One moment I was holding a toy in front of a child, finally coaxing a smile from her teary face as the Light erased the last of her cut.
The next, chaos reigned.
The tree shuddered. The tree shuddered! *Teldrassil shuddered!* The world tree, Archdruid Staghelm’s legacy to the Keldorei, shook and groaned and burned. Panic erupted like the geysers of flame that ate Darnassus with inexorable fury.
I was shaken to the core and for long moments could do nothing but stare in bewildered denial at the billowing smoke, the cinders that fell like gentle snowflakes only to ignite new boughs with ravenous hunger. It took a stranger, the pale furry visage of a worgen, to revive me with a much more physical shake.
“Priestess! By the Light snap out of it! We have need of your services!”
The Light. Yes. “Yes.” Yes. I found myself nodding like a fool for a moment before the world clicked back into place. The sounds of screaming and rushing wind, the flames howling like a banshee, the smell of burning wood and flesh. “Yes!” I nodded at the worgen and pulled myself to my feet, taking the newly-crying girl into my arms. Once I had my wits, my feet knew where to take me.
I wish I could say that I lost count of the number of Keldorei that we saved that day, but the truth is that the total number saved was only the tiniest percent of the population, and those only from Darnassus itself. I pray for the souls of those in Shadowglen, in Starbreeze, in Dolanaar. The world became a permanently darker place in those long hours.
I do not remember passing out. One moment I was forcing myself to concentrate, to call upon the Light *just a little bit more*. The next, I woke up in a quiet room surrounded by the pitifully few other priestesses that had survived. Our guilt lay unspoken between us as we convalesced – guilt from the irony that the reason we survived was because we were the weakest and had passed out the soonest. We had been sent through the portal while our stronger sisters stayed with the tree to ensure every soul that could be rescued was.
In the following days confusion and terror receded, replaced by deep sorrow and deeper rage as we learned all that had happened. Against the remaining senior priestess’ wishes, some few of us joined the counterattack on Lordaeron. We rushed, foolish and unprepared, toward the mustering point but many never even made it out of Darkshore – we were ambushed while boarding the ship and those many fell to protect our launch.
We reached the mustering point a few hours late and followed the path of destruction inland, but we had not planned on our small force trekking alone. One by one my companions fell to the Horde or to the creatures of the land until only I, Anapholentia Sunscryer, remained to join this mighty force.
Whatever happens in Lordaeron, I wish with all my strength that we had listened and stayed and helped as we could in Lor’danel. But though the light is powerful, it cannot turn back time nor take away our bad choices.
So I thank you, Templars of the Rose, for rescuing me from the wilderness and allowing me to share with you my humble skills. I was unable to save so many of my people but I swear by the Light that I will do my utmost to atone for my weakness. No harm will come to those I protect, this I swear.
Well…no *permanent* harm. I cannot guarantee a scratch-free existence.