The hour was close to twilight, and the vaguely warm hues of the afternoon were fading to colder blues and purples. Air peppered with swirling, stinging blades of snow whirled high above Coldarra. Other beings would shiver and shield their eyes, fluff their fur or feathers, or wrap themselves more tightly in their cloaks. The great blue dragon whose wings beat a slow rhythm paid no heed to such things as snow or cold. He had taken to the air in search of the crisp bite of the frigid, snow-speckled wind, hoping, perhaps futilely, that it would cleanse his thoughts and soothe his spirit.
Kalecgos, though young as dragons reckoned age, had already borne witness to tremendous change among his people. The blue dragons had endured so very much, it seemed to him. They had twice lost their beloved Aspect, Malygosonce to insanity for millennia, and then finally to death. Ironically, and poignantly, the bluesthe intellectuals and the guardians of arcane magic in the world of Azerothwere the flight most drawn to order and calmness, and the least able to deal with such chaos.
Yet even in the midst of this upheaval, their hearts had stayed true. The spirit of the blue dragonflight had chosen not the hard-line path represented by Malygoss deceased blood heir, Arygos, but the gentler, more joyful way offered to them by Kalecgos. And that choice had proved to be the right one. Arygos had in actuality been betraying the flight, not striving to be a devoted caretaker. He had promised to deliver his people to the eviland quite insanedragon Deathwing, once they had sworn to follow Arygos. Instead, the blues had joined with the reds, greens, and bronzesand one unique orcto help bring down that great monster.
But as Kalecgos flew across the darkening sky, the snow below turning lavender, he knew that with that victory, the flights, in a way, had also sacrificed themselves. The Aspects were no more, though the dragons who had once been Aspects lived on. The defeat of Deathwing had demanded all they could give, and at the end of that battle, though Alexstrasza, Nozdormu, Ysera, and Kalecgos still survived, their Aspect abilities were gonepoured into the final moment of the struggle. The Aspects had been made for this single act. With it accomplished, they had fulfilled their destinies.
There was a less direct effect as well. The flights had always had a surety about their roles, a firm understanding of their purpose. But now that the moment for which they had been created had comeand gonewhat purpose was left to them? Many blues had already departed. Some had sought his blessing before leaving the NexusKalecgos continued to be their leader, although the powers of an Aspect were no longer his. They had told him that they were restless and wished to see if there was some other place in the world where their skills and abilities would be appreciated. The rest had simply gonepresent one day, vanished the next. Those who remained were either becoming increasingly agitated or surrendering to a bleak sense of malaise.
Kalecgos dove and wheeled, letting the cold air caress his scales, then opening his wings and catching an updraft, his thoughts once again brooding and unhappy.
For so long, even during Malygoss insanity, the blues had had direction. The question of what to do now had been thought and sometimes whispered. Kalecgos could not help but wonder if he had somehow failed his flight. Had they really been better under the leadership of an insane Aspect? The immediate answer was of course not, and yet and yet.
He closed his eyes, not against the needle-sharp snow, but in pain. Their hearts trusted me to lead them. I believe I did lead them well then, but now? Where do blue dragonsany dragonsfit in a world where the Hour of Twilight has been prevented but only an endless night looms before us?
He felt utterly alone. He had always deemed himself perhaps the oddest choice possible to lead the blue dragonflight, as he had never really felt like a typical blue dragon. As he flew, despondent and increasingly concerned, he realized that there was at least one who understood him better than most. He leaned to the right, angling his great form slightly, and flapped his wings, heading back toward the Nexus.
He knew where he would find her.
Kirygosa, daughter of Malygos, clutch sister to Arygos, sat in her human form on one of the magical, luminous floating platforms that encircled the Nexus. She wore only a long, loose dress, and her blue-black hair was not braided. Her back was against one of the shining, silver-white trees that dotted a few of the platforms. Above her, blue dragons wheeled as they had for centuries, ceaselessly patrolling, although there seemed to be no threat here, not anymore. Kirygosa appeared to pay them no heed, her gaze soft and unfocused. She appeared lost in thought, though what occupied her mind, Kalecgos did not know.
She did turn to look at him as he drew closer, smiling a little as she realized he was not one of the guardians of the flights home. He landed on the platform and assumed his half-elven shape. Kirys smile widened and she held out a hand to him. He kissed it affectionately and plopped down beside her, extending his long legs and folding his arms behind his head in an effort at nonchalance.
Kalec, she said warmly. Come to my pondering place?
Is that what this is?
For me, yes. The Nexus is my home, so I dont like to go too far, but it can be challenging to be alone inside. She turned to face him. So I come here, and I ponder. Just as you seem to want to do.
Kalec sighed, realizing that his effort at casualness was lost on this perceptive friend he often thought of as a sister. I was flying, he said.
You cannot fly away from your duties, or your thoughts, Kirygosa replied gently, reaching to squeeze his arm. You are our leader, Kalec. And you have guided us well. Arygos would have destroyed the flight and the whole world with it.
Kalec frowned, remembering the dire vision that Ysera, the former green Dragon Aspect, had shared with them all not so long ago. It was the Hour of Twilightand showed an Azeroth in which all life was wiped out. From the grass and the insects to orcs, elves, humans, creatures of air and sea and land, to the mighty Aspects themselves, who had each been slain by his or her own unique powers. Deathwing had died then, too, along with the rest of Azerothimpaled like a grotesque trophy on the spire of Wyrmrest Temple itself. Kalecgos shuddered, disturbed even now by the memory of Yseras lilting but broken voice relaying the vision.
He would have done that, Kalec said, agreeing with part of her statement but not all of it.
Her blue eyes searched his. Dear Kalec, she said, you have always been different.
Humor flickered in him despite his dark mood, and he made a silly face, twisting his handsome half-elven features. Kirygosa laughed. You see?
Different is not always a good thing, he said.
It is who you are, and it is because you were different that the flight chose you.
The humor melted away and he regarded her somberly. But, my dear Kirygosa, he said sadly, do you think the flight would choose me again, now?
Truth had ever been one of Kirygosas most cherished ideals. She looked at him, searching for an answer that was both true and comforting, and not finding it. Kalecs heart sank. If this beloved friend, his sweet sister of the spirit, had no encouragement to offer, then his fears were more real than he had suspected.
What I do think is
He would never know what she thought, for they were interrupted by a sudden terrible soundthe cries of blue dragons in despair and anguish. More than a dozen dragons were emerging from the Nexus, flying and diving about erratically. One of them abruptly swerved from his fellows, heading straight for Kalecgos. Kalec leaped to his feet, blood draining from his face. Kiry stood beside him, hand to her mouth.
Lord Kalecgos! Narygos cried. We are ruined! All is lost!
What has happened? Slow down, speak calmly, my friend! said Kalec, although his own heart lurched within his chest at the sheer panic and terror emanating from Narygos. The other dragon was usually calm and had been one of the more open-minded blues during the tense time when Kalec and Arygos were vying for the role of Aspect. To see him so distraught alarmed Kalecgos.
The Focusing Iris! It is gone!
Gone? What do you mean?
It has been stolen!
Kalec stared at him, sick with horror, his mind reeling. Not only was the Focusing Iris an item of immense arcane power, but it was also deeply precious to the blues. It had belonged to them for as long as anyone could remember. Like many such items, it was neither good nor evil in itself but could be turned to both benevolent and sinister purposes. And it had been used so. In the past, it had diverted the arcane energy of Azeroth and to animate a hideous creature that should never have drawn breath.
To think it was now lost to them, lost and being controlled by those who might use its power
This is exactly why we moved it, Kalecgos murmured. Not two days ago, in an effort to avoid this very circumstance, Kalecgos, along with several others, had recommended moving the Focusing Iris out of the Eye of Eternity and into a secret hiding place. He recalled his argument to the blues: Many of our secrets are already known, and more of our flight leaves each day. There will be those who will be emboldened by this. The Nexus has been violated before, and the Focusing Iris used for dark purposes. We need to keep it safe and if much of Azeroth knows by now that the Nexus hosts this artifact, then it is certain that one day, it will again be vulnerable.
And that day had come, but not how Kalec had anticipated. The blues had decided that a small group would bear it into the Frozen Sea, off the coast of Coldarra, where it would be safelyhe had thoughtensconced in enchanted ice. It woul...
Présentation de l'éditeur
Go’el’s mien, which had been deeply peaceful, now looked troubled. “I have heard, of course.”
“And . . . you do nothing?”
“I have another path,” he said. “You have seen the results of that path. A threat that—”
“Go’el, I hear this, but now that task is over. Garrosh is stirring up trouble between the Alliance and the Horde—trouble that didn’t exist until he started it. I can understand if you don’t wish to undermine him publicly, but—perhaps you and I can work together. Form a summit of sorts. Ask Baine to join us; I know he has no love for what Garrosh is striving for. I could speak with Varian. As of late, he seems to be more reachable. Everyone respects you, even in the Alliance, Go’el. You have earned that respect because of your actions. Garrosh has earned nothing but mistrust and hatred because of his.”
She indicated her cloak, which had blown about with the wind he had sent to bear her to shore. “You can control the winds as a shaman. But the winds of war are blowing, and if we do not stop Garrosh now, many innocents will pay the price for our hesitation.”
The ashes of the Cataclysm have settled across Azeroth’s disparate kingdoms. As the broken world recovers from the disaster, the renowned sorceress Lady Jaina Proudmoore continues her long struggle to mend relations between the Horde and the Alliance. Yet of late, escalating tensions have pushed the two factions closer to open war, threatening to destroy what little stability remains in the . . .
Dark news arrives in Jaina’s beloved city, Theramore. One of the blue dragonflight’s most powerful artifacts—the Focusing Iris—has been stolen. To unravel the item’s mysterious whereabouts, Jaina works with the former blue Dragon Aspect Kalecgos. The two brilliant heroes forge an unlikely bond during their investigation, but another disastrous turn of events looms on the horizon. . . .
Garrosh Hellscream is mustering the Horde’s armies for an all-out invasion of Theramore. Despite mounting dissent within his faction, the brazen warchief aims to usher in a new era of Horde domination. His thirst for conquest leads him to take brutal measures against anyone who dares question his leadership.
Alliance forces converge on Theramore to repel the Horde onslaught, but the brave defenders are unprepared for the true scope of Garrosh’s cunning and deceptive strategy. His attack will irrevocably transform Jaina, engulfing the ardent peacekeeper in the chaotic and all-consuming . . . TIDES OF WAR