The spell known as “Slow Fall” had always been one of Jander’s favorites. Though he would forever envy the druids of the world for their ability to freely coast along air currents in their flying forms, he considered the basic arcane spell to be the next best thing. With enough practice, control, and confidence, incredible feats of gravity defiance could be achieved on a mage’s power alone. He used to spend hours back during the Ashenvale days, leaping from the highest boughs and coasting through the breeze. Feeling the air flutter his hair and cape was a comfort beyond words. He often saved it for the end of long training sessions, a reward that he could savor while basking in the glow of a morning well spent. He got some of his best thinking done while closing his eyes and letting the altered momentum gradually carry him until he could feel the long grass beneath his boots once again.
To say that things were different during his most recent use of the spell would be an understatement. But as he plummeted from the towering bridge over the darkened canyon, at least he was given the opportunity to get some thinking done again.
The mage had been through a lot during his short life time. He’d seen numerous battles, fought more creatures than he could count, and travelled to locations farther than his imagination could take him. It had been a hell of a ride, but nothing could have prepared him for the events following their fights at Wintergarde. Confusion, disorientation, panic, those words wouldn’t even begin to describe the state that his mind was in when he and his fellow Templar abductees were abruptly liberated from their winged captor’s clutches.
Thankfully, survival instincts and learned habits from decades of combat cut through the haze of trepidation, lurching all of the dazed Templars into action. In his case, that meant leaping from the high stone bridge they’d been crossing, down into the darkened valley below. His captors had proven capable of flight, so he knew they could still persue him through the air, but he still knew it to be his best bet for putting as much distance between them as he could. Plus, nobody else had opted to try anything similar following the order to “scatter.”
In this instance, he opted to wait until the last possible second to use his favorite spell and decelerate for a safe landing. Head first, with his arms at his side, he shot straight down through the staggering drop like a bullet. His haste had proven to be an effective choice, as several red and black tinted projectile spells sailed past his falling figure, missing their marks. And even still, those few seconds of freefall seemed to last for an eternity.
It was the first chance he’d been given to even consider any of the thousands of questions he should have been asking himself.
Who was their captor?
Why had the scourge returned in such great numbers?
What magics had been used to subdue and transport their party so easily?
Why was there so much sickening red in the sky and trees?
Where had they been taken? Bloodmyst? Felwood? He didn’t remember there ever being so much stone architecture in those areas.
Would Sielic, Jarrick, and Zaanthe be alright on their own? Would they all be able to find each other again?
What had become of Kanta, Mosur, and Jaffar?
Would the scourge offensive be contained?
Was his family safe?
Were the rest of the Templars in danger?
Before his mind could wander any farther, he ran out of seconds. The rapidly approaching crimson-tinted darkness at the base of the valley raced closer and closer. He was out of time. He needed to say the words of incantation and halt his motion before the inevitable impact.
Closing his eyes, he reached out for the nearest source of arcane energy, depending on the comforting attunement he’d built up for decades with Azeroth’s leylines. It was a step that always needed to be taken to cast spells. What he found was something else entirely.
There was ley energy in abundance, but it was very different to the kind he was used to. It could be compared to the times he’d travelled off world- to Outland, Argus, the Firelands, or even the Emerald Dream.
Panic shot through his system, and his controlled posture was abandoned in favor of helpless flailing. Somehow, in his frantic efforts, he managed to grab hold of enough chaotic ley energy and wrench it through existence in order to execute some of his will.
His plummeting form decelerated just enough to save him from injury, but he still landed hard in a cluster of trees and bushes beneath him.
Wheezing, he slowly dragged himself out from the crimson branches and leaves, struggling to ignore the pain that wracked his body from seemingly every direction. He couldn’t stay there. The only thing he knew for certain was that he was still in danger and had to keep moving.
After hauling himself to his feet, he reached for the guildstone at his belt. He had to get hold of the others, or get word to the rest of the Templars. If nothing else, he had to know that his wife and child would be safe.
There was nothing there. No guild stone, no supplies, no belongings beside the clothes on his back. Glancing down, he finally noticed the whisping, unnatural blue hue that encompassed his body.
His time to react was cut short though. The sound of a heavy growl rumbled from nearby. Jander looked up to see a pair of glowing red eyes appear from his darkened surroundings. And then another pair was quick to join it.