This is going to be the strangest lesson I’ve ever learned. I’m sure of it.
Siasha has been sitting there quietly for a few minutes, clearly mulling over what she’s going to tell us. She sighs a few times, picks little pieces of lint out of her robe, and makes terribly cute frowns when shaking her head… she’s probably changing her mind about wording. Through it all, Es and I are quiet. We have no choice but to wait, and I’m not going to rush her.
I like this place. I don’t want her to set it on fire.
“First of all, every living creature has a soul. You, me, Peaches, that rat over there… you get the idea. Now, a soul… fits… inside the body it inhabits. Fits it like a glove. For those of us who can see it, we can see that there is an aura that surrounds the body like a protective covering, that moves and shifts in the exact same ways that your body moves and shifts.”
Siasha reaches into a small pouch at her belt, taking a small, violet crystal from inside it and laying it on the table. She looks carefully at Es and me, then continues.
“Now, when you die, especially by violence, a tremendous amount of energy is released. The soul is released from the confines of a physical vessel and expands at an exponential rate of…” – she waves her hands in the air, a little exasperated – “Sorry. Anyway, the soul is released, and it expands. Warlocks can siphon off some of that final energy burst and store it in these forms.” She pats the little crystal on the table. “But that’s not really important. What’s important is understanding the expansion. Death injures the soul, and like any injury, it’s going to swell. Now, when Peaches here put your soul back into your body, her spell has two parts – “
“Right, because my spell has to heal the soul first. That makes so much more sense now.”
I wince. Siasha is looking very directly at Es, obviously not amused.
“Do you want to explain this, Peaches? I can just as easily be off doing something else, you know.”
Esmerellda blushes and manages to squeak out an apology. Under the table, I reach over and give her hand a reassuring squeeze. I’ve been on the receiving end of that glare. It’s not fun.
“Thank you. Now, where was I? Oh, yes. The spell first has to heal the damaged soul, and then it slips right back into place, neat as you please.” Siasha frowns, shaking her head. “But a Death Knight… whoever is restoring the soul to the body isn’t healing it first. They just shove it back in there, and the soul doesn’t fit at all. Probably why they’re so angsty and stuff about being dead. They’re worse than the Forsaken, and I don’t even want to know how whiny a Forsaken Death Knight would be. Ugh.”
Siasha shudders, probably disturbed by the mental image she conjured for herself. Opening her eyes, she looks at me… and I can see that she is truly pained by what she is about to say.
“And your sister… she’s worse off than most of them. Her soul’s aura looks like she’s been stuffed in, ripped out, stuffed back in backwards, and then had the cracks sealed up with duct tape and jb-14 welding compound… which, while useful for the expansion cracks in high powered rocket racers, it isn’t terribly good for use on soul-mending.”
I make a face. This is not a comforting thought.
“It gets worse. Souls have a color palette, so to speak. Your average, everyday, uninteresting soul gives off a white aura – very neutral. Angry, red. Someone in the throes of passion can give off blue or even violet.” She frowns. “Stop smirking at me. This is serious.”
Siasha sighs, looking away for a moment before turning back to look at me again.
“When Malyss came back from Outland, her soul aura was green.”
Es pipes up. “So, what, she was jealous or something?”
Siasha shook her head. “I only wish. Jealousy actually glows yellow or orange. No, a green soul aura is impossible… but if you think she has been corrupted by the Legion, that might explain it. You see, Fel energy is very powerful, and very addictive. Your people, Lelissa, being more closely related to the Eredar would be extremely sensitive to it. Personally, I don’t think red skin and claws would be a good look for you.”
Siasha stares for a moment at the soul shard laying on the table before picking it up.
“I need some of my reference books. Just a moment.”
Siasha hops down from her chair to the floor and walks to an empty corner nearby, slightly hiking up her robes to keep them from dragging in the dirt. She whispers a word, the fingernail on her right index finger growing long and impossibly sharp… using that nail, she carves a fel rune into the shard, continuing the incantation, the nail retreating quickly when her carve is finished.
It’s a strange ritual to watch; Siasha is holding the shard like she would a lover, gently brushing the back of her hand across the rune like it was her partner’s face. Her eyes are half-lidded as she brings the rune to her lips and kisses it gently, whispering to it one last time. “Come to me… Darora…”
The light in the room dims just a little bit more. Shadows begin to gather at Siasha’s feet, swirling around her, cradling her in a dark embrace before rushing into the shard in her hands. Opening her palms, Siasha lets the shard fall from her grasp, but it doesn’t fall very far – instead, it stops abruptly just inches from where she let it go, spinning slowly in midair, and pulsing with a black light from within.
I can feel the tug of this power on my soul. Fel energy, calling out to me… Siasha is right; the Draenei are very susceptible to it. Even as it calls to me, though, I am repulsed by it… it seems so unnatural, so demonic, that even as my soul turns from it, my muscles force my body to twist away as well.
The shadows begin to solidify and take shape, the shard becoming the heart of Siasha’s summons… the shadows coalesce into veins sprawling haphazardly about, bones stacked in a kneeling position, overlaying with muscle, sinew, skin, until finally solidifying into a voluptuous, sultry shape…
“There you are, Darora dear,” Siasha says to the succubus kneeling before her. “I have an errand for you.”
“An errand?” Darora whines. Even her whine sounds seductive and petulant at the same time. “Why me? Why couldn’t you have one of the others do it?”
Siasha pats the complaining succubus on the head. “Simple, dear. Pagnam is too small to carry all the books I need, Bruuzhum would drool all over them, and Hathgak can’t read. That leaves you. Now, I need you to go back to my library and get me my copy of my Uncle Cogtosser’s Fel Power: Locales and Liaisons… Aunt Zot’s Fel Primaries: Orcs and Elves… oh, and my copy of Jaina’s treatise on Fel-tainted Orcs.”
The succubus sighs, her rather ample and barely clothed bosom heaving with boredom. “Oh, fine. I’ll go get your books. You know, you haven’t let me seduce an elf in such a long time. I’m starting to wonder if you remember what I’m here for.”
The succubus strolls out of the inn, hips swaying provocatively, and I have to admit I’m amused by the numerous pairs of eyes, both male and female, watching her leave with great interest.
Siasha is leafing through her books, marking certain pages and making small thoughtful noises. I’m not really paying attention to which books she’s looking at, but at least we were able to eat while she spent the last few hours reading.
“Ah, here we are. Now, as you know, there are locations on Azeroth and Outland that are heavily corrupted. Felwood on the continent of Kalimdor especially, and Shadowmoon Valley are probably the worst for continuous fel contamination. These two locations are constantly influenced by the corrupted environment caused from previous invasions.”
I nod. “I’ve been to Felwood on numerous occasions, but the fel energy there doesn’t seem so strong.”
“Well, that’s mostly because of time. The environment tends to take care of itself if you let it, and you don’t pollute the area more than you have. Smar is always giving me lectures whenever I have to summon an infernal. Anyway, it’s also possible to corrupt people. Warlocks tend to carry that corruption in varying degrees, since we’re always dabbling with the magic, but you don’t have to be a Warlock to be affected. The Orcs have had problems with fel corruption for quite some time. Only one group managed to escape the corruption, which was originally caused by the drinking of demon blood.”
Lelissa raced up the side of the mountain, her friend Ravekk, an Orc of the Doomhammer clan, running closely behind her. Ravekk was young, having seen his fifteenth summer on Draenor, and he had yet to take his trial of passage into adulthood. Lelissa was much older, though still not an adult by Draenei society standards, given the long lives that the Draenei were accustomed to having. Normally, this race would be full of laughter and joy, but today, this flight is caused by fear.
The two scrambled over rocks and brambles, a half dozen Orcs behind them, axes and blades swinging through the air. Shouts of “Get them!” and “Crush that Draenei maggot!” carried to their ears on the wind, only adding to the panic Lelissa felt when she first saw the Orcs rushing at her with weapons drawn.
An axe whistled past her head, catching the sunlight as it whipped past her field of vision, blinding her for just an instant. Lelissa stumbled on the rocks and fell forward, throwing her arms in front of her to protect her face and head.
Ravekk caught her by the arm, lifting her easily with his muscled frame. “Come on, Tail, no time for that now! We gotta go!” Even in her panic, Lelissa had to laugh at her nickname. She had called him Tusk, for his single lower fang that protruded from his mouth over his upper lip. In turn, he called her Tail, not just because she had one, but because the structure of his mouth and teeth didn’t agree with sibilant words and phrases, it was hard for him to say her name. When he was certain that Lelissa had her footing, he pushed her forward, turning to face their attackers. “Keep going! I’ll be right behind you!”
Those were the last words he ever said to her. When she cleared the ridge and spared a second to look back, she was just in time to see Tusk’s head sailing away from his torso, courtesy of a well-swung axe.
“On the other hand, the Sin’dorei Elves… don’t curl your lip like that, dear, it’s not becoming… have always had issues with magical addiction ever since Azshara’s rule. When they discovered the rush they could get from fel energy… well, let’s just say it’s like giving a dwarf the key to the mead cellar. The ones that followed Kael’thas into Outland are even worse, since they’ve succumbed to the blood taint as well. They might as well be doubly corrupted. And they’re crazy, too, if you ask me.”
“So, can it be reversed? We’re talking about my sister, here.”
“Patience, sweetie, we’re getting to that. Now, it’s possible to cleanse the tainted demonic energy from felcloth – I’ve done it myself on numerous occasions – but it requires a Moonwell and is a tiring and time-consuming practice. The Aldor in the Temple of Unending Light in Shattrath are able to cleanse the taint from fel armor found on the demons of Outland, or so I’ve heard. I’m not exactly welcome there, you see. So obviously, it’s possible to cleanse the taint from items.”
“People, though… The Orcs have been trying to find a way to cleanse the blood haze from their tribes and clans for some time now, but according to Miss Proudmoore, it’s only a theory. She seems to be under the impression that it should be possible to trap a soul inside a soul gem, and then cleanse it with a combination of Shamanic and Druidic magic, performed in a special ritual circle.”
“So, we could do this for Malyss?”
Siasha scoffs; a sure sign that the sarcasm is about to be spread pretty thick. “Oh, sure. All we have to do is find her, subdue her, and keep her from killing any of us in the process. Then we have to separate her soul from her body without killing her, and then hope that Jaina’s theory is correct. After that, Peaches can perform a minor miracle and coax the soul back into the body so it’s aligned properly, and we can all live happily ever after. ” Siasha frowns at me. “Yeah, that’ll work.”