Rann stared at an arcane-sensitive whiteboard in her living room, set up hastily and leaned against the wall. She paced back and forth at a brisk pace, formulating plans. Twirling her fingers in the air, tracing the lines of an unseen map in her mind, the lines appeared on the board in glowing violet. Hardly a few strokes into the diagram of her mighty plan, she shook her head. 




The lines burst into nothing. She started over.


"No, that won't work either."


They disappeared again. This had been the course of the past few hours in Rann's home. She glared in frustration at an innocent-looking backpack in the corner of the room, in which rested Claret's infamous spellbook. The wicked woman had gone far for this…taken risks to get it, to track it down, only Rann found it first. There would only be one shot at luring Claret out and getting the jump on her with this book, so they had to get it right.


Fuaris had come up with a plan that would cast Claret into her own death-trap portal, but the many taxing spells that would have to be perfectly executed for it to work… Rann lacked confidence in this idea. All it would take was one spell gone even slightly wrong, and they would be at Claret's mercy. They needed something else.


"Back to basics, Rann," she told herself, pulling up a chair and taking a seat in front of the whiteboard. 


"Ley lines."


As she traced a circle with a finger, it appeared on the whiteboard. "The uninitiated believe the ley lines to be like the arteries and blood vessels of a living being, and to some extent that's true. But unlike blood vessels, Azeroth's ley lines don't lie beneath the surface… They float above it."


A network of bright pink, paper-thin lines formed around the circle and grew like the pathways in an ant colony. Tiny pulses began to run along them, representing in Rann's mind the spells and teleports and portals of magic users. She stood from her chair and approached the whiteboard, surveying the image.


"It's why we reach for the skies when we cast. We draw mana out of the air…not just the air around us, but specifically above us."


She spun on her heel, looking out her window at Stormwind's mage tower. "Hence the existence of mage towers, of course. When you climb a tree or stand on a tall hill or the roof of your home, you notice how much stronger the wind is in a higher place. Towers provide us with an edge, an easier flow of mana, greater results to our spells, and faster casting…which makes an excellent ground for experimentation, since it's also faster and easier to contain and stop a spell that goes wrong."


She returned her attention to the whiteboard, pacing the room again. "Mage towers are often built at a ley line nexus, where two or more lines cross each other's paths, multiplying the effect the tower has on its users. With powerful enough magic and a good enough tower, I could pull off something that could finish her before she can block or stop it. Fuaris' plan might work there too. Now…does she have other enemies who might join against her?"


Rann shuddered, then smiled to herself…then shuddered again. "No, surely not…not them… They wouldn't help. Although…maybe not 'help' per-se, but they would want her demise as much as we do. And that book gives off her magical fingerprint."


She sat down in her chair again, her fingers steepled, a chill rushing over her. She couldn't really be considering them, could she? She understood the value of working alongside an enemy in a desperate measure, but were they truly that desperate?


She had stolen a number of their troops for her experiments… Increasingly powerful ones each time. She would be on generals and lords before long. Would sensing the signature of Claret's book make them come running to check it out or destroy her? Or would Rann only have a bigger problem to deal with?


She smiled again. The best mage tower in the world. 



Karazhan lay at one of the most potent ley line nexuses on Azeroth, and was quite tall. The amplification there would be perfect, and it was close enough to the Coven's location that Claret would sense it when Rann set the trap. Would she take the bait? Karazhan's peak was a weak point between worlds, a gateway into the Twisting Nether…which meant if the book was brought there and opened, the Burning Legion themselves would sense its emanations and, Rann hoped, might come to investigate. Between a magically augmented Rann and the Legion forces, Claret wouldn't last long… Then all Rann would have to do was escape Karazhan alive. The Violet Eye had the tower well contained, and there wouldn't be any risk of them escaping.


Of course… Claret would be magically augmented there too. This had Rann worried. The plan was doable, but needed work. She cleared the whiteboard and started again.

Author Rann
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