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Originally written August 14, 2012.

The hour was late, the night sky through the open window threatened to break into the first light of dawn. A weak flicker of an oil lamp's flame likewise marked the late hour. Its dim orange light cast dark shadows over the bent figure of a partially armored knight. She stooped alone, working in silence, her gaze fixed upon a spread of documents on the war room table.

 

Despite the late hour, her gaze remained sharp. Her eyes poured over the documents like someone well-versed in the art of study from dusk till dawn, but her hidden fatigue was betrayed in tiny increments each time she paused for a drink from a mug of cold, lifeless tea. The heat had longsince escaped from the cup, but the bitter taste of the brewed water and stained leaves brought a harsh but welcome jolt with each sip. With each small mouthful, the lady knight paused, closed her eyes and felt the slow intake of her breath fill her chest. Then it was a return to work, to an arduous study that showed no end.

 

The table was filled end-to-end with maps, letters both written in Common and Orcish, and detailed illustrations, layered atop each other like a basket wave of parchment. Occasionally, a hand would lift from its task of propping up her stoop over the table, and partly rearrange the spread. One map would shift next to another, stacks of letters came together in some semblance of sequence. But regardless of how the documented mess was arranged, the lady knight did not budge from her study. Her expression remained unchanged, marked best by the deep crease in her brow and stern, horizontal press of her lips.

 

Finally, she was inspired to move, but moved little: a hand lifted and traveled far enough to grasp a pen and set its tip to blank paper. It was a long moment later till she was  stirred again to write.

 

It has been a long summer. We have seen another end of times and for brief moments, all was aligned. The Destroyer brought many together, but his demise wrenched them apart. It is clear now that neutrality between the two factions is a shrinking precipice and by remaining in Theramore, an isle so close to Orgrimmar, it is only a matter of time before the Horde decides that it does not wish for its Barrens to be invaded any longer. No faction wishes to see the smoke of the enemy's camps so close to their doorstep.

 

Other locations are just as vulnerable. The treaties of Ashenvale bear no effect on the current Horde Warchief, who seems to desire the forest far more than any orc previously known. The Forsaken expand their territories in the northern Eastern Kingdoms, seemingly content to use the plague or other means of death or undeath to achieve their desires. All these acts of aggression go unchecked by the leadership of the Horde.

 

It is odd for one such as myself to study these battlefields with such intensity, and yet I have poured countless hours into them. Perhaps I search for an answer, a hint of a reprieve, of a relief that matters will not come to a conclusion that is inevitable.

 

It is logical to remove the Templars from the midst of this war altogether and return to the vanishing neutral havens, and I have indeed visited this notion upon a number of them. However, I am met with resounding rejection, of claims that Theramore Isle was founded for the purpose of peace between the two factions, that it is home, that it is unlike us to flee. To think that peace was a possibility all of eight months ago is to almost peer across a chasm of eternity. I realize that we have forded this chaotic river already, for quite a long time. We came so very close, but the Horde and Alliance seem to need more than a shared world and common enemy to forge lasting bonds of truth and steel.

 

Herein, I place the Templars on voluntary service should they wish to remain in Theramore. Many have made their homes here, myself included. I find it personally difficult to depart from yet another home. Perhaps an attack will never come and the Horde will devour itself before it manages to unleash the full fury of its might on the Alliance. Perhaps the Alliance will strike first and choose its own battlefields. The former would be best, the latter would likely make Theramore an integral part. It is, after all, the largest Alliance-friendly port in all of Kalimdor. It is an attractive target, a stone's throw from Orgrimmar, and a symbol of an old hope for peace.

 

It is best to abandon such hopes at this hour, and accept the fate that comes next. To each Templar that remains Theramore, I pray it is a bountiful fate. I too will remain and see to its borders and seas. A siege will find Theramore's stores plentiful, an assault by sea will find impenetrable shoals, an attack by land will sink in the swamps, and an attack by air is difficult in the face of numerous storms and gales. It is not immune, but perhaps the isle can hold long enough till true peace is made. It truly would stand as a meaningful symbol to Azeroth's many peoples, but only if Orgrimmar remains as well. Two cities tied together by fate.

 

I will inform the Templars tomorrow of the decision. The Rose will again need to adapt to these dangerous times. To those who do not remain in Theramore, I will task with diplomatic missions. We will take count of what allies we have as the world crumbles.

Author Ari
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