The truth is stranger than my own worst dreams
Now the darkness got a hold on me…
Standing outside the tavern in Boralus Harbor, Lord Eldred Valmy read the letter with a curious mixture of curiosity and irritation. It was a brief message, written using a mechanical writing desk: “Come to Rustbolt - I have need of your services.” It was signed simply “Someone You May Remember”.
At first, he thought it may have been the Corruptor, but he knew that the orc would not contact him through these sort of channels - and the carrier had said the message had been brought by a courier mech-flyer from the place to where he was summoned. Eldred had not seen Mechagon, the mechagnomes’ capital beneath the island, but it was said to rival Gnomeregan in its size and complexity; some even compared it to the Ulduar complex in Northrend. As an engineer, Eldred found these places of great interest.
So, he set out for Mechagon Island, flying from Boralus to Arom’s Stand in Drustvar, and there across the channel to Overspark’s encampment. He walked the remainder of the way to Rustbolt, incinerating any mechanisms that attacked him along the way with a mere flick of his wrist. His powers had returned fully in the time since Daeron and the Corruptor had resurrected him in Nazjatar, using the broken corpse of the late unlamented Tavira Nightswan. Both Dark Iron and orc were members of the Council, which - even with the battle lines drawn as they were - remained working in the background…
He began to suspect that perhaps something similar inspired this summons. But why Mechagon? The mechagnomes didn’t have any aptitude for the dark arts… did they?
As he walked into town, one of the guards approached him, a pair of blades sheathed across her back. And even with her features mechanized - and now rusted somewhat from prolonged exposure to the elements - he recognized her instantly. “You,” he growled.
“So you do remember. I trust you put his archives to good use when you took over his fortress on Draenor.”
“Velenkayn had wanted to burn them. I had kept that from happening when he decided not to stay behind walls.” Eldred narrowed his eyes behind his goggles. “What do you want?”
“Word is, you’ve recently returned from the realm of the dead yourself, in whatever means you warlocks have to cheat death. I need you to do me a favor.”
“The answer is no. As you say, I’ve just returned myself, and I have no intention of being stuck like that again - and between Genevra, Ord’taeril Ketiron, and the Watch, there would be a number of people who would want my head if I brought that lunatic back.”
The mechagnome’s tone became icy. “Have a care, Lord Valmy. That ‘lunatic’ is the only family I had left after Gnomeregan, and while I certainly did not see eye to eye with him, I also did not particularly care for seeing him die at the hands of a long-eared prat like Taeril’hane Ketiron. It’s a pity others got to him before I could. I would have liked to have crushed his skull… especially since I got these.” She flexed her metal hands.
Something she said got Eldred’s attention. “He ‘is’ the only family… his spirit endured? I had thought Ketiron had destroyed his soulstone.”
“He did,” she admitted. “But I know his soul can be recalled. I don’t know how I know, but I know. I also know that magic in general is way beyond me. This kind, in particular.”
“Why me, then? You know I have returned to working with Genevra again. And you have no more love for her than you did for Ketiron; I remember that well enough.”
She paused for a moment, thinking, before she said, “There’s a rumor that High Tinker Mekkatorque is on his way here. Possibly here already. His personal assassin, Steelspark, has been seen loitering around Rustbolt.”
Eldred frowned, looking momentarily confused. “I thought Mekkatorque was dead, killed by the Horde at Dazar’alor… although I heard rumors in Boralus that he had survived in some kind of sealed pod. It was really unclear.”
“Well, if the rumors are true, it’s likely to be an overture - by Mekkatorque, or someone working in his name, like Steelspark - to bring us into the fold. A reunification of gnomanity under a single banner. It makes sense, I suppose. After all, we represent the future for our entire race, mecha or otherwise, and let’s be honest… us working with goblins?”
“Which means you would be brought into the Alliance. What does that have to do with why you came to me?”
“Because I have this feeling that despite whatever ‘patriotic fervor’ she’s gotten into during the recent war, Genevra is back to preaching peace and forgiveness for the Horde butchers. And I’m fairly sure you don’t buy it. You’re Gilnean.” Her previously cold demeanor was now one of anger. “I’ve heard they burned Teldrassil, and plague-bombed Tirisfal when it looked like the Alliance was about to take it. And they try to point at people like Baine, or Gazlowe, or Saurfang as being ‘good Horde’… where were they when this was done? Where were they when Sylvanas invaded your land and massacred your people? It wasn’t until they, personally, were under threat that they acted. It was the same against Garrosh.”
Eldred couldn’t help but nod in agreement.
“You’ll need someone like me when the time comes, Lord Valmy. And you’ll sure as hell need someone like him. People who understand what is to be done.”
“And what is to be done?”
She smiled, giving her face a horrible look. Eldred could not help but shudder. “You know full well. You just have to accept its necessity.”
He was silent for a long moment. On the one hand, Genevra had been his strongest patron, ever since he had taken over Shadowgarde’s archives. On the other hand… he had not agreed with the armistice at Orgrimmar, nor the honor done to Saurfang by the immature boy who was, for some reason, High King of the entire Alliance. He was certain Greymane would not accept a permanent peace treaty; he knew for a fact that Tyrande wouldn’t. And… this whole idea of “friends on the other side” bothered him. The Council was one thing; there, they were warlocks, not Alliance and Horde - and they were comrades, colleagues perhaps, but certainly not allies - but people like the AAMS, the Feathers, even Genevra, associating with Horde murderers like old friends…
He finally looked back to her. “What are you proposing, Captain Sputterspark?”
Marennia Sputterspark grinned.