Mallory walked the woods quietly, ever ready in case of an ambush, her priestly garb concealing her battlesuit. These were new sights for her. The forests of Val�sharah were idyllic, a downright paradise. It would be so easy for her to lie down in a field here and entirely forget the invasion that plagued the rest of Azeroth. Even the Nightmare seemed but a distant thought, even though she knew the infested reaches of the forest lay just around the corner. Far away, the distant sounds of battle echoed to underscore that reminder.

No wonder Peter Alabaster had left her service to take his druidism full-time. She hadn�t wanted to accept his resignation, but she knew he would be an outstanding druid if he ended up anything like his teacher. She couldn�t hold him back from that just for courier duty. 

She breathed in deep and let out a sigh as a dryad passed by. She wondered if she ever might have been a druid herself. She knew it was a strenuous and surprisingly dangerous path, but she could see herself as someone who took care of and cultivated nature. Westfall, though, had never really helped her fall in love with nature. The land there was dry, the grass stiff, brown and generally painful to walk barefoot in, and there were bugs. She had never become okay with bugs. So, maybe druidism wouldn�t have been for her after all. 

Another dryad passed by, and another, heading the opposite direction. At a glance, Mallory suddenly realized the looks on their faces were not cheerful. Something was wrong. She looked further ahead, where they had come from, but didn�t notice anything out of the ordinary. She whirled around and watched them as they went… 

They were all heading northeast, toward one of the oldest Temples of Elune. 

That temple was under siege, Mallory remembered… a particularly long siege by the Legion. While it wasn�t the oldest temple, it was one of the first. The main road leading out its front door led all the way through Suramar, down the center of Suramar City, and became the grand but broken bridge that led to what was now the Tomb of Sargeras. A long, long road from one temple to another. There had to be some significance to that, but for now, what mattered was that the dryads were all congregating at the temple. Something must be happening there, likely not something good. 

Another boom punctuated her thoughts. She needed to get there and help. Relaxation time was over. She gathered up the hem of her robe and began to jog. 

�Hop on!� another dryad called from behind her as she approached. Mallory quickly hopped onto the dryad�s equine half and realized she had no idea where to hold on, so she just clasped her hands around the dryad�s stomach.

�Thanks!� Mallory said. �Dryads don�t usually let people ride them though.�

�No,� the dryad answered as she galloped up the road toward the temple. �But I can make an exception for this.�

�For… this? What�s going–� Mallory�s voice trailed off as the temple came into view. Her question was already answered. A throng of druids, priests, and many others gathered in the courtyard, battling a dragon. But not just any dragon. Atop the red, corrupted dragon�s head was the unmistakable crown of Ysera. 

�Oh no…� Now she understood why the dryads were rushing so urgently, and why they would even carry a human like a common horse. They were desperate for allies. The Legion attack wasn�t relenting, and now the Nightmare-corrupted Ysera had joined the assault. A terrorguard at the center of the Legion�s assault was laughing at the mortals� misfortune. 

Mallory jumped off of the dryad�s back, giving her a quick nod of thanks, and turning her attention to Ysera. Tyrande Whisperwind herself was here, only about 15 feet away from Mallory. 

Seeing Ysera take in a deep breath, Mallory realized she couldn�t get to the side fast enough… and so she dove forward to close the angle, trying to dart around the Dreamer�s right foot. It worked and she escaped the blast, barely. The dryad who had carried Mallory had the advantage of galloping and had also escaped intact. 

Ysera�s foot began to move. Mallory leaped backward before she was crushed, and climbed unceremoniously to her feet as Tyrande pleaded with the dragon. The weapons and spells were flying, and Ysera seemed like she couldn�t be reasoned with. In a surge of bravery and recklessness, Mallory pushed forward… not to strike Ysera with a weapon or spell, but to lay hands on her. Unlikely to work, she knew, but it was the best she could think of to soothe the dragon. 

She couldn�t help but be overwhelmed by a rush of emotion and awe as her hands touched the lower reaches of the foot she had dodged around earlier. What a majestic and beautiful creature Ysera was, even in this corrupted form. She knew she likely had only moments before she was struck, and whispered a frantic prayer for Ysera. 

Suddenly Mallory�s world was spinning. And then… pain. She somehow avoided hitting her head, but that was about it. Her robes were twisted around her in all kinds of ways, and pain tore through her body. As her sight gradually began to focus, she realized she was staring at the ground of the courtyard. Looking up and trying to stop her world from spinning, she now saw a healthy distance between Ysera and herself. The dragon must have flung her across the courtyard, sending her rolling upon landing. Worse, Ysera was taking in another deep breath. 

Mallory desperately shielded herself in vain hopes of survival. She covered her face with one arm and shut her eyes, bracing herself for the pain. But the attack never came. Instead, Ysera cried out in anguish as someone�s attack pierced her. Mallory relaxed her arm and fell limp for a moment as Ysera began to collapse. Muttering a few prayers for herself and feeling strength return to her body, she began to climb to her feet and straighten out her robes. 

Ysera groaned in pain, and the world grew dark. No…, Mallory thought. Even Ysera fell to corruption? And we�ve… we KILLED her? 

The darkness grew, and Mallory realized the solar eclipse that was taking place. The Pale Lady slid in front of the sun, but this wasn�t like an ordinary eclipse. The moon was… holding back much of the sun�s light, making it safe to look at. 

That was when she saw them. Tendrils, just thin wisps of pale, gentle moonlight, reaching down toward them. From the moon to Azeroth, all the way into Val�sharah, the moonlight caressing Ysera. 

In the moonlight, Ysera�s spirit rose from her fallen, corrupted form. Her pure, beautiful spirit, cradled in the wisps of light. Mallory fell to her knees in awe, stifling back tears so as not to miss an instant. 

One single word dominated her thoughts. Elune!

It couldn�t be! But it had to be. Elune herself was here.

Ysera�s body began to fade away as her spirit was taken up in Elune�s �arms.� A chill ran through Mallory. In spite of the enormous depth of the loss inflicted here, it was unspeakably beautiful. It seemed even the Burning Legion had fallen utterly silent. 

And just like that… in an instant, both body and spirit were gone. The eclipse passed, and the light on the temple returned to normal. As the sun shone on the temple again, some of the grass spiraled upward where Ysera�s body had been, and then peeled back to reveal what Mallory recognized from drawings as the Tears of Elune. 

How appropriate, she thought sadly, stepping forward and touching the Tear reverently. She somehow felt she better understood now just what it meant to be a priestess of Elune, and wondered if the other priestesses here had ever seen her in “person” before. Was it Tyrande’s first time to see her too? 

Tyrande approached. Mallory gave a slight bow and stepped back as the leader of the night elves gently retrieved the Tear from the pedestal and wrapped it in a cloth for transport. 

As Tyrande and some adventurers accompanying her departed for Dalaran, Mallory remained there in thought, her eyes fixed where Ysera had been, and glancing to the moon when she could without being blinded by the sun. 

Well, she thought. That… was DEFINITELY NOT a naaru.

Author Rann
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