"Do we really need to get the help of a satyr to save Mount Hyjal?" Kirlin asked dubiously, pulling back her dark blue hair behind her long elven ears.

"We were told to speak to him," Susan replied, shrugging. "It really makes no difference to me one way or another."

"If he won't help, I say we just kill him," Scregor growled, hefting his axe.

The two robed females and armored dwarf walked up the path to the old night elf ruin where the satyr was being held. There were no guards or anything. The creature was merely kept magically bound on top of a stone platform, alone. A number of vile-looking plants grew along the ground beneath the ruin.

"You ladies go have a chat with him," Scregor said. "Diplomacy isn't my thing." The dwarven paladin raised his axe and started hacking at the strange, writhing plants.

"You're going to do igardening/i while we do the real work?" Susan said, rolling her eyes. "Whatever." The human mage walked up the ramp to where the satyr was bound.

"Tyrus Blackhorn?" Kirlin says, hesitantly approaching the horned creature. "We have been sent to request your aid for the good of Mount Hyjal."

"Have the night elves really grown so desperate that they would seek out my help? Tell me," Blackhorn said. "Why should I not simply allow the world to burn?"

Susan turned, resting an elbow on an upraised knee, and gazed off, down toward the forest. Mount Hyjal was on fire. Dancing flames licked at the trees. Such... glorious destruction was appealing to the fire mage, in a way. But the night elf priestess would never see things that way.

"Weren't you mortal once, Tyrus?" Kirlin asked the satyr. "You were a night elf, like me. You were one of our people. Have you no sympathy for our plight?"

Blackhorn threw back his head and laughed bitterly. "Yes, I was weak once. But I would never go back to that. Now I bear the power of my master, the likes of which one such as you could never imagine."

"No?" Kirlin said. "It's not too late to reject these dark powers and redeem yourself, Tyrus."

"Redemption?" Blackhorn scoffed. "What manner of fool are you to think there's any turning against the Burning Legion? No, your struggle is hopeless. I will gladly welcome them when return here once again, and do not doubt that they will."

"It's not hopeless!" Kirlin argued, scowling at the satyr.

"You can think that if you like," Blackhorn said. "You can delude yourself to the truth all you want. You can believe that all of your battles against the Legion here and in Outland have done even the slightest thing to slow them down."

"It's not hopeless..." the priestess murmured with a sigh, looking down at the ground.

"You still haven't given me a good answer," Blackhorn pointed out. "Why shouldn't I let this world burn?"

Finally, Susan turned around and said to the satyr, "Because you're still in it. And more importantly, so am I."

"That's terrible!" Kirlin said, casting the mage a horrified look.

Blackhorn barked a laugh. "The human makes a good argument."

"I have no desire to die today," Susan said. "I don't see how that's such a terrible thing."

"But still," Blackhorn went on. "Why don't you free me from my bonds, human, and come far away from here with me?"

"As if anyone would listen to a demon like you!" Kirlin snapped.

"We were told to cleanse this mountain," Susan replied.

"And do you always do what you are told?" Blackhorn asked. "What punishment do you face for refusal?"

"None," Susan said, shrugging. "Disappointment, perhaps. But they would do nothing to me, aside from not giving me the rewards they offered in exchange for my services."

"I can't believe I'm hearing this," Kirlin said. "I knew mages couldn't be trusted!"

Susan snorted softly. "Are you assuming I'm not to be trusted when I haven't even agreed to anything yet?"

"I don't like the sound of that 'yet'," Kirlin said. "I'm telling Scregor on you!"

Kirlin turned on her heel and stalked away, back down the ramp and toward where the dwarf was hacking at the vile plants.

"Why do you put up with ones such as that, human?" Blackhorn asked.

"Because they offer me stuff in exchange for killing things," Susan replied. "So it gives me a chance to not only get away with killing things, but to get praised and rewarded for it instead."

Blackhorn grinned toothily. "I can offer you rewards, as well."

"And what assurance do I have that you will keep your word?" Susan asked.

"The same assurance you have from your dubious companions," Blackhorn said. He looked over at where the night elf and dwarf were coming up the ramp, and said quietly, "I have a plan. Play along."

"Susan!" Scregor roared. "What have you done?"

"She convinced me to aid you," Blackhorn told the dwarf. "Isn't that what you wanted?"

"And what did that help cost?" Kirlin wondered, pinning Susan with her gaze. "Your soul?"

"Of course not," Susan scoffed. "I don't care about this place that much. Saving it isn't worth my soul."

"She doesn't even ipretend/i to be a good person," Scregor said.

"Your arguments of goodness were never going to sway me, anyway," Blackhorn said. "But I will help you in order to save myself."

Scregor grumbled. "I still say we shouldn't trust a demon, nor even need his help."

"We have to save the forest," Kirlin said. "We can't do that on our own, Scregor."

"Fine," the dwarven paladin said, shaking his head. "I don't like it, but fine. What do we have to do?"

hr

A while later, the fire elemental that was plaguing the forest had been vanquished, and the three of them returned to where the satyr was being held, carrying the ashen heart taken from the elemental.

"We've done as you said, demon," Scregor said. "The elemental has been destroyed."

"And you've brought back his heart," Blackhorn said, looking at the trophy in Susan's hands. "Break it apart with your hands. Scatter the ashes upon the wind."

Susan did as instructed, crumbling apart the elemental heart and letting the pieces of it fall.

"Susan!" Kirlin said in alarm. "What are you doing?"

Blackhorn uttered a strange chant, and before the night elf or dwarf could stop him, his bonds were shattered in a flash of power.

"You planned for this all along!" Scregor roared, pulling out his axe and charging at her.

Susan transformed him into a sheep with a quick spell. "None of that from you, dwarf."

"You've betrayed us!" Kirlin exclaimed, putting up a protective magical shield around herself. "I knew it! You won't get away with this, either of you!"

Blackhorn merely laughed. "I will spare your lives today, heroes. But next time we meet, I may not be so merciful."

"And what of me?" Susan asked.

"You have earned your reward," Blackhorn said, grinning wickedly. "I keep my promises. Come, human. Let us be gone from this place."

Kirlin began casting a spell in a last ditch attempt to stop them. Blackhorn put his arm around Susan's waist, and the two of them vanished.