that we fight as well.”
“From what you have told me of Dalaran, I doubt I will actually be able to find anyone willing to spar with me,” Masruk said evenly. “Most of the mages in Dalaran are scholars, and even those who are not will not be interested in fighting someone who isn’t a mage.”
Unfortunately, that was very likely to be true from what Krivax could tell.
“Do you think there’s anything else in Dalaran that you might find interesting?”
Masruk took on a contemplative expression as he considered the question, eventually reaching an answer that Krivax found surprising.
“I think I might like reading about their history,” said Masruk, sounding unsure of himself. “I still remember when you first told me about the Nerubian-Vrykul Wars and other stories about our people’s history. Do you think that the history of these people might be as interesting as our own?”
“I’m sure that it is,” Krivax said encouragingly. It would be nice if Masruk developed a hobby outside of just fighting with people. “Once we’re there, I’ll ask if they have any history books about their wars.”
“Thank you,” said Masruk, his expression brightening. “I think I would like that.”
The two of them made companionable conversation as their group traveled down the dirt road to Dalaran along the edge of Lordamere Lake. Given that Capital City and Dalaran were close enough that residents of one city could see the other, it didn’t take them very long before they reached their destination.
Dalaran was a city of large domed buildings and tall, majestic spires. Most of the buildings were painted violet, and Krivax could easily tell that the city was nearly completely drenched in arcane energies. The city itself was much larger than Krivax had expected, and reminded him that aside from their mages, Dalaran was home to a large population of non-mage residents as well.
As they approached the city’s gate, however, it became clear that traffic had been cleared out in anticipation of their arrival when they saw several mages waiting to welcome them. They were a small group of an older human man, a female elf, and a male gnome, the latter two of whom looked young and nervous.
“Welcome to Dalaran,” said the heavyset man dressed in elaborate, violet robes. “I am Archmage Ansirem Runeweaver, and these are my apprentices. I will be your guide during your initial tour of Dalaran.”
“Greetings, Archmage Runeweave. I am Vizier Krivax, and these are Vizier Hadix and Vizier Crinis,” said Krivax, stepping forward to address the Archmage. He didn’t bother to introduce Masruk or any of the other warriors who had come to serve as protection since none of them were expected to act in a diplomatic position. “We’ve heard much about your city during our time in Capital City and look forward to seeing it for ourselves.”
“Then I hope we meet your expectations,” said Archmage Ansirem. “I must confess, I was surprised when I failed to see Spiderlord Anub’rekhan accompanying your group. Has something happened that prevented him from joining you?”
“Anub’rekhan chose to stay in Capital City to handle any diplomatic affairs that might emerge during our absence. He regrets that he could not come to visit your city,” said Krivax, lying only a little.
Anub’rekhan chose to stay in Capital City because he was far more interested in the Light than he was in Dalaran. Krivax had been a bit surprised by how enthusiastic the Spiderlord seemed to be about the Light, but he was definitely happy about it. The Light was the single most powerful weapon that Azjol-Nerub could gain against the threat of the Lich King, and it was nice to see things moving in a positive direction.
Vizier Hadix had so far been content to leave investigation into the Light to the Spiderlord, but Krivax felt like that would change after the Vizier learned the effect that the Light had on the Void.
“I see,” said the Archmage, his tone neutral. “In that case, I will show you through the city and then to your accommodations.”
The Archmage quickly turned and began making his way into the city, his apprentices following behind him after a moment of hesitation. Their escorts of knights bid them farewell, explaining that their protection was now the responsibility of Dalaran, and left to being their journey back to Capital City.
As soon as Krivax stepped through the gate, he could feel himself passing through a ward that he hadn’t previously sensed. He wasn’t sure if the ward was only to alert the authorities that somebody had entered the city, or if it usually kept people out, but nobody in their group had any issues entering the city.
The first thing that Krivax noticed as he stepped onto the streets of Dalaran was the diversity of the residents walking through the streets, although many stopped to unabashedly stare as soon as they saw the nerubians. As far as he knew, Capital City was already a fairly cosmopolitan city, but he could already tell that Dalaran was much more so.
With a single glance, Krivax could make out dwarves, gnomes, humans, elves, and even a couple of goblins. He had only seen a few elves in Capital City, and even fewer goblins. The city itself was much more beautiful than he had been expecting, and its citizens looked significantly healthier than those in Fairwater, or even Capital City.
“Welcome to Evoker’s Street,” said Archmage Runeweaver, his tone filled with pride. “The first street that everyone sees the first time they enter Dalaran. To our right is the city’s residential areas, which include lodgings for those who are accepted into our city to learn magic. If you go further down in that direction then you will eventually find yourself in the famous Magus Commerce Exchange, a place where you can find goods that cannot be found anywhere else in Azeroth.”
Krivax was more than a little interested in discovering how true those claims were. From what he could tell, the mages of the Eastern Kingdoms seemed noticeably more adept at enchanting than the Circle of Viziers, likely due to the influence of Quel'thalas.
It would make his life much easier if he could buy an enchanted quill so that he didn’t need to struggle to write legible Common while responding to diplomatic letters.
“To our left are many of the city’s administrative buildings, as well as Eventide Plaza, where you can find many restaurants and the city’s main bank,” Archmage Runeweaver continued. “If you go down further in that direction, then you will eventually reach the Violet Citadel, the city’s main fortress and the meeting place of Dalaran's ruling body, the Council of Six.”
Even with his view being disrupted by the many buildings between him and the Violet Citadel, Krivax could still easily see the citadel’s massive spire towering over the rest of the city.
“And finally, at the city’s center, are its many places of learning,” Archmage Runeweaver said reverentially. “Teaching the next generation of mages is Dalaran’s most important duty. I look forward to showing you one of our ongoing lectures at the end of our tour. But for now, I think that I will show you all to your prepared lodging in the residential area, and then we can go take a look around the Magus Commerce Exchange, if that’s acceptable to you..”
Krivax glanced at Hadix and Crinis, who were both quietly looking around the city with visible interest.
“That sounds good, Archmage Runeweaver,” Krivax said politely after seeing that neither of Viziers had an objection.
After that, they were quickly escorted through the streets under the curious eyes of the city’s inhabitants to a few relatively secluded buildings in the residential area. The buildings were apparently built to house Dalaran’s important guests, and were extensively warded to keep out those who didn’t have permission to enter.
Krivax could tell by the lodging’s magically expanded exterior that the city had done as much as they could to prepare for their arrival, but there were still a few things that needed to be done to make the building comfortable for nerubians. Krivax directed the few skitterers that had traveled with them to begin weaving sleeping webs in the corners of the room.
Just as he was preparing to leave, Krivax paused as he noticed a trio of floating dishes filled with various shellfish headed in their direction.
“This city is more impressive than I expected,” said Vizier Crinis as she lifted one of the shrimp to her mandibles from the floating plate. “Their wards leave much to be desired, but their enchantments are quite advanced.”
“The humans learned magic from the elves,” said Vizier Hadix, looking over the food that had been presented to him. “From what our historical records tell us, it’s not a surprise that elves focus their efforts on such frivolous nonsense.”
“What is wrong with their wards, Vizier Crinis?” Krivax asked inquisitively. “I wasn’t able to detect anything wrong with them.”
“Even without examining them in depth, I can sense many vulnerabilities in their wards,” said Vizier Crinis, her tone derisive. “If it were not for the strength of the leyline nexus that the city is built upon, then I would have no difficulty teleporting in and out of the city without permission.”
“The nexus itself is one of the most powerful I’ve ever seen,” said Vizier Hadix, begrudgingly impressed.
Krivax listened to the two Viziers share their impressions of the city as he enjoyed his meal
By the time the three of them made their way outside, a small crowd of curious pedestrians had gathered to get a glimpse of the giant spider people being led through their city. Thankfully, the city’s guards were doing a good job keeping the crowd at bay, so Krivax decided to just ignore them.
He had long since gotten used to the staring.
“I’m sorry about this,” said Archmage Runeweaver. “Word has gone around about you. There’s not much we can do to stop a crowd from forming. If you’ve finished looking over your accommodations, then would you like to continue the tour?”
“Of course, Archmage, I think we’re all excited to get a look at your Magus Commerce Exchange,” Krivax said politely.
After giving a stoic nod, the Archmage began leading them down the street and to their destination sharing historical anecdotes of the city the entire time. Krivax could tell that the man didn’t exactly have his heart in doing something so beneath his station, but it made sense that the Council of Six would want to send an Archmage to watch over them.
“Archmage Runeweaver, I’ve noticed that the crowd seems to be much less… hostile than the crowds in Capital City,” said Krivax, interrupting the man with a question that had been on his mind. “Why is that?”
“The citizens of Dalaran are more than accustomed to strange sights,” explained the Archmage. “That’s just a natural consequence of living in a city with such a high proportion of mages. I couldn’t tell you how many times we’ve had strange creatures running through the streets just because a student decided to cast a polymorph spell on an inanimate object.”
It didn’t take them very long to reach the Magus Commerce Exchange, and for them to split up and go into separate stores. Hadix and Crinis went into the Agronomical Apothecary to purchase magical reagents while Krivax and Masruk went into Simply Enchanting to quickly get a few enchanted quills from a very nervous looking elf.
They even had enough time to go into the bookstore and purchase a few books on war history for Masruk.
Krivax had a feeling that the price demanded by the elf salesman was not particularly fair, but it mattered little to him. He had more than enough gold after all.
When the Viziers finally made their way out of the store, Krivax was surprised to see them both with identical expressions of satisfaction.
“Did you find what you were looking for, Vizier Hadix?” Krivax asked curiously.
“Dalaran’s supply of rare magical reagents is surprisingly varied and comprehensive. Very impressive,” said Vizier Hadix. “There are a few materials that are common here that I would find exceedingly difficult to acquire in Azjol-Nerub and wider Northrend.”
“Quite right,” Vizier Crinis agreed. “I believe that creating a permanent portal between Northrend and the Eastern Kingdoms will be much more feasible than I previously estimated.”
Krivax had not expected the two Viziers to be so enthusiastic about Dalaran, but he was glad to see it.
“If there is nothing else that you would like to purchase in the Magus Commerce Exchange, then I’d suggest we continue on to the Violet Citadel,” said Archmage Runeweaver, interrupting their conversation. “After all, your meeting with the Council of Six is scheduled for a few days from now. It would be best if you are familiar with the building beforehand.”
“How much of the Citadel will we be allowed to see?” asked Krivax as they started moving again.
“I will show you through the reception area, and the public portion of the Grand Library,” said Archmage Runeweaver. “I will also point out the portal that you will use to transport yourself to the Council of Six’s meeting room, the Chamber of Air.”
The Violet Citadel was a truly impressive structure that grew more and more amazing as they approached. Krivax had no doubt in his mind that such a massive spire could only have been raised by magic. The Citadel was a large building composed of many smaller spires surrounding a much larger one with some kind of circular structure surrounding its tip.
Archmage Runeweaver quickly led them up the stairs and introduced them to the Citadel’s secretary, a young human woman, and then brought them to the library. Krivax had seen many truly impressive libraries in Azjol-Nerub, but none of them, aside from maybe the Order’s secret library, compared to the Grand Library alone. Many young students could be seen walking through the library aisles as enchanted books flew through the air, conveniently sorting themselves in the many bookcases that stretched to the high ceiling.
The fact that this was only the public portion of the library made Krivax wonder what the entire Grand Library looked like, restricted knowledge and all.
Many of the students stopped their studying to stare at the nerubians, but a stern look from Archmage Runeweaver sent their attention back to their books.
“Let’s go. Many of them have important examinations at the end of the week, and they cannot afford to be distracted,” said the Archmage.
After leading them to the portal that would take them to the Chamber of Air, there was only a single remaining stop on their tour.
“Now we go to our final and, in my humble opinion, most important, destination,” said the Archmage, his tone one of excitement. “Runeweaver Square, a portion of the city named after one of my ancestors where most of the city’s classrooms are located in. We will be looking into one of the ongoing lessons.”
Krivax and the rest of the group were quickly brought to the center of the city, where Runeweaver Square was located, and they all entered a classroom that was being taught by one Arcanist Melelis Flametrail, an older elf man. Their entry into the classroom obviously caused a commotion, but Archmage Runeweaver and Arcanist Flametrail were soon able to reestablish order and get the class back on topic.
And it didn’t take long before Krivax realized that the topic being taught was magical warding. The elf stood at the front of the classroom, writing out some kind of Arcane formula on a chalkboard that Krivax didn’t recognize but seemed… lacking. Was this an introduction course?
It didn’t help that the elf simply wasn’t a good teacher. He did a poor job of explaining some of the underlying concepts, seemed impatient whenever one of the students asked a question, and just generally seemed like he would prefer to be somewhere else.
It made Krivax wonder how Dalaran chose their instructors, were they volunteers, or had Arcanist Flametrail been assigned to teach the class?
They all watched the lesson for some time with Archmage Runeweaver quietly explaining Dalaran’s educational system before Arcanist Flametrail was very suddenly interrupted.
“Hmph. What absolute nonsense,” Vizier Hadix said derisively while speaking Common, loudly.
Krivax buried his face in all four of his hands as the room immediately grew silent enough that you could hear a pin drop.
“Oh? Does one of Dalaran’s esteemed guests have something to say about our lesson?” Arcanist Flametrail asked through gritted teeth after composing himself. “I’d certainly love to hear what a giant spider from a frozen wasteland like Northrend could possibly have to say about my teaching.”
“Your wards have more vulnerabilities than a hatchling’s first web,” Vizier Hadix said bluntly. “If you dared to teach such garbage in Azjol-Nerub, I would make certain that you never taught magic again.”
“If you feel so strongly about the matter, insect, then why don’t you come to the front of the room and correct me?” Arcanist Flametrail asked mockingly.
"I shall, elf, and I won't kill myself in the process of doing so," said Vizier Hadix, not hesitating to move to the front of the classroom.
Krivax watched with trepidation as Vizier Hadix began to humiliate the elf by pointing out a multitude of vulnerabilities in his Warding formula, introducing ways to improve upon it, and even drawing out a rather complex warding diagram that had various students furiously taking notes. It didn’t help that Hadix stopped every once in a while to berate the elf for his incompetence in front of his students.
By the time he was done, Arcanist Flametrail was silently seething, unable to retort after being so thoroughly outclassed in the very subject he was supposed to be teaching.
“How dare you! What gives you the right to come into my classroom, take over my lesson and attempt to shame me in such a way?!” Arcanist Flametrail finally yelled, practically frothing in rage after having enough.
“In order; I was invited, you asked after I pointed out your failings and I didn't shame you, your own incompetence did,” Hadix replied evenly.
“Enough! If you are so confident in your magical ability, then I’m sure you’ll have no problem demonstrating it firsthand,” said Arcanist Flametrail.
"Oh no," said Krivax, guessing what was coming. He had a feeling that the elf was about to say something very unwise.
"Under the rules and regulations of Dalaran, I formally challenge you to a magical duel. The terms of which are that if I best you, you will bow and apologize to me for your poor manners!" said Arcanist Flametrail.
“Very well, elf, if you are so eager for further humiliation, then I will not deny you,” Vizier Hadix said haughtily. “I shall not ask anything of you, as I doubt a mage as pathetic as yourself has anything I would want.”
Krivax couldn’t help but let out a long-suffering sigh. ‘So much for diplomacy.’
- United States
Just a guy writing fanfiction for now, but interested in getting into original stories.
Crossposting on Spacebattles, Fanfiction.net, and Sufficient Velocity.
If you're interesting in reading my story over there, you can find me under the username Fizzicks.
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Ah yes, the good olde arrogant young master elder elf face slapping arc. My guilty pleasure
Nice. Thanks for the chapter! Hopefully the Nerubian’s attitudes towards enchanting can be changed. Would make the prospect of instructional exchange more palatable.
hope they ask the other Kingdom for a map of the whole world or atleast for information on other landmasses. Would be a shame to not know of Kalimdor. Humans didnt sail there yet but they should know about it bc Aegwynn was briefly there to fought Sargeras. or let Krivax triangulate its existence. if Northrend exists, the Eastern kingdoms exist. the Well of Eternity exploded in the middle of the world, it stands to reason that the west and the south has landmass left over from the explosion.
Of course the Spider people could always negotiate that in exchange for help with the horde, they get to settle in the south. Its all destroyed anyway, and they couldnt render much resistance because of it. Maybe in the Burning Steppes and the Hinterland.
Also, MAGE BATTLE MAGE BATTLE :D you make friends if you fisticuff, and Krivax better pay attention, his combat skills are a bit lacking i feel.
MAGE BATTLE! MAGE BATTLE! MAGE BATTLE!
Eternal Reader ago
Thanks for the chapter!