Last thing Lor’themar wanted right now was to go to Quel’danas. He knew that he must, but he hated it. Kael was a friend and his beloved one no matter what happened. Lor’themar thought that he might not have it in himself at all to lift a weapon against him. There wasn’t will in him to kill the prince. But something within him was begging him to come here, as if some mage was calling him to come. The third pulse of this need felt weaker. Lor’themar however choose to go. He must go there anyway, so better sooner, than later.
Fighting was already finished and elves were counting the dead, claiming that demons had ate many elves leaving no trace of them, nothing to bury. A dark day for Quel’thalas in many ways. Lor’themar looked at the harbor, where the bodies were collected and being organized. Drenai were collecting their dead aside, preparing to leave, realizing that the longer they stay, the worse for them as many elves were of weak nerves now. But that wasn’t, where magic was trying to make Lor’themar go.
As Farstrider refused to become royal guard, he didn’t know about the entrances to the tunnels. But one appeared as if wanting him to find it. It was his first time to explore the place. And the tunnels were much more complex that he ever dreamed. He knew that they are here, but now, being there, that was different. Ancient walls were untouched by all wars and cruelty. And that magical line was leading him deeper. Weird sound soon lead him much more than magic.
“Kael…” He whispered and came to the prince.
He was sitting, leaning against the wall, but without any sign of life. And there, on his legs there was a crying baby. Lor’themar was shocked by seeing that. The hole in price’s chest was most likely the wound that had killed him. And on the ground, just next to the prince was something written with blood, either his or demonic. There were three of them nearby.
Lor’themar moved so he could read, what was written there. “E… le… nora. Elenora. What does that…of course, your child.” The strider took a baby to his arms and revealed it to see, if it is fine. It was covered in dry blood, but unharmed. A girl. “You’re Elenora… What a name, worthy of princess.” He smiled a bit and looked at the prince. It was obvious that Kael wanted him to come here for the child so it would not become orphan without family. Kael wanted him to care for her. And Lor’themar cared about the prince and couldn’t deny that wish, although unspoken, very clear to him. “I’ll take a good care of her, Fireling. I promise.”
With that he turned and left, removing tear from his face…
Prince had to be buried, so after leaving Elenora in Syana’s care Lor’themar returned. However when he came to the underground, he found no body there. Not the demons, not the prince. And Elenora’s name was washed from the floor. Someone did the cleaning here already. Lor’themar went outside feeling very uneasy and went to the harbor. There he was. Kael was lying among the fallen ones, with head covered and hole in his chest sewed. Now, even more than before Lor’themar felt the truth of his death…
* * *
“You were just playing that you were dead.” Lor’themar said.
“Yes. I had to make you take Elenora.”
“Why?” Elenora asked.
“Elenora… I was obsessed with energy need and fell energy is rotten. Do you thing that I wanted to give you away? That I… no, Elenora. I had to do it, because I knew that hallucinating and half-mad from thirst I cannot take good care of you. I don’t want to know, what would happen with you, if you stayed with me. But I’m sure that your life would be very short.” Rael sighted. “I… I wanted to die when you were safe… but lack of your presence was hurting me in a way I didn’t thought possible. I needed you, I wanted to see you grow. That day you changed my life. I choose to keep fighting, to observe you how you grow and to guard you if it will be needed. I became obsessed with you and that kept me going even though I have damn hole in the chest full of cursed shards that will keep hurting me for the rest of my life. I fell to the absolute bottom, losing everything, living as wretched elf on the edge of society, hated, humiliated. I had to forsake my name and lineage… I had to leave everything, that would connect me with the Sunstrider dynasty aside to safe my bare life.” He lifted his hand and looked at his nails, totally normal ones.
“You are Sunstrider… and so am I.” Elenora realized. “Then… whose skull is that, if not yours?”
“It belongs to that elf, who imitated me, fooling everyone to believe that he is me… Don’t even dare to think ugly about him, we both owe him our lives. His sacrifice gave us a chance.” Rael took the skull out from the cloth he had it in. “He deserves being here.”
Lor’themar sighted. “Fine, help me you two…”
They opened the coffin and Rael returned the skull at its place.
“It must feel weird, you are holding your own skull in a way.” Elenora said.
“A little.” Rael admitted.
The coffin got closed again.
“You’re my fath… whatever you are for me, but…”
“It’s called shanbael, twin-gendered,” Rael said. “Sometimes also giver of life.”
“And my father?”
“Don’t ask me how that happened, but his name is on the Mystery memorial, right under my own.”
“Legolas?” Lor’themar asked with surprise.
“Yes. I thought that I cannot love anyone after you Lor’themar, but he got me and in Outland… I finally got courage to have a child, thinking that new realm is new beginning, that the laws will be set different there. What a fool I was all that time… I wasn’t even able to actually take care of my own child…”
“We should go.” Lor’themar decided.
Once outside he caught Rael’s shoulder. “Fireling, you might be lousy leader and foolish prince… but you are a good father, the best she could have ever wished. You did the best you could for her, no matter if she will understand it or not. Many would be angry at you for playing your own death, not even I understand it fully, but I really trust that it was for the best. I forgive you that, even though it did hurt me deeply. It was right thing to do.”
Lor’themar didn’t look at Rael, he just followed Elenora, still thinking. So he didn’t see, how great relief his words created in Rael, who was weeping quietly…
Rael didn’t expect Elenora co come early, but all she wanted was, this time, to join him in meditation. Rael was her friend for long and that was the same even now, when she knew who he really is. She was still bad at concentrating, but today she was really trying to work on it. Rael noticed that, he could feel her energy as he was concentrating himself. His own energy system was finally returning to normal after that adventure of his. Before his thoughts began to fill his mind, he silenced them and continued his concentrating.
An intruder… Elenora opened her eyes as she felt a hand in her energy field. She looked at Halduron and moved a bit from Rael.
“Still nothing, but I’ll keep looking. That Legolas…”
“It’s okay, I found them.”
Elf froze. “You… found your family?”
Elenora smiled like the sun. “Yes. I found them.”
“Who are they?”
Rael opened his eyes and touched the handle of his knife… hopping that he won’t need it, that Elenora won’t be that foolish.
“Rael is my father and my mother… is shanbael, Legolas, you were right about him.”
Damn, she’s good liar… thought crossed Rael’s mind. She’s going to need it as a royal anyway.
“Yes… I too found only few days ago.” Rael nodded.
“I see.” He sighted.
“Thanks for your help, Halduron, I wouldn’t find them without you.” With that she hugged the elf.
Once he was gone, Rael turned at Elenora. “That was clever thinking.” He admitted.
“Thanks, I was thinking whole night about how to say enough but not to lie much.”
“One day they will learn who you are, who we are, but not today.” He whispered…
“We’re not brothers.”
“I know.” Starin smiled. “Good to see you Saralan. I was already worried about you, to be gone for so many years…”
“Yeah, it’s been a long time.” Saralan sighted. “And wasted.”
“Hi, guys, what can I bring you?”
“Good wine and better food.” Starin was telling the same always, when in the Inn of Silvermoon.
Saralan nodded. “You didn’t change a bit.”
“You did change a bit. You seem better.”
“You know, time can heal the wounds, but I don’t really laugh much nowadays.”
“That I understand. So, where were you all that time?”
* * *
“Legolas, we can’t wait here much longer.” Lar’denor said.
They were waiting for prince long hours. Legolas was on bad luck this day. After the explosion he move to support the defenses, but was pushed back to Sunwell Plateau. From there he had to escape using different route not to reveal their secret one created for escaping. Not because he wanted to, but because few demons followed him to the underground and some escaped him, not to mention two drenai. He was able to disappear in the village, although it was already in hands of enemies. From there he went to the southern end of island. Ever since he was waiting.
“The Sun is reaching horizon,” he said. “He must be in trouble.”
Lar’denor knew that it is most likely so, if the prince isn’t dead already. “You’re going there anyway… I’ll go with you…”
“It’s over.” Legolas whispered. “They won.”
“Seems most likely so.” Lar’denor agreed.
Together they climbed one of the buildings, from where they could see on the harbor and buildings and were observing the situation.
“We must take a closer look.” The captain said, he couldn’t see much in the darkness. “From here we cannot learn enough. The prince might be hidden somewhere.”
“There, among the dead. I see him. Body with covered head, but it is his armor and pale skin. Just that crystal is missing, but there is hole in his chest, sewed together. He’s… dead.”
“Oh no.” the captain whispered. “We shouldn’t have leave him. Now we can’t help him anymore. We must take all our forces to Starfall and consider next step there.”
“Calm down everyone.” Legolas looked at the elves around him. “First bad news. Prince Kael perished, he didn’t make it out of the Magister’s Terrace. It is a great loos for whole kingdom, not just for us. I’m sure of that. Now we must take care of our own. All, who can, should from now on be known under different names to hide their identity. Better to forsake our names, than our lives. I used to be Saralan in the past and from now on, I must use that name again. We will melt among the elves and preserve our loyalty to the kingdom. The truth means loosing lives without necessity. Good news is that no one is looking for anyone of us, they believe that demons ate us. That’s all.”
Legolas sighted and went inside. Saralan. He didn’t like that name and once Kael made him tell him his real name, he was with him really himself… and now he had to cover again…
“Good speech.” Lar’denor was of serious face, but in truth, he was sad.
“I’m not staying here. Can I trust you with leading these elves? I… need to be alone.”
“But you will go to his funeral.”
“Of course I’ll go. I doubt that there is anyone here who will not go…”
The funeral was silent as none other. No one said a word, no speech was given and yet Legolas felt compassion everywhere around him. The prince was a symbol for all those elves, embodiment of their pride, symbol of who they were, he had his place here and now he was gone.
Legolas was silent the same as everyone. Now it wasn’t good to say anything… Lor’themar came with Syana, he had a child in his hands. That send a pain through Legolas, whose own one was gone. There was some strange feeling he felt, but before he could even realize, what he feels, he got rid of it, forcing his mind to silence, before he would begin to cry. As he did so, the child began to cry.
That hurt Legolas even more…
* * *
As the memories crossed Saralan’s mind, he made very sad face. “I’ve traveled into Draenor, thirsting for vengeance against demons. I killed some of them, even considering becoming a demon hunter. But the price was too high, I wasn’t ready to become such a being, to give up everything I have and am. I mastered the sword. I was able to fight with it before, but fight with only one knife felt weird. So got experience with the sword.”
“Yes, it seems to accept me.”
“Only because you don’t keep it as yours. That is why it doesn’t reject you.” Starin said. “But it might accept you in time in full. You are honorable, you might become worthy of it.”
“That would be problematic. Elves would…”
“Yeah, that’s true…”
“Saralan? There is a letter for you.”
Elf lifted his face and looked at the waiter. She was holding a letter in her hand. “For me?”
“Yes, Elladan let it here.”
Saralan accepted it. “Thank you.”
He opened it and his eyes opened wide almost in instant when he looked at the first word…
The healer shivered, how that yelling scared him.
“What did I told you about writing such letters?!”
“One from Kael’thas, I know your humor style and I’m going to beat it out of you.”
“But I didn’t write it! I swear!”
Saralan stopped for a moment and looked at elf that was fearing his rage. “You mean it?”
“I mean it, really. Rael gave me the letter to give to you.”
“Rael? Who’s Rael?”
“Some wretched elf, bod good one, teaches in the magic academy. I… wait, did you said Kael’thas?”
“I’ve just put that together too, Elladan… If he’s alive…”
With that he hugged scared elf and ran away…