Her vision darkens. The pain is unbearable. She feels it as the Death Knight lunges his hand at her chest, now bleeding, grasping in the cavity that once contained her heart. As he searches the Death Knight let his guard down she tries to move closer to see his face, but her wounds pang with every adjustment. Their eyes met as if he could read her thoughts.
“Don’t you remember me, my dear little sapphire? The course voice sounded out.
She felt a blade cut through her past memories. Only one person ever called her by that name. It could not be though; her last living brother had been felled by the rune blade Frostmourne. He had not been a warrior. The voice felt familiar to her soul. In a flood of memories as her vision began to fade she recalled the name…
“Hey you.” Said a young Sylvanas to a boy sleeping in a tree. “Hey!”
As he awoke his grogginess was dashed by a short fall from his perch.
“What do you want?” He said.
“You must be Aidan. You father wants to speak to you now.” She said in an oddly soothing tone that was quickly replaced with distress as she continued. “He says we are to be wed.”
Sylvanas never understood why she was to marry a human, as she was nearly 240 years of age, and the young boy was but 10. She found her father’s decision questionable to say the least.
As he composed himself she was able to observe his movements and mannerisms. He was an overtly inquisitive child that displayed careful focus beyond his years, even for a Silver Hand trainee. Although he was fixated on Sylvanas she could see his eyes were darting about noting all of the fine details of his current surroundings, and of her. She wore her hair in a dual pony-tail with uneven locks which draped over her gold trimmed tabard. A Farstrider hood obscured her face; light armor adorned her shoulders, and most of her body. Light reflected from her tabard to form glistening rays. Later she would adorn a new attire for the invasion of Quel’Thalas. This boys obvious focus on perception was impressive. Her father would say it was the mark of a dangerous man.
“See anything you like?” Sylvanas teased.
“Noting the details.” Responded Aidan with unsettling calmness. “I will be on my way.”
Aidan stepped into clearer light as he set off to speak with his father and Lord Draen Windrunner. He was a handsome young man with particularly stunning hazel eyes. She was interrupted before completing her inspection.
“Lady-General!” Shouted an approaching Farstrider scout. “Gnomish pilots confirm that the Horde is approaching and has begun torching the forest.”
She was furious. Those close to her rarely saw such emotion and the few bystanders were clearly worried. Aidan too began to wonder what other emotions such a developed elven female harbored.
“Correct me if I am wrong but is Quel’thalas not protected by a barrier? Is there truly a need for such concern?” Aidan asked in a sensitive tone.
Sylvanas calmed herself: “The barrier is but a shield for our secrecy consisting of nine runestones. It affords no physical protection.”
The scout interrupted: “Lady, it is best not to inform outsiders of…”
Her rage returned in a flash: “The Legion? And why is that scout. You forget your place. He is to be my Dalah’surfal (beloved).”
The scout stood at attention, Aidan blushed, and Sylvanas was clearly in deep thought. The Burning Legion was the cause of the Great Sundering, the corruption of loyal Quel’Dorei and Queen Azshara an age before, and lead to the reformation of those who took part in the Kaldorei rebellion. Sylvanas’s ancestral patriarch Menaron Windrunner had nearly been felled during the Sundering.
Sylvanas addressed the scout, who was looking increasing uncomfortable. “An age before you existed my ancestor Menaron watched as the Legion corrupted Azshara, survived the Sundering, built Silvermoon, and passed on his knowledge to those that followed. My elders taught me his lessons when I was but a child. You would do well to remember this.”
You could have mistaken the scout for a statue. Aidan had observed this exchange with great curiosity. He was clearly betrothed to a lady of power. Further thought would need to wait, he needed to focus on the Horde now.
Sylvanas watched smoke rise in the distance. “This is too obvious. They must know we will be upon them in short order.”
“Lord Uther is visiting Silvermoon!” Aidan’s voice broke the silent contemplation. “He is there to show support for the survivors of Darrowmere lake.”
Darrowmere lake had been the founding place for the Knights of the Silver Hand, and the location of the runestone of Caer Darrow. Uther had been Archbishop Alonsus Faol’s apprentice during the first war and one of the first paladins of the Silver Hand.
Sylvanas inquired: “This makes some sense; however, a Human paladin is hardly a target to draw such an expansive invasion force. What am I missing?”
Aidan replied in a worried tone: “Lord Uther has a significant future with the Alliance. Should he fall they will likely turn him and he will become a beacon awakening those loyal to the Legion.”
At this point Alleria Windrunner had heard enough and stepped out from the shadows, attempting to startle Aidan. The nearby scout of was the only victim.
“We will take care of this problem free of Human meddling.” Alleria stated in a tone one would expect from an older sister.
Aidan had been aware of her presence for some time. He understood that he would be staying behind. From his backpack he produced a small orb. He motioned for Sylvanas to take it from him.
“What is this?” She asked in surprise of the orbs beauty, and Aidan’s apparent calm demeanor despite the events around him.
Aidan explained: “It is a Nether Orb. Through it we will be connected no matter the distance. I understand you must go and we both know haste is needed”
“We will continue our introduction another time.” Sylvanas smiled.
The two sisters and the scout vanished into the surrounding foliage in an instant. Aidan could sense them moving further away.
Aidan and Alleria both understood the threat posed by the Legion. He had been aware of their growth for some time through his extraordinary perception. She had been imprisoned at Tarren Mill and had seen them consume living souls.
There was little conversation between them on the way to meet several score of exceptional archers and their third sister Vereesa. They all understood the importance of Quel’thalas. Alleria would be taking a significant force to engage the enemy elsewhere. In preparation she had the finest smiths forge her most beloved medallion into three interlocking pieces adorned with jewels: emerald for Alleria, ruby for Vereesa, and sapphire for Sylvanas. They were distributed silently; the meaning of the item was understood.
Months had now passed since the fall of the Legion. While the war had ended there was bitterness in the elven command. Silvermoon had been a resounding, and embarrassing, defeat. They had accused the Alliance of being lax in their assistance during the battle in spite of the many knights who perished. Quel’thalas had been lost to Arthas. Most devastating to the sisters was the loss of Sylvanas to the retched Undead. There was no repairing the relationship. Arrogance and emotions overruled reason and the elves withdrew from the Alliance.
That decision would prove to be a costly mistake.
Vereesa walked amongst the ruins of Sunfury Keep in Silvermoon. After Kil’jaeden had fallen most of the Legion forces occupying the city had fled. The zealots left behind offered little resistance. A detachment of former Death Knights had been assigned to Vereesa as it was assumed there would be fierce resistance. These Human warriors, known as the Ebon Order, that had been turned Undead and subsequently revived fought with boundless passion. Their minds had been tormented, and their hands forced to slay the innocent. Vengeance was their priority. She reached the central garden where a knight was to be waiting for her to discuss the continued cleansing of Quel’thalas.
She was shocked to see Aidan sitting on the edge of a former fountain, covered in scarred steel armor, watching the sky as if he had not a care in the world.
“I lost track of you after that day by the tree. I had hoped the war spared you but it seems you took the worst it had to offer.” Vereesa sympathetically stated. Her tone then took a turn towards stern: “Are you here to save Sylvanas? You must know we have orders to kill her on site that even I am bound to. Her Forsaken army has been far too troublesome.”
Aidan’s mind seemed to be returning from another world. His face had been relaxed like that of a child. He aged a century in an instant. “I have come into possession of a research journal belonging to Arthas. It reads as a book of horrors, but if you are able to see past the blood it contains a key to bringing her back just as I and my comrades were.”
Vereesa surmised that Aidan must have acquired the journal directly from Arthas else it would have been destroyed. No, Arthas must have entrusted it to Aidan before leaving Lordaeron. She would need to discuss this more later. As if Aidan had been reading her mind he spoke just as her internal monologue completed.
“I came upon an interesting passage about his efforts to reconstruct Sylvanas’s body after she was nearly killed. Arthas had complete control after he successfully turned her. He used a soul fragment of Frostmourne to maintain his connection between her and the Lich King. This should mean that if the fragment is removed Sylvanas will revert to a natural state. I will remove that fragment from her if it is the last action I take.”
Aidan had one hand on an amulet while he was speaking that Sylvanas had given him. She had received it prior to the fall of Draenor from Alleria as a reminder that for darkness to exist there must also be light. Vereesa recognized the significance of Aidan wearing the amulet. There was no need to speak further on this issue as she knew his path was defined.
Aidan stood on the stone platform surrounded by elven mages. They were to teleport him into the heart of Sylvanas’s stronghold where he would make an opening for the Order. There was not a hint of fear in his face as he began to dematerialize. Either he would die or Sylvanas would be returned to the living.
He appeared outside of the fallen capital of Lordaeron. There was no time to consider his actions as an Undead patrol had seen the light and were upon him. The fighting only escalated as he approached the main gate, then through the many derelict streets, and finally to the doors of the throne room. The rage in him had been swelling for some time. The final guard was dispatched with such force that his corpse was flung into the chamber doors tearing them from their hinges. Aidan stepped through.
He was met by a stone faced Sylvanas, bow at the ready. Conversation was not an objective; Aidan knew this Sylvanas was but a shell. He dropped a sword he found and drew his twin blades with a cold smile.
Sylvanas, not recognizing the knight, prepared to retaliate.
Had Aidan blinked he would have missed the five arrows Sylvanas loosen at him, but he had not and they were cut down in one swing. Her momentary surprise provided him an opening and he was upon her. She fell back to gain distance but in doing so provided a window.
Aidan buried his blades into the solid stone floor and charged at her. Again her momentary shock at this left her helpless to react. She felt as though a Kodo Beast had collapsed upon her. In a flood of memories as her vision began to fade she recalled the name…
“Aidan… how can this be?” She stammered, barely able to process what was happening.
Recognizing the change in tone Aidan responded: “Returning you to the living, my sweet.”
With a terrible scream from Sylvanas the stone was torn from her. Aidan was barely able to hold his position against the explosion of dark energies. The light became blinding and through his brief glimpses he was able to see her body transforming. When it was over the stone beneath her had been bleached sheer white. She lay unconscious, scarred, and with nothing but rags remaining. Aidan Wrapped her in his cloak and began the long walk back to Silvermoon. The few remaining Forsaken that had rallied to save their queen saw her defeated in the arms of an enemy. Aidan merely glanced in their direction and what little fight they had left melted away. As he walked through the city gates she awoke for but a moment. Her eyes followed his breast plate to his face. Her hand reached out to caress his face. She smiled as if she had not felt safe in a lifetime, and promptly passed out.
Within the week she had significantly recovered. The two of them spent the next year with each other removed from the politics of the world. Aidan found himself sleeping in same tree where he met Sylvanas one afternoon.
“Wake up my love; we are going to be late for the conference in Kalimdor.”
Sylvanas’s soothing voice was matched only by her beauty. The silken red dress she wore flowed over her skin in the breeze.
He replied: “If not for your magnificence in all realms I might be upset.”
She smiled and took his hand on their way to Theramore.
A stiff breeze caused the tree Aidan had been perched in to sway. Its twin trunks seemed to grow closer to resist.