Teldrassil was a mass of panic, Shaladine followed the ancient priestess through the streets. “Grandmother….”
“If you’re going to complain, demon hunter, then go back to the Temple.” Alene Rainewind’s voice was harsh and hurried. There was a hint of smoke in the air. It seemed too close.
“I just don’t understand why we’re here and not fighting on Darkshore.”
Alene paused in the road. “Battles are won on more than one front, granddaughter. The people here are mostly not fighters, they are afraid. If they break through our line in Darkshore, who will protect our brothers and sisters? The children? The Gilnean?”
Shaladine nodded. “I understand…it just feels….”
“Shaladine, you may go fight if you wish. But this is your time. Your time to decide if you want to be more than just a demon hunter. I know why you went to your aunt, you want to know how to avoid a fate of being consumed by the darkness you took in.”
The younger elf was silent as Alene abruptly continued down the path. The smell of smoke became stronger and a tremor rocked the great tree. There was a great crash before them and others on the road fell beneath a beam of a house that had caught.
Alene knelt down to inspect the elves caught there. “These two are dead….” Shaladine felt a weight pressed into her arms, a small weight, but it felt heavy as the world. A night elf child. Her cries hurt the demon hunter’s ears.
“Take her to the Temple, send her through the portal to Stormwind.”
Shaladine hesitated. “I can help more…”
“This is your time to decide, are you a demon hunter? Or are you Shaladine? I’ve put a life in your hands, child. What will you do?”
The smell of smoke was intensifying, Shaladine pulled her cloak over the child, holding the little one tight. “I’m going to get you somewhere safe.”
A little voice asked about her parents. Shaladine didn’t respond. She didn’t know how to tell the child they would never be coming. She headed for the temple, hearing Alene begin to pray as she ran.
Auris stared blankly at the fire striking Teldrassil. She stood beside a ruined catapult, and stared at her hands, covered in blood. The horde soldiers manning this had been on the outskirts, away from the rest. They were barely recognizable. Auris closed her eyes, feeling the rage subside.
“Mother?” Ayelinn timidly approached Auris. “I…I…don’t know what to do. How do I stop this?” Tears ran down the younger elf’s cheeks. Her breathing was heavy, the girl was exhausted.
“I’ve got her. Go.” Ciera wrapped a torn piece of cloth around a wound on her head. Her explosives had helped with the destruction of the war machines they had run across thus far.
“Mom…what do we do…tell me how to stop it…” Ayelinn fell to the sand, staring at the burning tree. “Why are they doing this? Why…?”
Auris’ hands trembled as she remembered a city in flames, covered in bodies and demons striking down everyone they ventured across. Ayelinn suddenly looked very small, in need of protection. “Because they can.”
“I don’t understand…”
For once, Star was quiet, she stepped up to Ayelinn and patted the taller elf’s shoulder. Auris perceived, Star’s arcane bird, Violet, forming into a shell around Ayelinn. Her gnomish sister wanted Auris to know the younger druid would be safe without her.
“No one does. But I’m not powerless as I was then.”
Star spoke quickly in gnomish. “See you at home.” The gnome grabbed Ayelinn’s hand and pulled a device from her pocket.
“Ayelinn, stay with Ciera. I am going to help.”
“No. I can go. Let me fight with you.”
Auris shook her head. “No.”
Star pressed the button and the two disappeared in a flash. Auris turned towards Teldrassil. “I wish all of you would understand…I have lost too much. And I refuse to lose more.”