Her grip hardens as she sees him. The true iron reinforced leather gloves creak, like an old sofa, as she tightens the grip of the hilt. Perhaps it’s the sound of Shuannas gloves that makes him aware of her. Perhaps he heard her horse, a long time earlier. Either way – he don’t care. He just keeps staring into the fire, hunched down. At long last, when the silence between them becomes to much for both of them, he says:
“So … You’ve come to kill me?” He looks at her, just a glance over his shoulder. “You got away, eh? I figured you would.”
“Father … ”
“Leave me alone. Or kill me. Just get it over with, whatever you want.”
“I … I … ” she sighs, lets the mace drop and takes a careful step forward. He reeks. Unwashed, old blood stains on his leather robes and skin. There’s the stench of Broken, seeping out of his pores. His hands are mishapen, worse yet – his face is … it’s a monster in front of her. It would be a mercy to cave his head in but she can’t.
“How did you find me?” he says, stoking the fire with a branch, watching it smolder. Eventually he digs out a bone pipe and lights it. Dreamfoil and Felweed creates a greyish smoke around him, tinged with yellow that smells like rotten eggs.
“I went to the Aldor,” she says.
“Ah!” He smacks his lips. “The fucking aldor. Well, then.”
“I shouldn’t have come … ”
“No! You shouldn’t!” He turns at her, growling. Thick saliva drips from the corner of his mouth, his eyes are ablaze with drugs and primal rage. For a second or two it looks like he’s about to attack her, but then he shrugs. He sighs deeply and says with a far away tone, as if he’s dreaming: “I tried, I did try you know … I got you out of the lower levels, didn’t I? All of you, all of you brats … you know I worked my ass off to support you. That seed factory I married kept popping you out like fucking candy. Never a son, always … Always … I tried hard, you know. Sure I did. Couldn’t run fast enough tho’, the mist, the red mist …” He glares at her. “I swore I would purge Draenor of the orcs … but there’s no end to them. Once I’m done with them I’ll come after you. All of you. You … Destroyed me!”
“Please, father … Come with me? The Prophet, he ca–”
“VELEN CAN’T FIX WHAT’S BROKEN AND YOU KNOW IT GIRL!!!” He takes a deep breath for control. “You know it, deep down inside. We’re gonna break, all of us. You … Vassie … Ish. The Legion won, you see? They found a way to defeat us without having to kill us. They took away … our Light.”
“You can still remember it, can’t you? The light? You can remember the l–”
“THE LIGHT ABANDONED IT’S CHAMPION!!! Now leave this place! And Never Return! If you do, I’ll kill you all! I’ll Kill you! KILL YOU!!!”
He lunges at her, she grabs the mace with one hand and swings.
“Did you find your father, child?” the High Priestess Ishanah of the Aldor asks some time later.
“No … ” Shuanna averts her eyes. Everyone knows she’s lying, of course they do, but everyone also knows that she fixed a Major Problem. Fallen vindicator Haarkan was a friend of no one, a crazy old man in a forgotten cave in northern Terokkar. He killed indiscrimenately. Orcs, draenei, beasts, ogres … adventurers.
“Light be with you, vindicator Shuanna of the Exodar.”
“Pray for me, will you? I don’t know if it will help but … ”
Shuanna turns and is about to leave the temple when High Priestess Ishanah says: “Have you found your sister yet, vindicator?”
Shuanna stops, she turns halfway around. She tries not to smile but she does, and it’s not a very good smile.
“Ishannah.” High Priestess Ishanah smiles. “I like that name.” She chuckles. “I’m honored to bear the name of your sister.”
“Two N, high priestess,” Shuanna turns around and nods. “A small but important detail.”
High Priestess Ishanah laughs. It’s crystal clear and loud. Several anchorites look up from their books and work, some of them frown. The Aldor are divided, because the strangers from the other side of the portal are still considered to be … peculiar. It’s been years since they first came but it’s not something someone gets used to. There’s been so many strangers …
“A wise man, covered in fur, once said to me: “Details, details!” Ishanah smiles. “We are still getting used to seeing these … oh Light, what are they called …”
“Ah, yes! Yes! pandaren!” She chuckles. “I think we could learn a great deal about faith from these strange … creatures.”
“Yeah, well … Ish is still … I’m still looking for her, got a couple of leads. I’m working closely with a … a temporal operative.”
“Caliss? The night elf?”
“You know of her?”
“All of Shattrath knows of her. I spoke with her a long time ago. She is your sister too, no?”
“Adopted. It’s complicated.”
“Life is complicated … ”
“Eh.” Shuanna chuckles. Then she takes a deep breath. “I never figured out the timeline stuff. I mean, Kadghar tried to explain but … well you know. Cannie’s the only one who understand stuff like that. If I can’t hit it, I’m lost. This is now, I know that. When Caliss was here, I … I guess it was before?”
“Then, now, eh. The Aldor will always be here.”
“Just don’t stay too long.” Shuanna tries not to smile, but she does. It looks and feels out of place. “This world is fucked and if you don’t know it yet so are you.”