Mallory padded softly through the halls of Rann�s luxurious Dalaran apartment in a comfortable bathrobe. She would be staying with her longtime elven friend for the duration of this Broken Isles campaign… assuming any of them were still alive in the end.

She sipped a cup of hot tea and rolled her shoulders, trying to relax away the stress. Through the glass door that led to Rann�s balcony, she could see the fel green storm swirling around the spire of the Tomb of Sargeras. She felt her lips curl in anger as her grip tightened on the cup.

How could it have gone so wrong?

She sighed, setting the cup down on a table, and stretching. She could feel her muscles tightening again. She pulled the curtains closed to block out the sight of the Tomb… or as she knew it had once been called… the original Temple of Elune.

She had heard of the Tomb of Sargeras before, of course. She knew what the Guardian, Aegwynn, had buried there. And there was a time she recalled Aertemis telling her of the majesty and beauty of Elune�s original temple in Suramar.

It had never occurred to the priestess that the two could be the same building.

Now the majestic elven statues adorning the temple�s structure, who once lifted holy moonwell water to Elune, were twisted, their features cast in disturbing light by the fel that flowed freely from their once holy offerings.

Why did Aegwynn choose THAT place? Mallory wondered. Of all the places she could possibly have buried the Avatar of Sargeras, why would she bury it in a holy site? Was she hoping the holy site would purify the body, or contain the fel or something?

She shook her head. More likely it was the only abandoned building large enough to contain the body, and had seemingly fallen into disuse with Suramar City locked inside its barrier.

Still, she had hoped to one day see the temple in its majesty and glory, or at least a remnant of it, like most night elven ruins. But to see it twisted into a stronghold for the Burning Legion made her sick. It almost dulled her joy at seeing Suramar City still thriving and very much alive.

Almost.

She would need to make contacts within the city to get the chance to explore it personally. One of the perks of being the Shadow Trader. Right now, she�d indulge those perks for all they were worth, considering the world seemed to be ending all around her.

And again she wondered how it could have gone so wrong. She sat down on the sofa, her tea forgotten for the moment, and buried her head in her hands, her elbows resting on her knees.

As the Shadow Trader, her job had never been more difficult. Some of her best clients were crawling the walls due to late shipments. Goblins were never forgiving, even when the world was being invaded by demons. She had thought they might lose the Noggenfogger account over the shipment that had crashed at the Broken Isles… Thanks to Gul�dan. Worse, some of the Steamwheedle goblins had almost caused a diplomatic incident at the shores of Teldrassil when their products weren�t on hand in time. The situation had been resolved, but tensions remained high regardless. Noggenfogger had demanded to meet the Shadow Trader personally to discuss his displeasure, and was even more upset when his request was denied… again.

�The Shadow Trader works through agents. No exceptions,� her agents had told him. He was stubborn, however. He seemed mollified for now, but if he kept this up, perhaps she would get Razboom to stand in as the Shadow Trader. She was sure he would relish that opportunity.

In any case, she needed to maintain her business with him. He was her only contact within the shadowy Uncrowned for now, until others could be made.

She sighed. What use was it? All her efforts weren�t just geared toward making her a fortune… She had done that already. She wanted to quietly manipulate the Alliance and Horde into working together… From the goblins replanting trees in Ashenvale to funding relief efforts in the wake of the siege of Orgrimmar, she knew that reducing need reduced strain, and made the groups more amenable to working together… whether they realized it or not.

And the worst part was, it was working. When the Legion�s invasions started, the Alliance and Horde organized and executed their joint counterattack with stunning speed. It almost looked like they trusted each other. Mallory wasn�t naive enough to believe she was the reason for that, but after a few years of gently nudging them toward one another, she wanted to believe she had something to do with it. So what happened? Was her approach wrong? By the rumors she had heard, the Broken Shore was a difficult but successful battle until the forces reached the Tomb of Sargeras. That was the problem though — she had only rumors, the official news from the Alliance and Horde. The Alliance believed it had been betrayed… and it sure sounded like it. Sylvanas� archers and the rest of the Horde pulled back in retreat at a crucial moment.

But the news coming out of the Horde sounded like they were being overrun and hadto pull back. This was certainly believable, but was it true? Vol�jin had died in the fighting, which did seem to back up the Horde�s story, but had Sylvanas perhaps orchestrated his downfall? Mallory could see that happening, but she didn�t know what to believe right now. But the fact remained that they needed unity right now, and there was little chance of that while Greymane and Proudmoore were out for blood to avenge Varian Wrynn.

Mallory shook her head. Varian… She had seen him in person exactly once, and had not liked him at all. While he had become more balanced in time, no doubt due to his son�s influence, Mallory was sure she would have hated to know him personally. Anduin, on the other hand… She had had a crush on him back then… along with half the women in Stormwind, she imagined. He always seemed to have achieved at an early age the balance it took his father so long to reach. She felt confident and optimistic about his future on the throne… if there was a future, or a throne.

Then a sobering and sad thought crossed her mind. Mallory considered herself a tactician of sorts, in nudging the Alliance and Horde toward cooperation, but she was an amateur. She could make money… but she had merely aimed her entrepreneurial efforts in a direction that promoted peace between the factions. But the Legion had many tacticians, with millennia of experience, who were now hell bent on getting the Alliance and Horde fighting each other instead of the Legion.

How could she combat that? How could anyone? Especially when the Alliance and Horde were already so eager to kill each other?

She slumped back in the soft seat of the sofa, feeling like giving up. No one person could save the world, she knew, but especially a world that seemed bound and determined to destroy itself. Why should the Legion even bother invading? If they sat back long enough, the Alliance and Horde would likely destroy themselves. And between the Legion�s deception, intimidation, and flat-out possession and corruption, they were all too capable of getting into the minds of mortals and making them do what the Legion wished. How could the mortal races fight something that could worm its way into their heads? Khadgar had his idea about the Pillars of Creation, but could they even pull it off? One of them was in Suramar City, now under Gul�dan�s control. And even should all five miraculously end up in the right hands, there would still be the matter of getting to the Tomb of Sargeras to close the portal. Which was a complete disaster the first time.

This should be the part where I have a brilliant idea, Mallory thought. And then I jump to my feet and start putting plans in motion. But I�ve got nothing. Light… Elune… The Titans… Whoever, whatever they are… They�re the only ones that can help us now.

And the truth she was afraid to admit to herself was, her faith in the Light was quite shaken right now. The Light had not saved Tirion Fordring. It had not saved the millions of worlds the Legion had already destroyed in its conquest. And she was a priestess. Others would look to her for guidance, for answers, and she had none.

Just because I don�t have the answers doesn�t mean they don�t exist, she scolded herself silently. The Light is active, I see it at work every day. I just don�t know… what it�s up to right now.

She jumped a bit as a knock came at the door. She looked toward the door, unsure if she had heard right, when the visitor knocked again. Mallory headed for the door and checked the peephole. She didn�t recognize the blonde-haired visitor. She pulled the door open.

�The…esteemed priestess Mallory Everley, I presume?� the visitor asked, looking Mallory up and down with a look of uncertainty.

Mallory suddenly remembered her state of dress, pulling her bathrobe closed a little tighter. �Er… uh, yes. Yes, that�s me.�

The woman flashed Mallory a smile and handed her an envelope. �Excellent. Someone saw you come in here, and you�re on our list.�

Mallory arched an eyebrow. This was beginning to sound more like a Shadow Trader thing than a priestess thing. �Your… list?�

�You�re an accomplished priestess,� the woman said with a nod. �Not many humans graduate from the Darnassian priesthood program. I�m with an order seeking to unite many denominations under one banner. I understand your academic studies have led you to similar pursuits… a specific interest in connections between Elune and the naaru, I believe?�

Mallory tilted her head. “That theory earned me plenty of scorn. What are you getting at?”

�Well, we’re not here for your theory,� the woman replied, indicating the envelope again. �We’re here for you. As I said, you�re on the list… of people we�d like to invite to join us at Netherlight Temple.�

�Netherlight?� It seemed odd that she had never heard of it.

�A former prison for a previously darkened naaru,� the woman answered. �Restored to the Light and converted into a temple for us to connect, worship, contemplate… And plan counters to the Legion�s efforts. It�s far from Azeroth, but we have a well guarded portal at this address.�

Mallory finally tore open the envelope. Inside, a single, unfolded piece of paper read nothing but an address. Mallory nodded. It was just up the street.

�Right,� she said. �I�ll just… get presentable, and head that way. You said there�s a naaru there?�

�Saa�ra, yes,� the woman replied. �Look forward to seeing you there.�

With that, she turned to leave, and Mallory closed the door, looking again at the note.

Maybe the Light wasn�t done yet, after all.

Author Rann
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