Joe Lawyer is still MIA, so this chapter also went unbetaed. Credit for lore advisory goes to Umodin.


"Why does it seem as if no great enemy we have faced in the past remains defeated?" Tyrande's asked rhetorically, her tone grim and displeased, lacking in all humor.

She had good reason to be unhappy, with what she'd just been told.

"That's just how these things go." Luna shrugged. "Harry would say that if you can't triple check to make sure that an enemy is dead and has no resurrection contingencies, then you should expect them to make a comeback eventually."

"Not even a few days ago, I would have decried that as rampant paranoia." Tyrande frowned.

"Why would Azshara take Harry prisoner?" Jaina asked, bringing up the most immediately pressing question and the reason that she had been invited to this meeting in the first place. Or to be more accurate, Luna had barged into her personal quarters with the tale of Harry's kidnapping and presumed her help in saving him.

Being treated as if she was already part of the… Battle Harem… yet again was annoying, but she pushed that aside in favor of the current crisis.

The three of them were the only ones in this meeting. Arko, Jessir, Colette and Garona had elected to stay at the tower, feeling that they had nothing to contribute and trusting that they would be informed later. Malfurion had only stayed awake long enough to greet Tyrande before falling into a healing sleep to recover from the long term poisoning he'd been subjected to.

"She was always incredibly vain." Tyrande replied, pursing her lips in thought. "She may have heard of his skill in fleshcrafting and wants him to recreate her old night elf body, or an entirely new one made to her specifications."

"That would be a bad idea." Luna pointed out. "Harry can build traps into the bodies he creates, and he has quite a bit of power over them as their maker even without that."

"And as a powerful sorceress herself, Azshara would know that." Tyranded concluded. Her own knowledge of the magical arts was fairly limited, so she had not realized that. "Then if that is her goal she may instead seek to learn the skill from him."

"But you don't think that's what she really wants." Jaina stated rather than asked.

"I have no doubt it would appeal to her vanity, but no." The High Priestess nodded, turning to Luna. "You were not careful about who heard you speak of traveling to Azeroth from an entirely different dimension. If Azshara has heard of it, then it will have inflamed her lust for power and domination. The thought of an infinite number of worlds to bring under her glory may prove too much temptation for one such as her."

The uncharacteristic sneer on Tyrande's face, however brief, spoke volumes of her opinion on the fallen kaldorei queen. She had a bit of a temper when it came to things she was passionate about, but she rarely showed such open disdain.

"She would have had better luck approaching him openly and asking to learn." Luna shook her head. "Because she attacked him and took him prisoner, he's going to be contrary just to spite her."

"Even if she tortures him?" Jaina asked.

"He can turn off his sense of pain whenever he wants."

"There are many ways to torture someone aside from causing physical pain." Tyrande's tone went back to grim. "Azshara no doubt knew many even before joining hands with N'Zoth. I do not want to rely on Harry's ability to resist. We must recover him as soon as possible."

"I won't disagree, but how are we going to do that?" Jaina wondered pensively. "According to Luna, he's at the bottom of the sea, directly under the Maelstrom. Short of securing the aid of Neptulon the Tidehunter, I can't think of any way for us to even reach there, much less fight effectively."

It went without saying that getting the Elemental Lord of Water to help them would be no easy feat. And they didn't even know what his stance on Azshara and her naga was. For all they knew, the two were allies.

There was a prolonged silence as all three women tried to think of what they could do. Their options were depressingly slim.

"Something will come up." Luna said optimistically. "Until then, we just need to have faith that Harry will be okay."


"A little higher." Harry said, sighing in pleasure as the naga masseuse complied. Multiple pairs of hands were really handy for massage. Who knew? "You know, when you were talking about having me as a guest in your palace, I genuinely believed you were being euphemistic."

Across from him, Azshara was stretched out on her own, much larger, massage table, being worked over by a whole team of naga handmaidens. She had two for each tentacle and two more for her upper body. The adoring looks on their faces and the palpable jealousy radiating from the ones who had been ordered to work on him told him that doing this for their queen was considered a great honor.

Then again, the nascent hint of divinity he could sense from the Empress of Nazjatar really said it all about how she was viewed in her underwater kingdom.

"Did you think I was going to torture you?" Azshara injected an undertone of hurt into her voice that he could tell was fake, but his masseuses clearly didn't, because they dug their claws into his skin almost hard enough to draw blood.

"Yes." Harry deadpanned.

"I was going to, but I truly was most impressed by your skill and good manners during our duel." The Naga Queen admitted. "Someone such as you deserves more courtesy than that."

That tracked, and he sure was glad that he had kept a lid on his mouth. It hadn't been easy, after centuries of being able to run it without much in the way of repercussions, but from the very moment he'd first laid eyes on Azshara he'd known that she was someone he needed to step lightly around. A little frustrating, true, but he honestly had a lot of respect for her skill with magic, so it didn't grate on his pride too badly.

The worst was really that he had to bite his tongue to keep from calling her stupid for thinking that consorting with Sargeras was a good idea. It was just so… disappointing.

"I am pleased to have impressed you." Harry very carefully did not lie, because he had a feeling she would know.

"As you should be." Azshara replied magnanimously. And unironically. "Will you tell me of your early studies?"

"If you will tell me of yours." He returned.

"Of course, it would be only fair." It went unsaid that she loved talking about herself.

And so Harry shared some of his life story with her, but kept the details sparse, because despite the superficial civility of the situation, he was still a prisoner.

And it wasn't a prison he could easily escape. No shackles, bars or spells could hold him, but the weight of the sea could. Azshara had forced the water out of the Eternal Palace to accommodate him, but it could be brought crashing back down at any moment. All of Nazjatar was her magical Territory and no spells could be cast without her knowledge. The wards blocked all travel and communication with the outside. She didn't try to put him in chains because she didn't need to – there was nowhere for him to go.

She wanted something from him, that much was clear, something that she thought would be easier to get with honey than with vinegar, because he didn't for a second believe that politeness alone would have spared him from torture if she thought it would work. She was buttering him up and not being very subtle about it. Both of them knew the score, but she still thought she could convince him to cooperate with whatever plans she had.

But calling her out on it would be dumb. The longer he could drag this out, the more likely that he would find a way to escape or contact Luna to arrange a rescue, so he played the part of the honored guest and made small talk with his captor. It was a sticky situation, no doubt about that, but it wasn't an insurmountable one.

The massage continued until Azshara dismissed her handmaidens, rising from the table. She showed no hesitation at exposing herself to him, which made sense. Night elves were already very casual about nudity and from what he'd seen so far, most naga eschewed clothes entirely.

She wasn't as chesty as you'd expect someone hailed to be 'the most beautiful woman to have ever lived or ever will live' to be. In fact, her bust was downright modest. Very perky, though.

Harry brought a simple pair of black boxers out of his hammerspace to wear. There were limits to how far he was willing to play along with her games and a man walking around with his cock swinging was a tad more unsightly than a woman airing out her breasts.

Azshara made no comment either way, taking a pair of glasses filled with a dark red wine in two hands and patting a similarly dark red couch made of soft leather that she sprawled over with a third. "Come. Sit with me."

It was a very comfortable couch and cleverly enchanted to exist in harmony with the water that usually filled these halls. It would be even more comfortable if it didn't have an eldritch abomination of a woman lounging on it.

From information he'd been able to piece together while researching her, Azshara had already been significantly taller than most night elf males back before the Sundering, probably about 7'6'' or 7'8'' judging by the proportions of her upper body now. As a naga, her tentacled lower half gave her a variable height, but she could probably raise herself up as high as fifteen feet at the maximum.

It went without saying that she took up a lot of space and kind of loomed. Harry had to force himself to relax as she scooted closer on the couch, just close enough away to intrude into his personal space. Down on the floor, one of her tentacles 'coincidentally' slid over his feet and she 'didn't notice'.

And she smelled amazing. Harry knew that it was just a function of her enthralling aura making every single aspect of her maximally attractive, but she still smelled wonderfully alluring. If he was being affected even this much, then he knew that she would only need to take a stroll through a city and all but those with the strongest wills would throw themselves to their knees in front of her.

For all her power in direct combat, her greatest talent seemed to be in manipulation. She really had far too many commonalities with Adrastia, the troublesome woman.

"This is good wine." He complimented after accepting the glass she gave him and taking a sip. "How do you make it?"

"The seas provide a greater bounty than you would believe." Azshara replied, smiling around the lip of her glass and deliberately working her throat as she swallowed another sip of wine.

Harry manually killed the blood flow going south as he replied. "You'd be surprised by what I'm willing to believe."

"Perhaps." She hummed. "I was certainly surprised to hear that you think I would have been more mellow if I was being 'fucked on the regular'."

Goddamnit, that was word for word what he'd said in the Emerald Dream, wasn't it? She had been spying on him, probably through Xavius. And she was probably letting him know about it only because the avenue was now closed and her other means of information gathering were still secret.

"I stand by my opinion." Harry doubled down. "You had everything in the world except a man and you threw it all away for Sargeras. What else am I supposed to think?"

Azshara's laughter was the most beautiful music he had ever heard, even though he could hear the false undertones beneath it. She was unhappy with his words, but pretending to be amused.

"My, but you are a bold one." She said, scooting even closer until their bodies were nearly touching. "Are you thinking of trying to seduce me?"

"Alas, no." Harry shook his head. "If I had arrived on Azeroth alone and stayed alone until meeting you, then I definitely would have considered it, but you're the kind of woman that demands complete attention."

It was backhanded flattery to appease her, but it was also the truth. Harems only worked if the man was significantly more powerful and forceful in personality than the women around him. Even putting aside the issues of her personality and history, Azshara would never fit in. The most likely scenario would be a fight to the death for trampling on her pride by even suggesting it. On the off chance that she actually was interested, she would probably try to kill all the other girls in order to monopolize him, because Azshara was a selfish, selfish woman. And if by some cosmic shenanigans she decided to not kill them and the girls agreed to tolerate her, then she would forever be fighting him for dominance.

There was absolutely no way it would work.

"I am glad you understand this." She smiled and backed off a bit, no longer looming threateningly.

And that was what she had been doing. A less experienced man might be fooled into thinking that she was flirting or even putting the moves on him, but you didn't get to be his age without learning to sense when you were being threatened. Azshara just had a very interesting way of threatening people.

"So, I've been pondering the mystery of the naga ever since I came to Azeroth, if you would indulge my curiosity?" He asked politely.

"By all means." She gestured magnanimously.

"Are you amphibians or are you mammals?" Harry waited for a moment to let incredulous confusion flicker over the Naga Queen's face before continuing. "By that I mean, do you birth live young or do you lay eggs?"

"This is the mystery of the naga to you?" Azshara's tone made it very clear that he was on thin ice. Prickly woman.

"Well, yeah." Harry shrugged, pretending not to notice the warning. "I mean, you have breasts." He gestured at her helpfully bared chest. "That is a clearly mammalian trait. However, you don't need to come up for air, which is a clearly aquatic trait. So, either your ability to breather underwater is magical and the naga are mammals pretending to be amphibious, or your breasts are just vestigial traits that serve no purpose."

Azshara looked like she was contemplating turning him into something amphibious, or trying to at least. Harry might not be as powerful as her, but he was powerful enough to resist being polymorphed against his will.

"You ask strange questions, Harry." She finally said.

"Strange and uncomfortable questions are the best kind." He smiled brightly.

"Perhaps one day, you will find out which one it is." Azshara purred.

Aaaand they were back to flirting/threatening, this time with more flirting than threatening. Harry resisted the urge to sigh. This captivity of his was looking like it would drag on for a while…


Information circulation in low tech societies was generally slow, sometimes taking weeks, months or even years for things to disseminate across the world. With ubiquitous magic added to the mix, that tended to only apply to less… dramatic… information.

That Archdruid Fandral Staghelm turned out to be an enemy agent, that he had been assassinated by Garona Halforcen at the behest of Tyrande Whisperwind, that Malfurion Stormrage was back, that the aforementioned half-orc assassin was affiliated with Harry's group and a bunch of other relevant details… That kind of information could get around very fast indeed.

Adrastia would probably have been able to hear Varian Wrynn bellowing from halfway across Stormwind.

Less commonly known was the fact that Harry had disappeared after those events. Adrastia didn't have much penetration into night elf society, but one of the duties Harry had given her was to wiggle into the trade systems within the Alliance. Not for anything nefarious, but simply to make sure that certain resources could be bought as needed. Through that, she was able to learn that the Battle Harem had split up to deal with multiple problems during recent events.

She had been around Harry long enough to know that he never did that unless he genuinely thought he needed to, or if he didn't think there was any danger. Given that he hadn't been seen since, it probably wasn't the latter.

And he hadn't contacted her, despite the uproar his open association with such a notorious assassin had caused. Varian Wrynn had practically ordered her to go tell Luna that she was being summoned to Stormwind to explain herself.

He hadn't used those words exactly, but the King of Stormwind had been angry enough that he had very nearly forgotten the limits of his authority.

Still, she went willingly, wanting the full story herself. And now she was back at the tower in Ashenvale, hearing that the man to whom she had bound her fortunes to, whom had seemed so invincible for centuries, had been defeated in single combat.

"I see." Adrastia nodded calmly once the tale was complete. "That is that, then. I quit."

"Eh?" Luna cocked her head sideways like a confused puppy. "What are you quitting?"

"Everything." The Black Widow gestured around the room airily. "This whole world, my arrangement with Harry. Everything. I realize that with him indisposed, entering proper negotiations for my retirement is impossible, but we should be able to come to a preliminary agreement with you speaking in his name."

Convenient, because Luna was too nice for her own good. She would offer terms that one would give to an old friend.

"Wait a moment." Colette broke in, frowning in confusion. "From what I understand, you entered into a contract of indentured servitude, swearing to serve in perpetuity in exchange for eternal youth."

"That is correct." Adrastia confirmed.

Colette only looked further confused by that. "But… indentured servitude is effectively just slavery with conditions."

"Indeed." The Black Widow smiled, beginning to enjoy this exchange. "And I set very few conditions."

"Then you can't just quit." Arko pointed out and then froze, muttering to herself. "I can't believe I'm arguing for slavery."

"Normally no, but things changed thanks to Harry's short stint of godhood." Adrastia was now smiling widely. "You see, he cannot refuse to free me if I ask for it. Until now, it simply did not benefit me to do so."

Though, in hindsight, she should have asked for it the moment Harry declared that he was dragging her away from Planetos and onto another, much more dangerous, 'adventure'. Alas that she had been too caught off guard and too used to thinking of him as a protector to think of it at the time.

"You were just using him for your own benefit." Jessir accused. "And now you're abandoning him at the first sign of trouble."

"Of course." Adrastia looked at the night elf strangely. How could someone two thousand years old be so naïve? "Ours was an agreement of mutual exploitation; my body and mind would be his to use as long as he maintained and protected them. Frankly, he was in violation of his side of the contract from the moment he dragged me to this dangerous world, but I suppose I'd grown soft enough on him to give him a grace period. And now he isn't even around anymore to protect me."

Nothing so formal was ever written down or even discussed of course, but the implication was there.

"Because he has been captured by an enemy." Colette pointed out.

"The reasons don't matter." She dismissed and turned back to Luna, affecting a tone that was all business. "There are only two things I want; a means of maintaining my youth and safe passage to a less dangerous world."

"I guess, if you really want to go…" Luna pouted.

"I think it is past time we part ways." Adrastia nodded. "Harry clearly likes this world and is intent on staying on it for a long time, but I hate it here. It is far too dangerous. Besides, he hasn't really needed me in centuries and has all but completely lost interest in me sexually."

That stung, but it was true. Harry was bored of her, had been for some time. A parting would be in both of their best interests. She could go to a nice, safe world that wasn't overrun with sapient dragons, demons, gods, eldritch abominations and who knew what else and Harry wouldn't have to carry her around like dead weight.

Luna was silent for a while and the other girls followed her lead. Garona looked entirely indifferent to this affair and was probably wondering why she was even present for the meeting. Colette didn't really care either, but Jessir and Arko would be glad to see the back of her despite their earlier words.

Finally, Luna sighed and began speaking again. "I can teach you how to make and use a Philosopher's Stone, but you'll have to wait for Harry to arrange for passage to a different world. I know the ritual, mostly, but he said I shouldn't perform it."

"That is more than acceptable." Adrastia hid her eagerness. Learning alchemy from Luna was probably going to be a frustrating experience, but it would remove some of Harry's leverage over her if he decided to be difficult.

She didn't really expect him to be, but there was always a chance.


"Impossible." Thrall shook his head, looking at Jaina with incredulity.

"I know it's a lot to ask, but we can't let Azshara learn the secrets of dimensional travel from Harry." The young archmage implored.

"I realize the potential danger, but trying to petition an Elemental Lord for aid is madness." The Warchief responded. "Neptulon is not as hostile to mortals as Ragnaros and Al'Akir, but he is hardly friendly. Merely entering communion with him would already be a monumental task, convincing him to actually help would be much harder."

"According to Tyrande, Azshara isn't the sort to share power with anyone." Jaina argued. "She thinks that the two of them are probably locked in a struggle for control of the seas. If we offered to help him…"

"Fine, say that we somehow succeed in making an alliance with Neptulon. What then?" Thrall demanded, not unkindly. "We would have only a limited opportunity to act and we know nothing about Azshara's kingdom. We would be walking blind into enemy territory, against what you tell me is the most powerful sorceress Azeroth has ever seen. The armies of the Horde are already fighting in Outland and I won't be able to rally the clans to fight against the naga, not for Harry and certainly not now. I doubt the Alliance would do it, either."

Jaina grimaced at the unfortunate truth of that. Varian Wrynn was still more than a little miffed at learning that the mysterious orc assassin on Theramore had actually been Garona. Although reminding him that she had been mind-controlled had surprisingly gone quite a long way towards calming him down, he was still not happy about it and definitely wouldn't rally an army for Harry's sake.

Theramore's soldiers would listen to her, but Jaina knew that they couldn't challenge the naga alone, not even if Neptulon's water elementals helped.

"We weren't thinking of a full invasion." She admitted. "More of a stealth operation. We sneak in, grab Harry and get out."

Which she knew was a huge gamble. Azshara had had ten thousand years to make that place her own. They would be relying heavily on Luna's ability to shroud them in Elune's shadows to evade her attention.

"That would rely on having information on the lay of the land even more." Thrall pointed out.

"Luna seems convinced that Harry will eventually figure out a way to talk to her." Jaina said. "When he does, we can start coordinating and making plans."

"How will she know that he is not being forced to lead you all into a trap?" Thrall continued to play Devil's advocate.

"They've made blood-bound bracelets linked to each other's life force and she says that he isn't in any kind of distress yet." She answered. "Our best guess is that Azshara is trying the soft approach first, but we don't know how long that will last. Please, Thrall, can you at least try to contact Neptulon? We need to know if working with him is a possibility."

"I can try, but do not get your hopes up." The Warchief reluctantly gave in. "There is a reason why we shamans prefer to avoid direct contact with powerful elementals."


"You have been aggravating my servants."

Harry opened his eyes at Azshara's sibilant voice and smiled, but didn't turn around to look at her. "You give me too much credit, your servants seem permanently aggravated by my mere presence."

Of course, they would be less so if Harry hadn't gone sauntering around the Eternal Palace and chatting them up. However, since he wasn't being restrained and Azshara had even been so accommodating as to unflood portions of her palace for his benefit, they couldn't really do anything about it.

"They are quite zealous in their devotion to me." The Naga Queen agreed, slithering beside him.

"Zealous is certainly the right word for it." Harry nodded. Fanatical was another. An entire civilization of sycophants… he had no idea how she could tolerate it, much less enjoy it.

She certainly didn't trust them. His attempts at chatting with the palace staff, courtiers and whoever else he could reach had only revealed that Azshara shared her true plans with no one. All of them were following along with her out of faith, rather than agreement.

"Did you come here to admire the beauty of my realm?" She asked up after a few minutes of silence, gesturing outside, where the sea was being held back by her will to create an almost aquarium-like ambiance.

"I do some of my best thinking when I can stand atop my tower and look across the scenery." He replied, somewhat evasively. "Nazjatar has some impressive scenery of its own, though I do miss the sky."

"Oh? Do tell, I would love to hear your thoughts." Azshara slunk closer, looming slightly.

Hah, sure she would. He'd been thinking of how to escape and/or send out a message. Teleporting was out and travel was out. It wouldn't be out of the question to fashion a spell that could resist the water pressure, but he'd never be able to outspeed the naga in the water.

Sending out a message would be similarly problematic. He had done a few experiments, experiments that he knew would be both detected and expected, and confirmed that no message spell he knew would escape Azshara's grasp.

Passing a message through a third party was a ridiculous notion – he had no allies in Nazjatar.

He had even briefly contemplated suicide. There was a decent chance that he'd be able to cling to the mortal plane and make his way back to the tower… but it wasn't a guarantee. Plus, there was also the Old God imprisoned beneath them to consider and Azshara's own formidable power. Harry would rather not rely on his remnant divinity to protect him if he could avoid it.

"Just wondering if my own world also had a kingdom lurking secretly on the bottom of the sea." He said both truthfully and falsely. "We did have legends about one."

A legend about the greatest city in the world sinking beneath the waves due to the arrogance of its rulers? The parallels between Atlantis and Zin-Azshari were obvious.

"It could not be greater than Nazjatar." Azshara asserted confidently.

"It probably doesn't exist anyway." Harry shrugged noncommittally.

Privately, he thought that Nazjatar was a bit underdeveloped. Aside from the Eternal Palace, there actually weren't that many buildings around, which made sense in a way – it wasn't like the naga needed shelter from the elements all the way down here. But even taking that into account, far too much of Nazjatar was dedicated to the veneration of its ruler rather than to the advancement of its people.

Azshara probably didn't even remember what it meant to have your people make demands of you thanks to her enthralling aura. It was a shame, really. She had such incredible charisma, intelligence and force of personality, but much of it went to waste because of her vanity. It was like dealing with a genius five-year-old, except the five-year-old could kill you with a snap of her fingers.

Harry was as baffled as he was fascinated. He'd met plenty of people that were every bit as narcissistic as Azshara, but those people were also invariably too lazy to actually make anything of themselves. It was a simple fact of psychology that arrogance past a certain point started to warp your grasp on reality and you began to think yourself greater than you actually were. And if you already thought that you were so amazing, then what reason was there to improve?

He still wasn't sure if Azshara worked to improve herself in private while presenting the face of perfection in public, or if she was just so stupidly talented that everything came to her easily.

Harry also wasn't sure which one he'd prefer.

"We could find out together." The Naga Queen said lowly, two of her four hands skittering across his shoulders.

"Oh, we'd have to know each other a lot better before I'd do something as… intimate as jumping through dimensions with you." He chuckled.

"That is why you are here." She riposted, undaunted.

Liar. He wasn't sure what her actual angle was, but she had as of yet not been honest with him about it. The only thing he was sure of was that it was something she believed she needed his cooperation to achieve.

That was good, because it had almost assuredly spared him from any attempts at torture.

"I look forward to getting to know you better." Harry smiled, again not quite lying.

Knowing your enemies was arguably more important than knowing your allies.

Azshara hummed and backed off again "I will leave you to your thoughts for now. A servant will come when it is time for dinner."

Harry closed his eyes again once she was gone, his mind going back to the problem of how to establish contact with his girls. His eyes drifted to his forearm, where the life-bound bracelets sat. That was his only contact with them and the idea of using it to somehow pass along a message had occurred to him, but the bracelets really hadn't been made with that in mind.

A frown of concentration grew on his face as his focus turned inward. Azshara could sense even the smallest of spells being cast anywhere in Nazjatar, but could she sense something that didn't manifest outside his body?

Harry focused on his heartbeat. Strong and healthy and transmitting a steady dub-dub to his girls' bracelets. He grabbed it with his will and forced it to beat irregularly. Instead of dub-dub, it went only dub, then dub-dub and then dub-dub-dub.

His breath left him in a huff and he rubbed his chest with a grimace. That had been unpleasant, and all to spell out a half-assed ABC in the hopes that Luna would figure out what he was doing.

One would think that he would have learned morse code at some point in his life. One would also be wrong – there had never been any need for it. He was regretting that now, because it let him with little choice but to use a numeric representation of the alphabet as a substitute.

If he actually had to send messages this way, it was going to take for-fucking-ever to get anything across. Hopefully he'd figure out something better.


Several months later…

Luna paid careful attention to the pulses coming from Harry's lifebound bracelet and then added another line to the map she was drawing. It was a map of what she assumed was Azshara's palace and it was a twisty thing. Infiltrating it was going to be difficult.

The plans to save Harry had evolved quite a bit ever since he had started using the bracelet to communicate.

Military invasion was discarded as unfeasible. Thrall had been negotiating with Neptulon and managed to get the Elemental Lord to admit that his power over his own element was sharply curtailed in Azshara's domain. He would not be able to protect a whole army. Furthermore, even Harry himself had advised against it.

Azshara's ability to sense the happenings in her underwater kingdom was immense. Every spell cast, every death, every intruder, every broken ward… she would know about it instantly.

Luna had been practicing with the Tears of Elune now embedded in her staff and was reasonably sure that she would be able to use the titan artifact to fade them into the background, provided that they did nothing to draw direct attention. It would be a sneaky infiltration mission.

Arko, Jessir and Colette had been training hard for said mission, being unable to help much with the planning. Garona had found her schedule filled up with requests for stealth training by all of them. Jaina had agreed to come along as well, in case they needed another powerful mage. Tyrande had wanted to come along as well, feeling that Azshara was an enemy that should have been finished ten thousand years ago, but her responsibilities made it unfeasible.

Luna had attended those lessons as well, when she wasn't trying to talk to Harry. Unlike him, she couldn't manipulate her own body directly, so she had needed to ask Adrastia to jab her with a juiced up cattle prod to make her heart stutter in the required intervals. The other girls weren't happy about it, especially with how unbothered the Black Widow was about administering what was essentially light torture, but they said nothing. Their training sessions had a lot more angry frustration vented into them, though.

Luna trusted Harry and usually didn't ask too many questions, but this limited mode of communication was frustrating even for her. It took hours, days or sometimes even weeks to get certain information across, and getting confirmation was difficult. They would be going in a lot more blindly than any of them wanted.

Even Elune couldn't tell her much, the goddess' sight not reaching down into the depths of the sea. That was part of the reason that Harry had been caught in the first place – they had all gotten a bit used to having a friendly goddess giving them warnings of potential danger.

Chromie hadn't made any appearances, so they couldn't ask if she had known this would happen. The answer didn't really matter anyway.

One of the ravens that perpetually made their home anywhere that Harry lived suddenly winged its way into the room and landed on the desk.

"Visitor. Draenei." It croaked at her.

"Good boy." Luna praised the bird and petted it, getting a happy croak before it left.

She waited for a few more minutes to see if there would be any more communication from Harry, but there was nothing. Unsurprising. Translating room dimensions and such was some of the most taxing stuff he was doing, often taking up weeks of time to get right. Even with that, the map that Luna was drawing based on his information was almost certainly only approximately accurate.

The trip down to the front entrance was spent wondering why a draenei was visiting. Luna was hoping it was Miall feeling lonely, as she hadn't had time to visit the sexy blacksmith ever since Harry had been kidnapped. She probably still wouldn't have much time to spare for her, but a small distraction would be nice.

Alas, the draenei that came walking up to the tower was not Miall. For starters, it was a male and clearly a powerful paladin to her eyes. He was wearing heavy armor in the style of the Exodar's Vindicators and carrying one of their signature crystal hammers.

"Hello." She said when the draenei paladin was in talking distance.

"Greetings." He said back politely. "I am Vindicator Maraad."

"I'm Luna. Would you like to come inside?" She offered.

Maraad looked a little surprised for some reason, but nodded all the same. "Please."

Luna turned aside to welcome him and they walked through the entrance hall side by side in companionable silence.

"You must be wondering why I came here." Maraad broke it, his voice tense.

"Mhm." Luna hummed, but didn't ask further. He seemed nice and she was sure he would tell her when he felt comfortable doing so.

"I had a sister once, Leran." Maraad explained, clearly holding back strong emotions. "The caravan she was travelling with was attacked by orcs and she was taken prisoner. By the time I found her she was already dead. I learned recently that she may have borne a daughter before her passing."

Luna impulsively hugged him. She could hear in his tone how much he loved his sister, the hatred when he mentioned the orcs and the pain at her death. It was so sad!

"Uhm, my lady?" Maraad questioned uncomfortably.

"You think Garona is your niece, right?" Luna asked back, letting go of the burly paladin. Hugging armor was pretty uncomfortable.

"She may be."

Luna was more than empathic enough to detect the mass of conflicting emotions in that response. He wanted something of his sister to survive, but he hated orcs and wasn't sure how he would feel at seeing his half-orcish niece.

"She's a good girl." Luna immediately began espousing Garona's virtues. Family should love each other. "A bit too cautious with her trust if you ask me, but it's understandable. Just be patient with her and she'll warm up to you."

"I see, thank you." Maraad nodded, still a bit uncertain but there was marginally less tension in his expression.


It was awkward.

Garona didn't fidget, but it only due to a lifetime of practicing rigid self-control. A small bit of magic performed by Luna had confirmed a blood connection between herself and Maraad, after which the overly helpful priestess had bundled them off to a private room with snacks and drinks so that they could get to know each other.

"I must have gone over what I would say if you truly turned out to be my niece a thousand times, yet now I cannot remember a word of it." Maraad admitted with a self-deprecating sigh.

Ah, so she wasn't the only one feeling awkward. Good to know.

"I did not expect to ever meet a blood relative, much less one that would want anything to do with me." Garona offered in return.

"I despise the orcs, I will make no secret of that." Her draenei uncle said firmly before his face softened a little. "But you are my niece, my sister's daughter, and I want to be part of your life."

"Harry would probably like you." Garona knew that she was being a bit of a coward with this conversational dodge, but she didn't care right now. She was far from ready to just accept this unexpected uncle into her life. "He does not think much of orcs either."

That was an understatement if ever there was one. Harry plotted constantly to see the Horde dissolved and the orcs driven into extinction. His reasons were logical, ruthless and had the wellbeing of Azeroth at heart. He argued that the orcs were too inherently violent to coexist with the rest of Azeroth, that they would create pointless conflict and political tension for as long as they existed.

It was all very reasonable and probably true, but Garona hadn't lived so long by being unobservant – there was definitely an element of personal bias to it. Much less blatant than his open hatred of goblins, but it was there.

The half-orc assassin didn't really know how to feel about that. There was a part of her that wanted to give this new Horde under Thrall a chance, but it wasn't a very loud part of her. Certainly, she had felt no particular desire to accept the welcome that the shamanistic Warchief had extended to her.

"Yes, this archmage you've taken up with..." Maraad said slowly. "Could you tell me about him? I have heard some… odd stories."

"About his Battle Harem?" Garona asked with a raised eyebrow, smothering a smile. She did find the name kind of funny, especially after learning that it was partially chosen to mock his enemies. The thought of Gul'dan or Blackhand's rage had their ambitions been foiled by such a group had kept her amused for far longer than it had any right to.

"Err, yes." Maraad coughed awkwardly. "Miall, that is the Exodar's blacksmith, even told me that she thinks that they are trying to seduce her."

Garona suddenly saw an opportunity to test her uncle and took it without hesitation. "That is mostly Luna. She finds the horns, tails and hooves extremely attractive for some reason. She even suggested that Harry could fleshcraft a full-blooded draenei body for me."

"He can do that?" Maraad perked up.

"Yes." Garona couldn't say that she was surprised by his obvious interest, but it hurt more than she expected it to.

It wasn't that she was particularly attached to her orcish heritage, but turning her back on it so thoroughly didn't feel right either. Not to mention that the notion of body-jumping like that was more than a little ghoulish.

Maraad did surprise her, however, when instead of pushing this line of conversation further, he instead gave a pained chuckled. "You truly are your mother's daughter."

Garona made an interrogative grunt and jerked her head upwards in a demand for explanation, realizing only afterwards that it was a very orcish mannerism.

"That verbal trap you set for me, she would do that sometimes as well." The draenei paladin explained. "Our parents always said that between the two of us, I got all the brawn and she got all the brains. It is good to see that you inherited her intelligence."

"My mother was smart?" She'd never known anything about her and suddenly found herself very interested.

"Oh yes, Leran was one of the smartest people on the Exodar." Maraad boasted, which Garona took with a grain of salt. It was clear that her uncle's view of his deceased sister had become idealized in the years since her death. "She could have been one of the Exodar's most powerful mages if she was so inclined, but she never showed any interest in pursuing that path."

"Harry offered to teach me magic, before he was captured." Garona murmured thoughtfully. She hadn't been interested either, just like her mother, apparently.

"Who captured him?" Maraad asked. "I heard some rumors, but nothing definite."

"Azshara, the Queen of the Naga."

"From what I have heard of her, she was to the night elves what Kil'Jaeden and Archimonde were to the draenei." He said with a small scowl. "A dangerous foe."

"Very." Garona agreed. "We have been preparing to mount a rescue for months, but it is difficult when she took him to the bottom of the sea."

"Is he your…" Maraad clearly didn't know how to phrase his question.

"Lover?" Garona offered helpfully, taking an inordinate amount of hidden amusement in his stumbling. She knew that her mixed heritage made her face appear unusually young. Draenei typically reached adulthood in their mid-twenties, while orcs were considered adults at around thirteen, creating a strange juxtaposition. By draenei standards she was barely an adult and by orcish ones she was nearly middle age. Her uncle was clearly confused by it.

"Yes." His nod was impressively neutral.

"They have made no attempt to seduce me." She replied, but kept further speculation to herself.

Harry and Luna had never said anything about the matter, but she wasn't blind. It may have taken her some time to recognize the pattern, but they were clearly trying to get her to view them in a parental role.

Garona had no idea how to feel about that. She couldn't be angry because they weren't condescending, controlling or even particularly manipulative about it. Luna's dotting was blatant and somewhat endearing and Harry still been in the process of earning her trust when he was taken captive. It was just that… she didn't need parents anymore.

"That's… good?" Maraad ventured cautiously and continued when there was no negative reaction. "Regardless, I would like to help. He did right by you, so it is the least I can do."

"Then we should go speak with the others." Garona suggested, sensing that they were running out of easy conversation topics. Getting comfortable around her uncle was going to be a process, not the work of one chat over tea and cookies.


Harry had long since stopped finding his captivity either interesting or amusing. By now, it grated against his soul and made him temperamental, which was all the worse because he couldn't snap and snark against the principal cause of it. Being in a position of lesser strength sucked and reminded him keenly of why he'd voraciously sought more power as a youth.

At least Azshara was also getting irritated. Oh, she hid it well behind the mask of an impeccably gracious host, but it was clear that things were not quite going according to plan. If Harry had to guess, he would say that she had been expecting her charisma, presence and enthralling aura to have made him more malleable to her whims by now.

Ha, fat chance of that. Harry was, if anything, becoming more exasperated and disappointed with her the longer he stayed around her. It was probably a good thing that he hadn't arrived to Azeroth as a single man and actually tried to court her. If he had succeeded, it would have become a 'death do us part' situation.

Azshara was too intelligent and perceptive to not notice this, and she didn't like it, but at the same time she hadn't stopped trying. For months on end she engaged him in pointless small talk, dinners, massages, shared baths and other activities that were, in hindsight, designed to lower his guard.

It only served to confirm that she very desperately wanted something, something that only he could give and which had to be given willingly. He suspected that the only reason she hadn't tried going all the way with her seduction was because she was too proud to lower herself to what was essentially prostitution, no matter how it was dressed up.

That wasn't a long list, Harry had to admit. As much as he would like to consider himself resistant to more forceful 'persuasion', everyone had a breaking point. Someone as crafty as Azshara would certainly have been able to find a means of torture that would work on him and she, as far as she knew, had an unlimited amount of time to break him.

"Alright, I think we're both getting a bit tired of this game." Harry said one day, or possibly night. Keeping track of time on the bottom of the sea was impossible. "What do you want from me, Azshara?"

"Hmph, how brazenly demanding." The Naga Queen scoffed, posing on a couch as if she was modeling for a portrait.

She wasn't, although Harry had seen a ridiculous number of portraits of her hanging around the Eternal Palace, along with statues, frescoes, murals and assorted bric-a-brac. She probably posed so often that it had become an ingrained habit.

"It should be obvious by now that I'm not going to start rapturously sniffing your armpits." Harry retorted.

Ah, oops. He'd lost his hold on his snark for a second there.

Azshara's eyes narrowed minutely and for a moment the air was heavy with menace, but she controlled herself. Harry was quite certain that he would have gotten blasted with some kind of humiliating spell if she wasn't trying to keep herself in his good graces. He had seen it happen to several of her naga minions over perceived insults… which was probably at least partially her venting frustration at him on unfortunate passerby.

Sorry, snake people, but you are collateral damage.

"You wish for honesty? Very well." The Naga Queen decreed haughtily, somehow managing to make it sound like it was her idea through tone alone. Impressive. "I want you to use the Heart of Azeroth to open N'Zoth's prison for me."

Ah, the plot unmystifies itself. Harry had permanently bound the Heart of Azeroth to Atiesh and woven it together with a duty to protect the planet and the slumbering titan within. No one could use it if they didn't have both of their best interests at heart.

"Ah, you can't do it yourself, can you?" Harry grinned. He had naturally been relieved of the bladestaff when he was captured, but it hadn't worried him. He was confident in his spellwork and knew that Atiesh would return to him when called. The spellforging of its azerite blade was absolute and immovable. Tampering would at best be futile and at worst result in cataclysmic magical blowback that would scour the surface of the planet of all harmful factors.

Harry liked putting fuck yous like that into his more important work. It would be a shame to lose Atiesh and the Heart of Azeroth, and he didn't necessarily trust that Elune – whom was the one to be entrusted with the choice of who to purge – would do it right, but it was better than risking someone being skilled enough to actually tamper with his spells.

Azshara glared, refusing to answer verbally. Apparently he'd struck a nerve by pointing that out. Or maybe she was just upset that she couldn't overcome his security measures.

"But anyway, why would I want to set that thing loose?" Harry continued, prodding for the angle. There had to be an angle. "It really doesn't seem in my best interests."

Not to mention that Atiesh would refuse to work for him as well if he tried to use it for such a purpose.

"Not even if I would let you go afterwards?" Azshara asked poutily. It wasn't a look that should work for her, but somehow, she managed it.

But would N'Zoth? Harry mused. He couldn't see the answer being yes and the Naga Queen wasn't so naïve as to think that he would overlook that. Wait a minute, she never said anything about freeing N'Zoth, just opening up his prison for her.

And Azshara isn't a slave to N'Zoth, she's more of an ally. The story of how that had come about was one that she had been unusually willing to share, now that he thought about it. But allies can become traitors.

It would make sense. If there was anything he'd learned about Azshara these past few months, it was that there was no bottom to her vainglory. If she had succeeded in joining the Burning Legion ten thousand years ago, he had no doubt that she would have immediately started plotting to overthrow Sargeras. It was simply her nature. Why wouldn't she do the same with N'Zoth? It also neatly explained why she had come after him herself – she didn't want to risk failure with something so important. And the reason that she was being so circumspect was presumably so that the Old God couldn't listen in. Paranoid, but probably wise with how close it was.

The vague goal of 'coordinate a rescue operation' began to coalesce into a proper plan.

"Really now?" He replied, staring at her with half-lidded eyes. "You have my interest and attention."

Azshara smiled and he could easily imagine the many plots and schemes unfolding in her mind. Not for one second did he believe that her only goal was to backstab N'Zoth and free herself of that particular shackle, nor that she would actually let him go if they succeeded. These past months had made it clear that she also wanted his knowledge of fleshcrafting, dimensional travel and everything else. Frankly, he strongly suspected that breaking his resistance to her charms had become a personal point of pride to her by now.

It was going to get her killed. Harry might not be able to overcome her in a straight up duel, but he liked to think that he had refined cheating to an art form. If they both survived this debacle and she came after him again in the future, it wasn't going to be a clean fight like it had been the first time.


OMAKE – Roll the Dice on Dimensional Travel

In the end, she chose to complete her 'retirement' without ever talking to Harry, asking Luna to destroy the blood phylactery anchoring her geas and then send her to a new dimension before Harry returned. She didn't want to take the risk that he was still holding a grudge over that little blunder that got two of his grandsons killed and pulling some final 'prank' on her with his choice of destination.

Adrastia cautiously opened her eyes as the nauseating sensation of dimensional travel faded, hoping for the best. Luna had as good as admitted that she had trouble setting the parameters.

To begin with, she was alive, in one piece, not reduced to gibbering insanity and back in the physical realm. All very good things.

She was in a park with the skyline of a distinctly human-style city in front of her, somewhere between 1970 and 2040 judging by the architecture. Also very good.

The overall aesthetic was recognizably Japanese, as were the distant signs on the buildings. Slightly more worrisome. Adrastia did speak Japanese and travel shouldn't be an issue in this era, but that wasn't why she was worried.

Luna was far too fond of anime at times and that was not the kind of nonsense Adrastia wanted to deal with. She had asked for a not-too-dangerous, human-populated world that allowed magic, which was about as accurate as Luna admitted she was able to get.

Just as she was thinking that, a mermaid in a wheelchair blitzed past, being pushed by a blue-haired harpy. The former had a young man in her lap who was begging them to stop, but was largely incoherent on account of having what appeared to be a sentient slime wrapped around his head. How the harpy was even managing to push the wheelchair so fast with just her wings was already a question that implied supernatural shenanigans.

The odd trio took a left turn on the foot path and vanished behind a line of trees, their screams slowly trailing off.

Adrastia barely had time to take a deep breath to release her irritation when she heard thunderous clopping approaching. The source of said clopping turned out to be a massively busty female blond centaur swinging around… a plastic sword? Yes, that was definitely a plastic sword.

"Where did they go?" The centaur demanded of Adrastia, voice full of indignation.

Wordlessly, the Black Widow pointed down the right foot path. A small bit of vengeance for the chesty horsegirl thinking she could make such unapologetically rude demands.

"My thanks!" The centaur girl said with some facsimile of knightly courtesy and galloped away, already yelling imprecations upon the honor of 'those harlots', presumably the harpy and mermaid.

Adrastia took another deep breath.

"Centorea, wait for me!" A pink-tailed lamia girl yelled as she slithered past.

Damn it, Luna. What the hell were you thinking about when you performed that ritual?

"Ara ara~ that wasn't a very nice thing you did, lying to Cerea-chan." A new voice teased from above.

Adrastia turned around and looked up into the trees, meeting the three pairs of red eyes of another very chesty silver-haired woman with a monstrous spider lower body.


Back on Azeroth…

"Hey, does Azeroth have any spider girls?" Luna was asking of Arko, Jessir and Colette. "We're missing one now that Adrastia is gone."