Bolingar looked stunned at the hunter. Her story shocked him. But he did not even suspect that everything would be so complicated. And what could the paladin never have thought that Caitlin had a sister.
Pondering everything that was said by the Riverey and connecting with what happened, the paladin thought for a moment and realized that there was one obvious inconsistency in all this. But he was not yet ready to voice it.
— Bolingar? Right? — the hunter addressed him. — What are you going to do with this information now?
— Good question, — the paladin answered.
And the truth: what was he to do now? He recognized Kate’s past, but didn’t know why she contacted dark magic. If all the words of the Rivers are true, then the girl had to fight the undead, and not join her. But who, if not he was well aware that the dark forces are give the unholy power of anyone who knelt before them.
The Riverey continued to peer at the paladin, as if expecting something.
— Although what do I hope for? — the hunter said sadly. — She has no one else besides me. And I’m the only one who cares about her fate. You already helped me. Without you, I would never know about her fate. So Northrend…
The Riverey began to pack on its way, snatching objects from the darkness and immediately dropping them into a satchel.
— I have to warn you. The only outpost of the Alliance is destroyed there. The ship won’t take you there, — Bolingar warned.
— I will find a way, — Riverey said decisively. — Any mage will be able to teleport me to Dalaran for a reward. Fortunately, I have enough gold for all expenses.
With these words, the Riverey took out a small silver box from the cabinet. When she opened it, she was filled to the top with gold.
Riverey looked at the paladin.
— Samiris is kept this gold for a rainy day. But it didn’t help him much. I’ll manage the money smarter.
Suddenly, the paladin had an idea.
— I think I know the mage who will take you to Dalaran. It is located in Stormwind. You can get to Stormwind, right? — The paladin asked.
— That is, in your opinion, I spent several years in this tower and in vain I am called a hunter? I’ll get to Stormwind somehow.
— Actually, a keeper, — Bolingar tried to correct her.
— Sentinel, keeper, ranger — what’s the difference? Who needs these titles when not a single living soul is near? Snarl the Riverey. — Where can I find this magician?
To this, the paladin did not know what to answer. Lassara has most likely left the tower of magicians in Stormwind. And where is she now, he had no idea.
Riverey again looked piercingly at the paladin.
— You don’t know where the mage is. Right? — Riverey sighed heavily. — At least tell me where you last saw him. Further I can handle it myself
— In the tower of mages in Stormwind, — Bolingar answered right away.
— That’s enough, — with these words, Riverey threw her satchel over her shoulder and left the room.
Bolingar followed her and went down the stairs. Only at the very exit of the tower he remembered the stone of return. He received this stone in the tavern of Stormwind. The paladin looked around, but there was no trace of the huntress. He had nothing more to do here. Bolingar took a stone from his pocket and activated it.
The paladin almost flew into the tower of mage, hoping to manage to find Lassara there. Bolingar almost jumped over the steps, climbing to the top floor of the tower of magicians. Fortunately, he was lucky, Lassara was in the laboratory. Draenei stood near the table, holding a magic crystal in one hand and holding a massive book with the other.
Lassar nearly dropped the crystal in surprise, but managed to catch it before it crashed onto the table.
— Glad to see you, — the magician greeted Bolingar. — However, next time, knock, please. You scared me.
— I’m sorry, — the paladin bowed to her.
— Okay, Never mind, — Lassara waved cheerfully. — What did you learn interesting?
The paladin did not even know where to start. And to retell the whole story in a new way every day he was already quite tired. But there was nowhere to go, besides Lassara pulled him out of the Fortress of Valor and it would be, at least, ugly to refuse her this request.
Lassara listened carefully to him, not daring to interrupt. But Bolingar saw that it cost her enormous self-control: she seemed to twitch herself, bite her lower lip. Toward the end of his story, the draenei tapped her fingers nervously on the table, as if trying to calm herself somehow. But when she learned that another worgen was now heading for her, Lassara became even more alarmed:
— What for? Why are you getting me into this? — She blamed him. — Yes, I pulled you out of the fortress.” But I was not going to engage in this investigation. She could easily find another mage if she is such a good ranger.
Alarmedly, she began to pace the lab.
— Well, why do I need this? — She said. — Do you even know how difficult it is to open portals? — finally she calmed down. — Okay, there will be a portal for her. When will she arrive?
The paladin just spread his hands.
— Well. Now I have to sit here all night, wait for your guest. What are you all the same … Paladin, — Lassara said with a tired sigh.
Bolingar grunted an apology and stepped out of the tower of magicians. He really acted rudely. But it was too late to retreat. He did not return to the tavern. After all, it was he who brought the hunter to the magician. And it would be completely dishonorable on his part not to introduce the two of them personally.
The paladin rarely turned to magicians for help, and in fact their quarters was the only place in which he orientated poorly. He knew the rest of the quarters. An unusual aroma that could not be described hovered in the air: some kind of magical perfume or maybe the remnants of magic? Suddenly, a magical firework sounded from the tower. Fortunately, he did not damage the tower, and the explosion was a floor lower block than the laboratory of Lassara.
The moon rose in the sky. The stars shone. However, activity in the city did not fade. The paladin decided to stretch his legs and take a little walk around the block to get to know him better. After ten minutes of patrolling the quarter, the paladin found a tavern, but it was quiet in it. Apparently, usually all the fun took place in the tavern of the shopping quarter or sometimes in the dwarf quarter. He himself was often there, studying blacksmithing and engineering. Bolingar then learned how to make simple engineering tools. The pinnacle of his creation was a home-made musket, which really exploded when trying to use it for its intended purpose.
This quarter, he also discovered a store with rags and robes. Now it’s clear where all the novice magicians take their clothes. Moreover, this store was as if attached to the tower itself. But the tower itself, as it turned out, was built right in the center of the entire block.
Having marched three circles around the tower, he did not wait for the hunter. He stood at the entrance to the tower for about half an hour, when yawning began to overcome him. This strange magical scent stupefied him. It was sugary-sweet: it seemed that the whole quarter was full of colors from him, and the paladin could not understand whether everything around was really so colorful or so bad for him. After standing for another half hour, Bolingar decided to quit this useless expectation. Will come in the morning and will not go anywhere. And in general, all normal people, and not people, should sleep at night.
Deciding to say so to Lassara, the paladin again rose to the tower to the mage’s laboratory. The door was open, and this alerted the paladin. Entering there, he discovered that Lassara was already having a conversation with someone. A huge bone bow hung behind the other person.
Bolingar was dumbfounded that she managed to get past him. But even more offensive was the fact that she penetrated the tower without even hailing him. As if he had nothing to do with her affairs.
Looks like they were already ending the conversation. Lassara looked at the paladin.
— You also teleport to Dalaran? — The mage asked in a tired tone.
The paladin looked expectantly at the hunter. He himself was not against participating in this matter. But pride did not allow him to ask insolently to join a werewolf.
The Riverey, in turn, stared at the paladin. It was written on his forehead what he was thinking about and what he was waiting for. Taking a deep breath, she said:
— Well. I really will be glad of any help and will be very grateful if you help me solve this family issue, — with these words she extended her clawed hand to the paladin.
With a contented face, he shook her hand.
— Great, — Lassara exclaimed. — Fortunately, I’m on my way with you, so I’ll keep you company in Dalaran.
With these words, she began to create bizarre patterns in space that twisted into the surface of an empty portal.
— One second, — Lassara was distracted, — where is this crystal?
The magician grabbed a small purple stone from the table and squeezed it in her hand, setting the direction for the portal with its help. And then in front of them appeared bizarre forms of a flying city.
The portal has been activated. The mage gestured for Riverey and Bolingar to walk into it. The Riverey came forward and passed through the portal, while the paladin looked at Lassara.
— Go, I must be the last to enter to close the portal, — Hearing these words, Bolingar entered the portal.
But leaving the portal in Dalaran, he nearly fell, miraculously keeping his balance. Following him, Lassara immediately appeared.
— Where are we going now? — Asked Bolingar.
— I say goodbye to you for now. I have a lot of work, — with these words Lassara disappeared in an unknown direction.
— And we go to the tavern, — Riverey said.
— Why do we go there? — surprised Bolingar.
— Behind the stones! Or are you going to get here from Stormwind itself? — She snarled at him.
The paladin was ashamed of his stupidity and the fact that even beasts know how to plan better than him.
Suddenly, a tauren and an orc came out to meet them, talking about something of their own. The paladin already wanted to grab the hammer, but fortunately, Riverey immediately twisted his arm, and he could not do it.
— This is neutral territory, idiot! Any skirmishes with a hostile fraction are punishable by death, — she snarled again.
The paladin blushed. Now he really was ashamed. Tauren, passing the paladin, cast a disapproving look at him and walked past. The orc didn’t seem to notice anything. He was fascinated by looking at his ax, which, judging by the iridescent colors, had recently been enchanted.
It was very unusual for Bolingar to see so many Horde. Therefore, he still constantly looked around, expecting someone to stick a knife in his back. But nobody seemed to care about him at all. The Riverey kept calm, as if she had already been here more than once.
The paladin hoped he could relax in the tavern, but when he saw the building, he was horrified. It was built in the style of blood elves, and it is designed in the same way. Twilight reigned in the tavern, but Bolingar surprisingly quickly orientated himself and found a bartender. they turned out to be a sweet girl and also a blood elf, who immediately smiled at him.
— What will you order, cute? — Beer? Meat? Ham? Maybe a salad? — She looked at the worgen behind him and immediately hastened to jump back. — umm. And what will you eat, but not me, please, — the elf squeaked in a thin voice.
— We don’t need anything from food. Only hearthstones, — said Riverey.
The paladin immediately laid out his old stone and grabbed a new one. Riverey repeated his actions more slowly and calmly.
The barmaid took the Riverey stone and examined it in her hand.
— Wow. I didn’t think that anyone else was living there at all. What happened to you? Not like a disease.
Riverey stared at the elf with a stern look.
— Okay, okay, I get it, it’s none of my business.
The hunter glanced around the tavern and seemed to notice someone. In the corner at the table sat a man with a carbine and a wolf. Hunter, in a word. With a leisurely step, she went to him.
— Do we know each other? — not even taking his eyes off the bottle, said the hunter.
— How did you get here, Highgrave? — Asked the Riverey.
— What?! Where are you from … Wait … River? This cannot be!
— Yes, it’s me, — Riverey said with a smile, taking off her mask and sitting down at the table
— How many years have passed! I’m so glad you are alive! — Highgrave rejoiced.
— Oh, you can’t even imagine how many interesting personalities actually survived, — and with that she pulled out Caitlin locket.
Highgrave seemed speechless.
— That cannot be! She burned down with her father, Samiris, — the hunter’s surprise knew no bounds.
The Highgrave wolf slept right under his desk and did not react at all to what was happening.
— I thought so too, until the paladin brought me this locket, — Highgrave looked at the paladin.
There was so much surprise in his eyes that even Bolingar saw it.
— Will I have to retell all this again? — The paladin painfully asked the worgen.
Riverey nodded silently. And the paladin began the story.
Finally the story is over. Bolingar was already tired of retelling this to everyone, and he was seriously thinking about writing down all their adventures on a sheet of parchment and just silently giving it away every time he was asked to tell everything.
— It can not be true! No! Really … No, — Highgrave clasped his head in his hands. — You don’t know why I’m here? — He turned to the Riverey. — Right? I work as a hunter. We trap the Death Knights submissive to the King Lich and hand them over to justice. And there either they take an oath of allegiance to the ashen union, — he made a deep pause, — or they are executed, — said Highgrave.
— Well, not everything is so bad, then. We can convince her to give up dark magic, — Riverey exclaimed joyfully.
— I’m sorry. But in my practice, not one death knight on Northrend has not repented of his deeds. Here the power of Lich is too great. And if in the eastern kingdoms under the command of Morheim they are even more or less sane, then while they are here, there is no chance. And the most disgusting thing is that it was she who was wanted for the destruction of the fortress and that other hunters constantly hunt for her, — said Highgrave.
An alarm flashes in Riverey eyes. Now she had a real chance to simply not have time to dissuade with Hassara.
— Where was she last seen? — demanded response Riverey
— The problem is that after the ruin of the fortress no one else saw it, — Highgrave objected.
— Then you will have to return to the Ziggurat of the Nerubs and from there begin the search. Besides all this, I am still very worried about this pendant. This is clearly an unusual trinket, since both the Nerub and Hassara clung to it in such a way, — Riverey summed up. — Are you with us? — She threw a farewell glance at Highgrave.
The hunter jumped out from the table, for a second a dark haze enveloped his body and, when it was dispelled, the worgen knelt before them.
— Of course. Samiris was a good friend to me. I’m still loyal to your family, Riverey. You can count on me.
— Good. I’m glad you still remember your duty, — Riverey answered him.
It was decided to fly to the ziggurat of the Nerubs by gryphons. Highgrave was well acquainted with the flight manager, and, and, fortunately, he managed to persuade him to give as many as three griffins for an unplanned adventure. However, they were not given to the free disposal. The griffins drove them to the nearest post. Then they had to go on their own.
However, two worgens moved fast enough. You can not say about the paladin who ran at the end, not keeping pace with the fast wolves. In the end, they ended up exactly where Bolingar and Caitlin and Curley used to stand on the day of their raid.
The paladin pointed to a secret passage through which they climbed into Ziggurat that day, and they hurried there. Having pulled out and securing the rope, werewolves quickly descended along it. Bolingar, alas, did not differ in such dexterity, and the descent for him took a lot of time.
— You take your time, — Riverey said to the paladin descending the rope. — If you fall, it will be a disaster.
She was right. It is one thing to catch a magician in rags or a dwarf in chain mail, in case of emergency. But catching a full set of plate armor falling from a height of several meters is problematic.
After waiting for the paladin to go down, they continued on their way, trying not to draw attention to themselves with an extra noise. Worgens were fast enough if only the paladin did not slow down the whole company. Taking a deep breath and sniffing, Highgrave declared that there were no Nerubians here and they could walk calmly.
He was right. Ziggurat was abandoned. It seems that all the Nerubians with the death of their leader left their home. Having finally reached the royal hall, in which the battle took place, they lit torches. It seemed that all the magic that created darkness disappeared from the ziggurat. The skeleton of the Nerub was no longer in place. The paladin ran to that very magic wall, because of which Curley was trapped. He felt the energy of the barrier, but he found neither the dwarf nor his body behind it. This pleased the paladin, because there was still hope that Curley survived. The treasures behind the magic wall also remained in place. But that was no longer important.
— I searched everything. There is nothing here, — said Riverey.
— Do you think necromancers took the corpse Nerub? — looking at her, asked Highgrave
Suddenly, something started to clattering. All three instantly grabbed their weapons. However, only one badly wounded nerub came out of the darkness to meet them. Moreover, he did not look like a dead nerub-grave digger, who are kept in the Scourge army, he was still alive.
— Help us, — said the nerub. — This tyrant will destroy our entire genus, — he collapsed to the floor, unable to stand on his feet anymore.
Riverey threw her bow on the floor and rushed toward him. Paladin and Highgrave followed her.
Dying of blood loss on the lap of the Riverey, the nerub continued to speak.
— He saw you coming here. Sent a squad after you. Not for killing. But we were caught by the hunters of Dalaran. Only I managed to escape. Stop her.
— Where is she?! — shouted Riverey
— She left Northrend … looking for a locket. Hurry … — suddenly a nerub grabbed the Riverey’s paw and put a magic shard covered in cobweb into it.
— Look at true! — with these words, the heart of the nerub, furiously beating in an attempt to cope with blood loss, froze.
They got more questions than answers.
Suddenly the paladin dawned.
— Medallion! She thinks he is still with Lassara.
— What is this stone? — The Riverey ignored him, holding a huge bluish splinter in her hand.
— They will sort it out in Dalaran. Come back. We have nothing more to do here, — said Highgrave.