Beneath the tall canopies that blotted out the sky in a land where humidity was the norm and wildlife abundant-- Salazar apparated among the shrubbery in a cloud of black mist.
Feralas was unlike most places on Azeroth, a lush jungle where the flora and fauna were the dominant force, and travelers were the exceptions to the rule. Still, among the overgrown vines and litany of modern wildlife were the remains of a once powerful Elven civilization, at least until the Sundering. It was one of these ruins that Salazar made his way toward, the Ruins of Isildien. To most that would come this way, the Ruins were an area of archaeological wonder, though by the present day-- most of the priceless artifacts had long been moved elsewhere. Still, the structures that rooted their way into the earth remained, and it provided a feeling of serenity for the layman passing by. But Demes was not here to admire the view, or to go on a pleasant stroll through nature, not entirely.
The Ruins of Isildien were a testament to a once large night elf city destroyed around 10,000 years ago. Populated mostly now by ogres, the only other marks of visitors are the tools for excavation left behind. Demes ventured into these ruins, and without attracting too much attention walked toward one of the enclaves. A small space inside a tower that was part of the larger complex, it was dark, damp, and claustrophobic. Standing in the center of this small, closet-like space, he turned and faced the arched entryway from which he entered and uttered under his breath, “Doro et boros.” In an instant, the arched doorway sealed itself and the stones realigned themselves in a way as if there was never an arch to begin with. The stone floor beneath him vibrated a bit, and a runic circle lit up beneath him. It produced a brief flash of light, and then he was gone. The archway reopened to the same position as it had before, and Demes was nowhere in sight.
Far deep underground, however, was a complex that looked nothing like the dilapidated structures on the surface above. Clean, sleek, and humming with life, it is here that Salazar was teleported to-- appearing in the entry hall of a Kirin Tor facility.
A woman came up to him, dressed in a lab coat but without any visible insignia on it, or anywhere on her person, “Welcome to Eden, Minister Demes. Right this way.”
Adjusting his robes and utilizing his staff as a walking stick for show, he acknowledged the woman who greeted him, “Good to be back, Esmerelda.”
Part of the Department of Magical Defense, Eden was a classified research facility hidden deep beneath the ground in Feralas. While much of the work that Eden conducts is in the field of “reorigination,” which involves wiping the memory of its prisoners and performing cosmetic surgery to offer them new lives in lieu of captivity, there was also other research conducted in secret, especially when it was too risky to conduct such research in Dalaran.
The two walked side-by-side down the long arched halls until they reached a room that was guarded by two heavy plated magi flanking the door. “Follow me, through here,” Esmeralda said, looking at the door. The guards stood not having budged an inch, their way of indicating that they could pass. Smiling at Salazar, Esmerelda walked straight through the door as if it were made of air, and he knew immediately what kind of door this was. For those that didn’t know, it was a trick. But for those that did, it was a soul-door, much like the ones that Salazar had placed throughout his facilities. But unlike a traditional soul-door that visibly had no handles or hinges, this one looked like all the others, handle and all. Though if someone found themselves before it with no guards in sight, they’d soon become frustrated with the inability of the door to open so much as an inch. Little would they know that it was all an illusion.
“Pardon me, excuse me!” said one of the magitech scientists who’d nearly bumped into Salazar as he passed through the door. She didn’t even look at him or notice who he was, walking right to her station as if blinders had been placed on her eyes.
“Quite a busy bunch, hm?” Salazar inquired, as he scanned the room from left to right, observing the various engineers, doctors, and assistants scurrying from one side to the other, until his eyes met the main attraction of the room, the central table.
“We keep a tight ship around here Minister, everything is on a need-to-know basis and we’re keeping a small circle on this,” said Esmerelda, motioning him to come with her.
“How far along are we?” said Salazar, following behind her to the central table, occasionally turning to observe the hustle bustle of the lab.
One of the scientists looked up at him following his question, and paused from her routine to come up to him, “We’ve concluded the reverse-engineering of the sample you’ve provided, and have begun constructing a new one per your specifications.”
Salazar nodded, “Good, good. Far away from field testing though, is that right?”
“Yes, they wouldn’t pass any test of realism at all, we’re working on the basics of interaction, but they’re still in their…” the doctor said, pausing, “...infant stage. They’re not ready for any sort of testing yet.”
“And have you followed my instructions to ensure that nothing on the constructs are traceable? The sample, as you know, contained a green ooze that was a dead giveaway.”
“Yes, Minister. By the time we’re finished, they’ll be indistinguishable from the real thing, except, of course, for the magical link that’ll keep them bound to us.”
“And we will ensure those signals are masked, hm?”
“Still working on it, we’re coordinating with the Grand Engineer on those specifications.”
“Very well,” Salazar replied. He approached the central table and looked down. Speaking to himself, but loud enough for Esmerelda and the doctor to hear, “This is the future of intelligence gathering… the perfect spy.” On the table before him lay a body, but it wasn’t dead or alive, merely inactive. It had no name, no birthplace, and no parents. By all accounts, this body came from nowhere-- a ghost. Salazar examined it, narrowing his gaze as he moved his head closer as if trying to find an imperfection that wasn’t there. Standing back up, he turned to Esmerelda and the doctor, “We were once the victims of these creations, no longer. Now, they serve us.”
Esmerelda and the doctor nodded, both replying “Yes, sir.”
He then looked to Esmerelda, “Let’s go, I need to speak with the facility Chief about some other matters.”
“Right this way.”
As the two of them left, the doctor turned back to the body lying on the table. Smiling, she muttered to herself, “We’re going to make a homunculus of you yet, aren’t we?”