A NOTE ABOUT THIS SERIES OF JOURNALS:
Rann is about to go through a trial to become an Archmage, and the way I imagine it, given her history with the Kirin Tor, she would need to be confirmed by the Council of Six. The characters who make up the Council of Six will appear in these journals, mainly as Rann's "questgivers," but will not become involved in RP. This is just me telling a story. 🙂 I hope you enjoy it.
Rann twiddled her thumbs as she sat in a chair in a corner of the lobby in Dalaran's Violet Citadel. She couldn't help fidgeting as the other members of the Kirin Tor scurried about their busy lives. Her stomach turned in endless knots like the night before a big exam. Which, she supposed, this was.
It had already been ten minutes past the agreed-upon time. Were they doing this on purpose?
"Miss Dawnbringer," came a mousy voice from a high elf descending the main staircase. "They're ready for you now. Please, follow me."
"Thank you," Rann said, rising steadily, already forgetting her paranoia about the time. Now, she merely felt anxious as she ascended the stairway and entered the door at its peak.
Through a long, straight hallway stood a single arcane portal. It was toward this that the attendant gestured. "Good luck," she said with a polite bow.
Rann nodded to her fellow quel'dorei and made her way to the portal, stepping through.
It was immediately clear that the portal had been one-way. She wasn't leaving this room until they were done with her. She'd heard of it many times but never stood in this place until now… The Chamber of Air, seat of power of the Kirin Tor. A grey stone floor and a diamond symbol in the center, with Rann at the center of that. Above, a sky whose colors whirled through an array of magnificent and breathtaking sights at astonishing speed. The sun rose and fell and rose again in seconds, and clouds sped past in the blink of an eye, boasting every picturesque sunrise and sunset imaginable, one after another.
Six silhouetted figures surrounded Rann, each identical and unidentifiable. The Council of Six. One directly in front of her, one behind her, and two on each side. Rann knew a few of their names, but couldn't know who was who. What she did know was that she was in the presence of the most powerful mages to ever walk the face of Azeroth, and she felt very intimidated indeed.
"Rann Jullinar Asplin Marie Dawnbringer," began the one directly in front of her. The voice was distorted and unidentifiable as well, but based on leadership position, Rann surmised that this could well be Jaina Proudmoore. "You have requested the Kirin Tor's recognition as a full-fledged Archmage. Despite your long tenure with the Kirin Tor — and even teaching one of our own in a class in their younger days…"
A smile tugged at a corner of Rann's lips. She had had Jaina in one single class when the human was hardly a teenager. It wasn't much — she knew Jaina's skill hadn't come from her teaching but from Antonidas' — but she still was pleased that Jaina remembered that.
"…recent events have given rise to some…concerns," the councilor continued. "We are convened here to ascertain your worthiness for the title of Archmage."
Rann nodded a little more deeply than usual. "I thank you for your time and consideration, councilors. I will answer any questions or concerns to the best of my ability. I have nothing to hide — I hold my head high."
"Of that, I have no doubt," said one of the councilors to her left. "We have scryed and observed many of your most recent doings. Your pride is quite clear."
So it had begun. Rann tried to clarify. "That's not what I–"
"But what's even worse is your anger," interrupted the councilor. "When that warlock outmatched you, you were filled with rage."
"I felt helpless!" Rann argued. "My student was–" She stopped herself, already formulating the response in her mind. "I'm… I'm sorry. You're right, councilor. I…should have kept calm. I might have done more to help then."
"Pride, anger," the councilor reiterated. "These can cause you to lose focus. We lost an entire Kirin Tor encampment last month, including Archmage Sol, to the vicious wilds of Gorgrond, which even managed to storm through our portal into Stormwind before they were brought down."
Rann gasped, a chill running through her. "Sol? She's…dead?"
The one in front of Rann lowered their head. "I'm sorry you had to learn of it in this way. I know you knew her — we all did."
The other councilor continued. "While we know little about how the defenses were first broken, Archmage Sol was responsible for the encampment. Her pride in her station could well have been the first hole in the dam, so to speak. Then she loses focus, and then the encampment falls, and then the portal falls, and then Stormwind and…"
"Even a small character flaw can be catastrophic," the councilor in front of Rann explained. "Pandaria taught us that."
"My concern," said the councilor behind Rann, "is that you lacked the power to break the warlock's curse over your friend to begin with. What kind of Archmage can't contend with something like that?"
And that must be Khadgar, thought Rann,projecting his presence all the way from Draenor. Of course he would suggest that the solution was more power. But then, in Claret's case, he might be right. She felt her ears droop down as she hung her head sadly, listening to the barrage of put-downs from the Council.
One of the councilors on Rann's right gestured to the one beside them. "My colleague and I recall when you helped rebuild Dalaran after its fall. How full of compassion you were then, when tending to the wounded and homeless. Where is that compassion now? You left Dalaran, quit the Kirin Tor, and now you're caught up in some power struggle with a warlock of no small consequence."
Rann looked up and turned her head toward the councilor who spoke, awaiting a silence long enough to speak without interrupting. "Councilor, my compassion hasn't wavered. It is compassion that moved me to leave the Kirin Tor and Dalaran, while still serving the ideals I believed the Kirin Tor was supposed to espouse. It was compassion that led me to challenge the warlock. Compassion for my students — one who was wronged and abused in the Kirin Tor's name, and one who is still is under threat from that warlock. Compassion moves me to protect my students, councilor… and my friends. These particular students are both."
The one Rann suspected to be Jaina nodded. "We have investigated these rather serious charges thoroughly, and determined that while Kageseji Sunsinger had a few loose ties to the Horde, her confinement was to be brief, held only on suspicion because of the…chaotic nature of that day's events. But the mana shackles used on her were not sanctioned by the Kirin Tor, and she certainly wasn't meant to go to Tol Barad. When we checked the records of those orders, we found evidence of tampering from an outside party, but couldn't trace it any further than the sewer network below Dalaran. So, we suspect this was a targeted attack."
Rann folded her arms and looked down, thinking carefully on this new revelation. "Thank you for the information," she said. "When I tried to investigate the matter myself and bring it to the Kirin Tor's attention, I was stonewalled…relegated to a clerical position in Stormwind. I… once suffered intense personal wrongs at the hand of someone claiming to act in the name of Stormwind. For a time, all of Stormwind was suspect in my eyes. It was the upstanding actions of the Templars of the Rose that helped me get through that.
"I may not be the one who was bound in mana shackles," Rann continued, "and I can assure you, Kageseji is nowhere near ready to look upon the Kirin Tor with anything less than suspicion — but I believe she will get there one day. I merely ask that you regard her — and her teacher who took such offense at the wrongs done to her — with the same compassion we've discussed. If she can receive clearance to see the evidence you've found regarding those orders, so much the better. In the other matters… I acknowledge my shortcomings, and recognize that becoming an Archmage entails improvement of my current self, not only my skills."
"Constant improvement," answered one of the councilors on her left.
"Are we ready for our initial vote then?" asked the one in front of Rann, looking around to the others. "All in favor…?"
The two "aye" votes had come from the two councilors on Rann's right, the ones who had questioned her compassion. The ones on her left who urged constant improvement, and who had cited her pride and anger, remained silent. So did the councilors before and behind her.
"Lady Dawnbringer," said the one in front of her, "I'm sorry to say that this requires a unanimous vote. Your request is, for now, denied. But please remember, we're not trying to drag you down. We want to see you succeed. Your enemies will find your weaknesses. We want them to come up empty-handed. We will find your greatest vulnerabilities and hammer them until they are your greatest strengths. We will push you to your limits and past them to give you not just a title, but to make you the best Archmage you can become. In the meantime, we will meditate further on how you may prove yourself. Expect correspondence from the four who did not vote in your favor today. We wish you all the best in your journey. And in the matter of Kageseji, she will have all the access she needs to see that we have never meant her harm. The Kirin Tor is on her side, and yours. Be well, Miss Dawnbringer." The councilor waved a hand, and the entire room vanished. Rann felt herself teleporting, and found herself again in the hallway.
"Well," she said quietly to herself. "That went better than expected."