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Footsteps 3

April 4, 2013

At some point, not a dramatic point but simply a moment in time when the slog is getting to him, Feanáro sees a Draenai fighting besides him. She wields lightning and lava as her weapon although on occasion she switches with barely a pause to heal badly wounded Pandaren. She nods to him cheerily as he catches her eye.

Feanáro looks away. The work needs doing, and every hand helps. And if the Draenai changes her mind and attacks him, it hardly matters.

The Draenai does not say anything but a couple of times distracts yaungol that are charging Fea with well timed lightning bolts. When the savages retreat, she nods to him and observes in orcish that is almost accentless but infused with a melody of tone that no Orc has ever had; “Sad work this.”

He starts at the Orcish, surprised enough to actually respond. “What do you mean?”

She raises a sculpted silver brow and slings a shield shaped like a dragon over her shoulder where it breathes a smoke ring. “Do you not think it so? These poor things, driven to their deaths by a greater foe. We cannot stop them by peaceful means and so we must slay them.”

He sighs. “I suppose so. But… if I were they, I had rather be dead than so driven.” He looks at her with a flicked of curiosity, then, saying “I’d not think to hear this tongue from one of your people.”

“A kind Orc let me shelter in his spirit once. I learnt much there.”

He nods thanks, the curiosity flickering out. “I should see what needs doing next,” he tells the Draenai, wearily.

“Stay awhile. I do not often get the chance to talk with one of the Sin’dorei.”

Feanáro looks at her wryly. “It’s not so surprising that you don’t; more surprising that you would want to.”

“Why not? The Prophet himself purified your Sunwell and,” she points at the hammer strapped to my side, “I have visited it myself. This was my reward for my part in the reforming of Quel’Delar.”

Feanáro looks at her evenly. “Because our peoples are at war. No matter what you feel, that is enough for almost anyone, is it not?”

“I am not at war with you. People tend to see the realm and miss the individual. I try to avoid that.”

The young Sin’dorei had begun to turn away, but the blend of weariness, loneliness, and something about the Draenai are too much to resist. He checks and turns back with a faint shrug. “What would you discuss, then, my Lady?”

“Why are you so sad?” She says bluntly but in a kind voice. He gets the impression that she cares.

“Because there is nothing left to me but this,” he says, gesturing gracefully at the piles of corpses, “and much though doing what little I can do to help is only meet, well,” he shrugs, “I confess I find no pleasure in it.”

She shakes her head. “Nothing? That cannot be true. You always have choices.” Her lips twitch in a smile. “Sometimes they are very limited but it seems to me that yours are less so than most.”

For a moment, anger trumps anguish in Feanáro’s eyes, but it dies before it’s more than a flicker. “Doubtless true, my Lady,” he replies courteously.

“But you don’t think so,” she observes, “Why? What would you do if you could?”

He looks at her with bitter humour. “I was about to say that as I was not able to do it, it were better left unsaid. But I suppose it does not matter.” He sighs. “If I could? Kill Garrosh. I can’t,” and there’s no humour allaying his bitterness at all as he adds, “I have not the skill.” He sighs. “Likewise anything I might do. I lack the skill, the wisdom, the age, the experience. And lest you chide me that I could gain them, there’s little point. I cannot bear what is now. I would sooner die. And I would. And since I can achieve nothing but more harm by dying in any other way, I choose to do so here, striving to mend at least some harm, not by bringing more harm pointlessly to my people. It is the only choice I see.”

She nods thoughtfully. “And it is a reasonable one, likely to do more good than harm. Although I note that your death might hurt those who love you more than you think. May I suggest some others?” She settles down into the crook of a nearby tree and looks at him expectantly.

He looks at her, sadly “I expect it will hurt my family. But it is not a choice of dying or living, as I see it, but of choosing how to die.” He sighs. “Meaning no offence, my Lady, for if there are other answers, I would be glad to find them. Why?”

“Why would I suggest them?”

“That, too, I suppose. I meant why do you care?”

She chuckles throatily. “Partly because a friend of mine asked me to see what was worrying Jeraint and while I was not able to get much from him, it was apparent it was you. But more because the darkness of any spirit saddens me. You should be light hearted and your spirit sing in my sight. Instead, you are sad. Why should I not try to help? Even were we enemies I would not want that for you. None should bear sorrow to my mind. Many do.” She notes wryly. “But none should.”

He looks away from her. “I should not have troubled the Magister,” he says. “But I did not know that before I spoke to him.”

“No, that is not correct. I think in the long run it will help him. But cautery may be a tool for healing but it is also painful.”

Feanáro offers her a small but sincere smile. “Thank you. That’s some comfort.”

“But tell me, why do you think it so impossible to deal with Garrosh?”

“I don’t think it is. What is impossible is for me to. What am I to do? Walk into Grommash Hold and start casting spells? My own people’s envoy would stop me before I could harm Garrosh, let alone his guards.”

“So why do it that way?”

“Because I can’t wait long enough to do it any other way. I’m going to do something or say something ‘disloyal’, and then, well. I’ll be dead. The question is how many others are.”

She nods. “Well, it is a wise man who knows his limits.”

He sighs. “I just get so angry. And I’ve never been very good at subtlety.”

Her lips twist wryly. “Mmm, but is that a reason to refuse to learn it? You are young yet. I doubt your mind is so inflexible as to be able to learn something if you decide to.”

“To wait means giving my support to all that is wrong now. And even if I could bring myself to, the consequences of a mistake are death, and not just for me.”

“There is such a thing as considering long term good. Not all of what the Horde does is evil just as here are things the Alliance does thy I do no support.

“But if that is not for you, then why to leave? You wold scarcely be the first to do so.”

“When I heard about what Magister Jeraint had done, I… wondered if it was the answer. But… He is a better Mage than I,” the elf admits with painful honesty, “and he, what he did was so brave. If even he wonders if death would have been the better option…”

The Draenai nods. “It was, in one sense. But you seem to have listened to his words and not his emotions. What do you think his real pain is about?”

He looks at her blankly for a moment before saying, “I… don’t know.”

“He feels he was a coward.” The shaman says quietly. “He will never admit it I suspect, nor is it entirely accurate. But a little part of him knows that he ran away from confronting the problem.”

Feanáro stares at her. “But…” He stops, and shrugs. “He would have died if he did. Is that cowardice?” He looks at her. “I think I am willing to die for my people. To die for nothing…” He sighs. Abruptly, he asks “My Lady? What is your name?”

“Eleiana”

“Eleiana,” he says, as if the name were a gift. “I don’t know what to do. I… I only just finished my studies. I just… I…” He swallows. “I want the world to be what all the Elders said it was. It isn’t fair!”

She manages not to laugh. “The Elders of the Horde?”

He nods. “Yes. They sent me to speak to them, after I completed my training.”

She nods. “Did your training contain the concept of perfect forms?”

He blinks. “Well, yes. But that’s different.”

“Not really. Why should the pure concept of fire be any different to the pure concept of honour. Both are to be strived for.”

“I can agree with that. But I would not call water fire, and that’s the difference. Not only is it wrong, to say so will get you killed, and perhaps your family and all your people with you.” He looks at her wistfully, “There is no one I could have had this conversation with, you know. I do not know how to thank you.”

“Is that my cue to go? Well, if so thank me by thinking things through. Virtues can be nurtured and the one thing you are wrong about is your comparison. The Horde has its own honour, strange to me but extant. It may have been tangled and overgrown but it can only be preserved through people trying day by day.”

“Please… don’t go. I will think, I promise. But will you not stay, for a while? And talk… Perhaps talk of other things?”

She nods. “Of course, but perhaps we should go somewhere slightly less filled with carrion.”

He nods. “Of course. But… where can we?”

“There is a pool nearby. Let us seek peace and calm there.”

The Mage nods, and mounts his fiery hippogryph. “Lead on,” he says, gratefully.

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