One cold autumn evening you werepassing near Ratchet and decided to visit the local tavern for a pintof good old Rumsey Rum and a warm place for the night. As you werefilling yourself with the second roast raptor and cheering to thelocal goblin band, T.N.T., a gnome rogue appeared right next to you.There was something chilly about him, but you couldn't quite placeit. "Are you Kronk, the famous warrior who practically destroyedthe Venture Co. outpost to the north?" -he asked. Withoutwaiting for you to reply - he handed you a black envelope with askull-shaped seal on it. He knew whom he was talking to. Knew wellenough to vanish before you could lift your eyes from the envelopeand start asking all sorts of questions. Whoever he was, and whateverwas in the envelope - it could surely wait till morning. Your eyelidswere getting heavy and the goblin innkeeper just let you know thatyour room is ready and handed you the key. You couldn't quite shakeoff the impression the strange gnome made on you, but the rum tookit's toll and you were fast asleep. Whatever it was, it could waittill morning, right?
You woke up in cold sweat. Theenvelope, the seal... You recognized it! It was the seal of thesociety of Demonic Arts and Afflictions! It wasn't really commonknowledge, but you did have to do some work for them back in thedays, and unless your memory was fooling you, the amount of bonesunder the skull would signify the rank of the person in question.Five, formed into a pentagram. A Master of the Arts no less. A bloodyWarlock.
If there was anything you've learned in your life,that would be to never deal with Warlocks, avoid Blood Elves and mostdefinitely, never to trust women. Black envelopes are used byWarlocks only on special occasions. They signify the importance andsecrecy of the content. The seal is designed not to notify thereceiver that the contents were compromised, it's there to destroythe contents if they were compromised, and often not only thecontents. The only safe way to open the seal is with a drop of bloodof the receiver. Few knew that. You did. And whoever sent you this -knew you knew it. You've made a small cut on your finger and squeezedout a drop of blood. The seal lit up and a chilling sound escapedit's twisted form as it turned to dust in a flash of purple flame.You took the letter out of the envelope and read the name of thesender. Mircalla Blackfire. An invitation. An invitation due severalhours ago. You knew you were in for a long day...
You tried not to waste any more time,not that it mattered much. You knew you were in trouble already. Ifyou were smart enough - you'd burn the letter the moment you read itand drink yourself into oblivion. If you were any smarter than that -you'd burn the blasted envelope the minute you got it. Hell, if youwere a proper Orc in the first place - you'd grind the blasted gnomeinto dust the moment you saw him. Now it was too late. Not only didyou read the letter and if nothing else, were deeply curious aboutthe sender, who seemed to know more about you than any livingcreature ever should, for it's own safety at least, but you knew thatthe sender knew you opened the envelope. The blasted seals have theiruse after all... It was a mistake, you knew it, but nonetheless youwere nearing the place mentioned in the letter. As you drew closer -you could practically smell the sulfurous mixture of rotting fleshand imminent doom surrounding the Dreadmist Peak.
You knew the place, this territory wasoccupied with the Burning Blade fanatics. Animals, you knew theycould not be reasoned with. The only language they understood wasforce. Fortunately, it would seem that you wouldn't have to deal withthem today. Mircalla was kind enough to describe an alternative wayup. You were instructed to climb the south-eastern slope until aclearing from which you would be able to see the encampment of theBurning Blade, at that point you were to head north where you wouldbe met by her representative.
If you were to single out themost prominent characteristic of all the Warlocks, it wouldn't betheir ties with the Demons. Nor would it be be the sheer cruelty oftheir ways. The most common feature shared by every single Warlock,is that nobody likes him. Even other Warlocks. It's not such abad thing, really. You don't get distracted nearly as often by thefriendly neighbors, boy-scouts or even the new local Cherry Pie Cultlooking for members. Hell, even tax-collectors seem to avoid yourdoor. The downside however is that whenever something bad happens inthe city - the lynch mob is at your door. At this point you coulddistinguish two branches of Warlocks. Some just give up on sociallife and move out in search of an inhabitable swamp or a forgottentower and the others try to keep living in the cities despite all theinconveniences. The latter often try to fortify their homes and frontdoors in particular with various magical traps, barriers and summonedminions. Some of the more clever Warlocks figured out an alternativeroute however. While their neighbors were digging the Nth moat aroundtheir front door and feeding their crockolisks, they decided that thesurest way to live in the city was to avoid attracting attention.They went out through back doors, didn't put Demonic runes on everysquare inch of their house and generally tried to work in the deepestcorner of their cellar to make as little sound as possible. There wasin fact one Warlock who was so clever at not attracting attention,that he figured that the surest way to keep people away from yourhouse was to put up a giant shiny label on it. Not just any label,mind you, but a label saying "Public Library". Rumor has itthat nobody ever knocked on his door for 38 years! All good thingsend though. This particular one ended when city committee decided toput a new pub in it's place and relocate the Library to the outskirtsof the City. People were shocked. Shocked so much in fact, that thefirst thing done in case a kid goes missing, or a dog is barking allday with no apparent reason, or even if everything is fine for awhile and people don't want it to change, is to burn down the localLibrary as a safety measure.
As you got to your destination,all you could see was smoke, some more smoke and a lonely boulderlying at the place where the slope was getting almost vertical. Itwould seem that you missed your contact. Probably a good thing too.You decided to catch some breath after the climb and sat down on theboulder. As you did so, you heard a high and cranky voice saying:"Would you mind?" to you. Startled, you looked around you,but couldn't see anyone. Then you heard the voice again followed bythe rumbling of the stone below you! It would appear that what youwere sitting on was in fact a larger than average gargoyle, and asyou quickly jumped off and ran a short distance away, while it wasstanding up - you saw a well hidden door right beneath it. "You'relate", sqeeked the gargoyle, "The Master doesn't like towait". You were definitely dealing with a smarter than averageWarlock today.
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