Robin sat under the giant trees of Ashenvale and briefly wondered if it was the elves whom made the trees this way, or if they were simply drawn to this type of foilage. Calithos and his other gnomish friend were probably nearby, ready to go dig next to a volcano, but after the events that night, Robin needed rest.


Of course, the young gnome was wired. Adrenaline still seemed to pump through her. She hadn't meant to react so harshly, so violently to Zen, but she couldn't deny the overwhelming sense of satisfaction she felt when her fist contacted him. She wasn't going to apologize.


The Barrow Dens had been dark and, overall, uncomfortable, but it was being used as a prison, so, she supposed that made sense. She'd gone in with a sense of revulsion for the fiery creature that had poisoned her fellow Templars with the parasitic seeds. He had to be evil. He was magical, he was flame, like Ceera. The Templars were good, they were the victims, the vessels, like she had been. All those were assumptions were shattered when the accusations of him being a mere Avatar of the flame druid Bairne was, in a sense, wrong.


I am my own. Those were the words that made the molten eyes cease to be just flames that wanted to destroy all they saw, into a hurting creature with a soul.


The monster wasn't a monster at all; he was a frightened, angry, and desperately trying to survive elemental. Separated from his life and forcibly attached to another.


It is the worst sort of wrong.


That's why she'd struck Zen for antagonizing the elemental, for saying it was evil, that it didn't have feelings. It's why she'd stood up to Mister Wildsaber for it—for him. There were other Templars that seemed to share her sentiment for wanting to help the wronged creature, Mallory, perhaps Miss Telpeka, and the elf with the glowing owl. But she didn't want this to be a battle between what some of the Templars wanted and what some others did, they were supposed to be united. She didn't want to be the one to cause a rift.


Yet…in Zen's words she had felt the same sense of arrogance and justifications that had made her younger sister a murderess. In Kanta's dismissal of the fire elemental, in only caring for his own, she only saw the selfishness that had driven Ceera to form an experiment and destroy countless lives in the search for power and immortality. It had started as an honest enough quest…to find a cure…for a disease. The similarities made Robin shiver as she'd done while the elemental was talking.


Robin sighed and sat on the soft grass, leaning her back against a tree. “I promised I'd help free him…even if no one else did…why did I do that? What can I do?”


Why do we fight?


It was almost as if Mister Oxplow were sitting right there beside her, but, he wasn't and that wasn't the sort of whisper that would come from Mister Calithos. She must have thought of it herself. “To defend those who can't defend themselves, to stop wrongs like what happened to me. To save people from pain.”


Then why feel uncertain?


Robin twisted her prayer beads around her finger. “Because I'm to follow what the Templars say…and Zen thinks I'm letting my past cloud my judgment.”


Are you letting your past cloud your judgment?


She paused, listening to the night around her. There were some night elves wandering in the distance, but no one was near her. “No. I was…before, when I thought the elemental was evil without meeting it. Without knowing the facts. Just like some of the gnomes in the experiment could've been thought evil, but, they, like Star, were victims…are victims of circumstance.”


When she closed her eyes, she saw his sad, smoldering eyes staring back at her. Felt the desperation of his sending out the seeds to keep himself alive and anchored in a world that wasn't his own. Knew the anger and fear of being stuck to the bidding of another being. Robin clenched her fists as she thought of the box. The coffin, of the memories of blood splattering to the ground, cries of anguish, feelings of joy, guilt, and love and power that were hers, but…not hers. A time when her being didn't matter at all. She was just on the other side of a window screaming to get out.


The elemental's words: These memories…


“Yeah, they weren't mine either…I hated them, too.”


If the hard choice comes…you know who the real enemy is…it isn't the Templars, it isn't the elemental…they are hurt…wronged. It is the puppeteer.


And he had some of the Templars dangling from his strings, making them target an innocent creature, blaming a mere pawn for his machinations. Robin finally understood the hard choice her sister and Min had sometimes been forced to make. There are some enemies you can't lock up…and some rules that might need to be violated if the wrongs were to all be set right.


“And that's why I'm in Ashenvale…on the word of Mister Calithos…that I can find an alternative energy source for the elemental…near a volcano. Brilliant idea, Robin.” She sighed and gradually fell asleep.

Author Robin
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