Ash swirled around Robin’s feet as she trudged through the portion of Mount Hyjal that was still marked by flame. The armor she’d managed to put together before her first real battle was tarnished and scorched, and so was she. Her feet ached and though Mallory had healed her during the fight the flame wave had taken its toll. She was certain some of the burns were extensive yet her feet kept moving forward. Since the day she’d run from Gnomeregan, returned, stepped out of her coffin, stepped out of watching through Star’s eyes…she wasn’t sure what kept her moving, but whatever it was had carried her far past the Templars and the den where Bairne’s body laid.

 

Xuen, the Great White Tiger…do I really deserve to walk the path his wisdom grants?

 

Grass melded with the ash, the area Robin walked became less barren. The darkness was broken by a point of light ahead. That was where she needed to go.

When she’d stood before Xuen in the tournament of strength, she’d felt unworthy, but determined. The Tiger was the embodiment of strength, she only had to look into his eyes, the way he carried himself. It wasn’t just brute force. It was him. Xuen radiated power of the spirit, the mind, and the body. To Robin, it seemed he was the very essence of inner will, of chi. How could she ever measure up to that?

 

Was it weak to have walked away from the other Templars and gone off on her own? She was surrounded by trees. The light was stronger and Robin kept moving towards it, finding herself at the base of a night elven moonwell. She wasn’t alone anymore. There were elves in the Grove and tauren. They didn’t stop her from sitting on the stone. Maybe because she was injured.  She’d read somewhere that moonwells could heal.

 

“I’m…sorry. I just need to rest for a while.” Robin didn’t know who she was talking to and no one replied. She reached into a pocket and pulled out a journal. It was small, but it had survived being charred and was sufficient for the moment. She began to write:

 

Miss Koryander referred to the urge for everyone to have a hand in killing Bairne as justice, not murder, but I disagree. I joined the Templars of the Rose due in part to my debt to Lady Arialynn and for their supposed noble nature. Yet I find this dilemma. There was good cause to pursue Bairne, good cause, even, for his life to end. The battle we fought wasn’t worthless. But there was nothing justified or right about everyone having a swing at the creature after he was subdued and it would take only one strike from a single hand to end. That is pure vengeance, hatred overwhelming the senses, an attack for pleasure and personal satisfaction. There is no justice in that. No glory. There is only a thirst that can never be fully satisfied. Ending Bairne because of his wrongs and his threat to the lives around him was right; letting D’Arsano finish him was right. But it bothers me that other Templars so desire justice that it was perverted into revenge. Anger and hatred taking control. Nothing good could have come of us each driving spikes into our enemy. That would be torture with an earnest belief that it would heal the wounds and satisfy the hurts, but those thoughts are wrong.

 

Robin paused and flexed her hand. There were burns on her fingers. Some blood trickled down onto her pen. She wasn’t a seasoned fighter, nor the most knowledgeable, but she knew the mind of a killer and the “justified” moments that had lead down a path of unending guilt and despair. The elation that had threatened to consume her disgust of the bloodstained road before her eyes for so many years had not succeeded. Not yet.

 

The other Templars must think that I did not hate the flame druid. That I did not despise him and his terrible plans. That I felt there was need for mercy. Those assumptions are wrong. I wanted Bairne to be gone so he couldn’t hurt anyone anymore. So the elemental could be free to return home. But to satisfy our own needs to inflict pain on those who have hurt us for the sake of inflicting pain…that is what leads to this cycle of suffering. That is why I wanted to befriend the elemental. He could have become our enemy. We could have continued the cycle, but we stopped it. Why can’t they see that? I wonder…if I even belong here? With them. Do they even want me here anymore?

 

The pen clattered to the stone. Robin’s injuries would no longer allow her to keep ahold of it. Punching plate to paralyze the possessed Koryander had certainly been painful, then the flames…. The fire, so much like Ceera’s own arcane powers, but not the same. It was alive, it was a slave. He was free now. Robin had kept her promise, though; she didn’t feel very much like she’d been useful in the fight. She’d tried.

 

Then there was Zen…he was gone. She disliked him, but she hadn’t wanted him to leave either. Robin had left Kharanos to find the world and the wonders of it. To see what opportunities were beyond her small wintry world. What else there was to find than battles to be fought, but, she wondered if all she had ever needed to see about the world had been revealed to her from within a cage. Blood, death, pain, and endless fighting, endless struggling until, finally, one-by-one, everyone succumbs to rage and hatred.

 

Robin closed her book and set it to the side, wincing from the pain now. Everything hurt. She edged closer to the moonwell to let its healing effects wash over her. The real battle was not falling prey to the most subtle enemy…dark emotions, hurts.

 

It’s not murder. It’s justice.

 

The well soothed her and she let her eyelids droop, focusing on the negative emotions in herself and repeated over and over silently…

 

It’s murder. Not justice. I will not fall prey…

Author Robin
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