Mallory awoke with a start, her foot kicking at something. Realizing she had been dreaming, she looked around. The barracks was silent and still, her fellow templars sound asleep. She laid her head back down and stared at the ceiling.
The nightmares had started up again since coming to Draenor, but she didn’t want to burden anyone else with them. What could they do anyway? It wouldn’t do anyone any good, and it wasn’t her way. No, her way of dealing with them had always been to just focus on something else, go for a walk if she needed to, and work on doing some good with her life.
Tonight, a walk might be in order. She slid out of bed and pulled on her Darnassian robe over her nightie, donned a pair of slippers, and made her way silently between the beds, opening the barracks door as little as she could and slipping outside.
She immediately felt that she was being watched, but she didn’t care. No one would approach her if it was clear she wanted to be alone, and their watch kept her safe in this dangerous world. Making her way outside the fortress’ walls, she sat down against the front wall, facing east towards Karabor.
In the deep night, a pale blue glow shone past the horizon and it was there that Mallory focused her tired eyes — Karabor’s radiance. She could still scarcely believe her life had led her to such a marvelous and beautiful place. If only her parents could see her now . . .
Her parents. Grace and Tim Everley had been influential people once. Not nobles, but to their two little girls, they might as well have been royalty. Tim had been the architect of the auction house in Stormwind's ever-bustling trade district, where Mallory often would do business these days whenever she could get away from Darnassus. While many hadn’t much noticed it beyond the fact that it was a nice-looking building, ever focused on their affairs, to Mallory it felt like home, like her father watching over her. To most it was a busy hub of activity and frantic trading, but to Mallory the place was soothing.
Maybe that was why she could stand being in Stormwind. People in Moonbrook expected her to never set foot in the city again, simply on principle: it was the city that had murdered her family, in a sense. Tonight, that tragedy was what had awakened her.
The nobles had blocked King Wrynn from paying the Stonemasons’ Guild for their work restoring Stormwind after the First War, and the disenfranchised workers and architects stormed out of the city and formed the Defias Brotherhood. To this day, Mallory still wondered if her parents knew the Defias was doomed from the start, or if she could have done anything to stop them. Perhaps if she and Emma had made a bigger stink over leaving the city, their father would have held on a bit longer . . . But these were pointless thoughts, and she struggled to push them from her mind. There was no changing the past, and as difficult as it had been, from the day their parents died in the Deadmines raids, Emma and Mallory immediately began seeking to improve the newly destitute life their parents’ deaths had bought them.
Mallory had dealt with the tragedy as well as any teenage young woman could have been expected to, and in the years since, the wound had healed, and she had forgiven Stormwind. It hadn't been done out of spite, nor the raid been ordered out of malice. Edwin Van Cleef had gone too far in his bid to make a reprisal against the kingdom, far overstepping his rightful place, and paid the price. The Everleys were still paying that price. Emma and Mallory never knew who had actually killed their parents, but on certain important days, Mallory would still catch the thought running through her head. “If only they could see me now. If only they could share in this with me.”
Often, it was just that. A thought, a painful stab of heartbreak, and then a return to the here and now. Since becoming a full-fledged priestess of Elune, the nightmares that plagued her sleep had subsided. She had never told anyone but Emma about them… That was her way. But since coming to Draenor, they had slowly begun to return. She covered her face with her hands, groaning to herself just to hear some sound other than the screams echoing in her mind.
"You can't sleep either?"
Emma's voice. Mallory looked around, but saw no one.
"Up here on the wall."
She blinked and turned around, craning her head to look up at the battlements. There was Emma, arrayed in full battle gear. She smiled softly down at Mallory. "I took the night watch. Might as well."
"It's the nightmares again," Mallory confessed. "They've started again since coming here. You?"
Emma hesitated. "Yeah…same here. I didn't want to mention it to you and risk starting them up again."
Mallory hadn't even thought of that in her tiredness. She moved to a new spot, settling down against a tree so she could face her sister. "Sorry… I should have done the same."
Emma shook her head and gave her a dismissive wave. "Nah, it's fine. Might as well make myself useful if I can't sleep."
"Heh. Sometimes I think about what it would be like if they could see us now, every once in awhile, but… It's nights like this that make me wonder if they'd want to see this. Knowing we still hurt."
Emma shrugged. "Well of course it still hurts, it'll always hurt. But we don't have to let that control us, hold us back or hold us down. I think it's that part that Vanessa never understood. I wish she hadn't…ended things the way she did. I always wanted to talk with her."
Edwin Van Cleef's daughter, Vanessa… She and the Everleys had been childhood friends. Her response to the death of her father was…decidedly different. She attempted to revive the Defias brotherhood, and when Stormwind unsurprisingly attacked the Defias base again, Vanessa took her own life before she could be captured. Mallory shook her head sadly.
"I don't think she'd have been receptive," the priestess answered.
"Probably not," Emma admitted. "But still, I don't think she could see how there could be another way besides revenge for what happened to us. She should have known about you and me. I know we have new friends, but…" She hung her head and chuckled. Mallory couldn't see very well, but she thought Emma must be blushing. "Well, when we were little, I pictured you, me and Vanessa having some crazy triple wedding ceremony." Mallory chuckled as Emma continued. "You know, before we left Stormwind. Just some silly little-girl daydream."
Mallory smiled. Sometimes she could picture those happy times, fantasies now, without her thoughts turning to anger. She closed her eyes and imagined herself, Emma and Vanessa, all smiles and all in white, with their mystery beaus and cheerful, whole families. For some reason, she pictured Vanessa's father, Edwin Van Cleef, his head thrown back in laughter at some humorous story. In fact, they were all laughing together. As the reality that these images were no longer possible returned to her, Mallory forced herself to replace them with new people who meant a great deal to her. In place of her mother was Aertemis. In place of Vanessa, Robin. The laughing Edwin Van Cleef was replaced with an equally jovial Zen Fateshifter, and Mallory smiled again.
Of course it still hurt. It always would. The nightmares may never stop completely. But she had a family now, not by blood or by marriage, but by the bonds of loyalty forged in the fires of hardship, and she wouldn't trade any of them for all the worlds. This thought on her mind, sleep finally took her calmly into its rejuvenating embrace as she dozed under the stars and her sister's watchful gaze.