WE SHOULD RETURN IT TO HER.
The silver locket had a tiny, neat inscription on it in a formal Elven script. “To Sylvanas, Love always, Alleria.”
Of course everyone was familiar with one of the first families.
Avaelle, too, had siblings.
IT’S BEEN YEARS…
Windrunner Spire was deserted. A fog of the early morning, a mist, hung about the place.
It was plain and modestly decorated, or at least, more modest than Avaelle had expected for a family as prestigious as the Windrunners.
MOTHER? FATHER? AUNTS AND UNCLES?
But the place was uninhabited.
IT’S HAUNTED, OR SO THEY CLAIM.
So they’d sent a young paladin of the Order.
Avaelle had always been a pious youth, at least as far as any young elf could be said to fear the grand scheme of the universe.
Morning, noon, and night she spoke to the Gods. She insisted, too, on prayers of gratitude at each meal.
THEY DON’T EXPECT US TO EXORCISE THE PLACE.
WHY ISN’T THE RANGER-GENERAL HERSELF HERE TO RECLAIM HER HOME?
SHE PROBABLY LEFT IT INTENTIONALLY.
Avaelle had taken a silver sword. It was supposed to inflict damage upon the incorporeal undead.
WILL IT BE ENOUGH?
Before entering the grounds, she insists on a moment of prayer.
Daevian silently consents.
From her pocket she removes a tiny leather-bound book. In it are written prayers from a number of faiths, translated into Elven. It was one of her few essential possessions since leaving Silvermoon.
In the distance, an owl sings mournfully.
The words trickle steadily, half-memorized.
WILL THE LIGHT REACH ME WHERE THE GODS HAVE LEFT?
She raises her consciousness above the dying trees and thinks of the Great Star, the Sun, now trying to break over the distant horizon.
Here, even beneath the bramble, the warmth surrounds her.
A gentle wind rustles her pale blond hair, affecting only her.
Daevian opens just one eye and spies his companion. But Avaelle has lost herself in trance.
MAY ALL SLUMBER IN PEACE BENEATH THE ALL-KNOWING.
“Purify the tainted land,” they’d said to her.
Avaelle begins to come to. The first thing she notices is Daevian, unobtrusively watching her.
She’d been assigned his companionship on this mission. Somehow, it seemed, he had a connection to the Blood Knights. But what was it?
LET’S MOVE OUT.
Her prayer finished, fear threatens to rear its unwelcome face.
They walk toward the central spire. The trees thin as the forest yields to coastline. The yellowing sky is a welcome sight.
The spire is smooth stone, marred by cracks from the growth of ivy. It reaches toward the open sky. Despite the dispersing sunlight, it seems the place is cast in eternal shadow of night.
“Love always, Alleria.”