Shuanna dreamt of death again. It had been so long since. She had dreamt about it the last night they were together in the Wetlands, her refuge, but not since. Oh, she still had her nightmares, she had seen the dead walk again. She had felt the panic, the fear, the terror. But she hadn’t seen Death – until now. This night, when she dreamt of death again.
(“You speak of justice?”)
She woke up. Unlike the cheap novels she read to trick herself to fall asleep, she didn’t wake up screaming. She just opened her eyes, a film of sweat on her face, a never exhaled gasp in her throat. Then she closed her eyes and sank back into oblivion with a deep, comfortable sigh, mumbling a half forgotten “Maraad … “. She even felt rested when she woke up, hours after dawn (way too late but lieutenant Thorn had let her sleep). Through the open window – Shuanna always had the window open since it let the smells of Shadowmoon into her room – she heard the garrison sounds. There could be no death in a place like this.
Voices from the yard … they made her smile.
“Delvar! Wha’yat!? Gotta git goin’ dude! Dem podlin’s aint gonna git killed ‘f’ya slack! C’m’ere ya deddy!” That was Ravennah.
“Strike! Strike! And strike again! Maggots eat you, recruit! fucking lady blows like that work wonders in Gorgrond, I’m sure, but not here! I killed death, you scum! Like this, Vandaam! See!? Do it again or I’ll sell you back to the ogres!” That was Zavannah.
“Mooore! Illona, please oh please!” That was Vassanna (in the room next door).
(“I will show you the justice of the grave!”)
There’s nothing more comforting than the voices of your sisters, strange as they may be, when you feel the breath of death down your back. The first time Shuanna went outside once the garrison had been built, she just stopped. Then she watched. She took a deep breath and realised she was … home. That was months ago. Nothing had changed save the stockade walls being turned to masonry. Yet there was this sense of … freedom.
(“And the true meaning of … Fear!”)
She thought she was free at last. Free from the hauntings, the dead, the screams inside. How could Death possibly exist here? Even when Ner’Zul was a threat, there was a certain tranquility to Shadowmoon. Besides – orcs worshipping the shadows was nothing compared to the Scourge.
(“A force of darkness that would wash over this world … “)
That was then. Now – a long time ago. At least it felt like a long time ago. Still, she couldn’t shake the feeling. The very second her hooves touched the soil of Shadowmoon, she knew it in every fiber of her body: I’m home. Different timeline be damned – this was home! Maraad was there. Of course he was. He had been there ever since the Dark Portal turned red. He must have known – that’s why he had been so coy with her in the Wetlands. Every time she had asked him where he would go once he had rested enough, he avoided her gaze. Then he said something like “suffice to say … ”
(“Soon, I will have a new champion.”)
You don’t push it when someone averts his gaze and use a word like ‘suffice’. Instead you do what she did back then – you cherish every second of the company, brief as it may be. Pity she never got to fuck him.
“I have to go,” he said.
“I understand,” she said.
“Light be with you, friend”.
“Don’t do anything I would do”.
She remembered how they had looked at each other for a long, long time. Several minutes passed without any of them saying a word. There was something in that gaze of his. She knew it. He knew it. She wanted to tell him “don’t go, let them fend for themselves” But she knew he would go – even though he also knew he went to his own death. Then he flung himself at her, trapping her in a long, hard hug, whispering “I don’t want to go back!” in a frantic voice, shrill with panic. Their lips were less than an inch away – yet neither of them did what everything told them to do. She felt him through the fabric of his pants. He must have felt her, her nipples hard, her thrusts against his body, her hands, wandering down, grabbing his ass. Instead they stared into each others eyes and very gently let each other go. He placed his fist on her chin, mocking a blow, taking a deep breath and as forgetting his sudden fit of panic. He cleared his throat, smiled and winked at her and said: “In the light we prevail, Shuanna. Remember that.”
Then he turned, then he walked away, then he was gone. She dreamt of him that night. She woke with a moan.
(“The breaking of this one has been taxing.”)
Later on there was no time. The battle in front of the portal. The flight to the ship. Touching ground in Shadowmoon, meeting the prophet, or at least one of them (Shuanna always felt confused about the timeline aspect of this adventure). Duties kept them apart. Then there were other lips. Draenor lips. An aspirant vindicators lips. Inches apart in the bushes not far from Ner’Zul himself. Every time she knew that this, this, is the moment! Everytime she saw it in Yrels eyes … every time Shuanna pulled back.
(” In the end you will all serve me.”)
It was the nightmares. The memory of nightmares. Yrel only had to cope with what this world had brought her. Shuanna had to cope with both worlds. The Draenor that were, the Draenor that could have been, and the Draenor that Yrel had never seen. Shattered. Destroyed. Burned. Dying. More worlds than Draenor though … because Outland never broke Shuanna. Icecrown did.
(“Now I stand, the lion before the lambs.”)
How could you describe Icecrown to someone who had never seen it? Better to avoid it, to spare them. Spare those lips the taste of death. There was no Pit of Saron on Draenor. There was no Forge of Souls. There was no Icecrown. How can you describe Death to people who have only seen death?
(“They cannot fear!”)
As Shuanna looked out across the garrison, with all its hustle and bustle, she was struck by a simple thought. In a way it felt almost comfortable. Yet she knew she would do anything – absolutely anything! – to keep it from happening.
‘We will save this world. This world will not shatter. This time, the draenei will prevail!‘
That was Maraads words. Far back in her mind, another voice whispered the never ending incessant whisper:
(“This last act of service… is mine!”)
She shrugged. Truth be told she wanted to remember Maraad as he were, when he came to visit in the Wetlands. Teh carefree vindicator, the vacationeer. Dressed in a blue overall, fishing pole in one hand, a jug of Caraway in the other, going on and on about how he never caught anything but weeds. How she laughedat him, nudged him, how she giggled when a murloc caught his lure and hooked a halibut to his line just so their godess would show her shiny shield. How he laughed. How he lit up, as if whatever weighed on his mind became like smoke.
(“The world of the living can no longer comfort me.“)
She had seen him later on, an embodied spirit in the vaults of Auchindon putting Exarch Yrel to the test. But that was not the Maraad she loved. The Maraad she loved was dressed in blue. The Maraad she loved couldn’t fish. That was the hero she remembered most fondly: The laid back one, the funny one, the sexual innuendo one. Her body was ready every second for him yet he never made a single move. Nor did she. They touched each other as often as they could but it never went any further. See, there’s a truth here: Murlocs are a brilliant cockblock.
(“This last act of service… is mine“)
Noon. She knew there would be hot coffee in the barracks, and buns (Brumas bread, dwarven buns, hard as pebbles but once the crust was broken they were sweet and moist). She watched the porters carry crates from the Salvage Yard to the Treasury. She watched Vandaam being scolded yet again by her dead sister
– “This isn’t a brawl, you idiot! Now do it again! Hit me!”
“Truth be told pit fighter I can see it in your eyes. Defeat me in combat and I’m all yours, sugar.” –
and despite Shuannas morose mind she burst out laughing. It was a shrill, slightly insane laugh. It caught Vandaam off-guard and in a few seconds he was on his back with Tim the Geist on his chest yelling “Mmmmr aaahh ahh haaa!”. Then Zavannah yelled “Get off him, silly girl! now! Again! On your guard!”.
(“They must never know what was done here today.“)
Yes … She watched them all from the balcony to her room. She felt them all. Zavannah, Vassanna, Ravennah … The joy, the lust, the sorrow, the sillyness and the laughter. Down by the wall Cassanna was teaching Kimzee how to gut an elekk. Truth be told the green goblin looked greener than usual. All of them – home. Yet, all of them – out of place. That’s when the thought struck her:
‘We do not belong here.’
(“LEAVE THIS PLACE – AND NEVER RETURN.“)