The Search for Seryth

Chapter 13: Ezran woke sometime later to the smell of fel and a faint sense of dizziness, as if he were in the hold of a ship being tossed at sea. He was locked in a cage in the laboratory of a soulkeeper demon. The window beyond the demon's hunched form showed endless stars. He wasn't on Azeroth anymore, he sensed.

The demon was just close enough Ezran could snake his hands through the bars and take the keys from its pocket. It was a ticklish manuever, as the demon moved around, gathering books from side of the room, taking them to the other, studying jars of spell components in yet another corner, coming back again to consult a reference guide on its desk…

Ezran pretended to still be asleep so it wouldn’t suspect him, and when it drew close enough again, he snatched the keys, stuffed them under his shirt, and waited another long hour before letting himself out.

He snuck through the belly of some demonic ship, grateful that, despite its crew’s chaotic nature, the ship’s layout was orderly, faintly familiar even…and he was able to find his way through without too much trouble.

Ezran climbed to the second deck and paused in the shadows flickering by a felfire brazier. Two demons were speaking beyond, of their plans to attack Val’sharah. He heard a word he dreaded to hear: Zilv’natha, the bearer of a cursed blade he knew all too well…

He hesitated, but it seemed the word referred to no one here in the ship. He waited until the larger of the demons, a ghost of a nathrezim — perhaps the same one he had seen in the cave? — departed, fading away into the gloom. Then he followed the other, as it was clear she was bound for Azeroth.

After gathering equipment, the she-demon walked to another room, where a faint shimmering portal awaited. Ezran couldn’t see what lay beyond, but it had to be better than being cooped up in a ship with angry demons. He slipped through after her, feeling the dimensional magic close just behind him, enough to take the hem off his cloak.

The portal spit them out in a forest Ezran recognized. The squat oak trees and oppressive gloom belonged to Duskwood.

He quickly chose a bush to hide behind, rolling under it. The she-demon paused, looking around. Ezran didn’t dare to breathe as her eyes scanned her surroundings. He put a hand around the symbol of the Light on his chest and prayed silently, willing the shadows to bend around him. The she-demon squinted as her gaze passed his bush, but she said nothing, only turning and walking deeper into the forest. Letting out a soft breath of relief, Ezran followed her.

She paused outside Raven Hill, using a spell Ezran recognized to conceal her true form. He had just enough time to mark her new face before she cast another spell, disappearing from view.

Ezran cursed softly, then, giving it 60 counts of his heart, he stood up and walked into the town openly.

A few of the inhabitants eyed his ren’dorei features, but didn’t remark on it; Duskwood was more used to such visitors than the neighboring Westfall had ever been. Ezran purchased a meal and sat near one of the bonfires lighting up the gloom. He chatted with a Sister Elsington, asking if she had noticed any increased demonic activity in the woods, or if she had seen any travelers from Val’sharah.

Sister Elsington answered that if he wanted any of that, he should go to Westfall. Warlocks had been sighted, practicing their magic on the farmers and twisting them into demonic creatures, sending them off to war in some other land.

It wasn’t new information to Ezran, but now he wondered. Were these Seryth’s warlocks, or did they belong to the faction of demons that had inadvertently brought him here? Or both? Fordrellon had sent him to find useful information, and this seemed to count. He asked Sister Elsington to direct him to the closest farm bearing such rumors. It was in the south, just inside the eaves of the woods.

It was a long way on foot. He picked up a pair of stout branches to serve as weapons, seeing as how he had lost his blades to the demons. The back of his neck prickled, and he wondered where the she-demon had gone, if she was watching him even now. Nothing bothered him however, as he started his long march south.

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