Queen’s Gambit

Jevrell Starcaller, Highborne arcanist and matriarch of one of the oldest noble families in Eldre’thalas, stood at the edge of Krasus’ Landing and peered over the edge of the floating isle. Far below, the ivory spires of Suramar City clawed upward, glowing pale lavender and rosy gold in the pre-dawn light. It was just as extravagant as she remembered.

Her ageless face wore an expression of thinly-veiled contempt at the sight of the ancient Nightborne metropolis which had become the stage upon which the future of Azeroth would be determined. The corner of one painted lip curled upward in a sneer that cast a sharpness over her features, turning something beautiful into something deadly.

To think that they had survived all these years, only to fail in the final hour. The mage’s sneer was unpleasant. Cruel. She thought of the great cosmic joke being played out right before her eyes and couldn’t suppress an unkind chuckle. Ten thousand years was a long time to wait for the settling of an old debt, but Jevrell Starcaller was patient. She would emerge victorious. She always did.

The Nighthold at the center of Suramar City gleamed like a jewel in the gathering dawn. They would pay for what they had done, she thought. Every last miserable wretch in that cursed city would pay, and they would know before the end that it was she who had triumphed.

“Lyalia,” she snapped. A second elf appeared at her side as if from nowhere, clad in the burgundy-and-silver livery of House Starcaller. She bowed deeply to her mistress, silently awaiting Jevrell’s orders. A long moment of silence stretched between the two women before the Highborne lady spoke again.

“There’s someone I would like you to find.” 

Lyalia bowed again in acknowledgment. “Is there a message for this person?

Jevrell held out a tiny square of parchment, which her attendant took. Lyalia unfolded the parchment, read the name written on it, and handed it back to her mistress.

“No message.” The lady’s lips pursed into a thin line and the scrap of parchment in her hand burst into flame. Within seconds, it was nothing but a pinch of fine ash in the palm of her hand. Jevrell scattered the charred remains into the wind.

“Do not make contact. Find him and return to me with information about his whereabouts, his routines, and his known acquaintances. If he is not in the city, try the rebel stronghold at Meredil.”

“As you wish.”

The attendant vanished as promptly as she had appeared, leaving the magistrix to brood over the city spread below her. The board was set, the pieces arrayed. For those playing Azeroth’s armies against the Legion, the opening moves had been made and the game was afoot. The Nighthold would surely fall. Elisande had signed her own death warrant the moment she lowered the shields.

But for Jevrell, the game was only just beginning. 

“Queen’s gambit,” she murmured to no one in particular. “Your move.”

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