dapper vulpera in a top hat, a bizarre yet friendly troll squatting on the pavement in a snazzy tuxedo, haughty nobles from Suramar, diligent students sat in the grass with their notebooks, an ethereal eerily floating in a corner, an arakkoan squinting at the ambient though joyful chaos, lurking civilians and some dashing local dignitaries - yours truly included: the crowds drawn by Dalaran have gained the reputation to be eclectic and dazzling, much like our colourful spires and their myriads of crystalline lights. Every tuesday, the city indeed emerges from its studious transe to welcome merchants, entertainers, scholars and tourists from all over the known cosmos, breathing some life into the streets in-between Kelly Jendrock’s eagerly awaited faires. One could easily blacken pages upon pages reviewing each and every stand, alas, dear reader, you are stuck with the bleakest kind of writer: an academic. To open each trade night, a guest lecturer gives a public class at Antonidas’ memorial or in Aegwynn’s gallery, and never fails to catch the attention of a few dozen bystanders; this is, after all, a city of myopic magi and extravagant erudites, one that has to honour its reputation as the biggest, most floating and shiniest library on the face of the planet - or, in this peculiar case, slightly off of it. We have had classes by the illustrious Zyretha Snowdawn, Juniaa Whitesnow, Salyse Wintercest, Koltherim Del’thori, Loundre Tealshore and yours truly, as well as a play by the Quill’s Melody, and yesterday, we were treated with Lord Dahnos Manashriek taking the stage. Out of sheer intellectual honesty, I will confess to being the worst reviewer to impartially tell the tale of his performance: I happen to have known the man for twelve millennia and counting. Yet thanks to the power stemming from the fact that I am the one holding the quill, this breach of deontology will have no consequences whatsoever upon the contents of this paper. “Spellblades and casting under pressure”, such was the topic, which was covered not only diligently and academically, but with all the vivacity and panache of one who experienced everything he narrates. And because the man is also a pedagogue, quaint little conjured figures were used to demonstrate the difference between your standard infantry trooper and an experienced spellblade - not to be confused with a battlemage, who does not engage in melee fighting if they can avoid it. The formidableness of the spellblade having been duly underlined - yours truly can testify that you do not want to cross a spear-wielding, elementium-wearing arcanist trained in Kal’delar - it was time to address their limits, namely what is colloquially referred to as “quick-casting”. Our resident Manashriek asked the bedazzled crowd to raise a hand if they ever exhausted themselves while channelling a spell. A forest of hands rose for the first time, naturally; and the few that did not raise a hand were either confused or lying. Managing one’s mana pool is the basis of an arcanist’s training, yet the most experienced of mages have drained themselves out of hybris or lack of focus; and dear reader, in the worst cases, I can again testify that this is quite a gruesome way to die. To ensure this does not happen to them, spellblades resort to quick, simple, efficient spells that can be casted in the blink of an eye, fitting the reactivity of a melee battle, and do not risk draining their reserves prematurely. Yet! These spells are inherently volatile - a ward shatters after one blow, a bolt maims but does not kill - and pale in comparison to properly channelled, more complex incantations. If a battlemage somehow crept on your battalion and was given the time to bring a hail of arcane missiles upon you, your valiant spellblade would inevitably finish their career carved into the floor like a pre-arranged fossil. This is why good strategists, all the way from Kal’delar to the Kirin Tor, through the Blood Knights and the 7th Legion, place a line of battlemages behind one of spellblades and infantrymen. A good, reasonable mage developing their offensive skills will choose between casting lengthily and quick-casting, specialize and rely on square battle formations and the trust put in their commanders. An ambitious, cynical mage will dabble in both and never rely on anything. For harsh and lonely is the road to greatness, dear reader. Then came the time to applaud, and applaud I did, so much so that I forgot I was on a mission and almost dropped my notes. Questions ensued, a forest of hands soaring through the air one more time. My quick-witted student, sat by my side for the lecture, has a practical mind and asked what weapons would be optimal to practice quick-casting. To which the lecturer obliged by specifying that anything with enough surface to inscribe multiple runes can be considered reliable - no fighting with needles and snazzy, useless daggers. Yours truly added that more surface also means more room for inlaid mana gems, thus more emergency power reserves. Dwelling upon such considerations, we learn the following: size does matter. There are questions, I confess, that I missed - distracted as I was by the nine feet tall worgen lady clad in heavy arcanite who stepped by to bring me a mug of coffee. May the spires of the Citadel have mercy upon my failure to grasp such a priceless crumb of its history. Diligent reporter that I am nonetheless, I managed to grab the lecturer and pull him out of the chaotic melee of his wailing admirers for a few additional questions. He first regarded me with suspicion, and I can hardly fault him, for a substantial part of our relationship consists in inflicting the most juvenile of escapades upon each other. Yet instead of a hungering raccoon, and to his utmost relief, I handed him a recorder. Archmage Acheleus Moonblaze: Don’t question the recorder, it’s gnomish. And no, you cannot have it, I have to return it or the local gnome cartels will have my skin. Tell me about your own experience as a spellblade. Lord Dahnos Manashriek: Well, I attended the Zin-Azshari Academy with a higher education, thanks to my fortunate placement in life. I also found myself privately tutored in sparring, which lines up with my family’s history of martial service and battle experience. Archmage Acheleus Moonblaze: Ah, yes, the genesis of spellblades. Let us go back to the beginning, then. Give me your opinion on the different orders and academies that shaped the original spellblades in the days of the Kaldorei Empire. Lord Dahnos Manashriek: Hmmm… I always found the Kal’delar warriors too prim and proper, too arrogant to be willing to adapt and adjust. The Moon Guard were right in their operation, yet I find that to have such mobilised forces of magic users is impractical and resource-heavy - which I would advise against in this modern age. Suramarians were simply… capable warriors, I never found them excessively amazing nor excessively arrogant. Azsharans? Well, call me arrogant myself, but I am certain they were far more capable, simply due to their proximity to the Well and their knowledge of it. Archmage Acheleus Moonblaze: Thank you, dear…- Why is that glaring man standing uncomfortably close to us? Unnamed bystander standing uncomfortably close: I have no sense of personal space. Ensued quite the whimsical imbroglio, on which I have no professional obligation to comment. The remaining crowd eventually abandoned all pretention to having intellectual and productive activities, to simply scatter into the streets, drink and mindlessly relish in the satisfaction of being alive on such a lovely night - as did I, and, dear reader, as should you.
EDITORS NOTE: Each Tuesday at 20:00, Dalaran hosts the Dalaran Trade Night. A weekly event where you can find the shops open, the bars stocked, and, yes, lectures and other forms of enlightenment. Check it out.