Keleosha’s breath recoiled against the helmet’s face plate and blew into her own eye making her squint. Her head turned side to side looking for the next draenei to rescue or the next demon to hit. She really hoped it would be a demon.
She had been in Dalaran when the word came – the Exodar was under attack by the Legion. Keleosha had been avoiding contact with the draenei of Azeroth, and had been putting off going to the Exodar itself. She feared familiar faces on complete strangers. Their Prophet was alive, Draenor’s prophet was dead. How many others? Would she see friends who were dead on her world? Did she exist in this other timeline? Was the other Keleosha still alive? Had her family perished in Draenor’s destruction? Had she?
Her fears forced her to do something she rarely ever did, she wore a helmet. In her training as a paladin she complained about how stuffy the helmet was and how it made things hard to see. She elected not to wear one. “Try not to get hit in the head then,” her trainer had told her.
So far so good.
She needed the helmet today though. It covered her entire face, so she wouldn’t be recognized. As for her recognizing other draenei…well, she tried not to make eye contact. That wouldn’t be hard since she would be concentrating on the demons. She didn’t have to worry about recognizing demons, she didn’t intend to know them for long. She ducked a swing from an approaching felguards’s hammer and reflexively threw a hammer of light at its head before bringing her sword around to slash at its midsection. The felguard doubled over in pain bringing his head into the perfect position. Keleosha charged her blade with light and brought it down hard on the felguard’s skull. The demon fell limply to the floor, its arm twitched a moment longer until it stopped moving altogether.
Movement out of the corner of her eye made her swing around and look at a stack of crates nearby. A woman and a small child had stepped out from behind them, “Is it safe?” the woman asked.
“There are still more of them. Follow me, you’ll be safe in the Vault of Lights.”
The woman scooped the child up in her arms and followed Keleosha as she once again made her way to the protective dome in the Vault of Lights. The Prophet – no, their Prophet had said to bring any survivors there. He didn’t question who she was but there were obviously more pressing concerns.
When they were almost inside the protective barrier, Keleosha heard a raspy cough from her left. Another survivor?
“The way is clear, keep going. I will look for others.” she instructed the woman before heading in the direction of the cough. As she searched for its source she looked over her shoulder to make sure the woman and child had made it to safety. She suddenly heard the cough again and found its source – a draenei man bleeding out on the floor next to a dead fel stalker. In his hand was a smithing hammer covered in the fel stalker’s blood.
“He underestimated me,” the man coughed.
Keleosha ran to his side and assessed his wounds. They were great – the fel stalker’s fangs and claws had gone deep and the damage was far more than she could heal. She used the healing spells she had been learning since childhood to soothe some of the dying draenei’s pain. It was all she could do.
“I was in my shop when they attacked. I tried- *cough* to make it to the Prophet. Cornered by this Light-damned beast.”
He was a blacksmith. Keleosha’s father was a blacksmith. She dared not look at the man’s face, especially not now. She concentrated on the wounds, her hands shaking but the healing light unwavering. Smithing was hardly a rare profession, the odds of her running into someone she knew here were high, but the odds of this being her father were astronomical. Still she didn’t dare look at his face.
“You don’t have to say anything. I know I don’t have much time left.”
She maintained her focus but quietly squeaked, “No, I am afraid not.”
The man took a painful breath that made a horrible gurgling noise, “Thank you for easing my pain,” another coughing fit struck him and he barely got out the next words, “Who- *cough cough* r’you?”
No matter who he could be to her or was to the draenei of this world, he deserved to see more than a helmet as he died. Keleosha removed her helmet and set it beside her. She finally looked the dying man in the face, “My name is Keleosha.”
The draenei’s face was covered in blood and the pain had brought tears to his eyes, but for some reason he was smiling. He coughed and chuckled a little at hearing her name, “*cough* Light’s mercy. Yes. The Light is merciful indeed.”
Keleosha gave a half-hearted smile in return and resumed her healing spells. Her hands weren’t shaking anymore, she had conquered the fear for the moment.
“And what is your name?” she asked.
There was no answer. She realized the gentle rise and fall of the draenei’s chest had ceased. He was gone. She folded his arms across his chest, closed his eyes, and said a prayer. There was still much to do so she rose up again ready to continue fighting but she took one last look at the man’s face.
She didn’t know him. She mourned his loss but thanked the Light, she didn’t know him.