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Post by Farendaire on Mon Oct 03, 2016 6:38 pm

“Mother, you cannot do this!  And you can never expect me to abandon - nay, defy - the very Light I swore to serve one hundred years ago!”  Her daughter exclaimed from across the dining hall of Fireblade Manor, newly raised by the returned blood mage’s newfound power.  “Have all the magisters gone mad, Mother?  You cannot simply use the Light -”

   “It has already begun, Judiel!” Celinae retorted with a fury, turning away from the balcony overlooking Silvermoon City and marching within a few feet of her daughter; to her dismay, Judiel shivered and backed away into the wall.  For but a moment did she quarrel with a moment of doubt; with it passed, she sighed and continued to try to make this devout priestess amenable to the state of things as they were now.  “How can you be so blind, Judiel?  The Light failed us - it abandoned us!  Surely you, who put so much stock and faith in its teachings, must know that it left us all to die to Arthas’s legions?  Even Lordaeron fell, and they loved the Light better than any of us!”  And, at that time, Celinae meant every word; such was the wayward path Kael’thas Sunstrider had led the Children of the Blood.

   Judiel shakily took a heavy breath, her frail body shivering beneath her silver robes, and brought a clenched fist to her chest as she held back the tears of her dread.  “You found the purest beings in the whole universe, made of the very essence of the Light of Creation itself, and you all chose to enslave them?  I’m sorry, I can’t do this.  I can’t - I will not follow Liadrin, or any of these ‘Blood Knights,’ on the pain of exile, Mother.  There’s still the Argent Dawn to the south, in the Plaguelands; I will take what knowledge you have brought to sate my arcane addiction and ride through the Ghostlands - the Light will protect me.”

   Celinae opened her mouth to wonder just how misguided her daughter could continue to be when the clanging of mail armor sounded throughout the dining hall; both blood mage and priestess turned to Aronar, armored fantastically as a hero of the Sin’dorei, and Celinae could not help but feel a twinge of pride.  In truth, the magistrix rarely held fond feelings for the rangers who eschewed the arcane and turned to the wilds; indeed, her love and marriage to Ranger-Captain Galendor Fireblade had caught everyone and herself by surprise.  She had longed for her children to follow in her footsteps and take to magical study, but fate had other destinies for the Fireblade twins, and when they took to the bow and Light Celinae had felt almost betrayed for a time; yet, looking upon Aronar, she understood that things had turned out as they were always meant to be.  

   “Aronar, I see you’ve done well for yourself,” the magistrix gingerly noted, approaching her son with arms outstretched and a warm smile and hoping to embrace him for the first time in six long years; the Farstrider turned rigid at her approach, furthering injuring her heart by turning to Judiel with a bow of his head.   The priestess returned his motion in kind, and their mother could only wonder at the words unspoken between them.

   “The trolls have grown bold in the absence of the Magistry,” Aronar noted after a tensely silent moment, wandering past his mother and Judiel and dropping a gold pouch and satchel on the dining table.  “Had more than a handful of you remained, we should have had them besieged at their gates, yet the Scourge preoccupies and hounds us at every turn.  We have defended this kingdom and numberless lives from our enemies while you, Kael’thas and all the magisters fled through the Portal and dallied about the Twisting Nether.  We have persevered in these ruins with no sanctuary to be found and thus far foiled the machinations of Deatholme, Zul’Aman, and Darnassus, and you have returned to strip us of our authority, replace us with false paladins, and cast us away as relics of the past.  You have already lost Renthar Hawkspear; Quel’Thalas shall bleed more of us before this year has ended, and then you will have finally purged your realm of all that is incorruptible.”  His verdict complete, the ebon-haired Farstrider encased in blood-red mail met Celinae’s eyes with an unflinching gaze before stepping out of the dining hall and returning to the streets of Silvermoon.

   Dumbfounded and at a loss for words, Celinae turned away from where her own son had so sternly rebuked her only to return her gaze to a daughter still horrified beyond solace.  “The Farstriders are proud men, they shall see the truth in time,” she supposed weakly, glancing away from Judiel and out through the ruby-tinted window overlooking Silvermoon with the barest traces of self-doubt betraying her calm facade.  

   “You’ve an odd idea of truth,” Judiel muttered under her breath, passing her mother as she approached the dining table.  “And what a strange idea of right and wrong!”

   “Judiel, the formation of the Blood Knight order is of utmost importance to our people’s return!  We are living in a new era now, and the nations of this world have adapted accordingly; if we are to survive these times we must join them.  If this life was what I would have it be, there would be no need for paladins or rangers, for there would be nothing but serenity and the pursuit of knowledge - but we do not have the life, and you must come to realize that!  The Sunwell can defend us from the troubles of the world no longer.”

   Judiel had not but opened her mouth in protest, regarding her mother in a cold silence which lingered long after the Magistrix had spoken her mind.  The priestess turned her gaze away from Celinae, choking back another onslaught of tears, and declared, shakily, “There is no place for me here.  When you have realized your guilt you shall find me nationless in Lordaeron.”

   “My dear daughter, Judiel!” Celinae exclaimed, approaching the silver-robed maiden and holding her hands in her own; unlike Aronar, her daughter rebuked her not.  “This rashness is hardly necessary at all - and so unlike you!  The Blood Knights will surely allow you to continue your work with those unfortunate souls in Augur’s Row, and you can still serve the Light as you please; siphoning M’uru’s power can only bolster your own, and if it becomes necessary you can draw on that strength to heal any injury, something you’ll need if you continue your ministry in those places.”

   “The Light gives me strength, Mother, and should I betray my conscience now I shall lose my faith, and should I lose my faith I shall have nothing but the temptation to do evil,” Judiel declared unflinchingly; and for the first time, Celinae saw that her daughter was plagued by the nervousness and stuttering of youth no longer.  The priestess stepped past the magistrix and approached the dining table, retrieving the satchel and pouch of gold Aronar had placed there moments before.  “You and the rest of Quel’Thalas may have already turned to vice, yet my vows still govern me as can no other power in this world; I’ll never make it to Stormwind, but Light’s Hope…”

   “Is a ruined chapel on the other side of the Dead Scar, crumbling on the edge of plagued wilderness, surrounded by the Scourge, and flanked by the Scarlet Crusade.”

   “Is it not better to die in virtue than to live in sin?”

   Celinae paused at this, gazing upon her daughter with an uneasy smile before retreating to the central window on the far wall; the setting sun, crimson and glorious, cast her shadow across the dining table.  Looking below, the magistrix could see Aronar speaking with his platoon of Farstriders on the far end of the street, head held high with invested authority and cloaked in gorgeous crimson and gold mail and a great cloak, a golden phoenix emblazoned upon its fiery cloth.  He had always been prideful; he now held himself as a king, yet Celinae could hold nothing against him, as he had become the man he always hoped to be.

   “They say the Scourge cornered him in the Ghostlands, in the ruins of Suncrown Village,” Judiel commented as she approached her mother at the window, wary in keeping her distance after all that had been said before.  “Some say, when forced into a manor, he raised his bow and fired an arrow which exploded in fire and slaughtered ten of his pursuers; others tell tales of a valiant blaze as he passed through a horde of Amani, as Dath’remar and Anasterian once did.”  The priestess smiled sheepishly and bowed her head with a light chuckle.  “Aronar swears the tales are exaggerated, but everyone here needs a hero; if a few of his people find one in him, I’m sure Aronar doesn’t mind too much.  He’s quite vain.”

   And Celinae laughed with her daughter for the first time in seven long years.  “Quite, quite,” she managed to stutter after a fit of laughter, turning to Judiel with a wide smile before returning to the dining table and pouring herself a glass of wine.  “Anar'alah belore, the wine they grow in Outland hardly holds a candle to true Eversong,” the magistrix commented with a smirk, taking a sip from the ruby-encrusted chalice of her choice.  After a moment’s gaze towards the cedarwood floor of the dining hall, Celinae returned her gaze to Judiel and motioned to the wine bottle with a raised, inquisitive brow; the priestess started, hesitated, and shook her head meekly with an unapologetic smile, and the magistrix nodded knowingly and approached the window once more.

   “...So, Judiel,” she began, glancing down to the streets of Silvermoon as she sipped again from her chalice, only to see that Aronar and his followers had departed from view.  “I suppose I cannot convince you otherwise, now, even when…”  She mustered, trailing off into silence as words failed her and the feeling of dread curled in her chest and throat.  

   Judiel offered a sad smile and laid a loving hand on her mother’s shoulder, wiping away falling tears with her other.  “I love you, Mother, and always will, but I can’t follow you on this path.  I understand it, I do, but I…”  Words failed her as well.

   And so did mother and daughter stand in silence above the streets of their home, solemn at the crossroads of their divergent destinies, but with love unbroken.


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