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Footsteps: 1

March 15, 2013

It’s the end of a long day when innkeeper Lei Lan mentions very discretely to Jeraint that the blood elf Feanáro had asked her if she knew of him. “I told him, perhaps. I do not forget your kindness,” she says.

Jeraint blinks. “He was very young when I last heard of him. I wish him well, I suppose.”

She smiles “He seems young to me. But what would you have me tell him?”

Jeraint shrugs slightly. “What he would know and you can tell him. I made no secret of what I did. Once I had won free anyway.”

She nods, and moves away to serve another.

It’s some days later that she approaches again. “Would you consider meeting with him, he wanted me to ask you.”

Jeraint pauses. “Yes, but he should be wary of spies. His people do not love me. And I cannot blame them for that.” His tone is wry although there is pain beneath it.

With a little twinkle in her eye she replies “This one of them seems in awe of you.” She frowns. “I could arrange something here, but it’s terribly public. Is there somewhere else he should find you?”

Jeraint shrugs. “In the field is probably the best bet. I assist the August Celestials on occasion. Perhaps in the quiet of the Red Crane’s temple.”

She nods again, and gives him a little shy smile as she leaves a plate by him before moving away. “I cooked this for you. You should eat more!”

“Thank you.” He says sincerely and with a real smile. He eats it with relish and then leaves and whispers a spell. He felt the need to consult with Morthil. His ancient teacher was more adept with alliance politics than he and he needed that. Before Dalaran, he might have consulted Vereesa but he no longer trusted the Ranger-General.

It is a couple of weeks later when a clear voice, pitched quietly, sounds hesitantly as Jeraint walks by a pillar, “Magister Jeraint?”.

Jeraint pauses and looks round, a flicker of icy magic springing up around him in case of attack.

A young Mage steps forward just enough to be seen. “I…” he begins, then stops, dignity forgotten, words fled, and stares for a moment in frank shock as he sees Jeraint clearly for the first time.

The older mage remains expressionless to most although a more experienced observer might see him as torn between amusement and deep sorrow.

“I am sorry,” he says after a moment. “The last thing I intended was to be so rude.” He swallows. “I… Can we talk?”

“Of course,” the other says courteously and conjures some cake and ice cold water as he sits in a convenient alcove.

Feanáro sits, grace hiding nervousness. “I had heard your name, of course. But… I had not expected to hear it again from an Orc telling me that he had known a Mage before, and that that Mage had… left the Horde.” He looks away, adding very softly “We had been told you were dead, you see.”

He hesitates, then hurries on, the words almost tumbling over themselves “Since then, I have hoped to speak to you. I… Magister, I know I have no claim upon you, and I realise you must be very busy. More, I have bethought me that you might no longer want to think of the Sin’dorei. But I do not know what I can do, and I can think of no one else of whom I might seek counsel. Magister, I beg your aid.”

Jeraint’s face does not change nor does his hard won self control quiver. Barely. “Speak on, if I can give any counsel I shall.”

“I am a Mage. More than most, I know what we have done to save our people. We have always done whatever we had to, to preserve our people. No matter the cost.”

“And when I finished my training and started to learn of what was passing in the world? When I tried to ask why we had countenanced what Garrosh had done? ‘We are tied to the Horde’, I was told. ‘We must obey the Warchief for the good of the Sin’dorei’. ‘We need their protection’, they said. And I could think of nothing to do save to walk into Grommash Hold and denounce it all. But” he sounds ashamed “I knew it would do no good. And I was afraid to die like that.”

“Some of them looked at it all as one more vile necessity to keep our people alive. I couldn’t. I can’t. They have reached the point of preserving our bodies and destroying what we are. What point in preserving our people to be no more than, than another kind of Orc?”

“And now? Our people are dying. Garrosh spends our blood not like water, for water has some value. He spends it like shit,” the young mage hisses. “It was and is for nothing.”

The young Mage hangs his head. “I do not know what to do. I cannot keep on as I am.”

Jeraint sighs. “I am not sure I can give you good advice. I was in your position once and I left. It was painful and hard though. I had to sunder myself from the Sunwell and learn new ways to power. You can see some of the physical ravages it caused. But without that spell I would not have survived the assassins that were sent after me. I am not surprised most think me dead, in many ways I am.

“As for whether it was the right thing to do, I am not sure. Working to destroy Garrosh from within might be more effective. It was just not something I could bring myself to do.

“And the truth is, the alliance is not perfect nor well disposed to your people. The massacre in Dalaran being the best of a series of instances but there are plenty more.”

Feanáro sighs, a sound touched with despair. “I am sorry to make you think of it again.” He tries very hard to make his voice come out evenly, but succeeds at best in part. “And I must thank you, at the least, for the opportunity to put some of it into words.”

Jeraint shrugs. “I would love to be more positive. I can teach you the spell I used should you wish. But it is not something to undertake lightly. Occasionally I wonder if death would have been the better option.”

“Do you think so, Magister?” he asks. “Perhaps that is all the advice I need, then,” he adds sadly. “It was the only answer I could think of, after all.”

“Good luck then. Someday maybe we’ll speak again.” With that, the older mage, still young by sin’dorei standards although none would know it from his lined face, vanished.

“It does not seem likely” the younger says sadly to the empty air.

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