Quinton Stone woke with a start. He pushed himself up on the bed and looked around, trying to get a handle on his location. The room was small and rather bare, with no decorations on the brown wooden walls. He ached and clutched a hand to his stomach, noticing the bandages wrapped around his chest. He remembered the fight with Facade, how the mirrored man had cut him with magic. How he had been saved by the intervention of the woman.
The half-elf urgently brought his hands to his head, worried that his disguise had been removed. To his relief, it remained. The door made a creaking sound as it opened, revealing the hallway behind it. In the doorframe stood a woman, who he presumed to be the Vigilantress. At a second glance, Stone recognized her face. This was the woman he had rescued that first raining night in Port Baradin. This was Meaghan Raines.
“Don’t worry, I never took a peek under the mask,” she said with a smile. “Though I have a good feeling that I know who you are already.”
“And who might that be?” he growled in his Vigilante voice.
“Quinton Stone,” she replied matter-of-factly. “Its quite obviously, really. Your rescue of me was the first of your exploits, wasn’t it?”
“I don’t know who-” he paused, seeing the look she gave him. Stone pulled off the mask. “Fine, you got me. Never much liked the masked thing anyways.”
“Yes!” she said loudly. “Sorry, I’m a bit of a sore winner.”
“I’ve noticed. So, what’s the story with this Vigilantress act you have going?” he asked. “You didn’t seem the type when we met.”
“You’ve inspired a lot of people here. Some more directly than others,” she explained. “Truth be told, I’m not that great at it.”
“You did pretty well against Facade. I’ve never seen him bleed before.”
“That’d be the result of luck and some clever inventing, on my part.” Meaghan elaborated. “Can you stand? I’ll show you...”
“I’m fine. I’ve had worse wounds.” He pushed himself off of the bed and stood.
Stone followed Meaghan out of the room and into the hall. It proved to be just as sparsely decorated. They came to a living room, which was not especially large. She pulled a rug aside, revealing a trapdoor. With a tug it opened, revealing the room beneath. The two of them climbed down a stepladder into the secret room.
As they entered, the room became illuminated with unnatural light. Torch-like devices sputtered to life with arcane energy, giving the room much needed light. Revealed to Quinton Stone was a cramped laboratory, filled with half-built gadgets and machines. Bookshelves filled with engineering and arcane tombs lined the back wall. The Vigilantress outfit was piled in a corner, hastily discarded.
“Behold, my stuff.” Meaghan said in a not-so-serious tone.
“Impressive. What is it?”
“I do most of my work here. I’m a bit of a mage, bit of an engineer. Too unconventional of work for the mage academies in Stormwind or Dalaran, even if I wanted to go there.” Meaghan explained. “I’m mostly self-taught. Don’t get a lot of money from it, but a few years ago I started getting funded by an anonymous donor.”
“Meaning that as long as Mr. Red gives me the funds I need I don’t have to waste time on other stuff. I can concentrate on my work.” she paused, searching around the table for an gadget. She lifted up a rather large knife-like invention. “Here it is.”
“What is it?”
“I adapted it from the principles of Ravenholdt’s arcane bomb. It draws magic from nearby sources to it and channels it into the blade,” she explained. “Excellent against mages or anyone else that’s magically powerful. Such as Facade.”
“Facade...” Quinton Stone began to think. “Things are going to be getting worse, soon. He’s not going to take what happened lightly.”
“I thought the same. I’ve taken the liberty of arranging some alliances.”
“Good. We’ll need them,” Stone said firmly. "Allies are precious commodities."
“I’ve invited one over,” Raines announced. “He should be here shortly...”
“Sir, Osric Greystone is here. He has some issues he wishes to discuss,” Jackie Ketkhin announced.
The room was quite dark with the drapes drawn closed. Only a handful of candles and torches illuminated the study of the old manor, which Facade had taken residence in. The home had once belonged to the Ketkhin family, before Jackie had donated it to his new master. Bookshelves filled with ancient tomes, ornate tables and tapestries, candelabras and statues cluttered the room.
“The fools always come at the most inopportune times,” Facade growled. He was hunched over in a chair, the Ancient Oculus before him.
“If you wish, I can send him and the rest away,”
“Why? Because you think me too weak to handle my own men?” he turned to face the other man. “All boast and no performance. Can’t even handle a couple of street vigilantes without being stabbed. Is that it?”
“Sir, I never-”
“But you were thinking it! And you are a fool to think it.” Facade paused and stood. “Tell me, have you ever heard of the Myriad?”
“No, I haven’t.”
“They were an organization, large and powerful. Just as the Collective sprung out of Lordaeron and Quel’thalas, the Myriad rose from Khaz Modan and the Azeroth continent.” he explained. “Now, they are forgotten. My work.”
“I don’t understand.”
“I’m not some petty criminal, seeking only money and cheap thrills. I work with a purpose. I clear out the old, broken establishment to make way for the new.” he continued, stepping closer to Ketkhin. “The Myriad were comfortable and contented. There is no greater pain in the world than contentedness. I was their salvation through destruction. That is what I am for all the world.”
“I don’t quite understand.” Jackie hesitated before speaking.
“By destroying the Myriad, I allowed life to flow. I cut down a tree to grow a forest.” Facade elaborated. “I do the same wherever I go. I sweep out established power and take its place for a while. Then I depart, leaving behind a fertile plot sown with the seeds of competition. I’ve slain more lords of the Collective than any other person on the planet. I’ve dismantled organizations centuries old. And yet somehow Port Baradin resists. By all rights, the city should be mine.”
“It is yours, sir.”
“But it isn’t! Not yet! You can feel it, in the air of the streets. It is not my city. And now I know why.” Facade paused. “The Vigilante. His very existence breeds resistance to my influence. So I will crush him.”
“What’s your plan, sir?” Ketkhin asked.
“If the Ancient Oculus were truly under my control, there could be none that could oppose me. But the arcane power it holds is entrapped with esoteric and forgotten techniques. I can barely scratch the surface of the power contained within,” the mirrored man replied, turning his back on his underling. “It would take an entirely different instinct to access it.”
“If I may, sir,” Jackie Ketkhin said with a smile. “I think I might know just who you need.”
Siolfor Blackhammer leaned back in his chair. From his balcony he had watched the sun rise over Port Baradin’s bay. A beautifully impressive sight, and the Silverstache felt privileged to have such a perfect view of it. Luckily, his fortune had not dissipated as his political aspirations had. Just the opposite, his ventures into criminal enterprise had begun to increase it.
However, money did little to satisfy his desires. Some said money was power, but this was not the case amongst dwarves. Even amongst the criminal elements those in charge gained their positions primarily through merit or, more commonly, birthright. Unfortunately for Siolfor, the only birthrights left to him by his father was a tarnished reputation. Once upon a time he would’ve had the Port Baradin barony, but his father had squandered even that.
A messenger arrived at the estate, and one of Siolfor’s servants brought him the letter. She was a pretty young girl, and that was one item on a relatively small list of things that Siolfor liked. However, on this day it was to be the message that she delivered that pleased him instead. He broke the wax seal, marked with the symbol of the Dark Iron Clan, and read speedily. As he consumed the written word his eyes grew aflame with a familiar glow; the spark of ambition.
Siolfor stood up quickly and rushed inside, the letter crumpled slightly in his grip. At the dining table sat his wife, Oneida, and his son, Joldir. He was not especially close to them. He and his wife had been long estranged. Joldir himself was still very young, having been born only a little more than half a decade prior. He had at times thought of them as a burden, and had been somewhat vindicated in that view when his infidelity ruined his political career in the city. But now, they were a great asset.
“Oneida, ready yourself and Joldir for travel. We leave for Ironforge within the hour.” he announced.
“What is it now, Siolfor?” she replied with an exasperated tone.
“This.” he handed the letter to his wife, and her eyes too grew wide with ambition. “It seems that your blood will finally avail us some gain, Oneida Thaurissan.”
“So,” Quinton Stone asked, turning to Meaghan. He had just donned a suit made of special materials that she had made. “what do you think?”
“Hmm,” she picked up a knife and threw it at him. It hit his shoulder, but the blade was stopped by the armor. “Yes, I think it works.”
“A little warning next time,”
“If I had told you I was going to throw it you wouldn’t have let me,” she paused, hearing a distinct knock on the door. “I think that’s our friend”
She climbed up the ladder, exiting the secret lab. It was a short walk from the living room to the front door. Looking through a slat in the wooden door, she affirmed the identity of the man knocking on the door. Twisting her locks open, she let Commissioner Turpin inside the building. He was alone and in civilian clothing. He shut the door behind himself, revealing the Vigilante behind it.
“Damn it!” Turpin shouted in shock. “How the hell do you do that?”
“I eat a healthy breakfast each morning,”
“You’re making jokes now?” he turned to Meaghan and spoke playfully. “What did you do to him,”
“It’s time we properly met,” Stone said, taking the mask off. “My name is Quinton Stone. We met at that charity dinner a few months ago.”
“Well I’ll be.” Turpin replied, shaking Stone’s hand. “So we did. Good to finally see the face under that mask.”
“Gentlemen, we have something to discuss. Facade.” Meaghan interjected.
“I’ve got as many of my boys as I can out on patrol, looking for his next move. That little incident down at the harbor made quite the impression on everyone in the city, you know.”
“The good kind or the bad kind?”
“The good kind. This town needed somebody to stand up to the reflective bastard face to face.” Turpin explained. “Gave them a little hope. Now, as many boys as I have out there, I still can’t get any development to you in a timely fashion.”
“I believe I have a solution to that problem.” Meaghan said as she rummaged through a bag. “Communication stones, privately networked.”
“Perfect.” Stone replied. “Facade is more dangerous than ever. We’ve got a wounded animal out there. We need to be ready when he lashes out.”
Water dripped onto the stone floor of Ironsong Prison as the winds howled around it. The stone fortress was large, dark, dirty and filled with criminals ranging from the petty to the nightmarish. Some inmates, those with connections, got sent to ‘solitary confinement’, which was more of a nice room at a tavern where they filled out the rest of their sentences. The worst of the worst were sent to the Asylum, at the heart of the facility. Those with severe mental issues were sent there as well.
The doors of the prison were drawn open to let a cart in. It carried a large crate, a delivery for the prison. The facility was many things, but it was not self-sustainable. The doors slammed behind the men pushing the cart with a large clanking noise. The crate had a large label identifying it as a food supply crate, and thus was brought down to the kitchen. However, upon opening the crate the kitchen staff found no food, but instead a strange mechanical device.
“Anyone have any idea who in the nether sent us this damned toy instead of our supplies?” the chef shouted. He slammed a fist into it. Suddenly, it lit up a bright blue and various sections began spinning.
“What the-” sous chef’s words were cut off as the Mana Bomb exploded, taking the kitchen and a small chunk of the first cellblock. As the dust cleared a small crowd became visible in the debris field, having moved in after the explosion. Three figures stood at its head.
“Mr. Ketkhin, remind me to pay the Perinany Legion for those wonderful mana bomb designs,” Facade said. “Note the sarcasm. They’re the ones that used my designs in the first place.”
“Sir, the Asylum is this way,” the third figure said. He was a short fellow.
“Very good. Lead the way, Mr. Flyntrock.”
Junno Flyntrock, trailed by his master Facade, Jackie Ketkhin and the Ketkhin Mercenaries, moved swiftly through the Cellblock One. Various guards tried to stop their advance. They were quickly cut down, their keys taken to release the prisoners. By the time he reached the Terminal Structure connecting the various Cellblocks Facade had an army of liberated criminals at his back. The guard force was ill-prepared to face the association of criminals.
The conflict quickly escalated into a full fledged prison break. The released criminals began to storm other Cellblocks. Facade saw notorious thugs Swine and Big Icy amongst the ruckus, alongside other fearsome figures: Emorva, Eyeball Emancipator; Hogar the Walking Inferno; Julia van Bludstein. Their release would undoubtedly cause great and terrible crime sprees in the town. Facade didn’t care. Just the opposite, in fact. They would be useful. He turned to Flyntrock as they reached the Asylum.
“Make sure Hogul Brightletter makes it out of here alive,” he ordered. “Point him towards the office of our dear Ignal Ironroot. I’m sure he has a thing or two to tell him.”
Ripping open the door, Facade walked down the steps alone. His retinue guarded the entrance. The few guards inside charged at him fruitlessly. One raise a battle axe and swung with great force. Facade caught the blade of the weapon in a bare outstretched hand and snapped it off the shaft before decapitating the guard with it. With impossible speed he tore the throat out of another before burning the third with his magic.
Facade stood unchallenged, the medical staff too afraid to try to stop him. The mirrored man walked through the halls of the asylum, searching for the number that Flyntrock had given him. He found it near the end of the hallway. With arcane-enhanced strength, he ripped the steel door clean off and tossed it to the side. In the corner of the cell was a quivering man in a straight-jacket. Facade approached him, bending down to his level.
“Why, hello there friend. It would be a shame to keep you locked up down here. Such a waste of potential. Though from what I understand it was just as wasted by your previous employers,” Facade’s voice was slow and drawn out. ”They thought you mad. But I recognize your madness for genius. From what I understand, you are quite the arcane prodigy.”
“What- what do you want?” the man whispered back feafully.
“I want you to use your talents to give me all the power I could ever want,” the mirrored man explained. “I want Lunarus.”