Reports lad scattered across the table as the ancient Kaldorei sat, blank parchment in front of her. Another letter sat off to the side, already sealed, addressed to Zen Fateshifter. Her fingers moved over to it, gracefully drifting over his name. “I’m so sorry my Boomcat. Please forgive me for not letting you know. Take care of our little Nor’itel.” Sighing, she turned back to the paper sitting accusingly empty in front of her. The quill in her hand trembled as she began to write.
My beautiful little one. If you’re reading this, you’ve grown up without me. I don’t regret dying to save my people but I do regret not being able to hold you, help you take your first step, watch you dance for Elune under the night sky. Your father will do all of this for you and, hopefully, will let you know just how much I loved you.
There are so many things I need to teach you, to tell you about yourself and our family, things that you’ll have to learn on your own. I pray you’ll forgive me, but most of this I cannot put onto paper for the fear someone will find you and kill you simply for being who you are.
You are the last of the Moonsteels, my daughter. The mark on your hip proves this. Someday I hope you will learn who and what you are.
With every bit of love in my heart.
As she sealed the parchment, her lieutenant walked into the room. “You were right. The trolls are coming. They decimated the outer guard and will be here soon.”
All sentiment disappeared from the Kaldorei Sentinel’s face, replaced by firm resolve. “Send Raella over then gather up the children and bring them here.” At her lieutenant’s nod, Fe’ra pulled her sword and shield from their stand by the wall before walking back to her desk and sliding the two letters into an envelope. This too was sealed and the hardness of her demeanor cracked for a moment when she turned to her sleeping daughter. Lifting the infant Kaldorei into her arms for one last time, she placed a kiss on the girl’s head and whispered, “I love you, my little star.”
After receiving the summons (technically it wasn’t really a summons since Mr. Zen wasn’t exactly her boss but was more like an invitation), Weedy made her way to Ironforge, her brain rapidly assessed the multitude of reasons he could possibly want to see her and arranged them in an order of decreasing probabilities based on her past experiences with him. Waving happily at the secretary/receptionist directly inside the front door of Fatheshifter Industries, Inc. (secretary/receptionist wasn’t the best description since the lady did all the little things Mr. Zen forgot to do when he was working on super important stuff and she kept the people who were angry with Mr. Zen for what some of the stuff he invented did away from him), the young Kaldorei bounced into the laboratory and over to the Best. Engineer. Ever! Her last bounce ended with him wrapped up in her Spinning Weedy HugTM. “Hi, Mr. Zen!”
Zen was thankful he thought to wear his crush proof vest. The crazed Feral Druid Engineer lives and dies by their ability to be prepared and to adapt. Once the ride was over and he had a chance to breath he managed to say, “Thanks for coming Nor’itel. We have much to discuss.”
Unable to contain herself, Weedy squealed excitedly. “Are we going to work on my new Ultra Small Anti Building Limited explosions device? I came up with some new designs for it plus I thought of some other delivery methods to better target the objective.”
Nor’itel’s enthusiasm always made her such a joy to be with, Zen couldn’t help but smile. “In due time Weedy. First though…” He sighed and felt old for a moment. “Look I’ve spent days trying to figure out how to bring this to you, I’m just going to go with the rip off the bandage approach.”
Weedy blinked and looked him up and down. “I don’t see any wounds on you. Are you hurt Mr. Zen? Do you need me to help you with some bandages?”
He gave her a confused look. “What? Oh no…” He chuckled. “Sorry its an expression. Okay… Weedy… um you know how you have a long lost father?”
Nodding vigorously enough to make her ears flap, Weedy dug into her portable refrigerator and pulled out her favorite snack – an enormous bacon sammich. “Mmhmm. No one knows who he is because my mom never told anyone or that’s what the Sentinels told me when I got old enough. None of them know who my father is. The nice lady who brought me to them when I was a baby didn’t tell them if she knew but I don’t think she knew either because she’s still around but told me she didn’t know or maybe she didn’t remember.” At that, Weedy shrugged and started digging into her sandwich.
“Well … not anymore.” Zen smiled and spreads his arm as if presenting himself.
The young Kaldorei paused in her devouring of the food. Her normally happy face fell and tears welled up in her eyes. “He’s not lost? Is he dead?” Sniffling loudly, she rubbed at her tear filled eyes. “But I never got to know who he was and maybe he didn’t know who I was and maybe if he knew I was here he would’ve wanted to be my father but now I won’t ever have a dad since he’s dead like my mom.”
Zen’s heart sank as he saw the tears well up in her face. “No no, wait Weedy, I mean me!”
Eyes widening, Weedy took a step back. “But you can’t be dead! Dead people are bad! Well, Miss Aunne isn’t so bad but dead people do bad things like hurt people and burn their houses down.” The tears forming in her eyes threatened to spill over. “I don’t want you to be dead, Mr. Zen. Please don’t be dead.”
“Wait hold on…” He raised hands to gesture for her to calm down and shield himself from errant bits of sammich. “Okay let’s start over here. What I meant was your father is no longer lost…” He paused a moment maybe for dramatic effect, maybe to summon up that last bit of courage. “Weedy I am your father.”
An uncomprehending look covered the girl’s face at first. Then, like the sun coming from behind a cloud to brighten an area, her smile lit the room. “Really? You’re my dad?” Unable to contain herself, her happy squeal was loud enough to almost pierce eardrums as she bounded forward to lift Zen up into another one of her spinning hugs. “THIS IS THE BEST DAY EVER!!!”
Zen had expected some sort of doubts or disbelief (he was also hoping to work in a Star Wars ‘Search your feelings’ reference), however Weedy had accepted the truth quiet readily. “Okay Weedy hold on I’m getting dizzy.” Zen shifted to cat form to slip free of her grasp. “Well I’m sure you have a lot of questions. I’m still putting together what exactly happened myself. How about I tell you the events as best as I’ve figured them, then we can answer specific questions later? First though read this note.”
Obviously a bit sad that Daddy Zen (She had a father now! There was much internal squealing.) squeezed out of her grip, she took the note dutifully (He *was* her father after all and she was supposed to listen to him!) and began reading. Her eyes filled as they lifted from the paper and regarded him. “Did you love my mother?”
Zen nodded, “With all my heart Weedy. She… she was an amazing woman… you know its funny I was actually telling Ryo this very story a few days before I got the letter. Okay… Fe’ra and I meet back during my bounty hunter days. The village that would become our home was under siege from a group of Saytr magic users. Luckily I had been working with Arcanite then and well… you know how that stuff reacts with magic.”
Both eyebrows shot to her forehead. “If you don’t get the mixture just right … KABOOM!”
He looked a little surprised by her reaction, but also smiled a little. “Huh! That’s about what Ryo said. So I had my plan to go in bombs a-chuckin but Fe’ra was there first fighting the Saytr’s alone. She had the same natural resistance to magic you do. So we worked together and sent Saytrs running. I traveled with her back to her village to collect my reward and wanted to split it with her, but she insisted I take her on a date instead. A few months after that we were in love and living together. We got to the point of wanting children but didn’t have the money to afford a large enough home and such. I had an job that would get us what we needed but it involved a trip that would take months. I wanted Fe’ra to come with me, but she refused. At the time she told me she couldn’t leave her responsibilities, but in truth it was because she was pregnant with you and the long trip would have been risky I imagine. Plus as the note said you were to be my surprise.”
Zen sighed with a sad smile and cleared his throat. “That would have been wonderful. Some time between when I left and the attack that destroyed our home you were born. She must have entrusted you with some of her Sentals and they took you with the letters Fe’ra had written for us. As for why I never got the letter I can only speculate. I can promise you Weedy… if I had known you existed I would have come for you! I swear.”
The Sentinel rogue led the children soundlessly through the forest away from the village. Though she yearned to be back there fighting with her sisters, she knew keeping the children safe was a higher priority. A ghost of a sound had her halting, hand up to still the children as well. Damn. Waving her hand towards the eldest, a girl on the cusp of womanhood, Raella whispered in the young Kaldorei’s ear. “Hide yourselves. When I give you a signal, move quietly and quickly towards the northeast. You’ll come to another village.” At the girl’s frightened nod, the Sentinel handed her an envelope. “Give this to Zen Fateshifter after you’re safe.” With that, she melded silently into the forest. The girl quietly gathered the younger children around her, clutching both the message and the infant to her chest and waited until the sound of crashing and trolls yelling in the distance prompted her to move them all towards safety.
“The Sentinels never told me what happened to my mother. They just said she died saving a bunch of people like a true Sentinel.” Sad, soulful eyes gazed into his. “Do you know what happened?”
Zen frowned, “Specifically n, but.I know Fe’ra would have fought to the last and probably killed her fair share of bad guys before they finally got her.” He sighed sadly. “When I arrived the town was already burned so there weren’t any clues about what happened…” He looked away for moment as if recalling something. “Though now that I think about it. There was one thing I remember finding at the ruins of the town.”
“What did you find?”
“There were Naga trails. I’m not sure if they were involved or just scavaged the scene afterwards.”
The shadow hunter walked to the forest at the water’s edge towards the shrouded figure. “It be done.”
“You’re sure she’s dead?” A sibilant voice hissed from under the hood, unable to hide its pleasure.
“Ya mon. We killed dem all jus’ ta be sure. Now, what about your part of de bargain, eh?”
A bag of coins dropped to the ground at the troll’s feet. “This plus fifty years of freedom from attacks from us along the coast. That was the agreement.”
The troll nodded and bent over to retrieve the bag, leaving silently. The shrouded figure moved to the water’s edge, its hissing laughter echoing across the waves as it sank beneath them.