A Templar captured in the Gorian capitol of Highmaul, a shredded Templar tabard with the name of a woman who hadn’t been seen in over a year, and a body mutilated beyond recognition. These were the heavy thoughts that plagued Mallory as she walked the road to Shattrath. Night had fallen in Talador, and she took a deep breath in, eager for the fresh air to help wash those thoughts from her mind. At least as she made her way along the road after leaving the Rose Council meeting, she could take some solace in soon being able to help others.

 

She shifted the weight on one shoulder, carrying a heavy satchel packed full with bandages and healing salves, thinking of the infirmary at Shattrath and the people within it. Heroes, the lot of them. Every nurse and healer, every wounded warrior who had fought bravely to fend off the Iron Horde. She looked forward to saving those she could, and getting to know them — and their stories — while they were in her care. 

 

She crept silently along the road past Redemption’s Rise, conspicuously empty for this time of the night. Normally there would be draenei standing guard over the camp, their crystal armor glowing faintly in the moonlight. There were no such guards tonight. Keeping her eyes open, Mallory looked about as she went, watching for any signs of trouble. Her left hand touched her guildstone, just to make sure it was there. Her new combat suit, worn under her Darnassian robes, had the guildstone nestled safely in a slot just below her collarbone.

 

Some faint, distant noise ahead. She couldn’t make it out, but it seemed to come from Shattrath. Whatever danger was out here at night likely would be of little concern — she was close enough to the city now that she could make it in a sprint if she had to. But something still gnawed at her. The faint pink and purple glow of the city would come into view any moment…

 

That was when it hit her. A shiver swept over her and she felt her stomach lurch as she realized the city’s glow was no longer the telltale violet of the draenei…but green.

 

Fel green.

 

She clutched the supplies tighter and broke into a run. Those supplies would be needed now more than she thought. Even so, she hoped, prayed that she was wrong. Maybe there was such a thing as a green naaru. Maybe…

 

She scrambled up the hill where she, Aertemis, and Emma had first beheld Shattrath, likely tearing some parts of her robe in the process, but couldn’t be bothered by it now. As she reached the top, her eyes focused down at her hands as she heaved herself onto the ledge. She realized she didn’t want to actually look up and see. But the sounds of battle had already confirmed her fears. Trembling, she turned her gaze on the city and drew a gasp. "No…!"

 

Infernals streaked out of the sky. Felfire catapults launched sickly green missiles through the air, lighting the city in their toxic viridian glow. Here and there, she saw pockets of draenei resistance, but they were on the run. It seemed every time she looked at a draenei, it was only just in time to see them cut down by the Legion. The dome where, in another timeline, Mallory had studied the ways of the Light, was now guarded by mighty eredar and shivarra. "No, no… They're…everywhere…"

 

She felt her breath growing shorter and quicker. Somehow still daring to hope, Mallory turned her eye toward the infirmary where she had helped the wounded. It held Shattrath’s strongest warriors, even if they were injured. Perhaps the Light had strengthened them to mount some stalwart defense, even if at a steep price.

 

But as she looked, she saw a trio of imps come bouncing gleefully out one of the doors. They seemed to have met no trouble.

 

The faces of those she had met flashed through her mind. Those beautiful people, all so noble and so selfless… As she thought of them she heard herself make some kind of noise. Whether a yelp or an outright scream, she wasn’t sure. She clamped her hand over her mouth and fell to all fours, weeping for the city she had so swiftly fallen in love with.

 

“Mal?” Aertemis’ voice, coming from the guildstone. 

 

Mallory tried to answer, but the words wouldn’t come. She stammered some kind of nonsense before returning to sobs, dimly aware that the noise had given away her position.

 

“Sh-Shattrath,” she finally managed. “Burning Legion. Oh Elune, the infirmary… They’re… They’re all dead…”

 

The guildstone fell silent. She imagined the Templars must be taking a deep breath right now.

 

An explosion of felfire nearby. A catapult had been aimed at her. She trained her eyes in its direction, seeing its operator wrestle a draenei man to the ground and stab him through the throat before returning his attention to the little human on the hill. She stood defiantly as he launched another shell at her, and focused on it as it flew. She poured all her shock and grief at the Legion’s invasion into a quick prayer, and reached skyward. A beam of fire ripped through the heavens, blowing apart the projectile in the air and briefly illuminating Shattrath with a golden light. The attention briefly off of her, Mallory darted behind a boulder, hoping to be forgotten.

 

“Where are you?!” Aertemis asked.

 

“The road…east of the city,” Mallory answered, her voice still shaking. The engineer was now screaming something in demonic and pointing in her direction, attracting the attention of several more demons. “Please help,” Mallory said, gulping down a lump in her throat. “They’ve seen me.”

 

“I'm on my way!” Emma said.

 

“I'm coming!” Robin’s voice.

 

“So it begins again.” Shadowsage’s voice, quiet and somber.

 

Seven demons closing in now, heading up the hill. No point in hiding now. Mallory stood in full view of them, slinging the fires of the Light at any demon who so much as looked at her. All those people dead, their entire future lines of descendants erased…

 

But Mallory was no fighter, and no mage. The spells couldn’t come fast enough to bring them all down, even if she was casting on adrenaline right now. She cracked one over the skull with her staff before bringing a stinging smite on the open wound. That was enough to bring one down, but there were so many more…

 

What happened next was a blur. She was suddenly caught up on a whirlwind of fur and claws. Knowing whose fur it was, she gripped at it for dear life and turned her fury once more on the demons. Before she could bring more fire down from the heavens, though, the winged panther was already upon them. Aertemis rocketed at one, claws burying deep into its throat, before leaping straight at the next without ever touching the ground. Mallory couldn’t cast fast enough, and resorted to just holding on tight. The demons were dead in moments, and the duo turned toward the catapult where the siege engineer had called the attack. He was nowhere to be found.

 

“Ma’am?” Peter’s voice on the guildstone. “Are you all right?”

 

There was something about Peter's voice that brought Mallory out of her panic and adrenaline rush. She caught her breath, finally controlling the sound of the tears in her voice. “No,” she finally said. “But thanks for asking. Robin, Emma… Aertemis has got me. I’m all right in that sense, at least. Templars, Shattrath is overrun. We…we’ve got to do something.”

 

Aertemis paused to turn around and check for signs of pursuit. As she watched the fel glow rise higher into the night sky, Mallory silently promised the fallen that she would be back, and that the Shadow Trader would bring every ounce of her power to bear.

 

Shattrath had not fallen yet. 

Author Rann
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