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Only I Remain

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“Where are they?” Aelysiana asked, unable to hide the note of concern in her tone as she watched her younger sister depart the ship alone.

Her sister glanced down as she approached, wringing her hands together as she drew them toward her chest.

“Elah...where is he?!” Aelysiana yelled desperately as she felt her heart constricting. Her glowing eyes bored into her sister’s face, silently demanding an answer her sister could not give.

Her sister shook her head, drenched hair clinging to her sooty brow.

“No. No! Tell me…”

“I’m sorry, Aelys. I did all that I could.”

“No! How can you stand here and say that, sister? If you had done all that you could they - my baby - would be standing here with you right now.”

“Please. You have to understand…”

“I have to understand nothing. You left them to die,” the Kaldorei hissed with contempt.

“No, Aelys, I tried. You must believe that.” The younger elf’s words broke off into a choking sound as she began to weep, tears forging trails along her ash-covered cheeks.

The older elf scoffed, taking a step backward. “You’ve always been irresponsible, Elah. I never should have entrusted them to you,” Aelys spoke coldly as she felt her body starting to shift. “Go. Go! You are as dead to me now as they are.”

“No! Aelys, please. Just listen -”

“Words from the mouth of a murderer mean nothing to me.” As she spoke, rage overtook Aelysiana’s body and she shifted fully into her feline form. Her claws scratched violently against the wooden docks as she began running. Faster and faster, her silhouette fading into a blur. Within moments, emptiness was all that remained.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

Aelysiana stirred in her sleep, rousing yet again from the troublesome dream. Why was she seeing this same flashback every night? If it was supposed to drive the pain of loss deeper into her soul, there was no need. She was bitter and hopeless already.

The night elf frowned as she focused in on the anguish evident in the last memory she had of her sister’s face. “Why, Elah?” she whispered into the hollow night air of her empty bedroom, shaking her head mournfully.

The burning of Teldrassil had taken everything from her. The cold-hearted flames had consumed her beloved and her infant son without even giving her a chance to say goodbye. That one deadly act had also ripped apart her innocence, her enthusiasm for life, and every shred of faith she’d had her sister, Elahmaeri. No, actually… It had, for all intents and purposes, killed her sister too.

Aelys released a troubled sigh as she stood from her bed and walked over to pick up her mug of now-chilled tea. She cupped it between her palms, weaving her elegant fingers together as she drew in toward her breast. Absentmindedly, the Kaldorei stepped toward a creaky, knotted wood, rocking chair and sunk down into its cushion.

She sighed again, index drumming against the side of her tea mug, breaking the silence of the starry night. Aelysiana remained like that for many minutes as her eyes remained fixed on a random point on the bare wall across the room. Her mind repeated the visions of her dream again and again, her grip on the mug tightening each time she relived those harrowing moments.

Finally, when it seemed the mug would shatter into her palms if she clenched it any tighter, a desperate scream erupted from her throat. It echoed, bouncing off the walls, shattering the plagued memories that haunted her thoughts. Her grip loosened as her hands shook.

“No,” she whispered, lowering her mug to her lap and cradling it as if it were a newborn. “How can it be true?” Part of her still, months after Teldrassil burned, didn’t want to lose hope. Maybe her sister was wrong. Maybe her son, her precious, darling, long-awaited babe, had escaped. He and her mate might be out there somewhere, searching for her just as desperately as her heart yearned for them. If she could just find them...just hold them in her arms again…

“No,” Aelys spoke more firmly. “They are gone, like countless others.” Anger and grief formed a whirlwind within her as she thought of all that she had lost. All that everyone had lost. She would never - could never - forgive those who had caused this destruction. She held hatred she hadn’t known possible Sylvanas’ Horde, but she also harbored a bitterness towards the others who had failed the Kaldorei in their time of need.

“Elune be damned,” she whispered, not for the first time in the recent past. “Elune be damned,” she spat. Her voice grew louder as it laced with resentment.