The Death Knight turned to Meteorus. “What is a Cogswaddle?”
Meteorus paused, confused by the question, The alleyway was awash with flames. Skeletal troopers dragged their most recent victims back to the necromancers. The flames were there at his master's command. Meteorus had blacked out again upon emptying the arcane bolt that powered his magic.
“You said 'Cogswaddle',“ The Death Knight waited for an answer.
“Threads of the past, they are pulled in as the bolt refills. It is nothing.”
“Just so.” The Death Knight paused, listening to the same voice that now rang in Meteorus' mind.
“No mercy, burn it all, take them all.”
The Death Knight rode out of the burning alley, heedless of the sparks and embers swirling about him. Meteorus followed, idly smacking out the flames that started on his robes. Their skeletal troopers tramped behind them, unaware of the heat or the burning embers that settled on their armor and clothing. They burned, but kept marching.
The Death Knight pointed to an alleyway full of crates and barrels. Much like the dozens of others they had seen that day. “Start there, Meteorus.”
Meteorus began to cast, fiery bolt after fiery bolt lashed the ally and the buildings around it. The voice continued in his mind, the voice was his mind, the voice was his will. The flames grew so great that the people inside the buildings were forced to flee. The skeletal troopers were waiting for them, a net of un-living, flaming bone filling the streets, waiting to haul their catch back to the necromancers of the Scourge.
People screamed around Meteorus, trying to escape from the skeletal troopers, occasionally putting up a fight. The fiery march continued, slowing only for Meteorus. He stopped, looking into the next grass lined alleyway, with its crate lined walls. The mana spooled back onto the bolt.
“Lordearon, ho!” The green-haired Gnome jumped from barrel to crate, keeping pace, and, more or less, maintaining an equal eye level as they threaded their way through the narrow alleyway to their favorite tavern.
“You don't have to come along, you know,” he was worried about his diminutive friend, even if he was four times his age, he never acted it.
“Who's going to look after you, pup? Besides, I can come back any time I want.” The Gnome grinned wide and drew forth a rune inscribed on a flat grey stone.
“I thought you were told you weren't ready for that, yet.”
“I'm a Gnome, I pick things up fairly quickly.”
The Gnome made a rude noise, like a broken, flapping brake line.
“Seriously, you can barely make a fireball.”
“Mr Threadneedle, I am joining this expedition to expand my knowledge of the flora and fauna of the world, not to start fires.” The Gnome paused, a huge grin breaking across his face like a toothy exclamation. “You, you worry too much. Seamstress.”
“Mr Cogswaddle, for people who are supposed to all be geniuses, you sure are childish.”
“Yeah? Well watch this.” The Gnome held his teleportation rune high over his head.
The gnome jumped up onto a crate, unmindful of the three young students gathered around it performing some sort of ritual. The three young students were so focused on their spell that they didn't notice the Gnome, either.
“Cogswaddle, wait...” he had no idea what the three were practicing; there were always students practicing their magic in the alleys around the Mages' Acadamy tower. In his experience, the words 'watch this!' were always followed by disaster. Especially where Mr Cogswaddle was concerned. He reached for his Gnomish friend, willing to risk a fight (and picking the Gnome up bodily was certain to start one.)
The air between the three witches shimmered and hard knots of arcane magic, a dozen foci of some sort, swirled and twisted in the air. Knots of pure magical force pummeled and pushed at him. With a jolt he was flung away from the crate, away from his diminutive friend. He landed with a wet thud on the grass of the walkway.
At the same time the Gnome finished his teleportation spell.
“Bamph!” the noise was louder and longer than he'd ever witnessed during a teleportation. The foci merged and the three students flew back onto their behinds.
“Cogswaddle!” He jumped up to the platform and across the crate. No sign of the Gnome. He ran, panic gripped his heart, he bounded up the stairs spiraling the Academy tower. He was winded by the time he reached the teleport receiving room at the top of the tower.
There was no sign of the green-haired Gnome.
“Has anyone seen Mr. Cogswaddle?” he managed between panting breaths.
No one had.
“Three days, we waited, and then I sailed without Mr Cogswaddle.”
“There, you've said it again.” The Death Knight turned to Meteorus, his countenance uncertain.
“What?” Meteorus blinked, the voice returned to its place of prominence, he turned to his Knight, awaiting his next orders.
“Just so.” The Death Night pointed down the grassy alley. “Again, Meteorus.”
Meteorus tugged the arcane fabric, and with his words wrapped it around the crates and windows of the alley, with a few deft pulls his verbal stitching ignited the arcane material and fire raced along the treaded course to each of the crates and windows and then doorways in turn. The green and gray alley bloomed in reds and golds, soon to be replaced with black and ash.