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Trell: Searching for Jandercia [Aug. 17th, 2009|10:47 am]
The Warcraft Columnist
Snow blew silently across the barren landscape, covering ice and black earth alike in thick layers. Snow, Trell reflected, held a trap for small children and men new to the tundra alike; it seemed soft, as if it would caress the skin upon touch, but, in truth, when touched, felt like a burn.

A golden glow covering up her eyes’ natural red, Trell peered over the black mask that covered her face. She was thankful for it, as the wind was piercing – so much that even she could feel it. Exposing her face would not have been pleasant.

She had been traveling through this part of Northrend for weeks, following bits and pieces of magical residue left behind by her friend, ever searching for Jandercia. Having stopped at the closest Argent Dawn outpost, she had discovered the general direction in which Jandercia and her regiment had disappeared; no one new the location for certain, as no search parties had been sent to hunt the corpses down. In the north, the threat from the Scourge was simply too urgent to bother with searching for lost comrades. The rule of the camp Trell had stayed with had always been simple: if the didn’t return for three days after the date they were due, they were on their own.

About a week ago, part-way through her search, she had felt Jandercia’s aura change. She hadn’t felt her die, exactly . . . but her aura was faint, so faint she could hardly make it out; perhaps Jandercia was on the verge of passing on, but was clinging to life with that incredible tenacity that Trell had always admired, even when they had been dire enemies?

Somehow, deep inside, she doubted that. It was more likely that what Trell felt was, in itself, also residue, like the light of a burnt-out star reaching the Twin Planets’ surface. She wondered what could have possibly happened to Jandercia; the warlock had been immensely powerful, even outside her demonic form. What kind of monster did it take to destroy her so utterly? One of Arthas’ Flesh Behemoths? A Death Knight? Trell didn’t think Arthas would have bothered sending any.

Suddenly, Trell felt something, like the prick of a needle against skin, but in a magical sense; a remnant of an aura bouncing against hers. Turning her head sharply to the right, she observed the massive ice caves rising up a cliff side, dozens upon dozens of openings staring up at the white sky like hungry mouths. She hadn’t looked at them before, having been lost in thought, memories, and peering inward at her sense of the area's life. There wasn't much of it.

She paused to focus clearly on the caves, and, moments later, there it was: Jandercia's aura. Weak, strange, but there. Surprised and relieved that her search had actually yielded results, Trell almost ran forward, but something about how Jandercia's aura presented itself made her slow to a walk, practice caution.

The caves were vast. The passageways seemed beautiful to Trell, like a maze of crystal mirrors; but, like any maze, she was sure danger and terror lay somewhere within. She walked slowly along the dusted, frozen earth, running her hand against the slick surface of the see-through wall to her left. Her fingers hidden in padded gloves, she didn't feel the unpleasant cold, nor the sharp ice barbs that broke off as she touched them.

She followed the snippets of magical residue like a blind man, all senses turned inward rather than outward, seeing that which was surreal and none of that which was there physically; and so, it was almost a shock when she actually found what she was looking for, within a great, open cavern.

Taking in the size of this enclosed space before anything else, Trell eventually saw the chunk of glacier in the center. Every magical sense she had screamed danger, though the glacier seemed harmless; and every magical sense, too, told her that Jandercia was trapped within that ice.

She stepped forward.