"One more attempt," Poneria said
She summoned Bizmir again. The imp backflipped into existence and immediately started babbling about the rumors passed by other annoying imps in the Twisted Nether. "You should use your wand when you get low on mana. You DO have a wand, right?"
The warlock snapped her fingers and snuffed his snarky spark right out. She didn't need that sass hanging around and interrupting her concentration. She conjured a healthstone and stored away a fragment of her soul to shorten the inevitable run back. She couldn't remember how long she'd been here.
She dropped a demonic gateway across the great drain-like roof of the Black Temple. Perhaps this time she could bluff Kanrethad into thinking she was out of his sight by moving in and out of the gateways. She drew a flask from her robes and drank deeply, washing down the last of her earlier dinner. Her stage was set; now, there was only that last piece.
Poneria walked to the back of the Temple roof and dropped the empowered soulcore into the demonic soulwell.
A great gateway rose into sight. The floor shuddered as the fel-conjured bricks groaned into place. The gateway arches locked together and the green portal smoked from within. A dark figure was striding within.
The portal's maw parted for his metamorphosed wings. Kanrethad Ebonlocke, Leader of the Black Harvest, strode from the Nether into the mortal air. "BEHOLD!" he proclaimed, spreading his arms to greet the lady 'lock. Poneria popped the cork on a vial as Kanrethad gloated once more about his power.
"Do YOU mean to stop me, little one?"
Her eyes narrowed and she chugged the potion
. There was no time to waste -- Poneria opened with a curse
on Kanrethad. He responded in kind
as she bathed his body
in fire and let the first cinders
fly from her fingertips. She was nearly triple her standing power
when he revealed his first trick.
"Hah. Your feeble attacks are entertaining. Would you like to see one of my new pets?"
Kanrethad began channeling onto the great gateway. Poneria was ready this time, and she quickly enslaved the pit lord
as it emerged from the portal. For once, Kanrethad looked baffled that she had so easily turned his weapon into her minion. What had taken him an eternity to learn was trivial
to this lady 'lock. She stepped into her own gateway and vanished from his attention as the pit lord's polearm swung into his face. Even though he was stunned by the minion's blow
, Kanrethad almost giggled at the felflame
washing over him.
"If two imps are better than one imp," he began, "what's better than two imps?" He laughed as if the punchline was funnier than a mage who's choking on a lack of mana. "SIXTY IMPS
Poneria stepped into her gateway once more as the imps poured out of the portal. The pit lord took them all in stride with his breath, which left her time to spread
around. She finished the imps off with a hailstorm of molten embers
Kanrethad had already rushed to the center of the room. He began to cast, slowly levitating into the air. Poneria had no time to yell, and instead mentally reached into her soul link with the pit lord. The next second saw the cast
interrupted and the air knocked from his chest once more with the felflame breath on his back.
Kanrethad picked himself off the floor and walked back to his gateway. A sense of dread filled Poneria. Her fingers trembled and it was hard to calm her heart at the thought of what would soon join the fight at Kanrethad's command.
"Daz Raka!" Poneria screeched in Demonic
at her pit lord. The Annihilan obediently moved to a corner behind Kanrethad's gateway, safely out of sight as three felhunters
bounded out of the portal. The warlock kept her eye on one
the other, and finished off the third with a stunning conflagration
With her pit lord trying once more to imprint its polearm's blade into Kanrethad's face, Poneria collected herself. She'd survived the felhounds easily
this time. Her confidence grew and she refocused her inner chaos
on Kanrethad. The corrupted warlock wasn't finished yet.
"Archimonde's use of the ered'ruin was brilliant." Kanrethad twisted the fel energy hard into the portal. "Their command of the dark energies is unparelleled."
"Oh yeah?!" Poneria yelled. With a flick of her wrist the doom lord
before he broke the portal's event horizon. Kanrethad glared at her, and she laughed back in his face. She waved her fingertips in a taunting gesture, daring him to give her more.
Unfortunately, he delivered. Her confidence had blinded her, and the spell that flew from Kanrethad's fingertips went not to her pit lord, but directly towards her. The shadowflamed dragon's head
was midflight, and she scrambled for her inner strength
. A whisper for a shadow shield
, a shield snatched from the pit lord's
own health, and a last-ditch siphon
from fat minion saved her. She was slivers from dying and out of embers to draw her power from.
She reached for the sky over the new wave of wild imps
and down rained
orange embers. The imps screeched as they burst into flame and died. She tapped
into her growing supply of power, siphoned the last of the pit lord away, and threw one last burning curse
at the metamorphosed man.
Kanrethad cackled, "You thought you could defeat me? NOTHING can kill me now, puny mortal!"
Blue and violet strands of light twisted together, spiraling out of his fingertips towards Poneria. It was so beautiful in its evening aurora of colors, but she knew what that gentle grasp
was deadlier than it looked. Her hands shot up to her throat and grabbed at the choking tendrils
. She clawed in agony
as the corruption
deprived her of life. Her body hung in the affliction, toes barely brushing the ground.
Poneria looked Kanrethad in the eye. Do it, you monster
, she urged silently; kill me already
He was smiling, fondly almost. He curled his fingers and caressed the air as if it were her cheek. "And now, your sad tale comes to an end." He suddenly outstretched his hand and the grasp intensified for a moment.
"No!" The voice was neither his nor hers.
"Jubeka?!" Kanrethad yelled. "What are you ...?!"
The grasp released her completely and Poneria collapsed to the ground. Kanrethad's hands fell to his sides, his own feet slowly lifting off the ground. His arms and wings arched back in equal pain and pleasure as the green glow of Jubeka's banishment smothered him. The strongest of bonds
, the warlock remembered
as she pushed herself up to her feet.
Jubeka walked toward Kanrethad. "This is only what you once asked me to do if it came to this, Kanrethad. You brought this on yourself." The Forsaken warlock did not sound sympathetic at all. In fact, she almost sounded disappointed.
Jubeka turned to Poneria. "Kanrethad had to be stopped. I'll see to it that he stays banished. Kanrethad enveloped himself with so much fel energy that it corrupted him totally. But a small taste of his power should not be harmful."
Poneria looked at Kanrethad, and back to undead warlock. She didn't mean... No, I couldn't... Could I?
"Go ahead." Jubeka jerked a thumb at Kanrethad's banished body. Poneria decided to try a taste of his power before the Forsaken got too impatient.
She reached out her hand to Kanrethad's heart. The gesture was so familiar and natural from the tens of thousands of times she'd stretched out for a creature's soul alongside friends. It was her turn to grace his cheek.
But instead of the familiar blue-purple glow of her usual afflictions flowing out of her fingertips, felfire charged into her hand from Kanrethad's soul. The burns of impish firebolts and the pain of devouring felhunter bites were gone, and the only thing left was the exhilirating pleasure of such power. The feeling engulfed her, spun her sideways, and lifted her body and spirit. It was as Kanrethad said: indescribable, unlimited, ...omnipotent
. Poneria breathed in deeply and cackled to the sky in utter euphoria.
"Now go, and use what you've learned," Jubeka said. "If you ever wish to have the fel energy purged from you, or reabsorb some of Kanrethad's, talk to me. I'll be at
the Altar of Damnation in Shadowmoon Valley, keeping him banished."
"Purged? Ha!" Poneria snorted. "I don't think so. No, this power
Blood Pact is a weekly column detailing DOTs, demons and all the dastardly deeds done by warlocks. We'll coach you in the fine art of staying alive, help pick the best target for Dark Intent, and steer you through tier 13 set bonuses.