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The Last Apprentice

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Medivh strode along the road to Lordaeron’s Capital City, glad to have some exercise while the sun was up. Dressed in his usual long red and black traveling robes, his dark hair fluttered around his face. The scent of blood and steel wafted past on the warm summer air. That didn’t surprise him. Orcs had been raiding closer to the city than most dared, sometimes even trying to sneak a glance over guarded walls. Medivh did not come this way often by foot and now got a chance to observe how things were going.

‘Goodness, the Horde sure moves fast.’ In just a few months they’d gone from the Dark Portal all the way across the Eastern Kingdoms to start gathering materials for their multiple strongholds. Medivh had been watching them from Karazhan, having eyes all around the western mountains so he could check on the orcs whenever he liked. While the new arrivals from Draenor worked on fortifying Stonard and raiding the Redridge Mountains, the main Horde expedition was out exploring and killing anything in their path. They had swarmed over the entire continent, tactfully avoiding Ironforge and other fortified places on their way to the outskirts of Lordaeron. They only really bothered small villages and places they could overpower. Whoever lead them certainly knew how to keep his forces alive. As Medivh wandered close to the shores of the Lordamere lake, he saw evidence of a recent battle strewn across the ground. Huge boot prints had flattened the blood-spattered grass, leading all the way to a fishing village left in ruins. Medivh sighed. There wasn’t much he could do about the Horde’s fondness for killing innocents. They needed to survive, and it was not his place to interfere with their methods of acquiring resources. Though the fate of Azeroth, was supposed to rest in his hands, sometimes he thought to let the world sort itself out. Justice and morals weren’t his department, anyway.

‘Too much trouble. Not my business, not today. I hope Llane hasn’t been too upset by all this.’ Medivh wished to pay his old friend an innocent visit, and maybe play a game of chess against Lothar too. They were meeting King Terenas on official business from Stormwind and Medivh was curious. It was terribly lonely up in Karazhan with his quiet steward and silent cook, none of them up for conversation, ever. Of course, he could summon elementals and teach them things from his many, many tomes… but he could also predict every word they were going to say even as he formed his own questions. Lothar and Llane were always happy to see him and Terenas even assured he could leave without the Kirin Tor learning of his presence. Those snooping magi bothered Medivh constantly with letters, though he did not despise them. They amused him, in a way. They were… company, perhaps, thoughts that people had directed towards him even if they were just asking for favours. They made him feel wanted, something he would never push away. Plus, lofty Archmages begging and scraping for a loan of one of his books was always funny. The convoluted sentences they used, as if it softened their cries of ‘gimme yer ancient tomes!’

Medivh shook his head, smiling at the thoughts of nosey magi and sneaky exits. He would not stay in Capital City overlong. Nearing the smoking, ruined village he felt his good mood fade. Charred corpses littered the ground and a few orcs were stomping about, looking for anything that remained. A sudden cry caught his attention, and he squinted to see a massive warrior digging through some rubble. Curious, he approached to see small fingers clutching a stone brick. Very small fingers indeed.

‘A child?’ Medivh called out to the orc. “You!”

The orc turned around, glaring at him. He had barely lifted his axe before a mystic bolt ripped through his chest and evaporated his entire body. Medivh easily levitated the rubble and uncovered a boy dressed in tattered robes, looking no older than six. His blue eyes were wide enough to show the whites all around and he struggled to stand, staring at Medivh. The first thing he said was:

“A…are you from the Kirin Tor?”

Medivh blinked. “What?” Then he realized there was no proper, immediate answer to that and discarded that line of thought. “No, that’s not important. You need to get out of here.”

The boy flattened himself against the section of broken wall he’d been backed up against. “Please don’t take me back to Dalaran.” He coughed, eyes watering. Nearly everything within a fifty meter radius was on fire and black smoke thickened the air. A few orcs were still wandering around and Medivh knew this was no place to be.

“Come with me, quickly.” Medivh put on his best Guardian face, serious and determined as he picked up the boy and blinked to the edge of the Lordamere. Here, sunlight still touched the grass and the air was breathable, the burning village now a mile away. He set the child down on the grass and took a step back. Looking around, the boy shakily raised his hands to his chest and clasped them together. Unsure, he fidgeted with the loose fabric of his robes. There were black spots and holes everywhere from where embers had singed the fabric. Medivh bent down on one knee, his cloak pooling on the ground like a night sky in a puddle. Quietly he muttered an incantation to heal any physical injuries, and was surprised to see the boy staring at his moving lips. He tilted his head to the side.

“Thanks, mister mage.” A nervous smile spread across the boy’s face. Medivh looked kindly upon him.

“I am Medivh, a mage indeed. And you are?”

“…Khadgar, of…” Khadgar pointed to the burning village. “There.”

“Oh.” Medivh chose his next words carefully. “And… what were you doing there?”

Khadgar’s eyes darted about and he bit his bottom lip. “Hiding.”

“I see.” Then, Medivh had a thought. “You said something about Dalaran…? The Kirin Tor?”

“Eep!” Khadgar’s hands flew to his mouth. “No, no I didn’t!”

“Yes you did.” Medivh sat cross legged on the grass, the wind ruffling the feathers around the neck of his cloak. “Do not be afraid. Dalaran is a safe place to be.”

Khadgar shook his head, dark brown hair and scrunched features a blur. “No! I won’t go back there. I want to go to Lordaeron.”

“Why?”

Khadgar shuffled his feet. “Where else would I go?”

“Do you have family there?” Medivh pressed with great insistence, his curiosity and concern growing with every passing second. Khadgar pouted.

“No…”

Medivh felt a sense of responsibility settle over his shoulders, heavy with a dread born of the child’s apparent fear of the Violet Citadel. Clearly, something had happened to him there. Medivh held his tongue on that for now.

“If you do not know anyone in Lordaeron, it is not a good idea to go there.” From what he knew of the place, everyone minded their own business and only the wealthy lived in Capital City, along with the recently mobilized army. “Where are your parents?”

Khadgar pointed to the village again, and looked into Medivh’s soft brown eyes. Struck by the emotion on Khadgar’s little face, Medivh furrowed his brows.

“Hm…”

Khadgar looked at the ground. His hopeful plans for a life in Lordaeron had been shattered, the pieces shadowed in doubt. Now that he thought about it, where was he going to get food? Where was he going to sleep? If he snuck into someone’s house, he could get yelled at, like that one time he crept into Archmage Antonidas’s chambers to steal his…

“Khadgar.” Medivh decided to change the subject, seeing the boy’s eyes glisten. “Do you know what your name means?”

“No…?” Khadgar was glad to have something different to focus on and sat in front of Medivh, knees pulled up to his chest. He couldn’t help but notice how big Medivh looked with his ominous, feathery cloak and well built figure. In his face however there was no malice.

“It means trust, in Dwarven. You do not speak it?”

Khadgar shook his head. “I know Common, and…” he grinned shyly for just a second. “A few spells.”

“Spells!” Medivh raised his eyebrows, leaning forwards. “Which ones?” Now, he’d captured Khadgar’s interest and the boy’s face lit up with delight.

“Look!” Khadgar turned to the right, peering over his shoulder into the lake. He reached out and placed his hands a few inches above the water, holding them there as he concentrated. Medivh could literally see the thoughts churning in his head as faint wisps of energy came together.

“Vimi… ast…akula...!” Khadgar’s voice wavered but he kept his eyes on the water and slowly, a wobbling sphere rose towards his hands. Carefully he turned his hands inwards, letting the sphere rest between them yet not touching his palms. It was a basic command of the elements and Medivh felt his heart melt at the adorable yet correct pronunciation of the incantation. Khadgar’s eyes flicked up and he offered the sphere to Medivh, who easily took it and held it in one hand.

“Why, Young Trust, you’re a mage already!” Medivh held both praise and wonderment in his voice. He had never seen anyone so happy in all his life as he gazed upon Khadgar’s smiling face. “I know for sure that no-one in Lordaeron can do this.”
“Really?” Khadgar felt awfully special and blushed. “Ehehe. I learnt that one out of a book.”

“I have many spellbooks at home. They’re good fun, watch this!” Now it was Medivh’s turn to feel excitement run through his body and he twitched his fingers, freezing the sphere of water. Khadgar stared, appropriately spellbound. He gasped as shavings of ice fell away from the sphere and suddenly turned into tiny feathers. Medivh had sculpted a little raven and it glistened when he polished it with a mixture of air and water. He handed it to Khadgar who held it with great care.

“That is ice mixed with the arcane.” Medivh explained. “It won’t melt, unless you want it to.”

“Oooh…” Khadgar turned the sculpture around, then adjusted the sleeves of his robes to lessen the chill seeping into his bare hands. He tore his eyes away from the intricate carving and looked at Medivh, believing him to be one hell of a mage. “Teach me!”

Medivh smiled softly. “This is very complex magic, Young Trust. It took me weeks to master.” Melding two sub-schools of magic was no simple task, but Khadgar wasn’t backing down.

“I have weeks! I have years, Medivh! Teach meeee~”

“As you wish.” Medivh nodded. “Then, would you like to come with me to Karazhan? It’s where I live, and also where I store all of my spellbooks.”

“Yes, please!” Khadgar stood up and let his mind wander to all the possible things Medivh could teach him. Magic truly was limitless in his opinion and he dreamed of being able to master it. Medivh stood up and did his best not to look intimidating as he threw his hands in the air and opened up a portal. Then, he offered his right hand to Khadgar, who took it eagerly. Young Trust was trusting indeed, and Medivh vowed then to never betray that. Together, the Magus and his new apprentice walked through the portal.

Chapter Text

Upon arriving atop the highest terrace of Karazhan, Medivh made sure to hold on to Khadgar who swayed at a particularly strong gust of wind. Up here was where Medivh called gryphons with a magic whistle when he wished to travel. Teleporting drained him as it did any mage, and sometimes he just felt like having the sun at his back, the breeze in his hair. He lead Khadgar into the large, circular observatory where his books and trinkets remained exactly where he’d left them. Though an entire section of the right wall was missing and instead just let the floor extend for a takeoff or portal platform, no wind disturbed the contents of the room. It let in the sunlight and now, Medivh and Khadgar. Khadgar forgot to blink, so taken was he with his new surroundings. Crystalline windows were evenly spaced along the golden walls, and the floor was polished creamy marble with a stylized sun in the center. It pulsed yellow with every footstep. Atop the sun was an unlit brazier, made of filigreed iron like the torch holders high on the walls. Red velvet drapery hung over tall black bookshelves that held grimoires and dictionaries and ancient texts in many colours. The sky could be seen through the domed glass ceiling but Khadgar’s attention was fixed around everything at his eye level. Several large, curved tables spread around the inner wall of the observatory, cluttered with various things. Mostly papers, notebooks, maps and tomes along with intricate golden astrolabes and a few runestones. There was so much writing and to Khadgar, that translated into knowledge. Medivh tugged on his hand.

“Come, Young Trust. If you are to spend weeks learning magic here, you will need a place to sleep.”

Khadgar followed Medivh out of the observatory and down three flights of stairs. They entered a long, curving corridor with doors on both sides, and Medivh walked a little before he stopped at a door and opened it. He muttered a quick spell to remove any dust and looked in. It was simple and clean, with grey stone walls and a tall arched window with a low sill that was thick enough to sit on. In the far left corner was a fine brass bed with a thick blanket on top that resembled a starry sky. Navy blue silk draped down from its canopy. Medivh walked in, gently releasing Khadgar’s hand so he could click his fingers and light the brazier mounted on the right wall. Beneath the brazier was a sturdy wooden desk with a large chair close to it. Upon seeing fire appear out of nowhere, Khadgar flinched. Medivh saw this and calmed the blaze to a cool shade of blue, cupping his hand as he controlled the temperature.

“In time, you will learn to do this.” said Medivh, wandering over to the window. “You’ll never have to feel cold again.”

Khadgar looked at the little raven sculpture he still held in his left hand and tentatively placed it on the desk. It remained intact. Medivh turned around and spread his arms to gesture at the room.

“Would you like to stay here?”

It wasn’t the most friendly looking accomodation what with the looming shadows and all, and Khadgar hesitated. He nibbled on his fingers, glancing around.

“Can I stay with you?”

Medivh’s face softened with confusion. “What do you mean? You are here, with me and all that Karazhan has to offer.” He smiled, shifting forwards as Khadgar approached him. The aspiring little mage reached out and took hold of Medivh’s sleeve, pulling on it.

“I don’t want to be by myself.”

“Hm…” Now that Medivh thought about it, he would not have liked to sleep alone in a tower full of visions and silence and unfamiliar magic when he was Khadgar’s age. If he remembered correctly, he’d been living with his father and studying without having to worry about food, rest or friendship. Now, it was his duty to provide those things for Khadgar and he mentally smacked himself for thinking this would be simple. “Right. Well, if you’d like to stay with me, I don’t mind. There are a few rules, though.”

“What are they?” asked Khadgar as Medivh lead him out of the room. He made sure to pick up his sculpture, unwilling to lose it.

“It is very important that you do not touch anything in my chambers. There are a lot of personal and dangerous magical artifacts in there.” Up another set of stairs, and Medivh stopped before a set of huge, ornate black and gold doors. “I also… value a good bit of peace and quiet.”

“Me too.” said Khadgar, looking up at Medivh. ‘Dangerous magical artifacts? Cool!’ He smiled sweetly and nudged Medivh’s arm. “I’ll be good, don’t worry.”

“I hope so.” Medivh pushed open the doors to reveal a vast room with a worktable, an elevated bed and many paintings and statues. The walls were simple grey stone and the marble floor was of similar colour. Medivh gestured to his bed, big enough to fit four adults with three tiers of black stone leading up to it. Khadgar had never seen a bed that needed stairs to get on, and these were nearly bigger than him! He let go of Medivh’s sleeve and wandered around. On the worktable in front of the bed was a quill resting beside an ink pot, the feather fancy and red.

“Dangerous artifact.” said Medivh, levitating the quill until it was out of Khadgar’s reach. “It will burn your fingers with its power.”

“Heeh…” Khadgar had been seconds away from touching it, and dutifully kept his hands to himself. He put his statue on the worktable and asked Medivh,

“Can I put this here?”

“Of course.” Medivh nodded. “Oh, that reminds me. You will need some things of your own, and there isn’t enough space in here for much. Are you sure you wouldn’t rather have your own room?”

Khadgar vehemently shook his head. Here it was warm and there was enough space for him to walk around, enough interesting things to look at, plus Medivh. He did not seem like he would hurt Khadgar, nor leave him to his own mischief for any extended amount of time. Khadgar liked having things to do and places to explore, along with a little structure and freedom combined.

Medivh observed him for a moment before deciding on a nice storage solution. Magical interdimensional bags! Also known as: Void Storage. He faced the wall to the left of his bed, directed his focus to the bare lower section of it and began to cast. Khadgar watched in awe as a purple portal appeared, swirling with dark potential. Medivh conjured up a set of clothes for Khadgar, showing the crimson robes with matching pants to him. They certainly looked comfortable, and Khadgar stepped forwards to accept the garments.

“You can put those on, or leave them in there.” Medivh gestured to the portal. “Make sure you know what you’re putting into the storage portal, Young Trust. Only by recalling a memory of the item can you take it back out again.”

“I want to change. These are… burnt.” Khadgar felt a bit embarrassed to be in such a fancy place dressed in tattered, singed robes.

“Very well, then.” Medivh inclined his head and turned away, moving to his worktable. He busied himself with setting protective wards around the quill, magic that would not bother him but would cause a slight shield around the object if anyone else tried to touch it. If Khadgar tried to pick it up, it would sting him a little and jump away.

There was a zhoop sound as Khadgar put his old clothes into the Void Storage. He now looked like a proper little magelet in robes that trailed down to his ankles, buttoned from the waist up to his neck. They fit well enough, as did the pants. Khadgar also put his shoes through the portal and Medivh easily conjured some new ones for him, along with matching socks.

“There you go, my apprentice. You look ready to dive right into study.”

“Apprentice!” Khadgar giggled. “Hehe, does that mean I should call you Master?”

“In public, perhaps. But I’m just Medivh here. You don’t have to be formal at home.” Medivh ruffled Khadgar’s soft brown hair, finding himself quickly growing fond of the boy. There was an eager light in his eyes that showed an honest desire to learn, and that was something Medivh found rare amongst, well, everyone. Then again, he did not really socialize with that many people. “Now then, Young Trust. What would you like to do?”

“I want to explore.” Khadgar glanced out a nearby window, standing on his toes to see. “How many floors are there?”

“Twenty.” said Medivh, folding his hands behind his back. “Though before you run off, I must introduce you to someone so his presence does not startle you.” He moved aside and in the doorway, a slender man in a tuxedo bowed. “This is Moroes, my servant. If you ever need anything, he will be there to help you.” He turned to Moroes. “I have acquired a young apprentice, as you can see. Please keep Khadgar safe.”

Moroes quirked a thin eyebrow up, looking mildly concerned. Nevertheless, he nodded and gazed at Khadgar with dull grey eyes.

Khadgar thought he looked rather creepy and waved nervously. Medivh continued to explain.

“Most of the things you shouldn’t toy with are locked and warded, Young Trust. Do exercise caution should you visit the library…” He tilted his head, thinking for a moment. “Moroes, would you care to give a tour of Karazhan? I have something to attend to.”

“Uhuh.” Moroes nodded and beckoned for Khadgar to follow him. Glancing back at Medivh, Khadgar received a comforting look that told him everything was going to be fine. As the black doors shut and left Medivh to his private business, the Magus picked up his quill and sat to write at his worktable. His thoughts flowed easily upon the parchment he took from a paper filled drawer.

To Archmage Antonidas, the Magus Medivh sends greetings.

Before you are overcome with excitement, do note that I’m not lending you anything from my library just yet. I commune with you on a matter of curiosity, regarding a student of Dalaran. On my way to Capital City I came across a boy in the ruins of a recently destroyed village, threatened by orcs. Upon taking him to safety he seemed afraid of being escorted to Dalaran, and mentioned the Kirin Tor. I ask you, Antonidas, what a child of his age would be so frightened of and furthermore what he would know about the Kirin Tor. He seems like an aspiring young mage with an unusually trusting nature. Do write to me with haste.

Medivh signed his name and drew a chicken wearing a Dalaran tabard next to it. Blotting the ink and then setting the letter aside, he took a new piece of paper and wrote to King Llane.

Dearest Llane, it truly has been a while. How have you been?I’ve heard all manner of things happening near Stormwind and I worry for your safety. If there is anything at all I could help you with, do write to me.

Recently, I came across the knowledge that you were headed to Lordaeron with Lothar to meet with Terenas. Do excuse my nosiness, but I can’t help but be curious about your errand. As a matter of fact, I was on my way to Capital City myself just a few hours ago. I was waylaid by a matter of playing the hero, a role befitting you more than I. Still, I have managed to preserve a young life, so I suppose there is merit in that. It seems I have adopted an apprentice, one that I do not know how to look after. If you have any advice, I would be grateful to hear it.

Anyway. What’s been going on? Orcs have been raiding the villages around Lordaeron and have occupied many places in the Eastern Kingdoms. Has Terenas decided to mobilize any force against them? Have you?

I eagerly await your reply.

Again, Medivh signed his name and drew a picture of himself, Llane and Lothar in various dancing positions. Art was one of his favourite hobbies and he had a considerable degree of skill in drawing anatomically correct figures.

After the letters were dry he rolled them up, tying red string around the lightweight parchment. Where he knotted the string, he dripped some wax to keep it from unraveling. He extinguished the candle he’d magically lit and went up to the observatory, where he whistled for two ravens. They came, living in the trees around Karazhan and having the freedom to go where they pleased.

“Hello there. I’ve got some mail to send.” Medivh scooped up some grapes from one of the cluttered tables and offered them to the birds. They pecked at the luscious orbs and looked at Medivh with dark, intelligent eyes.

“Please take this one to King Llane in Stormwind.” said Medivh as he tied one rolled letter to the raven’s left foot. “This one here goes to Archmage Antonidas in Dalaran.” He attached the other, and then conjured up a clean dish of water. He liked to prepare his ravens for their journeys and always treated them with respect. As a result, they listened to him and had never once failed to deliver. After they had drank a little they cawed at him and flew off. They always waited for replies and Medivh trusted he would get some. He stood, stretched and exited his room. After a day of walking and having his plans suddenly derailed, he felt he could do with a relaxing bath. On the fifteenth floor was a huge rectangular pool with high sides and white marble steps leading up to it. It was enchanted to always be full of clean hot water and above it, steam curled in various swirling shapes. Medivh sprawled out with a sigh, robes in a pile on the dressing table near the door.

‘What have I gotten myself into?’

A voice that was not his own replied.

This will not end well.’

‘Oh, shut up. I will not let you ruin this.’

Me? Ruin things? Why, I’m offended. We work quite well together, don’t you agree?’

Medivh shook his head and gestured with his fingers for streams of water to flow through his medium length hair. Sometimes he did not feel like himself and had surges of unnatural aggression and strength. If Khadgar ever saw him in such a state, he was sure he would die from shock.

‘I am in control here.’

In his mind’s eye he saw dark shoulders shrug.

‘Believe what you wish.’

~

Downstairs, Khadgar had discovered the library. It occupied two levels, and was situated about a third of the way up the tower itself. The library contained so much knowledge that a single floor could not hold it all. The

staircase along this part of the tower curved around the walls, leaving a large chamber two floors high. A wrought iron platform created an upper gallery on the second level. The room’s narrow windows were covered with interwoven rods of iron, reducing what natural light the place had to little more than that of a hooded torch. The huge library contained thousands of books in varied conditions - some kept neatly on the shelves, some scattered across the floor or on furniture, and many looked like they’d been ripped apart on purpose. Rings of tall bookshelves surrounded a table in the center, with some other desks and chairs around the room.

Moroes stood by the door, melting into the shadows as Khadgar looked around. Barely resisting the urge to touch everything, Khadgar kept his hands to himself and stared at an open tome. He read the slanted, neat text.

Transmutation is another topic of contention between alchemists and magi, one that the former believe should only be practised by them. Using the arcane for this however is no simple matter, and contrary to popular belief it does not create rare materials out of thin air. Through years of study it becomes possible to take the essence of one object, imbued with the caster’s own magical signature, and meld it with another until a resemblance of the desired object is formed. Transmuting metals is a common exercise, one which can easily be tested using small amounts of iron and copper. First, take your copper sample and place it over the sigil on the right. Place the iron on the left.

There were two perfect circles with intricate writing around the inner border and Khadgar had to squint to see. Beneath the circles was an incantation, quite wordy with no pronunciation hints at all. As Khadgar read the instructions on the opposite page he found most of the words too complex, some he’d never seen before, and the concepts near impossible to grasp. He knew about forming the ball of magical energy in his mind, but pushing it into an object and imbuing its very particles, its nature, with his own command of the arcane was beyond him. He turned to another book, fascinated. The prospect of understanding such complex magic made his heart race with excitement. To think that Medivh could do something like this, and maybe even teach him…! He could make copper into iron, and maybe iron into gold, and buy just about anything! Khadgar rubbed his hands together.

‘I can’t wait to get started.’

Chapter Text

 

 

The sky was darkening outside when Moroes interrupted Khadgar’s perusal of a particularly thick grimoire.

“Supper’s ready. Master wants you downstairs.”

“Oh!” Khadgar hadn’t even been paying attention to his hunger and now remembered it was important to eat. He could’ve sworn reading supplemented his energy on its own… but if Medivh wanted him downstairs, downstairs he would go. Moroes lead him to the twelvth floor and Khadgar entered a vast banquet hall. There were decorations aplenty lining the walls, paintings, tapestries, statues of men, women and lions… Khadgar strode along the gold trimmed red carpet to the end of the hall, where a massive arched window offered a view to the north. Medivh sat at a table big enough for five people to gather around, gazing out the window. He jolted at Khadgar’s arrival, having been lost in deep thoughts.

“Ah, there you are. Come, sit.” He patted the chair to his left and Khadgar climbed onto it, his chin just reaching the table’s edge. Medivh made a gesture with two fingers and the soft velvet cushion tripled in height, much to Khadgar’s amusement. He squirmed around and reached for the plate that had been set out for him. As he stuck his fork into the slices of unknown roast meat, he peered out the window.

“What’s out there?”

“Many things.” said Medivh, swirling the contents of his wine glass without touching it. “Mostly trees, birds and insects. Oh, and rocks. Lots of those.”

“Mn.” Khadgar didn’t say much for a while, busy with his food and his thoughts. Medivh was burning to ask Khadgar so many things but waited for the right moment to pose a question.

“Did you find anything interesting in the library?”

It passed Khadgar that somehow Medivh had known where he’d been, and he nodded.

“Yes! I found a book about transmutation. It looked really complicated.” He turned his fork to inspect a round, buttered potato. “Is it really possible to turn copper into iron?”

“It is.” Medivh went to demonstrate with his own silver fork, placing it on the table. “Would you like to see?”

Khadgar stuck the potato in his mouth and opened his eyes wide, staring at the fork. He glanced up at Medivh, then back down.

“Alright. Here we go.” Medivh concentrated deeply, his breath drawn deep into his chest and eyes falling shut. He placed his left hand above the fork and incanted:

“Merelarion si nindlir, marin dass kryssan das‘lan, kyllenindiel, si lindorbrien, Áeridrorbrial...” His voice took a sudden melodious quality to it, though the words were powerful in a tongue Khadgar had never heard before. Medivh’s eyelids glowed purple, light surrounding his hand and the fork… and in a sudden burst, energy rushed forth to transmute silver into mithril. The Magus calmed, his now open eyes turning green instead of the brown Khadgar had observed minutes before. Khadgar swallowed, speechless.

“See?” Medivh picked up the now unbreakable mithril fork, turning it left and right so it glittered a soft shade of turquoise. “It’s possible.”

“Wooooah…” Khadgar had to believe it, having seen the transformation before his very eyes. “That’s so cool! Can you do it with money?”

“Ahahah, clever aren’t you?” Medivh smiled a natural, beautiful smile. “That is the first thing mages ask when learning how to transmute. It would be terrible for the economy if everyone just went around with a ton of gold pieces, though.”

“What’s an economy?” asked Khadgar, taking a sip from the glass of water beside his plate.

“It’s the balance of money in matters of trade. A topic for another day, though. Let me tell you, transmuting copper into gold isn’t as foolproof as you might think.” Medivh picked at his food, thinking to warm it with a spell but deciding against it. “Anything that has been touched by the arcane, which is the type of magic I used to change that fork there, leaves a bit of residue. Meaning, with the right tools, you can examine the fork and know that it has been transmuted.”

“Aw…” Khadgar pouted. “It would be so much fun to just make yourself rich and trick everybody, though! Imagine if you could buy things that you couldn’t usually afford!”

“What would you buy?” asked Medivh, wondering who had introduced this child to capitalism.

“A horse, and… a house, a really big house near the Lordamere, and I’d have servants, and some dogs, and a lot of books… rare plants and shiny things…” He counted on his fingers. “I’d pay the servants to always be nice and I’d make sure everyone was happy.”

Medivh gazed at Khadgar with a look of pure wonderment. “That… sounds like a marvelous way to live. Goodness, I wish I had thought of that before I moved here!”

“Don’t you like it here?” Khadgar asked, peering up at Medivh who averted his eyes.

“It… could be better. But what I like and dislike does not matter too much, Young Trust. From here I can do my work better than anywhere else, for the magic is strong and the situation ideal.” ‘For a Guardian, but not for me.’

“What work do you do?” Khadgar had finished his food and was resting his cheek in one hand, focussed on Medivh. The Magus could not remember the last time anyone had been so interested in him, and it made his heart clench.

“It’s a secret.” The moment those words left his lips, he saw Khadgar’s eyes flash with cheeky intent.

“I’m going to find out!”

“Of course you will.” Medivh chuckled. “But not today. I,” he got up, clearing the table with a swish of his hand, “…am just about ready to fall asleep.”

Khadgar made a soft, drawn out meep sound and hopped off his chair, standing beside Medivh. It was around 6:30 pm and Khadgar still had enough energy to climb up and down the tower thrice. Medivh lead him to the stairs and told him about the other things Karazhan had to offer.

“I don’t know if Moroes has shown you, but there are quite a few things around here that might make you more comfortable. If you ever feel like taking a bath, on this floor you can.” He gestured through an open door, and Khadgar peered in. “It’s also a good place to practice summoning water elementals and levitation.”

“Hm!” Khadgar knew about elementals, and they creeped him out a bit with their soulless eyes and floating top-heavy bodies. “That’s… more like a swimming pool, Medivh…”

“It is. A bit of exercise now and then does no harm.” Medivh continued to explain as he climbed the stairs, pointing out amenities here and there. Upon reaching his chambers, he opened the doors and went over to a tall black wardrobe flanked by two lit braziers. He took out an elegant dark red nightgown and glanced to Khadgar, who was peering at the brush strokes of a wall mounted painting.

“Young Trust, would you like one of these? They’re quite comfortable.”

“Sure!” said Khadgar, and happily received a matching set of sleeping clothes. Though he wasn’t dead tired he could see Medivh looking rather weary and didn’t want to inconvenience him. Somehow, he knew the Magus would worry if he was running around Karazhan late at night. And… the shadows did grow long as the hours waned. Perhaps it was a better idea to stay in here and relax.

Medivh changed his clothes and wandered to his worktable, glancing over the papers scattered there. There was nothing he cared about enough to work on now, so he waved the doors shut and turned to his majestic, elevated bed. Khadgar was sitting cross legged on it, looking at him expectantly.

“?” Medivh stepped lightly up onto the bed and sat beside Khadgar. “What is it?”

Khadgar eyed one of the bookshelves on the opposite wall and shifted around. He spoke so softly Medivh almost didn’t hear him.

“…Can you… read me something?”

“Of course I can.” said Medivh, slipping under the covers and peeling them back for Khadgar to settle in too. With his index finger he beckoned to the leftmost bookshelf and an inch-thick tome floated towards him. He didn’t even need to hold it, letting it hover between him and Khadgar. Leaning back on soft white pillows, Medivh opened the book to the first page.

“This one is about some spells we can practice tomorrow. Would you like to know about them?”

“Yes, please!” Khadgar, now under the warm grey bedcovers, snuggled up beside Medivh and rested his head on the Magus’s upper arm. Medivh felt a warm, soothing comfort settle over him and his racing thoughts dissipated. He only had to blink to turn the tome’s pages and began to read in his soft, deep voice.

“Lighting the way: An introduction to brightening your world. Chapter one – The Glow of Frost.” Beside the wall of text was a diagram showing a stiffly cupped hand, and another holding a staff with some arrows at the tip. “Frost is the simplest of magics but like any other, takes effort to master. The road to perfection is paved with ice, which can be created just like fire, water and air. Before you start, drink a glass of water and make sure you are relaxed. Every spell turns out better when the caster is at ease. Now, feel around for some energy. Extend your mind, hands too, into your surroundings.” Medivh reached out slowly and saw Khadgar doing the exact same. He closed his fingers just a tad. “Do you feel the threads of magic coming to you?”

“I do…” said Khadgar, knowing this technique but eager to practise it.

“Good. Hold them in your hand, or if you are more experienced, your mind. If you close your eyes whilst holding the energies, you will find them coming together in a nice, white ball. This technique is the basis for all spellcasting, and focussing on it will hone your mind to the point that soon, you will be able to use arcane magics.” Medivh could see Khadgar’s eyes following the words he spoke, and he continued. “Once your energies have formed into one single source, try opening your eyes. Look into the palm of your hand and slowly release the energy, directing it to swell and brighten in all its natural beauty. It will be cool and quick, as is the nature of Frost. If your control on the energy slips, you may produce a brighter light than intended. If so, do not stare directly into the light.” As Medivh read he executed the technique, doing a little demonstration for Khadgar and holding a ball of light to the left of the tome. Khadgar looked at his own hand, which was still in the half-closed position, and breathed out. Faint bluish white light pooled in his palm and crept up his fingers, seeping out and reflecting against his skin. Khadgar gasped, looking up at Medivh.

“Well done, Young Trust.” Medivh dispelled his own light so he could move his hand to pat Khadgar on the head. “That’s exactly right!”

Khadgar purred at the praise, easily letting the concentrated energy slip away, dispersing back into the air. He listened as Medivh read on. Never before had he heard such a calming voice.

“Creating light requires only the intent and energy to brighten a specific area. Think of how you wish to brighten your surroundings, concentrate and release, and it will happen. It can be done with both hand and staff, as seen on the opposite page. The motion for the staff is to raise it a few inches, and in the beginning you should keep your eyes on the tip to properly direct your light. When you are well practised, try pointing your staff to spread light in the air. This will work in all temperatures, but try not to freeze your surroundings. That will be covered on a hot summer’s day, when a frost-wielding mage like yourself will be well sought after.” After a few chapters and easy demonstrations, Khadgar had fallen asleep with dancing blue snowflakes in his mind. Medivh set the tome down on his worktable, leaving it open so he could continue teaching Khadgar tomorrow. With one hand he extinguished the braziers and the room became dark, only slight moonlight creeping in through the windows. He eased himself to lay on his back and Khadgar curled close to him, breathing soft and even. Medivh found himself sleeping peacefully that night.

Chapter Text

Come morning, Medivh was surprised to find himself unable to rise with his usual ease. There was something small and heavy on his chest – Khadgar had decided to use him as a pillow, and at six in the morning he was still sleeping. Medivh carefully sat up, cradling Khadgar in his arms so as not to wake him. Gazing down at the boy, he wondered what he was doing.

‘This… is more a father’s role than a Master’s. I don’t know how to feel about all this… but… he is just so precious. Look at his little face… I can’t send him to sleep in this tower of visions and secrets alone.’ As Medivh held his apprentice, Khadgar stirred and pressed his face into Medivh’s broad chest. Medivh sighed, unwilling to disturb him. When was the last time anyone had been this comfortable around him? Never, he thought. It felt so strange, but not wrong, to wake and not have to face the dreadful loneliness of another day as Guardian. Now he had something to do that he actually wanted to put time into that wasn’t one of his various hobbies. He could teach Khadgar and keep him company, for it did not seem like the boy had anyone else. Medivh didn’t, either. For him, it was a… suitable arrangement.

Khadgar curled his fingers around the fabric of Medivh’s nightgown and shifted a bit. He was a quarter awake, the rest of him deeply sunk in a haze of warmth and comfort. Medivh easily levitated himself out of bed and into the feathery raven slippers he had nearby. He decided to go up to the observatory and watch the sun rise, easily settling into a plush red armchair beside one of his many desks. The open landing platform faced directly east, and as Medivh relaxed he admired the orange-gold sun rays as they crept into the room. They did not bother Khadgar, who only felt a slight warmth at his back.

After ten minutes, Khadgar blearily opened his eyes and looked up. Memories of yesterday came to him and he knew who he was with, but not really where he was.

“Medivh…?” he said in a small voice. The Magus glanced down and smiled softly.

“Ah, you are awake.” He seemed to glow as the sun shone upon his face. “It’s about time. The sun has risen.”

Khadgar turned his face and squinted, eyes a little sensitive. He didn’t think to question why he was being held so lovingly by someone he’d met less than twenty four hours ago, and just enjoyed the feeling of calmness. The past week had been terrifying for him, from his escape out of Dalaran to his misadventure in the orc-raided village. Medivh had saved him from the uncertainty of all that, and he was grateful. He took some time to wake fully and by then, breakfast was ready. After some sweet porridge and toast, Medivh informed him that he was going to start learning proper magic today. Khadgar could barely contain his excitement as he changed into some black and red robes, the fabric enchanted with slivers of natural energy. Medivh didn’t dare touch upon the arcane with a student so young. Downstairs, there was a huge circular chamber that Medivh often used for intense magical procedures. Here was where he was going to teach Khadgar all sorts of things, and already there were books floating about, ready to be opened.

“Now, then.” Medivh stood opposite Khadgar, arms open. “Do you remember the light spell from last night?”

“Mm…” Khadgar thought about it, and cupped his left hand. Raising it, he concentrated until his magical energy manifested in the form of a soft white light.

“Good, good.” Medivh nodded and picked a book out of the air. Flipping the pages, he found a bit of information about casting spells. This was what Khadgar needed to know before he tried anything that created physical substances. “Now, move that light over here. Keep your eyes on it.”

Khadgar stared at the glow in his hand and very, very carefully shifted the energy. He sensed it moving through the space between him and Medivh, and it did take quite a bit of focus to channel it across. Medivh watched him carefully as he turned a page. The light hovered near the book, and Medivh took hold of its energy to release Khadgar from the task. Khadgar’s whole body slumped a little, as he’d been tensing every muscle with concentration.

“Today, we will learn about casting.” said Medivh, spreading the ball of light so it illuminated the whole room. He lowered the book to where Khadgar could read it, and explained. "To cast a spell, you must be able to speak if the spell requires it, gesture if that is needed and manipulate the material components if there are any. Additionally, you must concentrate to cast."

Khadgar peered at the neatly written paragraph. These words were complex, but he understood the basic concepts. Medivh however did not read everything word for word, leaving out some things Khadgar was unsure of.

“Medivh, what’s somatic?” He pointed to a sentence that said gesture if the spell requires a somatic component. Medivh crouched and lit the paragraph beneath it with a silver sheen, reading it out.

“A somatic component is a measured and precise movement of the hand. You must have at least one hand free to provide a somatic component.” He glanced to Khadgar, who had his brows furrowed. “Would you like an example?”

Khadgar nodded. Medivh straightened up and walked so he could stand five meters away, facing his apprentice. He raised his left hand with the right trailing beside it, then made a circular motion that spiralled up, hands tumbling over each other. Tongues of blue flame licked over his fingers and were left in the air, fading seconds after Medivh clenched both hands into fists. Khadgar tilted his head to the side.

“It says measured and precise… that looked really fancy!”

Medivh nodded. “Though it looks perhaps natural and made-up, it is a very specific set of movements that I just did. Look again.” He did the exact same thing, making it clear this was a set of gestures he had memorized.

“What spell is that, anyway?” asked Khadgar, his eyes following Medivh’s hands.

“Oh, it’s preparation for this.” Medivh threw his hands up in the air and cried, “Da’quin!” A massive sheet of blue fire erupted from the ground and formed a wall between Medivh and Khadgar, blazing hot. Khadgar shrieked and took a step back, eyes wide. Medivh dispelled the wall at once, his glowing eyeballs returning to normal. “Ah, I’m sorry.” He inclined his head. “It was just an example.”

“Th…that…” Khadgar raised a shaky finger. “…was AWESOME!”

“I know, right?” Medivh grinned, relief washing over him. “Did you hear what I said to call up the fire?”

“Da’kin?”

Medivh shook his head. “Da’quin. It is known as the verbal component of a spell, as you see here.” He pointed to the line in the book that said, “A Verbal component is a spoken incantation. To provide a verbal component, you must be able to speak in a strong voice.”

Khadgar understood about the gesturing and speaking parts of spells, and asked about it.

“So… some spells only need one or use both?”

“That’s right. Some don’t even need any words or motions, though it helps to think about what you’re doing. For example, I could create that wall by thinking about the energies gathering around me. But because it is a powerful spell, I would also set myself on fire instead of controlling it in my hands. Thus, the somatic component is necessary. Then the verbal incantation to release it.” He held out both hands as if bracing against an invisible force. “This position is most commonly used to hold spells in place, like defensive shields or walls of fire.”

Khadgar nodded, but his attention waned for a moment as an errant thought flitted by. He looked around at the floating books, then to Medivh.

“Is it okay if I take notes?”

“Of course.” Medivh hadn’t thought about that, and summoned a blank book into his left hand. It had a soft brown leather cover with many fine swirls engraved into it, perfectly symmetrical ones too. He handed it to Khadgar, along with an enchanted quill. Nearly everything he was calling to him had come from the desk on the far left side of the room, and he did it for convenience’s sake. Khadgar took the book and opened it to the second page, where he wrote down notes about somatic and verbal components. Motions and words, to his understanding. Then he looked back at the page Medivh had been reading to him from.

“A material component is one or more physical substances or objects that are an…annihilated by the spell energies in the casting process…” He looked up. “Annihilate? What’s that?”

“It means to destroy. But we won’t be doing any of that today.” Medivh turned the pages of the book to a section titled Frostbolt. “I’d like to see you create some ice.”

“Okay!” Khadgar tucked his spellbook under one arm with the quill inside and stepped up to Medivh, who now stood in a glowing circle on the floor. He made a few wild gestures and then shoved enough energy towards the back wall to split the air. Something solidified and smacked against the wall, and Khadgar saw that it was in the shape of a person. It stood up, then did not move.

“That is your target.” Medivh pointed to the training dummy. “Frostbolt is a projectile spell, meaning that you throw your energy towards a certain location.” He waited as Khadgar hurriedly took notes in his large but precise writing. “It has two components, somatic and verbal. Do you remember what those are?”

“Of course!” Khadgar raised one hand and flapped it around. “Somatic is doing this, and verbal is…” he pointed to his mouth. “Doing this.”

“Yes.” Medivh traced his index finger along the top line of text that introduced Frostbolt, the first and most basic attack spell most mages learnt. “Now. Gather up your energy, Young Trust.” His voice deepened and became quiet enough to let Khadgar concentrate, words flowing along with his thoughts. Medivh timed his explanations with the tendrils of natural energy he could see creeping towards Khadgar. The boy’s eyes began to glow light blue, casting Khadgar’s vision into an altered reality of sorts. The cracks in the stone wall melted away, as did the presence of the floating books. All he could sense now was the magic within him and he held onto it, his fingers stiff and curling inwards.

‘Damn, he looks angry.’ thought Medivh, observing Khadgar’s fluffy little eyebrows scrunch up. ‘Good, he’s concentrating. Okay. Now…”

“Your target there is where your spell shall go. For now, your energy is yours… and soon you shall release it. Feel it, Young Trust.  Let it build.” Medivh said softly, and Khadgar’s eyes locked on to the training dummy. His hand was beginning to glow too, the one he had close to his body and holding his magic. The other, clutching his spellbook, was also tense. Medivh glanced to the open tome to look at the incantation – he’d not cast Frostbolt in years – and informed Khadgar.

“When you are ready, summon your strength and repeat after me. Drui’ shalach!”

“Drui’shalach!” shouted Khadgar, matching Medivh’s syllabic rhythm and pronunciation. His hand shot forth so quickly it nearly unbalanced his whole body and freezing energy blasted through his muscles, through his chest and along his arm. Then it was out in a swift blue projectile that smacked into the training dummy and dissolved the lower waist, throwing the humanoid shape against the wall. Khadgar felt as if an entire waterfall had just been dumped on his head and drenched him down to his toes, leaving only an empty, neutral feeling as it passed. Suddenly he was back to how he’d been before, no unnatural bone-chilling sensation at all. His hand fell limp to his side and he blinked a few times, the room’s colours and shapes returning. Breathing deeply, he turned to look at Medivh.

“Absolutely perfect!” Medivh’s face was lit with surprise and joy. “Young Trust, you are a natural at this!”

“Yeey~” Khadgar grinned brightly, satisfied that he could actually do this. Medivh patted Khadgar on the head and gestured to the open book.

“Frostbolt is called into being by the incantation – that is what distinguishes it from all the other projectile spells. There are ones like Fireball that use the same thought process and gesture, but require thinking in terms of fire rather than frost.”

“Makes sense.” said Khadgar as he wrote down Medivh’s words.

“You have impeccable aim.” Medivh went over to the training dummy and inspected it. “Hmm… I might be teaching you things you already know.”

“Eeh?” Khadgar looked up. “I don’t really know that much… when I was in Dalaran, I learned about controlling air and water.”

“Safe things, to be sure.” Glancing at his apprentice, Medivh tilted his head. “Why did you leave?”

“Because.” said Khadgar, playing with the magic that lingered in the air. “I had things to do.” His little fingers waved around as energy coiled around them, and for a moment Medivh thought he was trying to summon something. There was no definite focus in his eyes – rather, he was trying to look at everything but Medivh.

“Young Trust. You are six. What could you possibly have had to do that was more important than your studies?”

Things, Medivh.” Khadgar’s hands were glowing brighter, but then he shook his head and the energy dispersed. “Nnh…” A gnawing fatigue spread through his mind, weighing heavily on his body. He finally met his Master’s eyes and whined. “Why am I so tired?”

“Ah.” Medivh produced a thin blue vial from within his robes and handed it to Khadgar. “Your mana is low.”

“My… oh, my own magical energy. Mana. Right.” Khadgar’s thoughts had become unusually scattered in the minutes following his strong, successful cast of Frostbolt. “What’s that?”

Medivh straightened up as his apprentice took the vial and stared at it. “It’s mana, of course.” The stuff was thick, goopy and blue. “Energy can take physical form, just as physical things can be turned into energy. You can replenish yours with this.”

Khadgar tugged the cork out of the vial and breathed in. A sickly sweet scent wafted out, but instead of muddling his wits like strong liquor or poison, it sharpened his thoughts. Helped him bring his reservations about the mana liquid together, and decide on whether or not it was safe to drink. He sipped a little, and then drank the whole thing. It soaked into the cells of his tongue and cheeks before he could swallow and at once, the alertness of ten minutes’ past returned to him. His wide eyes fixed on Medivh.

“That…”

Medivh smiled, taking the empty vial and filling it with some of the energies floating around in the air. “Yep. It’s magic. One of these days you’ll know the exact specifics of how it works.” But not today, certainly not. The mathematics of the arcane and its accompanying forms of pure alchemy were subjects a rare few could understand. Least of all a six year old magelet.

“Casting spells takes a fair bit of your own strength as well as the energies around you. When you concentrate hard enough and try to do something quickly that would be much easier to work on for longer… that intense thought process wears you out. It is why honing your mind with practise is necessary.” Medivh thought about how magical theory was taught with fast, impressive spells that fueled the need for instant gratification many students had. Working on long casts when the outcome seemed too far away to bother with often discouraged them. It was the way magic had been taught for centuries, through the High Elves to the first humans and then to whoever was around after that. As a result, quick and mentally taxing spells were commonplace. Medivh had the time to cast whatever he liked, and he certainly did not like exhausting himself due to impatience. He valued a good, wholesome and carefully crafted spell and wondered if he could pass that to Khadgar. Sweet, bright Khadgar, who now scribbled in his book, eager to learn. Then he looked up and asked a question, as Medivh knew he would.

“You do all sorts of cool magic, Medivh! How come you don’t get tired?”

“I do, Young Trust. Believe me, I’m just very good at pretending I don’t.” The moment Medivh said that, he winced. Khadgar was glaring at him, and after setting his book down he ran up and hugged Medivh’s legs.

“You’re not supposed to pretend!” Khadgar hid his face in Medivh’s robes as if embarrassed to be lecturing his Master. “If you’re tired, you should rest.”

“But I wish to teach you many things…” Medivh murmured, bending his upper back so he could reach down and pat Khadgar’s head. “Besides… though I am an old man, age has given me enough power to cast ‘all sorts of cool magic’. In a few years, you will be able to do it too.”

“Nyeeehhh…” Khadgar squinted up at him, unconvinced. Medivh sighed and made a prompt show of consuming the contents of his mana potion, forcing himself to look alert instead of calm.

“Ah! Now, there’s a bit of energy. See, Young Trust? You don’t have to worry about a thing.”

Khadgar brightened immediately, knowing that Medivh felt the effects of the blue stuff just as he had moments prior.

“Yeah!” He took a step back, and little white sparks danced around his head. “Let’s do some more spells!”

Medivh and Khadgar worked together all throughout the day, and the day after that. Meals and sleep did not fit into any particular routine – Medivh did what he wanted, when he wanted, and Khadgar’s desires mirrored his. They did just about everything together, for Medivh was unendingly awed that he had someone to spend time with and Khadgar had grown ridiculously attached to him. After four days however, Medivh had an inkling as to why.

 A letter had come.

Chapter Text

Medivh reclined in his armchair up in the observatory one late afternoon. The sun was going down and Khadgar was busy exploring the library, which had additional wards placed around its most dangerous books. The raven’s arrival was met with excitement and outstretched hands, the letter itself not so much. As Medivh sat, he closed his eyes and sensed. He would read this with his mind first, using the ancient technique of Sympathy.

Antonidas had not written it himself. The scribe’s thoughts were on the words in the letter and little else – a few hints of curiosity and fear were present. So much for Medivh’s plan to figure out what was going on from Dalaran’s end. Antonidas was one step ahead of him in this particular, suspicious matter and Medivh’s intrigue only grew. A thought passed.

‘I could pull the whole Guardian of Azeroth thing and demand him to relinquish his knowledge…’

Do it. He should fear your power. Our power.’

‘Sargeras, would you shut up? This doesn’t concern you.’

‘My, my. This little matter got your breeches in a knot? Pah. You could have solved this if you just let me-’

Medivh forced his concentration out of his own head and into reading the contents of the letter. It had been rolled up and sealed with Antonidas’s personal sigil, shapes coiling in the arcane infused wax. The scribe’s handwriting was neat and easy on the eyes. Medivh settled into his chair to read, making sure he was 100% comfortable.

 

To the most highly esteemed Lord Magus Medivh, Guardian of Azeroth and keeper of tomes, Archmage Antonidas returns greetings.

It is a pity that your first correspondence in months should come on a topic such as this.

 

Medivh’s eyes ate up the knowledge of what had happened little more than a week ago.

 

The ‘student’ in question is none other than a thief, having stolen from my own quarters an item of utmost import. He escaped from Dalaran without being detected. Khadgar has been nothing but a nuisance since his arrival in the Spring, bringing not only a fresh desire to learn as you noted but an infuriating nosiness. He has been creeping into everyone’s business, especially the highly confidential matters of the Kirin Tor, undoubtedly beyond his understanding. Many times he has been caught picking locks and hiding in the shadows, and I’m sure he knew what he was doing was wrong. You have on your hands a morally ambiguous problem that should be returned to me with all due haste – I would much like a word with him, and also to retrieve that which he has stolen. He has only my discipline and ire to fear. If you shelter him from the consequences of his actions, he will bring you to ruin.

 

Medivh raised an eyebrow. ‘That’s a bit dramatic, isn’t it…?’

‘Yeeesss... but do you see how he evades threatening you? It is clear he wants the boy.’

‘And he isn’t getting him. I want to know just what my dear Young Trust stole from Antonidas and how he managed it. Something that important to the Archmage is now… wait.’ Medivh recalled the void storage he’d made for Khadgar, the portal still in the wall. ‘Waiiiiit a minute. It’s here with me in Karazhan… but only Young Trust can retrieve it. He knows what it is, and probably hid it with his old clothes.’

‘I assume you will not want to force him into revealing it to you?’

‘Light, no. Not just yet. But I will ask…’

 

First, however, a reply was in order.

 

To the Unnecessarily Dramatic Archmage Antonidas, the Magus Medivh sends greetings.

I must say, your evasive skills are as sharp as ever. So Khadgar has stolen something from you, but what? I found the boy with only the clothes on his back and the fear of the Old Gods put into him. One would think he was fleeing a Voidwalker’s wrath but no, it was just you. I am ashamed, Antonidas, to see you slander my apprentice so. He has an unending curiosity for the world and all things in it – as I write, he sits in the library perusing tomes the likes of which Dalaran itself does not own. Such a desire is a thing to be nurtured, not crushed. Do you truly blame him for looking into the Kirin Tor’s business, what with the stuffy secrecy you lot prance about with? He is brave enough to inquire and explore matters others wouldn’t dare. Furthermore, he is too young to hold the discipline you expect of him. I have known him for less than a week and if he wants to know something, he will find out whether or not the knowledge is freely given. It is his nature, I suspect.

 

Medivh dipped his quill in the ink pot nearby and as he did so, his sleeve brushed past Antonidas’s letter, lifting the thin parchment. A flash of black scrawl caught his eye and he turned the letter over with his other hand.

 

P.S. The boy has nothing to lose. His home was destroyed shortly after he came to study here and upon hearing the news, he became even more secretive than usual. Do not trust him, though his name suggests it.

 

Confused, the Magus read over everything again. He had rescued Khadgar from a burning village, which the boy had lead him to believe was where he lived. Medivh had asked where he was from… and Khadgar had pointed. Yet now Antonidas said that this had happened in the past…?

 

He wrote one more line in his own letter.

 

What did he take from you?

 

Then, Medivh took an hour to draw the village he had found Khadgar in. It took up the bottom third of the letter and every single line was precise from memory. Medivh sent the letter as the last sunlight faded and the brazier in the center of the room lit itself.

 

~

 

That night, Medivh observed Khadgar placing his spellbook into the storage portal beside the bed. Silently, from the shadows, he approached.

“Young Trust.”

“!” Khadgar jumped and nearly fell up the stairs to his right. “Aaah, you scared me!”

“I am sorry.” said Medivh, crossing the room to kneel beside Khadgar and sweep him into a hug. As he stood, he lifted the boy and placed him onto the bed. Khadgar was reluctant to let go, squeezing him too. Medivh sat beside him. “I want to ask… how do you remember everything you put in there?” He gestured to the portal.

“It’s easy! I just know about my stuff, my clothes and my books.” Khadgar’s eyes flicked about. “Ehehe.”

“Anything else?” Medivh pressed, sensing mild dishonesty. A wave of fear passed through Khadgar, lingering in his conscious, concerned mind.

‘Does he know? No, he can’t, he hasn’t seen it… but he could sense it…’

“Not… really…?” Khadgar tapped his fingers together and found he could not bear the intensity of his Master’s gaze. Medivh’s eyes were dark, only the back of his head lit by the brazier on the wall. His entire face was cast into sudden shadow, and Khadgar whimpered unintentionally. “M…Medivh…?”

Medivh was temporarily empowered by his fierce curiosity but Khadgar’s open terror disarmed him. His fearsome intent faded, and he shook his head. When he opened his eyes after squeezing them shut, they were their usual soft green.

“What?” Medivh smiled faintly. Khadgar shifted towards him, wary.

“Nothing…”

“Alright, then.” Medivh scooted back on the bed and waved his left hand, calling up the book they had been reading together last night. Diving under the covers (which rolled back as he directed his thoughts into the fabric) he invited Khadgar to join him. “Come, I think you will enjoy this chapter. It is called The Conjuring of Frost.

Khadgar was happy to settle into their usual routine but couldn’t shake the lingering darkness at the corners of his mind. Medivh was not always smiles and kind words. Khadgar had the sense that if the Magus wanted something, he would get it… no matter what. But Khadgar was determined to keep this secret from him. His one, last hope for the past.

 

~


After a few days, both of Medivh’s ravens returned. The first carried a message from King Llane Wrynn, whose stress could be felt through the paper he’d written upon.

 

My dear friend, I must write to you with slight delay. I’m as busy as ever, what with the pillaging and needless slaughter and all that. The orcs have taken the Blackrock Spire as a stronghold, and have killed all the dwarves within! Both Stormwind and Lordaeron have been plagued by these green folk and I am at my wit’s end trying to keep everything under control. Whole villages have fallen to raids and the Elwynn forest is swarming with trolls, who seem to have allied with the orcs. They’re planning something, I just know it. I think they’re going to attack each kingdom one by one, but no matter how many we kill, they just keep coming back. Lothar and I discussed this with Terenas – we wish you could’ve joined us. It was quite the meeting, and only we could dissuade the masses from calling all-out genocide against the orcs. Like you, I believe they are people… but we cannot let them destroy our homes, needy or not. We have decided to post troops around the largest villages to protect them, so if the orcs come raiding we will be ready.

Anyway, enough war talk. Tell me about your apprentice! I’m excited for you; how long has it been since you’ve acquired one of those? I don’t think you’ve ever mentioned taking someone under your wing to study. Yes, that was a pun.

There was a drawing of a raven with Medivh’s head right next to that paragraph. The Magus smiled and continued to read.

Whoever it is, I hope they treat you well. You should look after them and teach them as if they were your own child. I mean, that’s what I would do if I had someone with me who didn’t have anyone else to go to. Playing the hero, Medivh. I’m proud of you. I guess you have your hands full, so I can’t really expect you to come and help with this orc business. In any case, hearing from you has been a welcome relief from all the official nonsense I’ve been dealing with.

King’s honor, friend.

Llane had signed his name and stamped the Lion of Stormwind beside it. Medivh wrote a response at once, detailing Khadgar yet mentioning nothing of his business with Antonidas. He also said little on the orcs, only that he was sorry that Llane had to deal with such a great force fixed against him, with no hope of negotiation. After leaving that letter to dry (with an added drawing of Khadgar doing his adorable smile) Medivh opened the letter from Antonidas. Once again, it had been written by a scribe. Antonidas had probably sensed Medivh’s curiosity from his letter and had decided to not give anything of his own mental state away.

 

To the High and Esteemed Lord Magus Medivh, Keeper of Precious and Dangerous things, Archmage Antonidas sends greetings.

It concerns me that you have taken such a shine to Khadgar, moreso taking him as your apprentice. The Kirin Tor has many fine…

 

Medivh skipped a few lines of lavish praise towards Antonidas’s favourite candidates to study beneath him and spy in Karazhan.

 

I urge you to send Khadgar back to me, before he learns things that could bring all of Azeroth to ruin.

 

Medivh began to laugh, clicking his fingers for some wine to pour itself into a nearby glass. He could barely take Antonidas seriously what with the way he was writing.

‘Has he gone senile? What is with this attitude towards my Young Trust?’

 

I will tell you what he stole, but only so you can ensure it does not remain in his hands. I dearly miss my Orb of Temporal Displacement. It is the only known object that can alter our current reality by bringing moments from the past into the present and rendering them subject to change. Khadgar stole it while I slept, and most likely used it to try and restore the lives of those lost when his village burned. It requires precise concentration and clear intent to use properly, and if toyed with by an amateur it could rip open the very fabric of time itself. Dramatic explanations are needed, Guardian. We cannot have a child running around with the power to change the past by making it the present.

 

An understanding dawned on Medivh then. Khadgar had lost his family, and sought to twist time to bring them back to life. But he had not manipulated it correctly and ended up nearly burning himself alive in the flames that destroyed his home. He knew the orb was Antonidas’s property and by stealing it, thought he could escape the Archmage’s wrath by running away from Dalaran.

‘How could I not know…? Agh, and he does not even show any signs of grief… just… his usual, pleasant cheer. Maybe… he cannot bear to face his loss and holds onto that orb in hopes that he may right the world again. Or maybe I am overthinking this.’ Medivh wrote his own letter of reply, but then crumpled it. He did not want to return Antonidas’s orb, nor Khadgar into his care. Medivh wanted to play with the orb for himself, having never come across anything like it, not even in writing. He also wished to protect his beloved little apprentice. So, he burned Antonidas’s letter and blew the ashes into the air. In the coming weeks, Antonidas pestered him but as none of the letters were written by his own hand, Medivh did not waste his time with them. Antonidas was playing games with him. But Karazhan held the Guardian, Apprentice and Orb. Three things Medivh was in utter control of. The Archmage was out of luck.

Medivh on the other hand took things slowly. Khadgar’s lessons were progressing at an astonishing speed – the boy’s mind clicked with Medivh’s teaching methods and together, they explored the wonderful world of magic. They even played games together, which Khadgar absolutely loved. He and Medivh threw balls of energy at each other, sometimes with their eyes closed, and orchestrated magical snowball fights in the summoning room on the ground floor. It was excellent practice for Khadgar’s growing mind, and helped hone his control over the natural elemental magics he used. Medivh, despite being in his forties, was a child at heart and finally got to indulge in a bit of silliness with his apprentice. Dazzling light shows and sparkling shenanigans became commonplace on evenings that would otherwise be silent and haunted. Finally, the Magus had reason to smile. And Khadgar did, too.