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We choose our own destiny

Chapter Text

It was a sunny day in Quel'Thalas. As always, the beautiful blue sky was free of any clouds. The warm sun shined down and warmed the land which was mostly covered by fine green coloured grass. The twittering of the birds echoed through the forests.

The Eversong Woods was home to many animals. Squirrels, birds, deers, boars, lynxes, dragonhawks and many other creatures lived there. Most creatures lived in peace together. Only the lynxes looked for trouble and hunted other creatures for food.

Even though the lynxes were the only numerous predators in the forests in the forest, the balance of power still existed in the forest. The lynxes were known for attacking travellers and everyone who came in their near. That was the reason why they were hunted by the local inhabitants - the high elves.

The high elf hunters, known as the Farstriders, killed those beasts to make sure that no race in the Eversong Woods and in other forests in Quel'Thalas would extinguish. Also, they used their flesh for food and their fur for clothing. All in all, the Farstriders were doing a very good job of maintaining balance in nature.

One of these Farstrider was Sylvanas Windrunner who strolled through the forest at this very moment. She was Ranger-General of Silvermoon, meaning that she was the leader of the Farstriders. She was wearing brown leggings which were decorated with blue and golden coloured armour pieces.

These armour pieces made her look good but their main purpose was to protect Sylvanas. Her upper body armour consisted of a breastplate which exposed her belly and parts of her well-formed breasts. Her shoulder plates had the form of the head of a hawk which eyes were portrayed by expensive blue gems.

Most of her blonde, almost golden, hair was hidden beneath a blue hood which was connected with a blue cloak. Her cloak was so long that it even reached to her feet. But she always paid attention to her surroundings, making sure that nobody would accidentally step on it. It didn't even bother her in combat when she moved as fast as a gazelle.

Over her shoulders hung a majestic bow, which was made out of the best wood which could be found in the nearest forests and decorated with lots of gold, and a quiver which contained twenty-four arrows. All in all, her outfit was very expensive but also very magnificent. Sylvanas was the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, meaning that she was a well-known and well-respected personality. The people expected a lot of her and a lot of people were looking up to her, so she had to wear such magnificent clothes to impress everyone.

She was a very beautiful woman. A lot of people would say that she belonged to the most beautiful women in Quel'Thalas. Even though beauty meant a lot for the high elves, Sylvanas didn't really care if she looked gorgeous or not. She only wore such clothes and cared for her appearance because the others expected that from her.

She was respected because of her beauty, her rank, her determination and her skill in combat. It was normal for her that she had a lot of admirers who showered her with gifts and proposals. She always accepted the gifts but rejected the proposals.

She was one hundred and sixty years old which was nothing for a high elf. Lots of high elves became at least two thousand years old if they didn't fell in battle. Sylvanas was very young for a high elf, but not too young. She had reached adulthood sixty years ago but found herself still too young to raise a family. She wanted to see more of the world, fight more battles and kill more enemies before she would settle down and become a mother. Becoming more and more successful would be difficult if she had a family. Of course, she wanted to have a family one day. But not at this time and not in the near future. Probably in the distant future.

She spotted one of those, who had proposed to her years ago, leaning against a tree. The male had short blond hair and wore brown leggings and a leather vest which had been dyed greenish. His cloak, which was green and not as long as hers, was also connected to a hood but unlike Sylvanas the man hadn't put it on. He was also carrying a bow but it didn't look so magnificent as hers. He was just an average Ranger-Lieutenant, meaning that he didn't earn that much to be able to purchase such splendid weapons and armour pieces.

"Good morning, Ranger-General" he greeted politely, lowering his head in respect.

"Good morning, Velon" she greeted back and gave him a quick nod. "How are you doing?"

"I'm doing fine. Thanks for asking" he responded.

"Have the others already arrived?" she asked curiously as she walked past him and continued to follow the path through the forest.

"They have. We are only waiting for you" he responded, following her quickly.

"How many candidates do we have today?" she didn't look at him as she talked with him. She just looked forward as she walked through the forest.

"Twenty if I remember correctly"

Sylvanas stopped suddenly, turning around. She tilted her head and raised an eyebrow, giving him a surprised look. "Twenty? So many?"

"It has surprised me as well. I didn't expect that so many interested young men and women live in this area" explained Velon and got closer to her until she stood right in front of her.

"I can't complain about so many interested citizens. I'm only hoping that this time more potential recruits are among the candidates. I went to Tranquillien three days ago. It shocked me that none of the ten candidates was good enough for our standards. They weren't even close to fulfilling our expectations. Hopefully, more candidates who live in the near of Suncrown Village have potential. We have lost a lot of good men and women during recent wars and skirmishes. We absolutely need more recruits or the Farstriders die out if we have to go to another war against the trolls and orcs"

"I've seen them practicing. Lots of them have potential. I think that at least five possible recruits are among them"

"I'm hoping you are right. We will see"

"Yes, we will"

They didn't say anything else during their travel. They left the forest behind them and followed the street until they came to a small camp. The camp consisted out of five tents, two large ones and three of medium size. There was also a provisional-built training area. Training dummies, shooting targets and other practice tools had been built up in a line. Two of Sylvanas' rangers were standing in the middle of the training area and talked about something. They stopped talking and saluted to her when they spotted her. She greeted them in return and regarded her surroundings.

"It seems that you have been working hard over the past hours. This does look better than I've expected"

"Thank you, Ranger-General" one of the two elves, a female, responded.

"Where are the candidates?" asked Sylvanas, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

"There" responded the other elf, pointing at the closest of the two large tents. Sylvanas gave him a thankful nod and walked to the tent which was large enough that fifty persons could fit in it. She walked through the entrance, looking around without hesitation. About ten young elves stood in the left corner and talked, ten more were spread out in the tent. Sylvanas noticed that the candidates had built groups of three to five people. There was only one elf who was not surrounded by others. He was sitting on a small stool in the right corner of the tent and regarded his bow.

He seemed to be the only one who hadn't noticed that she had entered the tent. He was so focused on his bow that he didn't notice that she was getting closer to him. Sylvanas stopped right in front of him, tilting her head as she regarded him closely. The others smiled amusedly as they stared at the young elf, who was still lost in thoughts.

Sylvanas put her hands on her hips and continued to look at the elf, wondering when he will notice her. She kept standing in front of him for two minutes before she cleared her throat. The young elf jumped up as he spotted the Ranger-General in front of him. It was unmistakable that he was frightened by her sudden appearance. - At least it had looked like she had appeared right in front of him out of his point of view.

"R...Ranger-General" he stuttered nervously, blushing heavily. Like his voice, his hands shook heavily. The other candidates began to laugh about his behaviour but they fell silent as they noticed that Sylvanas was looking at them, making a strict face. She kept staring at the candidates for a few moments before she turned back to the lonely elf who was putting strands of his half long blond hair behind his left ear.

"And who are you?" Sylvanas asked the nervous elf, regarding him with interest.

The elf needed a few moments to calm down a bit. He was still nervous but at least he was able to speak a few words without stuttering. "I'm Kelrian, Milady"

"Milady? Just call me Ranger-General"

"As you wish, Mil... Ranger-General" he responded, chuckling nervously. He tried his best to hide his embarrassment but it didn't work quite well as he had hoped. Sylvanas didn't need to turn around and look at the others to know that they were making fun of him. She was about to scold them as a familiar person stepped in the tent.

It was her older sister Alleria. She looked similar to her except that her outfit was coloured in green and was decorated with less gold than Sylvanas'. Alleria was not as beautiful as Sylvanas was but she still belonged to the most beautiful and popular women in Quel'Thalas.

Alleria's lips formed a happy smile as she saw her baby sister on the opposite side of the tent. The candidates stepped away, allowing Alleria to get to her sister. Alleria threw her arms around the neck of her younger sister, pulling her in a tight hug. "It's good to see you, dear sister"

"It's good to see you too, Alleria"

Alleria's sky blue eyes stared into Sylvanas eyes which looked exactly like hers. "You took your time, didn't you?" she asked with a cheeky grin on her lips. "We expected you an hour ago"

Sylvanas stepped away from her sister and regarded her from head to toe. "A small group of trolls kept me busy. You as a Ranger-Captain should know pretty well that dealing with them could cost a lot of time. You know, killing them, burning their corpses and stuff like that"

"Alright. You are finally here, that's all that matters. Now we can go to the training area and find out what these candidates are capable of"

"Go ahead, sister" spoke Sylvanas and pointed at the exit. Alleria nodded, signalizing everyone to follow her as she left the tent. The candidates took their things and followed the Ranger-Captain quickly. Kelrian was the only one who needed longer because he dropped his bow two times when he collected his things. Sylvanas shook her head slightly. A frown was visible on her forehead as she regarded the nervous adolescent.

He was clumsier than all the candidates she had seen during all the entrance examinations she had attended since she had become Ranger-General. She had been very young when she had stepped in the footsteps of her mother had and become Ranger-General. This meant that she had attended lots of examinations. She was very experienced so she could assume that this teenager wouldn't do very well. But she knew better than to judge someone by the first impression the person had left, so she was curious what this elf was capable of.

She waited patiently until Kelrian had collected all of his things. He blushed and gave her an apologizing look before he rushed to the tent's exit. Sylvanas followed him quickly, preventing at the last moment that he would drop his things again. Their hands touched for a short moment when she did that. Sylvanas didn't mind but Kelrian's cheeks became redder when he realized what had happened. He looked away, not wanting that Sylvanas would see him like this.

He increased his walking speed and went to the others. Sylvanas wanted to warn him that his things were about to slip out of his arms again but it was already too late. The bow, his quiver, his knives and other items he needed for the examination fell onto the ground. The other candidates broke out in laughter as Kelrian bent down to pick his things up. His head was as red as a tomato. Alleria rubbed her forehead, shaking her head. It was unmistakable that she felt embarrassed for him.

She looked at Sylvanas, wondering what she was thinking about him. Alleria expected that this young man wouldn't be suitable for the Farstriders. She was curious if Sylvanas was sharing her opinion. Everyone who had eyes would share her opinion. Alleria couldn't figure out what Sylvanas was thinking because she was making an impassive face and didn't show any emotion. Alleria shrugged and walked to the training dummies, signalizing her sister to come to her. Sylvanas didn't hesitate and walked over to her.

One of the members of her squad gave her a folded parchment. She unfolded it and looked over it before she started to read out the names which were written on it, checking if everyone was present. She was pleased as she found out that everyone was there. She knew half of the names which had been written on the parchment. At least half of the family names were known to her.

Kelrian was no exception. His family name was Sunsinger. The members of his family weren't noble but they are well known and well respected. They were known to be the best priests in Quel'Thalas. So, it made sense that Sylvanas was wondering why the child of a priest wanted to become a Farstrider. Sylvanas had never heard of a member of the Sunsinger family which wasn't a priest or a paladin. Not even the most distant relatives. Sylvanas didn't have the time to figure out why Kelrian attending on the examination nor did she want an explanation from him.

Sylvanas greeted the candidates and told them that she was glad that so many came this day. She explained quickly how the entire examination would proceed. Everyone listened curiously without disturbing the Ranger-General. Sylvanas' speech was over after half an hour. She told everyone that they had half an hour to practice before the tests would start. Everyone nodded and began to warm up.

Lots of elves ran small rounds, loosened up and stretched their limbs. Some of them decided to not warm up. Instead, they shot arrows at aim targets, threw knives at dummies or ran around the small trees which had been planted in a line next to training grounds. The distance between the small trees was big enough to allow the candidates an ideal parkour.

Sylvanas was leaning against a bigger tree, arms crossed in front of her chest as she regarded the candidates. Her eyes fell on the nervous priest son who was aiming at a target. He was biting his lip nervously and his arms were shaking. He let the arrow loose, making a disappointed face when it flew past the target. Alleria, who was standing not far away from him, had troubles suppressing her giggles. It was unmistakable for Sylvanas that Alleria wasn't believing that this young adolescent would pass the examination. Sylvanas, on the other hand, didn't give him up that easily for a reason she couldn't explain to herself.

She walked over to him, stopping a few feet away from him. Her presence didn't make things easier for the already nervous teenager. On the contrary, her presence made him even more nervous and distracted him, causing that his arrow missed the target and hit the next one to the right.

"Well, at least you managed to hit the bull's eye" Sylvanas said amused and pointed at the red circle in the middle of the aim target which was used by another candidate. Kelrian didn't laugh about Sylvanas' joke which was meant to lighten up the mood and take pressure from his shoulders. Instead, he stared ashamed on the ground, blushing heavily.

"Did someone ever show you how to use a bow?" asked Sylvanas, making a step closer to Kelrian. He didn't look at her when he shook his head in response.

"Why?" asked Sylvanas as she stepped closer to him. She put her hand under his chin, lifting it so that he was forced to look at her. She was making a serious face, signalizing him that she wanted to hear an answer.

"Well... I..." he started but didn't finish.

"Yes?" asked Sylvanas, not losing her patience as she looked at him. He was biting his bottom lip nervously as he looked at her. The red colour of his cheeks hadn't changed at all. Sylvanas noticed that she was still holding his chin. She removed her hand and folded her arms behind her back, tilting her head a little.

"To be honest, no one in my family knows how to use a bow. Among my friends are no archers, so there is no one who could teach me how to use a bow" he explained. Sylvanas heard laughter coming from behind her back. She turned around immediately. The strict look on her face was enough to silence those who had laughed. They looked ashamed on the ground or continued with their training sessions.

Sylvanas turned back to Kelrian who was still blushing. His blushing face looked cute to her.

"How old are you?" asked Sylvanas. She ignored the confused look from Alleria. She didn't need to look twice at her sister to know that she was asking herself why she was talking with this candidate who seemed to have by far the least experience with a bow of all.

The others seemed to do fine, at least according to what she had seen so far. Only Kelrian looked bad compared to the others. Still, Sylvanas didn't give him up that easily. She didn't know why she was doing this. She could just stand next to her sister and watch the candidates while they prepared themselves. Instead, she had decided to help this young inexperienced teenager so that he would have at least a small change against the other candidates.

"Fifty-five" he responded shyly.

"Fifty-five, so you are only half an adult"

"Yes, I am. I'm reaching adulthood in forty-five years"

"Until then, I'm pretty sure you will get better" responded Sylvanas.

Kelrian's eyes widened. "Do you... Do you advise me to leave and return when I'm older?"

"To be honest, I think it's better if you practice more if you really want to become one of us. I'm afraid that you would only disgrace yourself if you keep going. On the other hand, you could try it as well. Maybe you will make it if I show you how to hold a bow"

Kelrian was speechless. He didn't know what to say and think at this very moment. He knew that he wasn't the best when it came to hitting targets but he wanted to become a Farstrider so badly. Not because he had dreamed of becoming a Farstrider since his youth.

He had always dreamed of becoming a famous priest like his father. But he had failed the priest examinations two times in a row. He didn't want to learn an occupation like trader, baker or tanner. He didn't want to become an explorer either. He wanted to be useful, to do something important for the citizens of Quel'Thalas. Like protecting the innocents from dangers like trolls, orcs or wild beasts. To achieve his goal, he had to become a Farstrider.

Alleria walked to her sister, pulling her a few feet away from Kelrian. "She didn't say that you can't become a Farstrider. We only think that you need a few more years of training. A ranger without experience wouldn't be useful for us. This is nothing personal, I hope you can understand that"

Sylvanas turned her head, looking at her sister. "Give him a chance. He has applied for this examination, so he deserves a chance to show us what he is capable of"

"You just said yourself that it would be better for him to wait until he gets older and more experienced so that he wouldn't disgrace himself in front of everyone" responded Alleria. The confusion was hearable in her voice and visible on her face.

"Well, I have changed my mind. He deserves to have a chance"

Alleria raised an eyebrow and shook her head. "Fine, if you think so, Ranger-General" she responded and walked away to the other Farstriders who were regarding the scene curiously. Sylvanas noticed that the others had stopped warming up while she had talked to her sister, so she signalized everyone to continue warming up. They didn't hesitate and obeyed her.

She turned back to Kelrian who looked a lot more nervous than usual. "You should try it" she said and gave him a small smile. He gave her an insecure nod. "Come I'll show you how to hold a bow correctly"

She stepped behind him and wrapped her arms around his body, correcting his posture. Kelrian's blush became worse when he noticed that the Ranger-General's body was pressed against his back as she helped him. He could feel her hot breath on his neck. He could feel his skin tingling nervously and his heart beating faster than it had ever beaten in his life. His thoughts started to deviate. Fortunately, he was brought back to reality when Sylvanas waved her hand in front of his eyes and shook him carefully.

Kelrian blinked in surprise, his cheeks became even redder as he noticed that he had been lost in thoughts.

"I've corrected your body posture. Now it should be easier to hit at least the right aim target"

Indeed, Kelrian hit the target which was fifty-four yards away from him. He hit every shot but only the outer circles of the target. He never got past the third inner circle. In Sylvanas' opinion, he was not doing bad, considering that he hadn't used a bow very often before. But he was nothing compared to the other candidates. Most of them hit the bull's eyes with most of their shots.

Sylvanas already knew that she couldn't accept all recruits. In the end, she had to discuss with the other examiners who would be allowed to join them. She already knew that Alleria and the others would speak out against Kelrian. She was only hoping that he would be doing better in the other disciplines.

Unfortunately, he didn't cut a good figure in the other disciplines. He lost two of three times in close combat, he was slower than the others in the 1000-feet sprint and he was the last to arrive on the opposite shore of the lake. At least he was able to follow the tracks of an animal. But that was not enough to convince Sylvanas, Alleria and the other examiners.

In the end, the little committee decided to allow eight of the twenty candidates to join them and become their new recruits. Alleria had the honour to speak to the candidates and tell them who had passed the examination and who should try it again in four years. Also, she told a few candidates that it would be better for them to look out for another profession. The candidates who made it through the examination cheered loudly. Most of those who were told to return in four years didn't look very happy but they weren't angry or devastated.

The ones, who were told to look out for another profession, made angry, sad or devasted faces but they didn't say anything. They just muttered a few unrecognizable sentences and left the camp after they had said goodbye to Sylvanas and the others. The ones who had passed the examination followed Alleria to the large tent.

The other candidates left except for Kelrian who stood on the same spot he had been standing since Alleria had started her speech. He was staring at his feet, struggling hard to hold tears back.

He chewed on his bottom lip and played with his fingers nervously. He didn't notice that Sylvanas getting closer to him. She stopped right in front of him, putting her hands on her hips. Her lips formed a sympathetic smile as she observed him.

Sylvanas realized that he still hadn't noticed her. She cleared her throat, chuckling when he startled. He blushed and ran his fingers through his hair nervously, looking away a few moments later. Sylvanas tilted her head and frowned, wondering why he was avoiding eye contact.

"You don't need to be ashamed of yourself. It's only natural that those, who have trained since their youth, would pass the examination. You don't need to be ashamed that you aren't as good as they are" spoke Sylvanas with a comforting voice.

Kelrian responded quietly, still refusing to look at her. "I disgraced myself in front of everyone. In front of the other candidates, in front of Ranger-Captain Windrunner and... in front of you as well..."

Sylvanas exhaled and regarded the young elf in front of her. He was staring at the ground, tears were formed in the corners of his eyes. He was shaking nervously. His facial expression told the Ranger-General that he was very disappointed in himself.

Sylvanas had seen a lot of candidates who had burst into tears after they had failed. Sometimes, she had ordered her subordinates to comfort them. Sometimes, she had left them in peace and let them overcome their grief alone. But this time she didn't want to leave this elf alone or send another examiner to comfort him. For some reason, which she couldn't explain to herself, she wanted to be the one to comfort him.

She put her left hand on his shoulder, waiting until he turned his head and looked back at her. "You did very well for someone who didn't train at all. I'm pretty sure that you will pass the examination in four years if you practice hard enough. You just have to believe in yourself"

"Are you sure?" asked Kelrian. He wiped the tears away, giving her a hopeful look.

She smiled at him. "Of course, I am. I can see if a person has potential or not. I'm able to find out very quickly if a candidate would become a useful Farstrider or not"

"Do you think that I could become a Farstrider one day?" he asked shyly, making a step closer to her.

"I do"

His eyes widened in surprise, his mouth hung wide open as his ears received Sylvanas' words. The surprise was quickly replaced by hope.

Sylvanas chuckled and patted his shoulder softly. "You have to train very hard to reach this goal. As you may have witnessed, the examination is not easy"

"I know. I will train very hard and pass the examination next time. I promise" he spoke, sounding very convinced about this.

"I hope you will. Can I ask you something?"

"Of course, Ranger-General"

"Why did you attend the examination? As far as I know, every member of your family becomes either a priest or a paladin. This tradition exists hundreds of years. Don't you want to become a priest?"

His facial expression became sadder. He broke eye contact with Sylvanas and turned his head a bit, looking at his fingers. "I attended the priest examination twice. Last month and four years ago. But I failed horribly. It seems that I'm the only one in my family who isn't qualified to be a servant of the light". His voice sounded weak and was filled with sadness.

"I'm sorry to hear that" responded Sylvanas, not knowing what else to say at this very moment. She was silent for a few minutes, staring at Kelrian as she tried to figure out how she could comfort him.

Kelrian looked up eventually, staring directly into her beautiful face. It would be a lie to deny that Sylvanas was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her eyes glowed brighter and were by far more beautiful than every sapphire he had ever seen. The colour of her skin resembled the colour of peaches. Her majestic hair was so beautiful that even gods and goddess would be envious of her. She was taller than most elven women. She almost as tall as most males she was working with. Even with his fifty-five years, Kelrian was still a teenager. He was not fully grown, meaning it was only natural that Sylvanas was a head taller than him.

Kelrian regarded Sylvanas as a goddess. As the most beautiful creature, he had ever seen. Most inhabitants of Quel'Thalas admired her. Men or women, even teenagers like him admired her. He was not sure what he felt about her but he knew that he was definitely attracted by her. No sane creature would deny that Sylvanas was breathtakingly beautiful.

After having stared into her eyes for almost five minutes, Kelrian finally managed to break the awkward silence. "I'm not even sure if I want to become a priest. My father always wanted that I would become a priest like my older siblings. I attended the priest examinations because he wanted it and not because I wanted it"

"But you want to become a Farstrider, right?"

"Yes, I do"

"Why do you want to become one of us?" Sylvanas asked, giving him a smile, which signalized him that he didn't need to be afraid.

"I want to do something useful for the citizens of our kingdom. Protecting those who cannot fight from dangers like orcs, trolls or wild beast counts as useful"

"You know that baking bread, cultivating vegetables, fruits and grain is useful as well, right? There are many other professions which are necessary for our society. Blacksmiths, village or city guards, tanners and many other professions. Why do you want to become a ranger?"

"Well, if I can't heal injured people, then at least I want to protect innocents from getting hurt. My father brought me to a military hospital years ago. Most of those who were treated there were farmers, villagers and other innocent people who did nothing wrong. The orcs and trolls were the ones who invaded their villages and murdered or at least heavily injured them. I want to prevent that more innocent lives are getting destroyed by these creatures" he explained.

Sylvanas sighed out in relief. "That's something. A lot of people want to join the Farstriders because they want to achieve glory and fame. They want to earn a lot of money and collect trophies and treasures. I don't want to deny that they want to protect our people but the main reason for many people to join us is the amount of money they can earn. It's very sad but I can't change things. I'm just glad that lots of people want to join us. We need more recruits very badly. We need more experienced rangers. Still, the recruits need to have potential. We cannot allow everyone to join us. I hope you can understand this"

"I do. I will get a lot better within these four years. I promise"

Sylvanas smiled. "I hope you do. We can always need someone who is as motivated as you are. We need more motivated recruits"

Kelrian returned her smile. "I'm glad that you think that I can pass the next examination. I will give my best"

Sylvanas chuckled and nodded her head. She patted his shoulder softly and gave him another smile. "I guess I will see you in four years. Farewell, Kelrian Sunsinger"

His heart skipped when she said his name while smiling at him like this. Happiness overwhelmed him. He wasn't angry at himself anymore. He wasn't disappointed in himself anymore. Of course, he was not happy that he didn't pass the examination but he was motivated enough to train hard for the next examination. He wanted to become a Farstrider so badly but he also wanted to impress Sylvanas, the most beautiful woman in Quel'Thalas - and on Azeroth probably too.

"I will give my best. Farewell, Ranger-General" he waved and looked at her for a few moments before he turned around and walked away, leaving the training area behind him.

Chapter Text

"What are you staring at?" a familiar voice asked. Sylvanas averted her gaze from the beautiful landscape and looked at her sister who was standing directly next to her.

"Nothing" she responded quietly.

"Nothing?" asked Alleria, raising an eyebrow. "You have been standing here for half an hour and stared at the road as if you are waiting for someone. Do not tell me that you are waiting for HIM"

Sylvanas turned her head, looking back at the plastered road in front of her. She was silent for a few moments before she responded "Well, he has promised that he would return and attend this examination"

"Why are you hoping that he will return? There are many others who have more talent than him. He is the son of a priest and not the son of a Farstrider. He should try to become a priest and not a ranger like us"

Sylvanas turned back to her sister, staring into her eyes. "He didn't pass the priest selections"

"And he didn't pass our examinations, two times to be exactly"

"Hey, be fair. He would have passed last time if we would have taken more recruits. He was better than most candidates and he was far better than at his first attempt"

"But he still wasn't good enough for the examination four years ago"

Sylvanas sighed. "I'm pretty sure that he will make it this time. Trust me, I have a good eye for whether someone has much hidden potential or not". She gave her sister a small smile, patting her shoulder softly.

"If you think so. I'm curious how the other candidates are doing. It seems that you have forgotten that we are not only looking for one recruit. We want at least eight recruits with enough potential out of this area so that we can get a total of two hundred recruits. That would be twenty recruits for each regiment. You should look out for other potential recruits and not only for this boy" spoke Alleria, regarding her sister. Worry was reflected by the eyes of the oldest Windrunner.

"I know. You don't need to explain to me how my position works. I know what I have to do as Ranger-General of Silvermoon"

"Then act like the Ranger-General all people admire and not like a fangirl"

Sylvanas tilted her head, regarding her sister with narrowed eyes and a frown on her forehead. "I'm not fangirling him"

Alleria laughed amused. "Oh, you definitely are, dear sister. I don't know why, but for some reason, you hope that especially this teenager will make it through the examination"

"I think he will become an excellent Farstrider one day, that's why I hope he will come to the examination and pass this time. Not because I like him or something like that" justified Sylvanas.

Alleria shrugged her shoulders "If you think so" she responded and turned her back on her sister, walking towards the tent where the candidates were waiting. "You can wait here and hope that your dear teeny will arrive eventually. Meanwhile, I will take a closer look at the other candidates"

"Do that" said Sylvanas but her sister was already too far away to hear that. She turned around, looking back at the street. She stayed there for ten minutes, hoping that the one she was hoping to see would arrive at every moment. But he didn't come. A loud, sad sigh escaped her lips when she realized that the examination was about to begin. She turned around and started to walk to the tent as she saw a figure out of the corners of her eyes.

Her heart skipped a beat and a small smile appeared on her lips when she recognized that the person was no other than Kelrian Sunsinger who had attended the last two examinations without success.

She noticed that he changed over the past four years. He looked more mature. He didn't look like a teenager, but more like a young adult. His facial features were more defined, letting him look a lot more attractive. His blond hair was longer than she remembered. It reached to his armpits, meaning that it was almost as long as Sylvanas' golden blonde hair. He was wearing casual ranger clothes - Leather leggings and a leather vest. An excellent looking, well-crafted bow hung over his left shoulder and a quiver full of arrows hung over the other.

He ran as fast as he could, wanting to arrive at the camp before the examination's start. He arrived at the last moment, panting heavily because the sprint had exhausted him.

"It's never good to be exhausted right before the examination starts. You should have arrived earlier so you could relax a little" scolded Sylvanas. She was happy that he made it but she didn't show it because she didn't want to show anyone that she was favouring him a bit. She couldn't see Alleria or anyone else but that didn't mean that she was unwatched. Because she didn't know if someone was watching her, she decided to behave like she normally did if a candidate would arrive almost too late to the examination.

"I'm sorry, Ranger-General. My stupid brother thought it would be fun to hide my equipment. I've needed a lot of time to find it. I would have arrived an hour earlier if he wouldn't have hidden my bow and quiver"

"Your family doesn't support you, do they?" Sylvanas asked curiously, one of her eyebrows was raised.

"Hmm, well my younger siblings and my older sister support me. Only my older brother and my parents do not support me. They don't want me to become a ranger and they regard me as a shame since I failed both priest selections"

"I'm sorry to hear that. You shouldn't get depressed because your parents don't want you to become a ranger. Nobody can force you to become a priest. I think you will make a fine ranger if you work hard for it. I hope you will pass the exam this time" spoke Sylvanas, smiling at him. She didn't just say that to cheer him up. She said it because she meant it really honest.

"Thank you, Ranger-General"

"You are welcome" responded Sylvanas, patting Kelrian's right shoulder. She pointed at the tent, signalizing him to go to the other candidates. He nodded and followed her to the large green tent.

The other candidates were already awaiting them. Alleria was standing opposite to the tent's entrance, arms crossed in front of her chest. Sylvanas ignored the scolding look her sister was giving her and started to scrutinize the other candidates. She counted nineteen in total, including Kelrian. Eleven males and eight females. She spotted two or three children of famous Farstriders among the candidates. She didn't know any of these candidates except for them and Kelrian.

"It seems that we are finally complete" announced Alleria and walked over to her sister. She passed her and stepped to the exit, signalizing everyone to follow her. They didn't hesitate to follow her, leaving the tent quickly until only Sylvanas and Kelrian were left. A barely recognizable smile appeared on Sylvanas' lips as she looked at the nervous young adult, signalizing him to follow the others. Kelrian gave her a nod and left the tent as well. Sylvanas regarded him for a short moment before she walked towards the training area.

She noticed, as she arrived, that the candidates had already split up in smaller groups of three to four people. There were two groups of three people and three groups of four people. Kelrian was the only one who didn't have a group. He looked around, trying to find a group which would accept him. Most of these candidates totally ignored him. They didn't even look at him. But there was this one group which didn't ignore him. It was one of the groups of three. A young woman with bluish dyed hair waved at him, signalizing him to come closer.

The woman wore simple green coloured ranger clothes. She carried a normal bow and a quiver with normal arrows. Kelrian assumed that she didn't come out of a rich family like him. She also assumed that she had grown up under average circumstances. But he knew better than to judge someone by the family a person had been born in. His own family was rich and influential but his parents didn't support him on his way to become a ranger. So, the fame of his family didn't help him at all nor did it guarantee that he would be better than her.

The young woman stretched out her hand as soon as Kelrian approached her. "Hi, I'm Elonis Silverwalker. It's nice to meet you. These are Zetai Lightspark and Elena Firevein" she said and pointed at the two elves behind her.

Zetai was a muscular man with blood red hair who was taller than most males Kelrian had seen so far. His clothes looked nobler and a lot more expensive than the clothes of the other candidates. The bow which hung over his shoulder looked very expensive and firm as well. It was unmistakable that he had lots of money, or at least his family had. Zetai didn't say anything. He just looked down at Kelrian as if he was not worth enough to waste any words at him.

Elena Firevein stood directly next to Elonis. Her natural hair colour was orange. Her outfit didn't look much different to Elonis'. Her bow and arrows looked a bit more expensive than the equipment Elonis carried but it wasn't as expensive as Zetai's. Like basically all female elves, these two were very beautiful. Not as beautiful as Sylvanas but still more beautiful than the average female high elf. Even Zetai's handsomeness was also above average.

"It's nice to meet all of you" said Kelrian, rubbing the back of his head nervously. "I'm Kelrian Sunsinger"

"Sunsinger? Doesn't your family belong to the most famous families of Quel'Thalas? I thought every member of your family become either a priest or a paladin" responded Elonis, giving Kelrian a curious look.

"Well, that's true but it seems that I'm the only exception. I'm not very suitable for a priest or a paladin that's why I want to become a Farstrider"

"I'm sorry to hear that. I don't want to imagine how your parents have reacted when they have found out that you didn't pass the priest selection" spoke Elonis.

"Well, they weren't happy back then. They are still not happy about this even after more than a decade. But I rarely see them because I'm living in the house of my cousin, so I don't have to see their disdainful faces very day" Kelrian responded, still rubbing the back of his head. He turned his head a little, looking at Zetai who was making an expressionless face. He looked back at the two females who expressed their sympathy for him.

Elonis was about to say something as a loud whistle echoed through the air. Everyone turned around immediately, looking at the one who had whistled. It was Sylvanas who was standing on a plateau, looking down at everyone. She didn't hesitate long to start her speech.

First of all, she greeted everyone and told them that she was happy that so many candidates came today. Then she explained that this examination was different than the previous examinations. She explained that she and her rangers had guided different animals through the Eversong Woods. She told that each group had to follow the tracks of a certain animal which would lead them to a certain place where their first test will take place.

The candidates began to mutter or speak quietly with their neighbours. Kelrian didn't hear much but the faces of the others told him that they weren't sure what to think about this. The quiet talking subsided when the candidates noticed the strict expression on Sylvanas' face.

The Ranger-General continued her explanation, telling everybody that they shouldn't be afraid of wild animals which could wander around in the woods because lots of rangers would hide in the trees and kill these beasts if they would dare to come too close to the candidates. She finished her speech by wishing everyone good luck.

To each group came an examiner, who told them which tracks they should follow. Sylvanas herself came to Kelrian's group, telling them that they should follow the tracks of a brown bear. Zetai just nodded his head without saying anything. Elonis and Elena made a small curtsey and gave the Ranger-General their brightest smiles. Kelrian blushed as he looked at Sylvanas, smiling nervously. Sylvanas returned the smile and wished his group good luck. She stayed with them longer than necessary, regarding Kelrian curiously. She didn't leave until her sister cleared her throat, walking over to her and pulling her back to the tent. Kelrian caught one last glimpse of her before she disappeared in the tent.

He turned around, looking at his group. Zetai was totally ignoring him and Elena was regarding the other groups which were slowly heading to the camp's exit. Only Elonis regarded him curiously. "We should start moving if we don't want to be the last group to pass the exam"

Zetai turned his head, looking down at her. "This isn't a race. We have enough time to pass the tests". This was the first time he had spoken since Kelrian had come to the group. He didn't expect that Zetai's voice was that deep. He had thought his voice would be a bit higher but instead, it was by far the deepest voice he had ever heard.

"I know" Elonis responded, looking up at him. "Still, we would leave a good impression if we would be faster than the other groups. I didn't say that we need to be the first group to finish the exam. I'm just saying that we shouldn't dawdle"

"I agree with her. We should start as soon as possible" said Kelrian, looking at the large male who didn't pay attention to him. Zetai only evinced interest in the two females. He didn't care about Kelrian.

"Fine, then let's go" announced Elonis and started to walk towards the camp's exit. Elena and Zetai didn't hesitate to follow her. Even Kelrian didn't dawdle and followed his group.

Their focus rested on the ground as soon as they left the camp. They walked towards the Eversong Woods, looking out for animal tracks on the ground. They didn't need long to find the tracks they were looking for. Following these tracks was easier than expected at least for the first hour. The longer they walked the more unclear the tracks became.

Sometimes, the group almost got lost or almost took the wrong way because of other, similar looking traces which were almost misleading them. But in the end, after almost an hour of wandering around, they found their track again and followed it. They left the largest part of Eversong Woods behind them, coming to a small road which looked more like a small trail than a real road. The tracks ran alongside the road, so the group followed it.

They found a few lonely springpaw lynxes after walking for ten minutes. They knew that these animals were swift and could be very deadly so they avoided them by walking around them. Of course, the group knew how to defend themselves if one of these tiger-like creatures would attack them because all of them knew how to use a bow. Still, they preferred not to cross with these creatures because they didn't know how many lynxes were in the near. They knew that the rangers in the trees would protect them. Still, they chose not to risk anything.

After another hour, they finally found their destination. It was a medium sized tent with a shooting range next to it. The group didn't hesitate to walk to the tent, wondering who was awaiting them. Kelrian's heart skipped a beat when Sylvanas Windrunner stepped out of the tent. He noticed that the two female members of his group were smiling at the Ranger-General as well, curiosity and excitement were written all over their faces. Zetai was the only one whose facial expression didn't change at all. He just stared at Sylvanas, not showing any feelings.

The Ranger-General stepped closer to the group, returning their smiles. "Ah, you made it. You were faster than I've expected. Congratulations"

"Thank you, Ranger-General" responded Elonis. She crossed her arms behind her back, giving the older woman her brightest smile. Sylvanas returned the smile, then her gaze shifted to Kelrian who was smiling as well but his smile was barely recognizable. He blushed and fumbled on the string of his bow nervously as he noticed that Sylvanas' eyes rested on him.

Sylvanas cleared her throat. "We should start with the first test. I don't want to hold you up any longer than necessary. Follow me". The group nodded and followed her to the aim targets. There were four aim targets in total so each group member had its own.

Sylvanas told them that they were allowed to practice for a few minutes before the test would start. Each candidate used the time effectively. Kelrian didn't pay a lot of attention to the others. He only saw out of the corner of his eye that Elonis was doing pretty well. Almost every one of her arrows hit in the bull's eye.

The few minutes, the Ranger-General had given them, were faster over than expected. Kelrian was able to shoot ten arrows. Seven of them hit directly in the bull's eye while the distances between the other three and the bull's eye were not that large. He walked to the aim target, took all of the arrows he had shot and put them back in his quiver. He returned to the spot from which he had shot the arrows and waited that Sylvanas would announce who will be the first one to show what he or she was capable of.

It really surprised him that the Ranger-General selected him to be the first one. He smiled nervously, looking at his group members one last time. Elonis gave him a comforting smile, even Elena signalized him that she believed that he could make it. Only Zetai didn't look at him. Instead, his gaze rested on the Ranger-General, who hid very well that she was praying that Kelrian would pass this test.

Kelrian shifted his gaze to Sylvanas who gave him a comforting nod. His eyes rested on the Ranger-General for a few moments before they shifted to the aim target. He lifted his bow, pulling an arrow out of his quiver. He knocked the arrow and aimed at the target.

He noticed that his arms were shaking and his chest rose and fell each time he took a breath and exhaled a short moment later. He frowned, wondering why his body was behaving like this. He hadn't been that nervous when he had practiced a few minutes ago. Maybe he was so nervous because everything was now on a stake. Or because his comrades were watching them. Maybe he was only nervous because Sylvanas Windrunner, THE Sylvanas Windrunner was watching HIM. Her focus rested on him alone and not on every candidate.

Kelrian closed his eyes for a few moments. He managed to slow down his breathing and stop his body from shaking. He opened his eyes eventually, regarding the target closely. He waited until his arms had stopped shaking completely, firing the first arrow. He heard the quiet cheer from Elonis as the arrow hit directly in the bull's eye. He didn't hesitate and pulled another arrow out of the quiver. He aimed and fired it without waiting for too long. The arrow hit the bull's eye again, this time a bit closer to the edge than in the middle.

He fired three more arrows, only one of them didn't hit the bull's eye. He was about to pull another arrow out of his quiver as Sylvanas approached him and told him that she had seen enough to be convinced that his aim was good enough. He bowed to her and walked to the target, picking up his arrows.

He walked back to his group, receiving a smile from Elonis. He turned the smile and stepped next to her. He noticed out of the corner of his eye that Sylvanas was having a weird expression on her face. He had only seen it for a small moment so he couldn't tell which emotion the Ranger-General had felt at this very moment. He was not sure if it had something to do with Elonis and the smile, she had given him.

He stopped thinking about this. Instead, he paid attention to Elena whose turn it was to prove what she was capable of. Elena shot seven arrows in total. Five hit directly in the bull's eye while the two others hit the most inner circle around the bull's eye. Elena made a small curtsey to the Ranger-General before she picked up her arrows and returned to the group.

Zetai was the next who had to prove himself. All of his arrows hit the middle of the bull's eye, not even a single one landed in the near of the bull's eye's edge. It was unmistakable that everybody was more than impressed by Zetai's aim. Even Sylvanas was not able to hide that she was impressed by him. Zetai glanced at the Ranger-General for a short moment before he walked to the aim target and picked up his arrows. He walked back without saying anything else.

Then it was Elonis' turn. She wasn't able to hide that she was a bit nervous. She missed the middle of the aim target only by a hair's breadth with her first arrow. But the second and the third shot hit right in middle. She didn't miss her target with the fourth and fifth shot. The following three shots hit the bull's eye as well. Elonis turned to the examiner, bowing to her. Sylvanas chuckled, signalizing the female to pick up her arrows. Elonis did as she was told and returned to the group.

Sylvanas regarded the group for a few moments before she walked over to them. "Congratulations on successfully passing this test. All of you have convinced me that you know very well how to hit a target which cannot move. But of course, being able to hit non-moving targets is not enough to convince me that you would make fine rangers. We will hunt a few deers for the next test so you can show me how good you are at hitting moving targets"

Everyone was happy that they passed the test and also excited that they could finally hunt a moving target and prove the Ranger-General that they were also capable of this. Sylvanas pointed at the hill on the horizon, telling everyone to start moving to it. Zetai, Elena and Elonis didn't hesitate and started moving.

Kelrian was about to follow them as he felt a hand on his shoulder which stopped him from moving. He turned around, noticing that Sylvanas was standing right there, smiling at him. She was not a head taller than him anymore like she used to be eight years ago because he had grown over the years. He was as tall as her, meaning he didn't need to tilt his head back to be able to regard her beautiful face.

"You did very well. Your skills with the bow impressed me" she complimented, patting his shoulder softly.

"Thank you Ranger-General. I've trained even harder since the last exam. This time I will become a recruit"

"I hope so. You have become a lot better since the last time we met. I hope you will be just as good in the other disciplines. I think you have good chances of becoming a recruit this time"

"I hope you are right"

"I hope so as well" she said smiling.

Kelrian returned her smile, staring into her beautiful eyes. She returned the staring for a few moments before she cleared her throat and pointed at the others who were at least one hundred fifty feet away from them. "We should follow the others" suggested Sylvanas, smiling politely.

"Yes, we should do that" responded Kelrian, looking one last time into the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen before he turned around and walked with Sylvanas to his group.

Chapter Text

"Do you see these?" asked Sylvanas as she pointed at the three lonely deers in the middle of the forest.

"Of course, we do, Ranger-General" responded Elonis. Like the Ranger-General she and her group were huddling on a small hill. Their task was to bag a few of these animals to demonstrate that they were capable of hitting moving targets.

"Good. Kelrian, you will be the first who will try to take down one of these" announced Sylvanas and got up. Kelrian nodded and got up as well. He was wondering why Sylvanas had chosen him once again as the first to show what he was capable of. He didn't mind at all to be the first one.

He took his bow from his shoulder, pulling an arrow out of his quiver. He knocked the arrow, aiming at the nearest deer which was about one hundred feet away from him. The deer was moving - slowly but it was moving. Kelrian took a deep breath, regarding the deer with narrowed eyes as he kept aiming at it. He moved his upper body a little until he was sure that he had the right angle. He let loose the arrow, following it with his eyes. The arrow hit the deer in the ribs, causing that a pained cry came out of its snot. It didn't hesitate to run away in panic as fast as its legs allowed it. The other deers heard the cry and ran as well.

"That was a good shot" complimented Sylvanas.

"It was not even close to the head" responded Kelrian, sounding a bit disappointed in himself.

"It's okay, I didn't expect that from someone who hadn't been trained by an experienced hunter. You hit a moving target, that's all that matters"

"If you say so, Ranger-General"

Sylvanas pointed in the direction where the deer had run, looking at the others. "Come, we need to follow it if we want to get it"

She didn't wait until her group had agreed. She sprinted towards the pointed direction, following the deer. The group followed her for a while until she stopped.

"It has finally stopped after running for an hour" whispered Sylvanas, pointing at the deer. It was standing right in front of a small river, looking around for enemies. Sylvanas and her candidates were hiding behind the trunk of a very big tree so that the deer couldn't see them. It didn't seem to have sensed them either because it didn't run away. Instead, it trudged to the river and drank some water.

Sylvanas waited until the deer started moving again. It moved with average speed because it was convinced that no enemy was around. Sylvanas gave Zetai the signal to bag the animal. He nodded and stepped out behind the tree, knocking his arrow faster than any other group member would have done. Only Sylvanas would have been able to knock an arrow faster than him.

The arrow flew through the air, hitting the deer directly in the right eye. The deer made a pained sound, making few last steps before it collapsed on the ground and died.

"That was a perfect shot, Zetai" complimented Sylvanas.

"Thank you, Ranger-General"

"We have successfully bagged an animal. Does anyone of you know how to disembowel an animal?" asked Sylvanas looking from candidate to candidate. Zetai and Elonis raised their hands.

"It's okay if you don't know it. Knowing how to hunt and disembowel animals will be necessary for surviving in the wilds. Especially, during times of war. But I don't presuppose that you know that. You will learn that during your training soon enough if you become recruits".

Sylvanas looked at Zetai, pointing at the deer. "Can you carry it? You are very tall and muscular. I think you should be strong enough"

"Don't worry, Ranger-General. I have carried larger deers and even very big boars on my shoulders. I think I should be able to carry it for a while"

A satisfied smile appeared on Sylvanas' lips. "Good. We will disembowel it when we arrive at the camp where the next test will take place"

Zetai nodded and walked to the dead deer. He pulled his arrow out, waiting that Kelrian did the same. He bent down, lifting the deer and putting it on his shoulders without a problem. He stood up, receiving impressed expressions from Elonis, Elena and Kelrian. Sylvanas nodded, signalizing the group to follow her.

They did as they were told and walked with her over half an hour until they spotted another, smaller deer. Sylvanas signalized everyone to stop. She turned around, looking at Zetai who was still carrying the deer on his strong shoulders. "Are you okay?" she asked.

"I'm fine. I should be able to carry this deer for a few more hours" he responded.

"You can also put it down as long as we hunt"

"I'm fine"

"If you say so" responded Sylvanas, looking at Elena and Elonis. "Elena will shot first but Elonis you will make yourself ready as well for the case that the animal doesn't die. I want you to shoot if the deer survives"

"As you wish" the two females said in unison. Elena looked at Elonis, receiving a confident smile from her. She gave her a nod and took her bow, pulling an arrow out of her quiver. She knocked the bow, aimed and fired. The arrow hit the deer in the neck but it was not enough to kill it. The suppressed noises, which were hearable, died away when Elonis' arrow hit the deer right between the eyes. The deer collapsed and stopped moving eventually.

"Nice shots" commented Sylvanas, walking to the deer. She bent down, regarding the dead animal. She whispered a few words before she pulled the arrows out. She handed them to the two women, signalizing that she was proud of them. Elonis and Elena smiled happily, making a curtsey. Sylvanas chuckled, signalizing that such gestures weren't necessary.

She signalized Kelrian to come over to her. He did that without hesitation, already knowing what she wanted from him. He bent down and picked the deer up, putting it on his shoulders. Kelrian was able to walk without problems because the deer was much smaller and lighter than Zetai's deer.

Sylvanas led the group through the forest, arriving at another camp which was a lot taller than the previous camp. They spotted another group of four people in the middle of the camp. Sylvanas and her group didn't hesitate to enter the camp and walk to the other group which consisted out of three males and one female. Behind them was Alleria sitting on a crate. She tilted her head as she saw the deers her sister's group was carrying.

She jumped up, walking over to her sister. Alleria stopped directly in front of Sylvanas, regarding her amused. "It seems that your group did well in hunting deers. Two deers mean that half of your candidates hit their targets"

"All of them hit the deers but not every shot was deadly. But that was not the task. The task was to hit a moving target. The task was not to kill one" reminded Sylvanas, signalizing that she was proud of her group.

"Two dears are better than nothing. Have you already asked if someone knows how to disembowel animals?"

"I did and it turned out that two of them know how to do it. How many of your group know that?" asked Sylvanas, looking at the group of her sister. The young woman with short blonde hair was the only one who raised her hand. Sylvanas looked back at her sister, giving her a teasing grin. Alleria tilted her head and crossed her arms in front of her chest. She gave Sylvanas a questioning look as she stared into her sky-blue eyes.

"That means nothing, little sister" spoke Alleria.

"I didn't say that this means anything, did I?"

"So, why are you grinning at me like this then?" asked Alleria, giving her a curious look.

She chuckled as she patted Alleria's shoulder "I don't know what you are talking about, dear sister"

Alleria rolled her eyes. "Anyways, our groups are here for the next test and not for listening to us while discussing"

Sylvanas turned her head, looking at her group. She received nods from Kelrian and the others, turning back to her sister immediately. "We are ready when you are"

"We are ready as well" responded Alleria.

"Alright, so that means we can go to the training area now" announced Sylvanas and guided her group over to the area which was covered by sand. She told Zetai and Kelrian to put the deers on the large table which stood at the edge of the area. They did as they were told and walked back to her.

Alleria stepped next to Sylvanas, looking at both groups. "The next test will be about your skill in close combat with and without weapons. Of course, you will only use training weapons made out of wood. There will be no gender restrictions which means that a female can also fight against a male. During times of war, nobody cares about which sex you are. Your enemies will try to kill you no matter if you are a woman or a man. There will be no one who wouldn't attack you because you are a woman. It's better for women to get used to fighting males from early on, so they can learn how to fight against enemies which are taller and stronger than you"

She looked at the two groups, receiving understanding nods from them. She looked at her sister, pointing at the table next to the one where the deers were lying. Sylvanas signalized her that she understood what she wanted from her. She walked over to the table and picked the bowl up, returning with it to her sister. She handed Alleria the bowl who shook it for a few seconds before she pulled out two scrunched up small pieces of paper. She unfolded the pieces and read out the names which were written on them.

Zetai Lightspark and Vardon Highstrider.

The first round was without weapons. Zetai was a lot taller than his opponent but Vardon was faster than him. But not fast enough. He managed to hit Zetai a few times but his punches didn't bother the man of giant stature. Zetai needed only two precise punches to cause that Vardon stumbled out of the marked combat zone. Zetai won the fight because his opponent left the combat zone.

He walked to Vardon and helped him up but didn't say anything to him. He returned to his group, ignoring the impressed facial expressions of Elonis, Elena and Kelrian. Sylvanas and Alleria were also impressed but they didn't show it. Zetai stepped behind Sylvanas and crossed his arms in front of his chest. Alleria pulled two more pieces of paper of the bowl, announcing the next pairing.

Kelrian had to fight against the blonde woman from the other group. Her name was Kelia Goodwood.

Kelrian entered the combat zone, feeling a bit unsure about fighting against a woman. He didn't think that women were weaker than men, nevertheless, he still felt uncertain about fighting against one. His mother had always taught him that it was forbidden to hit girls and women. He was well brought up but he also knew that he couldn't spare a troll or an orc woman in future wars. He knew that in dangerous situations he couldn't pay attention to the gender of his enemy. He knew that he had to kill women one day if he would become a ranger. Like almost all races on Azeroth, trolls and orcs also sent their women into battle. Female orcs and trolls were known to be very fast and deadly same counted for high elven women.

He knew this test was not a dangerous situation but also knew that he had to fight a woman one day. He thought it was better that he would get used to fighting or sparring with women so that he would be prepared if he had to fight female orcs or trolls in a future battle.

He took a deep breath, signalizing the Windrunner sisters that he was ready. The battle began as Kelia did the same. Both competitors didn't do anything during the first few seconds. They just stood there on their spots, making defensive postures.

Eventually, Kelia came closer and started to attack. Kelrian managed to block most of her punches with his elbows, only a few hit him in the side. He stayed passive for the first two minutes and only tried to block or dodge her attacks. He was hit a few times but he remained unflappable.

Finally, after he was hit at least ten times, he went over to attack. Both fighters exchanged blows but every time it was in Kelrian's favour. He had the upper hand but not because she was a woman and he was a man. He had the upper hand because he had gained experience during the previous examinations. He knew the weaknesses of the average candidate so he knew very well how to bait her and score a few extra hits. In the end, after they had traded blows for five minutes, he managed to push her out of the combat zone, winning the battle.

Kelia didn't look happy that she had lost the fight but she was not sad because she knew that there were more chances for her to prove herself. She went to Kelrian, shook his hand and told him that he had fought well. Kelrian thanked her, telling her that he was hoping that she would be able to prove herself in the next duels. She thanked him, walking back to her group.

Kelrian did the same, noticing the happy smile which lasted on Sylvanas' lips for a few moments. He gave her a small smile, looking at her for a few seconds before he stepped next to her and looked at Alleria who fished out the next pairing.

She announced the next pairing and the next, and the next and so on until it was Kelrian's turn again. He had the misfortune to compete against Zetai. The brute didn't need more than three punches to throw Kelrian out of the combat zone. Kelrian's upper body was hurting but other than that he was uninjured. Zetai hadn't used any unnecessary violence so Kelrian was able to attend the next round.

Each competitor was able to choose between multiple weapons. Kelrian chose a one-hand sword while Elena chose two daggers. Elonis chose a spear and Zetai chose a large two-hand sword. Kelrian was silently praying to the light that he wouldn't have to fight against Zetai. He knew that his chance to win would be pretty low if he had to face Zetai.

In his opinion, Zetai was by far the strongest and most skilled candidate of these two groups. He assumed that Zetai would pass the examination with ease. He had heard about the Lightspark family, but he didn't know much about them. He had never heard of a member of the Lightspark family which became a Farstrider. He didn't even know what Zetai's family was doing. He could only assume that Zetai would make a fine Farstrider and become very successful and well-respected. He was sure that Zetai will bring great honour to his family.

To his relief, he didn't need to fight against Zetai. Instead, he fought against two males of Alleria's group. The first fight was rough because his opponent was very skilled with his two daggers but in the end, Kelrian managed to disarm him and force him to surrender. The second fight was much easier. His opponent had also chosen a one-hand sword but he was not as skilled as Kelrian was. The young adolescent managed to push his opponent out of the combat zone.

Kelrian returned to his group after he had won his last fight, taking a seat on the bench on which Sylvanas was sitting. It was unmistakable that he was exhausted even though the last fight had been much easier than the first. Elonis took a seat next to him and put her hand on his shoulder, patting it softly. "Congratulations, Kelrian. You did pretty well"

"Thank you, Elonis. You are doing well too. You haven't lost a duel yet"

"Wait and see. I have a bad feeling that I have to fight against Zetai" responded the blue-haired woman.

"Hopefully not" replied Kelrian, the corners of his lips formed a small smile.

Elonis turned her head, straining her ears as she heard her name. She stood up and walked over to Alleria, wondering who her opponent will be. It turned out that Elena was her opponent. Both women bowed to the other as they entered the combat zone. They shook hands, wishing each other good luck. Kelrian only knew them for a few hours but during these hours he had gotten the assumption that Elonis and Elena were very close. He assumed that they were friends, very close friends, maybe even best friends.

He was curious who of them was better in close combat with weapons. He leaned a bit forward, noticing out of the corner of his eyes that Sylvanas was also regarding the pairing with curiosity. Her hands rested on the bench not far away from his. He regarded her hands for a few moments, wondering how her skin would feel like. He had accidentally touched her hand once and even though it had happened eight years ago he still remembered the soft touch of her skin.

He shifted his gaze away before he would do something he would regret later. He looked back at Elonis and Elena who were already fighting. They exchanged hits but none of them had the upper hand during the first five minutes. After an additional five minutes, Elonis slowly gained the upper hand. She hit Elena more than she did because she managed to dodge or block every second attack. Even though Elonis was doing better than her opponent, she wasn't able to win within the next five minutes.

Kelrian was still regarding them, wondering who would win. He didn't know why, but somehow, he was hoping that Elonis would win. He didn't know why he was favouring her. Maybe because she had been so friendly to him and had made sure that he wouldn't have gotten lost when they had followed the brown bear tracks. He was not sure about this.

He was still watching the duel as he suddenly felt something warm on his hand. He could only assume that it was Sylvanas' hand but as he turned his head to look at her, he noticed that Sylvanas' hands rested on her lap. He frowned as he regarded Sylvanas who was still watching the duel. He shook his head slightly, assuming that he had only imagined this.

For him, it was absurd to think that Sylvanas Windrunner, THE Sylvanas Windrunner would lay her hand on his. He was just an average young man who had the potential of becoming an average Farstrider. But she was Sylvanas freaking Windrunner. She was the most beautiful, the most respected, the most admired and the most skilled ranger of Quel'Thalas. There was no way that she would ever want something from him.

Kelrian shook his head again, making fun of himself that he had been so foolish to think that Sylvanas Windrunner would want something from him. She may be more friendly to him than to most of the other candidates and she may talk to him much more than to the others but that didn't mean that she would favour him.

At least he was thinking that. He couldn't know that Sylvanas was feeling something for him. She was definitely feeling something. She just couldn't tell what it was. Was it friendship? Was it admiration? Was it love? Or was it something completely different? She didn't know.

She turned her head, looking at the young male who had aroused her interest when they had met for the first time eight years ago. He was following the duel with interest and curiosity. She regarded him while he did that, only shifting her gaze away when he turned his head to look at her. She didn't blush nor did she show that she was a bit nervous while being around him. She just watched the duel until it was over. In the end, Elena had managed to win the duel even though it had looked very good for Elonis. Elena had won by tricking her opponent and pushing her out of the combat zone.

Sylvanas looked back at Kelrian at the very moment where he stood up and walked over to his teammates, congratulating Elena for her unexpected victory. He told Elonis that her fighting style had really impressed him. He comforted her and also told her that she didn't need to be disappointed because had been doing well. Elonis thanked him, giving him a small smile.

Elonis went over to Elena and hugged her, rubbing her back softly. Elena kissed Elonis' cheek softly before she walked over to Sylvanas who had gotten up as well. Sylvanas congratulated her about her win, telling her that never giving up would always pay out. She thanked the Ranger-General and took a seat on the bench as the next pairing was announced. Elonis joined them, taking a seat as well.

Kelrian and the three women watched the rest of the test. Everyone of Kelrian's group had already fought four times so they could relax while watching the last few pairings which were doing pretty well.

There was no one who had lost every fight. Every candidate had won at least one fight. Most of the candidates had won two fights. Elonis, Kelia and Kelrian had been able to score three wins. Zetai and Elena were the only ones who had won four times. The two Windrunner sisters congratulated them and told them that they believed they will do well in the following tests. Zetai and Elena thanked them.

The Windrunner sisters separated after they had talked for ten minutes. Sylvanas and her group walked to the table on which the two deers were lying. Alleria guided her group to the eastern entrance and left the camp as fast as possible. Sylvanas walked over to a tent, entered it and returning with four wooden crates. She put them on the nearest free table, signalizing Zetai and Elonis to cut as much meat as possible out of the deers' bodies and put them in the crates.

"What do we do with the innards?" asked Elonis after they had filled all four crates.

"Put them in this crate and so I can throw them in the nearest forest. The lynxes will consume them" responded the Ranger-General, giving them a fifth crate which she had taken out of the tent as well.

"We could also skin the deers and bring their fur to the tanner of Suncrown Village" suggested Zetai.

"That's a good idea. We should do that" praised Sylvanas, signalizing Zetai and Elonis to skin them. Kelrian watched them doing that. He didn't get sick when he had watched them cutting out the innards of the deers and he was also able to watch them skinning the animals without needing to puke. He had learned how to skin an animal.

Each of the candidates had to carry one of these crates. Sylvanas carried the crate with the innards while Zetai also carried the furs over his shoulder. The group followed Sylvanas through the western entrance to the bordering path. They followed the path to the nearest forest, entering it so that Sylvanas was able to spread the innards over the ground. She turned around and walked back to the group, pointing at the outlines of a lake on the horizon.

"We have to follow this path if we want to reach the lake. There will the next test happen"

"So, we have to show our swimming skills, right?" asked Kelrian, regarding Sylvanas curiously.

"Your swimming and diving skills" corrected Sylvanas.

"Diving? I didn't remember having done that in the last two exams"

"The examination committee decided to add it to the test. Being able to swim and dive for very long will always be useful for a ranger"

"That makes sense"

"It does, indeed" responded Sylvanas, looking directly at him.

He was holding the crate right in front of his chest. It didn't seem that he had troubles carrying the crate which weighed at least seventy-seven pounds. He would have struggled to carry such a heavy crate over a longer distance eight years ago. But now where he was older and stronger, he had no problems carrying a crate full of delicious meat.

"You were the second fastest swimmer four years ago, weren't you?" Sylvanas asked Kelrian.

"I was. hope I can be the fastest this time"

"I hope so as well" responded Sylvanas, giving him a small smile. Kelrian returned the smile and stared into her gorgeous eyes for a few moments before he shifted his gaze back to the uneven path. He didn't want to stumble over a sticking out root and disgrace himself in front of the woman he admired so much.

Sylvanas and Kelrian didn't talk much but they glimpsed at each other from time to time without the other noticing. Neither did the other group members notice what was happening them between them as they continued to follow the path to the lake.

Chapter Text

Sylvanas and her group noticed that they weren't alone when they arrived at the small camp next to the lake. The groups of Ranger-Lieutenant Velon and Ranger-Captain Bellatrice were standing in the near of the lake's shore, already wearing swim clothes. The members of Sylvanas' group, on the other hand, were still wearing their normal clothes because they hadn't been able to change them yet. Fortunately for them, there were enough little tents so everyone could change in peace.

Sylvanas signalized her group to change as fast as possible. They didn't hesitate and entered the tents. Kelrian spotted a small table and a chair inside his tent. On the table stood two boxes, with different symbols carved in the lids. The left box was marked by the male gender symbol while the other was marked by the female symbol.

Kelrian didn't hesitate and opened the box, pulling a dark-green swimming trunks out of it. He looked around, making sure that nobody was spying on him. He removed his clothes, putting them on the table before he put the swimming trunks on.

For some reason, he felt watched but he couldn't see anyone. He shook his head, assuming that he had only imagined this. He had no idea what made him thought that someone was watching him. Sometimes he had the silliest and most stupid thoughts.

He regarded himself in the mirror next to the table, making sure his hair was perfect. He left the tent as soon as he was satisfied with his looks. The first person he caught sight of was no other than Sylvanas who was regarding him with interest. He didn't notice that her gaze was lowered from his eyes to his muscular torso. Nor did the others noticed that.

He was not as muscular as Zetai but he was still well-built and had more muscles than most of the other candidates. All male candidates were wearing similar swimming trunks. The women, on the other hand, wore bikinis that did not overemphasize certain parts of their bodies. The examiners didn't want that the males would get too much distracted by the beautiful women. But it seemed that the women were the ones who got distracted. Most of them were staring at Zetai who ignored their glances.

Kelrian could understand why the females were going to raptures about Zetai. He was very tall, very muscular, very handsome, very strong and very brave. A lot of women favoured Zetai but that didn't mean that Kelrian wasn't admired as well.

He may have bad chances against Zetai but he was still a handsome young man who had gotten a little fanbase over the past hours. He couldn't know that Elonis, Kelia and Sylvanas were admiring his looks. These three women were standing a few feet away from another, not noticing that the other was interested in Kelrian as well.

Kelrian looked around, finding out that everyone was ready. He looked at Sylvanas who gave him a small smile before she arranged that the groups were mixed and new groups were formed.

Kelrian came in a group with Elena and two strange male he didn't know. The second group consisted of Zetai and three other males which were at least one head smaller than him. Elonis formed a group with two blonde twin sisters and a red-haired man who was almost as tall and muscular as Kelrian.

All present candidates turned around and looked at the examiners. Alleria was the one who started to speak. She didn't notice that Sylvanas was too distracted by Kelrian's exposed upper body to say something.

Sylvanas' gaze rested the entire time either on his handsome face or on his muscular upper body. She didn't know what was going on with her. She didn't know why she was looking at him the entire time. She tried to look away but for some reason, she was not able to avert her gaze. It felt as if she was hypnotized and forced to stare at the young man.

She was just glad that nobody noticed that she was staring at him. Not even her sister, who stood next to her and looked at her when she had finished her speech. She gave her a sympathetic smile and patted her right shoulder. Sylvanas looked at her sister for a short moment, signalizing her to go to the groups and tell them what was awaiting them.

Alleria nodded to her, regarding her for a short moment before she headed to the groups. While Alleria was busy with explaining, Sylvanas took a seat on the nearest bench, crossing one leg over the other as her gaze found Kelrian again. The blond teenager was holding his hands behind his back, listening attentively to Alleria. Sylvanas' sky-blue eyes rested on his well-trained upper body. A weird feeling spread out in her stomach. She noticed that she was sweating but it was not only the sun's fault.

Her body became warmer and warmer the longer she stared at the priest son. She couldn't explain to herself what was going on. She could only assume that this meant that she was heavily attracted by him. She didn't know when this attraction had started. She only knew that it was hard to avert her gaze from him. For some reason, she couldn't stop herself from staring at him. Seeing Kelrian stretching himself made things only worse. She was biting her bottom lip softly, one of her legs was crossed over the other as she continued to regard him while warming up.

The effect of the weird feeling, which had spread out all over her body, became subdued when Kelrian got in the water eventually. Finally, she was able to concentrate on regarding everyone and not only Kelrian. She had no clue what was going on with her.

She had never met a person before who had managed to distract her so easily without doing much at all. He had just been standing there, only wearing his swimming trunks and Sylvanas hadn't been able to think clearly. She had dated many men but never before had the mere presence of a person had such an influence on Sylvanas. Kelrian was basically doing nothing and Sylvanas was already falling for him.

But she knew better than rushing things. She needed to find out what was going on with her. She also needed to find out if Kelrian was also interested in her or even feeling something for her. She was hoping that with all of her heart. She knew that even if he would return her feelings, coming together with him and keeping a relationship wouldn't be easy, considering that a lot of people were watching her.

She was under surveillance by many influential people. If rumours would spread out, a possible relationship would be already doomed from the start. Kelrian would be set under so much pressure, not to mention that a lot of her admirers could threaten him or bully him because they would be jealous of him.

She still didn't know what she was feeling for him. It was definitely an attraction. Maybe even a heavy attraction, considering how her body had reacted when she had taken a closer look on his exposed upper body. She knew that an attraction, even a heavy attraction, was not enough to set a stable fundament for a functional relationship - If she wanted a relationship with him. She was not sure about this.

Maybe she just wanted him to relieve some stress... She had no clue what she wanted from him and felt for him. Two things were clear to her. She didn't just want friendship and she had to get to know him better to find out what exactly she was feeling.

Usually, she was so convinced of herself that she assumed that everyone was attracted to her. But for some reasons, she was unsure if Kelrian was feeling something for her. She was afraid that he only regarded her as his mentor or as a possible close friend. She needed to know what he was thinking about her but she saw no way without others finding out that she was interested in him. She needed to be patient.

The worst she could do would be to rush things and ruin everything. Fortunately for her, she had always been a patient woman. She had taken a few lovers but that had happened decades ago. For sixty years she was waiting for the right one.

She was sick of short-lived relationships or one-night stands so she had decided sixty years ago that she would let no one in her bed who wasn't worthy of her love or didn't truly love her. She hadn't broken her own promise for sixty years so she could wait much longer. She was a Farstrider. A ranger. A hunter. As a hunter, she knew that patience always paid out. She just needed to keep an eye on the one who had aroused her interest.

Her eyes rested on Kelrian all the time during the test. He was a very fast swimmer, not the fastest but still fast enough to score place three in the swimming competition.

Kelrian may not be the fastest swimmer but he surprised everyone with his diving skills. Sylvanas had never seen him diving before so she hadn't expected that he would be the one who could hold his breath the longest. He was even faster than everyone when it came to getting a ring which had been locked in a treasure chest on the bottom of the lake.

Everyone had gotten a key at the start of this task. Dozens of treasure chest had been thrown in the lake. He was the first who managed to unlock the chest and resurface with the ring in his hand.

The examiners cheered for him. Sylvanas was by far the loudest. She didn't stop cheering as her sister gave her a questioning look. She ignored Alleria as she continued to applaud for Kelrian, signalizing him that he had done a good job. Kelrian smiled at her happily, signalizing that it meant a lot for him that she was proud of him. She returned his smile, stopping to clap when everyone else stopped.

Kelrian was one of the last to leave the water after the end of the last test. Sylvanas' eyes widened and her breath stopped as she caught glimpse of his wet body. She would lie if she would say that his wet skin wasn't making him appear sexier than he already was. She forgot to breathe until her body signalized her that it needed air.

She took a deep breath but didn't stop looking at Kelrian. He looked at her as well, wondering why her knees were shaking. He assumed that the air made her shiver with cold. The air had become colder over the previous days so it sounded logical for him. Her upper arms, her belly and half of her breast were exposed to the cool air so his assumption sounded right for him. He couldn't know that his presence and the absence of his cloths caused that Sylvanas' knees were trembling. The sight of his wet body was causing that.

Even Sylvanas herself didn't know why her legs were shaking. They were shaking for some reason she couldn't explain to herself. She only knew that it had something to do with the gorgeous sight of Kelrian's wet and well-trained upper body which was covered by lots of water drops. Seeing his muscular chest rising and falling whenever he took a breath didn't make things easier.

She knew she should look away to prevent that the shaking of her body would become worse. She was afraid that people would get suspicious if her body would keep reacting like this. To her relief, the candidates and examiners looked at her but didn't interpret something out of the reaction her body was showing.

She tried to avert her gaze from Kelrian but it turned out to be impossible. Only when Kelrian disappeared in one of these many small tents and returned in his clothes she was able to stop staring at him like a horny teenager who never had sex before.

She blushed a little, looking at her sister who was giving her a mocking grin. Sylvanas had the bad feeling that her sister would tease her for her behaviour for at least a month. Her older sister knew her pretty well so Sylvanas wasn't surprised that she had found out about her attraction for Kelrian.

She was glad that no one else had noticed something - At least they pretended that they hadn't noticed anything. She didn't want that people spread rumours behind her back but she saw no way to prevent that people would whisper about her and her most favoured candidate.

Everyone who had eyes and was clever enough had found out, at the latest during the last examination, that Sylvanas was favouring him. Nobody would dare to say anything about that in public but that didn't mean that they wouldn't start spreading rumours sooner or later. Sylvanas was more than happy that no rumours had been spread over the past eight years.

Even if rumours would have been spread, she would have ignored them and lived on. A lot of rumours about her had been spread over the years but she had never made a comment to them. She had just waited until these rumours had died out as quickly as they had been created.

As the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, she was already too busy with her numerous tasks. She had almost no time to date others, so finding the right one was very difficult for her. All in all, she had no time for worrying about rumours and gossip.

But she was sure that rumours and gossip wouldn't stop her if Kelrian felt something for her. She was the best ranger of Silvermoon, she had perfected hiding in the shadows, so she would be able to pay a visit to anyone she wanted without being seen. She had her ways to make a secret relationship work but only if it would be worth trying.

She knew that she needed to make sure that Kelrian will join her group so she could see him almost every day. She knew that her sister wouldn't make things easier for her but she was pretty sure that she would find a way to convince her. She had the highest rank among the Farstriders so she wouldn't need too many arguments to justify why she would want him in her group.

So far, she had seen a few candidates who had been overall better than Kelrian. This meant that Alleria would advise her to choose those for her training squad. So, she had to find a way to convince everyone why she wanted him for her group and not the others. He was a very talented young man and he would become very successful. She believed that he would make a fine addition to her team and the Farstriders in general. She only needed to make them believe that Kelrian would become an excellent Farstrider one day. She needed to convince them that he was worthy enough to become a member of her squad. She knew she would manage that.

But there was one last test which could change a lot. The one thousand feet sprint. Maybe Kelrian would be one of the fastest runners so Sylvanas didn't need to convince the other examiners that he would be a good addition to her team. She assumed that if he would reach the third-place he would be counted among the top five candidates. This would mean that Sylvanas didn't need to argue with Alleria about her choice to add him to her squad.

She hoped that Kelrian would cut a good figure in the sprint. If not, she had to signalize everyone once again that as Ranger-General she always got what she wanted. And she was very good at always getting what she wanted. Only her older sister dared to question her decisions. The others were too afraid that she would get mad at them.

She was very strict with others. She only revealed her true self to Kelrian but only when they were alone. He was a very special person in a positive way. He was shy, friendly and had a lot of potential. Sylvanas was the only one who had faith in him. She wanted to train him and get to know him better at the same time. She was pretty sure that he will become one of her best rangers one day. Maybe even more than that if her wishes would become true.

She was so lost in thoughts that she hadn't realized that everyone had gotten ready for departure. Her group was standing in front of her, regarding the dreamy Ranger-General with wide smiles on their faces. Alleria shook her head slightly and walked over to her sister. She regarded her for a few moments before she shoved her from the bench she was sitting on.

An indignant shout was hearable as Sylvanas landed on her ass. She got up immediately, rubbing her rear as she looked at her sister who was giving her a mocking grin.

"Come, sleepyhead. We haven't got all day"

"Half the day is already other" reminded Sylvanas.

"That's why I'm telling you to hurry, dear sister"

"I know, I know" she responded, bending down to pick her bow up. "I've everything I need"

"Good" replied Alleria and headed east. Sylvanas and her group followed quickly. They noticed that all the other groups were already waiting for them as they reached the camp where the last test will take place. It was a long and wide track which was exactly one thousand feet long. There were enough running lanes that all candidates could run at the same time. Each candidate will run on a different lane so that nobody would hinder the other

Four years ago, Kelrian had reached the tenth place. This time he managed to reach fifth place. He was better than he had expected but worse than Sylvanas had hoped. She had hoped that he would reach at least the third place. Unfortunately, he had not. So Sylvanas was pretty sure that she had to explain to her sister why she wanted to take Kelrian in her team. Only imagining such a discussion already caused that her body slightly tensed up. She knew that there was no way of avoiding such a discussion.

One hour after the end of the examination, Sylvanas found herself in front of the largest tent of the military base in the near of Suncrown Village. The Quel'dorei waited for a few seconds before she entered the tent, walking directly to the table on which a blackboard with many magnets was lying. Sheets of paper, on which the names of the candidates had been written, were pinned to the blackboard.

Sylvanas took a quick glance at the list, on which the names of the best twenty-five of two hundred candidates were written. The examiners had established the best twenty-five candidates by voting.

"Look who is back" announced Alleria, giving her sister a teasing grin. "I hope you didn't take your frustration out on an innocent ranger"

Sylvanas tilted her head, giving her sister a confused look. "What are you talking about?"

Alleria just smiled at her without giving her a verbal reply. She shifted her attention back to the board, ignoring Sylvanas. One of Sylvanas' best rangers, a female with the name Verena, looked at Alleria and reminded her that she had to answer the Ranger-General if she asked her something. She insisted that Alleria would answer her sister but Sylvanas said that everything was fine so Verena stopped reminding Alleria.

Verena nodded but didn't stop signalizing Alleria that she didn't like her cocky behaviour. She may be the Ranger-General's sister and a well-respected Ranger-Captain but that didn't give her the permission to ignore the Ranger-General of Silvermoon. At least was that Verena's opinion. Sylvanas, on the other hand, didn't mind at all.

Most citizens of Quel'Thalas admired Sylvanas and would do everything she demanded from her even if they had to give their lives. Verena was no exception. She admired the Ranger-General as well and supported her as best as she could. Verena was not only one of Sylvanas' best rangers but also had she known her since her youth. She was considered as her best friend and most estimated advisor in battle tactics and real-life decisions.

Two decades ago, rumours about the two had appeared out of nowhere. These rumours had been spread quickly so that half a year later almost every citizen of Quel'Thalas had believed that they were lovers. In Quel'Thalas, a relationship between members of the same sex was unusual but not undesirable. Normally, people of Quel'Thalas wouldn't have minded if an average ranger would have gotten involved with a member of the same sex.

But because Sylvanas Windrunner - The Sylvanas Windrunner - was involved, people had gossiped about it until Sylvanas couldn't hear it anymore. Most of the rumours had died away when Sylvanas rejected the proposal of Verena. Some of the rumour spreaders had believed that this had been only a trick to make sure that people would stop gossiping about them. Others believed that Sylvanas had broken up with Verena because she couldn't handle the stress and pressure which had lasted on her shoulders.

If Sylvanas had been involved with Verena or not was her secret. Not even Alleria knew the truth. She had told Sylvanas over and over again that she wouldn't mind if she loved women as well. Still, Sylvanas had refused to tell Alleria the truth even though she had been persistent and gotten on her nerves her for a few years. In the end, she had gotten tired of asking Sylvanas over and over again and had stopped asking her. Lover or not, Verena was Sylvanas' best friend so it was only natural that she got upset when someone dared to question Sylvanas.

Sylvanas' eyes rested on the name next to rank twelve. She couldn't believe that everyone but her and Verena wasn't convinced that Kelrian was skilled enough for rank five. She had voted for him but in the end, the others had won three to two. Sylvanas and Verena had been outvoted. Sylvanas was the Ranger-General so she could ultimately decide who would get in which regiment but she couldn't decide who was the best and who the worst candidate. Each examiner had different opinions about the candidates. To prevent that someone would get upset, it was preferred to decide the placing democratically.

In the end, Alleria, Ranger-Lieutenant Velon and Ranger-Captain Jayne had voted to place Kelrian on rank twelve. But that didn't mean anything. Nothing was decided yet. Normally, Sylvanas would take the best five candidates for her personal recruits. Only sometimes, she took four of the best and another candidate she believed had enough potential.

Again, nobody would question her decisions except for Alleria. That was the reason why Sylvanas ignored her this time when Alleria asked if they should roll the dice to find out who could select the first candidate for his or her group.

Alleria asked her the same question again, grinning widely. This time, Sylvanas responded to her. "No, we won't do that. You only want to do because you hope that someone will choose Kelrian for his or her group before I can. I know that you and your friends have conspired against me"

"I don't know why you think that he is so special. He has talent but he is not one of the best candidates. He is only rank twelve. Normally you don't take any candidate with a rank lower than ten. You are carrying too much for him. You are favouring him for a reason we cannot understand. We don't think he is worthy enough to become a member of your squad. There are many others which would become better rangers with your help than this teenager"

"Stop calling him a teenager. He is sixty-three years old" exclaimed Sylvanas, looking slightly upset.

Alleria chuckled, regarding her baby sister for a few moments before she responded. "He is still underage by our laws"

"You know that a lot of our laws are just stupid. The average high elf looks and behaves like an adult with already twenty-five years. Most of the times it is pretty hard to tell who is a teenager and who is an adult so most people don't care at all"

"The laws are there for a reason" responded Alleria with a smirk on her lips.

"Stop distracting me, sister. I can't understand that you don't have faith in him. Kelrian will be one of our best rangers one day if he trains hard enough. Believe me. I have never been wrong about recruits with a lot of potential. All of them became successful Farstriders.

"You are right, sister. But not in this case. Whenever you had predicted that someone will become a very talented ranger it came true. We've always seen the same talent in the candidates as you've seen. But this time, for the first time, we can't retrace what you see in him. We can't decide anything but we advise you to choose someone else. Kelrian won't be the extraordinary ranger you want him to be. He will be better than the average ranger but he won't be one of the best. Never ever"

Sylvanas' clenched her left fist behind her back, biting her bottom lip hard. She couldn't believe that nobody except for Verena had put their trust in Kelrian. Sylvanas had never been wrong about her predictions. She knew that Kelrian would become one of the most skilled Farstriders one day. But for some reason, her sister and her friends weren't seeing the same.

For a few moments, she doubted her talent for assessing the skills of a person. New thoughts came in her mind. Maybe she was wrong for the first time since the start of her carrier as Ranger-General and instructor. Maybe Alleria was right. Maybe Alleria's assessment was right, contrary to hers. Maybe she was overrating Kelrian.

More doubts came up but she banished them out of her head eventually. She was Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner and she had never been wrong about her predictions. She knew that Kelrian will become an extraordinary ranger. Nobody will change her mind about that. Nobody. Not even Alleria.

Sylvanas was a lot more relaxed than a few moments earlier but still a bit upset at the same time. "I don' really need to listen to your advices about him because it's my right as the Ranger-General and as the BEST archer of Quel'Thalas to choose the group I want to train before any of you can throw dices for who is allowed to choose first"

Alleria lifted her hands apologizingly. " We just want to prevent that you make a terrible mistake"

"A mistake?" Sylvanas raised her voice, tilting her head. "A mistake? I don't do mistakes"

Alleria put her hand on her sister's shoulder, giving her a sympathetic smile. "Believe me, everyone makes mistakes. Nobody is perfect. Not even you. I know a lot of your admirers who would hate me for this statement but it's the truth"

"I know that I'm not perfect... Okay, maybe I do mistakes as well but not so often as others. Anyways, I'm one hundred percent sure that choosing Kelrian is no mistake. It feels right for me"

Alleria shrugged with her shoulders. "If you think so. It's your choice. But don't come to me a few years later and confess to me that you have been wrong"

Sylvanas frowned. "Don't worry, I won't".

"Fine, so we can finally choose which candidate will be trained by who. Not to mention that we also have to assign who will join which regiment. We have two hundred recruits in total which means this could take a while if we keep discussing like this"

This time Verena responded instead of Sylvanas. "I think we all share similar opinions about the other one hundred and seventy-five recruits. I think assigning the best twenty-five recruits will require the most time. The meeting should be over shortly after nightfall if everything goes as planned. So, we could announce tomorrow who will join which unit"

"Let's hope that everything goes as planned" repeated Alleria.

And everything went as planned. The meeting didn't endure for more than two additional hours. Everything had been discussed and all five examiners had come to an agreement. Kelrian became a member of Sylvanas' group as well as Zetai, Kelia and two others who also belonged to the top five.

Sylvanas was happy about the outcome. Of course, she didn't need to be relieved because she would have gotten her will anyways. Still, she showed her best friend that she was more than happy. Together with Verena, she walked to the nearest mage, asking for a portal. The mage created a portal for them, allowing them to step through it for free.

They arrived in Windrunner Village a few moments later. Sylvanas said goodbye to her best friend as she pulled her in a tight hug, kissing her left cheek softly. Verena smiled as she pulled away and began walking home. Sylvanas waved at her until she couldn't see her anymore then she went the other way, reaching her family's house within five minutes. It was pretty dark outside but the large house was illuminated well-enough that nobody could miss it.

The house was made out of white marble and decorated with lots of wall paintings. The house had three floors and an additional lower level which was used as the cellar. The house's form was round and the red roof was domed.

Sylvanas greeted the two guards at the gate as she passed the large front garden, which was regularly tended by her mother. The guards greeted her in return, opening the main entrance for her. Sylvanas thanked them and hurried through the adjacent long corridor without making a sound.

She came to the staircase, climbing it without hesitation. She followed the bordering corridor until she came to her room. She unlocked the door, entered her room and locked it after closing it. She removed her clothes until she wore only blue panties and a matching bra which hugged her D-Cup breasts tightly.

She got in her bed, laid down and covered herself with her sky-blue blanket. She closed her eyes because she wanted to fall asleep quickly. But sleep avoided her. She started to summarize the whole day in her mind, remembering what had happened overall. Most of the times she remembered what Kelrian had done.

She saw him shooting precise arrows at the aiming target. She remembered how he had hit the deer and how good he had been at fighting in close combat. She also remembered that he had run faster than most of the nineteen candidates.

But what came always up in her mind when she tried to think about something else, was the sight of the wet Kelrian who had freshly gotten out of the water. The way the water had accentuated his muscles and made him appear a lot sexier fascinated her. Even the image of Kelrian in his swimming trunks didn't want to leave her mind. She tried hard to think about something else. She wanted to imagine the dumbfounded face Alleria had made when Sylvanas had decided to ignore her advises and choose Kelrian for her group.

She remembered how good Zetai, Elonis and Elena had been during the exam. They had also proved that they had a lot of talent and would make fine rangers as well.

Once again, she started to think about the priest son who wanted to become a Farstrider. She realized that it was impossible to suppress this one certain memory because every time she tried to think about something else, this one memory came in her mind.

She imagined how the many water drops ran down his muscular chest, over his iron-hard abs to the waistband of his swimming trunks which was probably hiding something big. For some reason, she was now imaging him putting sun cream on his upper body and rubbing it all over his skin in the sexiest way possible. She imagined that he would do the same to her but he applied the sun cream on her entire body.

Her blue eyes shot open when she realized that her left hand was currently resting between her legs. She also realized that two of her skilled fingers weren't just resting on her most sacred place. They were inside her. Sylvanas shook her head, disbelieving that her hand had acted on its own. She drew her fingers out carefully, hoping that moving her fingers wouldn't cause something big.

But it was already too late. A single move of her index finger was enough to cause that a wave of pleasure rushed through the body of the very aroused Quel'dorei. Kelrian's name left her lips and her eyes closed as she received the reward for reaching her peak. Sylvanas' body relaxed eventually, her breathing became slower. She drew her fingers out, cleaning them with a handkerchief.

She decided to not think about what had just happened because it would make her feel bad. She decided to pretend that this didn't happen, that she didn't enjoy herself while she had thought of her newest subordinate. She wrapped her blanket tightly around her body and took a deep breath. She closed her eyes as she started to relax. Not much time had passed as she fell asleep eventually.

Chapter Text

"It has to be somewhere" muttered Kelrian as regarded the large board in front of him. He looked for the lists which contained the names of the candidates who had passed the tests. Sylvanas had already told him that he had passed the exam but she hadn't told him which regiment he would join. He wanted to know so badly in which regiment he will be and who will train him. He hoped that Sylvanas would be his instructor but he had a bad feeling that someone else would become his instructor. Someone who wasn't Sylvanas.

He was already excited but at the same time, he was afraid that he wouldn't get Sylvanas Windrunner, the best archer of Quel'Thalas, as his mentor. He assumed that he would become a very skilful and successful Farstrider if he would be able to learn from the best ranger. Another reason why he wanted Sylvanas as his instructor was that he was attracted by her beautiful appearance. He hoped to be able to admire her beautiful face and her well-formed body every day if he would become a member of the group she will train.

He was already glad that he had been accepted so he wouldn't be disappointed if he would get someone else. But getting Sylvanas as his mentor would be the cherry on the cake.

He was still looking over the many documents which overfilled the board, trying to find the lists he was looking for. But for some reason, he didn't find them even though he had been looking at the board for over twenty minutes.

"You are standing in front of the wrong board" said a familiar voice. He turned around, his eyes widened and a blush appeared on his face when he caught sight of Sylvanas Windrunner who was standing right in front of him.

She was wearing her casual blue Ranger-General uniform. Her hood was pulled down which allowed Kelrian to observe her exposed golden-blonde hair. The sunbeams which fell on her hair made it look more majestic than it already was. Her hair was so beautiful that it would even make the sun envious.

Kelrian needed a few moments to pull himself together so that he was able to speak without stuttering.

"Ranger General, it's nice to meet you. Is it just me or do you get even more beautiful with each day passing day?" Kelrian asked nervously, rubbing the back of his head with his left hand. His blush became redder when he realized what he had just said to her.

He had met her just four times in eight years but he had spoken more often with her than other candidates had. Still, he had never complimented her looks before. He hadn't intended to compliment her. Of course, he thought that Sylvanas' beauty deserved to be complimented but still he hadn't planned on doing it to prevent that things would become awkward. But now it was too late. The words had already left his mouth and had reached her ears. Her perfect, long and pointed ears.

His body relaxed a little, his heartbeat became slower until it beat with normal speed as he noticed the smile on Sylvanas' perfect lips which were covered by a thin layer of peach coloured lipstick. It didn't seem that she was mad at him or hated him for saying that. Why should she? It was only normal for her to receive lots of compliments from numerous admirers every day.

Kelrian was just hoping that she wasn't regarding him as one of her numerous worshippers. He didn't want her to think that he only admired her because of her appearance or her reputation.

He also found her really likable. He had met her only four times in eight years but he had talked enough with her to know that she was a very kind, smart and funny person. He had heard that Sylvanas was mostly serious whenever she talked with someone who didn't belong to her family. So, it had really surprised him that she had been relaxed and very open with him at their first meeting. He had never heard that she had behaved like this to someone else, who didn't belong to her family, so he was wondering why she was behaving like this when he was around.

"Thank you, Kelrian" responded Sylvanas. Her perfect smile became wider, as she put a strand of hair behind her left ear while looking directly at the young elf. "How are you doing?"

"I'm fine, thanks for asking. How are you doing, Ranger-General?"

"I'm fine as well"

Kelrian returned her smile, giving his best to look at Sylvanas' beautiful face without needing to blush. It didn't work quite well as he had hoped but at least he didn't look strange.

"Are you looking for the lists where you can find out who joins which regiment?"

"Yes, I do. How do you know that?

Sylvanas laughed amused. "Because there is no other explanation why you would visit the Farstrider Enclave the next day after the examination"

"You are right" responded Kelrian, laughing nervously about his own foolishness.

Sylvanas chuckled. "It's not on this board. I can tell you where you can find it but I can also just tell you right now in which regiment you are"

"That would be nice, Ranger-General"

"You are in regiment one"

His eyes widened and his heart began to beat faster when he remembered that regiment one was led by Sylvanas herself. Could it be possible? Could it be real? Could he become one of Sylvanas' recruits? He would be more than happy if that would happen. He had hoped for that since he had decided to become a Farstrider. He was silently praying that Sylvanas had chosen him for her group. He knew that there were a lot of candidates who had been better than him. Still, he wasn't losing hope. He prayed to the light that Sylvanas had chosen him.

"I'm in your regiment" statemented Kelrian. "I'm proud to become a member of your regiment"

"I think you can be also proud that you made it in the new squad I will train" responded Sylvanas, smiling when she spotted the surprised expression on his handsome face. She chuckled, put her hand on his right shoulder and brought him back to the present.

"Sorry, I was lost in thoughts" muttered Kelrian, lowering his head ashamed.

"It's okay"

"I want you to know that I'm very happy that you allow me to be trained by you. I have always dreamed of this for eight years. I'm so excited that I don't really know what to response"

"You don't need to say anything. I'm glad that you managed to pass the examination. Not every person would have tried it again after failing the examination two times in a row. I admire you for your staying power".

Admiring him.

She was admiring him.

SHE was admiring him.

Sylvanas Windrunner - THE Sylvanas Windrunner - was admiring him.

He had heard the words but he didn't trust his ears. He must have misheard. Or didn't he? Was she really admiring him? Had she really complimented him?

This was too much for him. His heart was pulsing rapidly in his chest, his breaths were fast and short. His skin was a lot warmer and tingled nervously. He still couldn't believe that she had complimented him. This was the best day of his life. He was about to become a member of Sylvanas' squad and had received a compliment from her. This was more than could ever dream of.

Sylvanas was still smiling at Kelrian who had become silent after she had made this compliment. Kelrian returned her smile and stared into her beautiful eyes. He turned his head eventually, checking his surroundings.

A lot of people were standing in front of the board on the other side of the room. He was asking himself how he could have missed it. Maybe because he had been too nervous. Maybe because of something else...He wasn't able to find a logical explanation.

He looked back at Sylvanas, finding out that she was still smiling at him. For some reason, nobody was paying attention to them so he was able to smile back at her without being pierced by dozens of glances.

"Have you filled out the agreement?" she asked curiously.

"Of course, I did" he responded and pulled the backpack from his back. He opened it and fished out a folder. He opened the folder, took out a document and handed it to Sylvanas.

She took it carefully, reading over it. A frown appeared on her forehead.

"Is something wrong?" he asked worriedly.

"You can't sign with your own name. You are underage so a relative has to sign for you"


"Yes" responded Sylvanas. "I can't make an exception for you because our laws say that you need a relative to sign any vocational training contract as long as you are a minor"

"That sucks, I didn't know that"

"You should speak to your family and ask them to sign for you"

"My father and my mother would never sign. They want me to be a priest and not a Farstrider"

"Even after you failed the exam twice?" she asked doubtingly.

"They want me to practice harder. The pride of our family makes them blind for the truth. I have no talent when it comes to the use of light. The light has forsaken me. But I'm not sad about that. Of course, I don't like that my parents and my older brother despise me. Not to mention that my father has thrown me out of our home and only allows me to return when I become a priest. But other than that, I'm fine. I want to become a Farstrider so badly... But my parents or my siblings will never sign. My younger sister and brother may support me but their still minors so they can't sign for me. My aunts and uncles are very too close to my father. They wouldn't want to risk that he would get mad at them"

Sylvanas made a thoughtful face as she listened to him. "Isn't there anyone who is not so close to your parents? Is there anyone who would sign for you?"

This time, Kelrian was the one who made a thoughtful face. "Well, I'm currently living in the house of my distant cousin. I guess you know her. Her name is Liadrin"

"Yeah, I know her. She is also a famous servant of the light, like every other member of your family"

"Liadrin is not in Suncrown Village at the moment. I know she travelled somewhere to take care of the apprentices of a friend but I've no clue where she could be"

Sylvanas put a hand on his shoulder, giving him a comforting smile. "Don't worry. I will find her and ask her to sign for you. But first, I will speak to your parents. Maybe I can convince them to allow you to become a Farstrider. You have a lot of talent. It would be a waste if you couldn't join us"

Kelrian's face showed a small smile for a moment before his expression became worried. "My parents are very stubborn. I don't think they will change their minds, even if you give them convincing arguments"

"Don't worry, I am pretty good at convincing stubborn people. I can try it at least. Even if I won't manage to convince them, I can still look for Liadrin and ask her"

"That would be great" responded Kelrian, giving her his brightest smile.

Sylvanas returned the smiling, patting his right shoulder softly. "Don't worry. You will be able to join us. Promised"

She regarded him for a few moments. "I will invite you to my office when I have solved the problem. Would that be okay?"

Kelrian nodded, giving her his brightest smile.

She smiled as well. "See you soon, Kelrian"

"See you soon, Ranger-General"

"You are allowed to enter" shouted a strong male voice behind the door. Sylvanas did as she was told, opening the door and entering the room. She came into an expensively furnished office in which half a dozen shelves were standing in front of the left wall. Lots of painting hung on the right walls, even a blue tapestry decorated the opposite wall. In the middle of the room stood a large desk made out of the rarest wood in the Eastern Kingdoms.

Behind this desk sat a man with long blond hair. The colour of his expensive robe looked similar to the colour of his blue glowing eyes. He had defined, handsome facial features which hid his age perfectly. He was over six hundred years old but he looked much younger. Compared with a human male he looked like he was at the age of thirty. Like all high elves, aged slowly. Very slowly.

Sylvanas was pretty sure that he already knew that she had entered the room, still, he refused to look up from the document he was reading. After a few moments he finally looked up, a small smile appeared on his lips when he spotted her.

He got up and walked over to her, bowing down in front of her. He took her left hand and brought it to his lips, kissing it softly. He held her hand longer than necessary, rubbing its back with his thumb. Sylvanas frowned but didn't do anything. She just regarded him, wondering when he will finally let go of her hand.

The man stood up after two minutes of having held her hand, allowing her to draw her hand back. "It's an honour to meet you, Ranger-General. I welcome you in my office and in my home" he said.

"Thank you, Mister Sunsinger. It's an honour for me as well to meet the head of the Sunsinger family, the best priests of Quel'Thalas, in person for the first time" responded Sylvanas politely, giving the priest a small smile.

"Come take a seat" he said as he pointed at the chair in front of his desk. Sylvanas nodded and sat down, crossing her left leg over the other. She put her hands on her lap, looking at Kelrian's father who walked to the nearest cupboard which reached to his hip.

He opened the first drawer and pulled two glasses and a wine bottle out of it. He returned to his desk, putting the bottle in the middle of the table while he put one glass in front of Sylvanas and one next to the stack of documents he had been working on. He lifted the stack and put it on the ground then he sat down on his chair and filled both glasses with enough wine.

He seemed to be a very friendly and welcoming person. That was the first impression Sylvanas had gotten from him. But lots of persons she had met had left a good impression at first before they had revealed their true natures. Sylvanas had enough life experience to know that looks can be deceiving.

Kelrian's father Xenarion seemed to be a very friendly person. But Sylvanas knew that he was not the friendly man he seemed to be. She knew that he had thrown his own son out of his house because he didn't pass the priest examinations. He was regarding Kelrian as a shame because he was not good enough to be a priest.

Kelrian had to live in his cousin's house because his family, at least his parents, didn't want him around. Sylvanas didn't want to judge too quickly but she was pretty sure that this man was not the sort of a father everyone wanted to have.

Sylvanas didn't care if Xenarion was caring for his other children and would do everything to make them to excellent priests. She didn't care if he was a good husband and a good father to his other children. She thought that there would be nothing which would change her opinion about him. He had rejected his own son, there wouldn't be any explanation for his decision which could justify it.

But Sylvanas didn't want to be prejudiced against him so she decided to listen to him and speak with him about Kelrian. She was hoping that she could convince him to sign the agreement for Kelrian's admission.

Xenarion brought his glass to his lips and took a sip, signalizing Sylvanas that she could take a sip if she wanted. Sylvanas wasn't sure if consuming alcohol was right in this situation but as long as she didn't drink too much, she should be fine. She mimicked him and took a sip as well.

Xenarion gave her his brightest smile as he put the glass back on the desk. "I've seen you a lot of times from the far whenever you and your rangers made a short stop in Suncrown Village or when you looked for recruits. You are way more beautiful than the last time I've seen you"

Sylvanas placed her glass in front of her, putting her hands on her lap. "Thank you, Mister Sunsinger"

"Please call me, Xenarion" he responded, smiling widely.

"As you wish, Xenarion"

His smile became wider. "It's a shame that we never met before because we're are always busy"

"It's a shame indeed"

"So, what gives me the honour to finally meet the most beautiful women of Quel'Thalas?" he asked curiously, giving her a playful smile.

He's charming, you have to give him that. He knows how to speak to a woman thought Sylvanas. But she knew better than getting manipulated by him. She knew better than getting manipulated by his charming words. Maybe he was not as bad as she thought. She had to listen to what he had to say and then she could form an opinion about him.

"I'm here because of your son" she responded simply.

"Do you mean my oldest son Seitor?" he asked, wondering what she could want from him.

"No, not him"

"So, my youngest son Sindor?"

"I didn't mean him either"

His facial features derailed when he realized that she was speaking of Kelrian. He leaned back, crossing his arms in front of his chest. He didn't look like the super-friendly guy anymore. He reminded Sylvanas more of an upset child. A very upset child.

He was chewing on his bottom lip as he stared at her. She had the impression that he was thinking about something. Maybe he was, she couldn't know that because she couldn't read his mind and she was glad about that. She didn't want to know what he was thinking about at this very moment.

"Are you sure you want to talk about HIM?" he asked as politely as he could. At least he wasn't rude. Not yet at least. Sylvanas didn't respond verbally, she just nodded.

"Why him and not Seitor?" he asked, sounding upset.

"Because I'm not here to look for good priests for the Farstriders. I'm here because your son Kelrian has a lot of potential..."

"He does not have any potential" interrupted Xenarion, not allowing Sylvanas to complete her sentence. "He failed the priest selection two times and as far as I know he failed the Farstrider examination two times as well"

"He passed the examination this year" added Sylvanas before Xenarion was able to say negative things about Kelrian.

"Did he?" If he was surprised, he didn't show it. He was regarding Sylvanas with narrowed eyes, signalizing her that he was not believing her.

"He did. He was better than expected. He was so good that I've decided that he could join my regiment. He can also become a member of my new squad, which means that I can personally train him and make sure that he will become one of the best Farstriders one day" explained Sylvanas.

"I don't really care" Xenarion muttered, staring angrily at his hands.

"Excuse me?"

"I don't want him to become a Farstrider" he responded, looking directly at her this time.

She tilted her head, regarding him with narrowed eyes. "But why? He would become a well-respected and successful Farstrider"

"I don't want him to become a Farstrider" he repeated louder this time. "He is supposed to become a priest or a paladin. I don't want that he becomes an archer who rummages through the dirt to find the footprints of trolls and wolves"

Sylvanas bit her bottom lip hard, trying to hide that she was obviously offended by his statement. It didn't work quite well but Xenarion didn't care that he had offended her and all other Farstriders.

"You know that we protect the inhabitants of our kingdom, right? We don't rummage through the dirt and follow traces. We do much more. We make it possible that our people can live in peace without needing to fear that orcs or trolls would attack them"

"If you say so" responded Xenarion. He didn't feel sorry for having insulted the Farstriders. He didn't intend to apologize for his behaviour. He behaved as Sylvanas had expected. He was a complete asshole which didn't pay the necessary respect for the Farstriders and the necessary work they were doing to protect the citizens of Quel'Thalas.

"How it comes that I still have to take care of so many injured people if you and your Farstriders are protecting our home?" he asked.

Sylvanas assumed that he thought he was better than the Farstriders. She assumed that he blames the Farstriders for not being able to save everyone. It could be possible that he thought the Farstriders didn't do their task properly because people were still getting killed or injured and ended in the hospitals where he was working most of the times.

The truth was that the Farstriders were doing their best to save as many lives as possible. But they couldn't save everyone because Quel'Thalas was too large and the Farstriders hadn't enough rangers to protect every single village and important street. From time to time, trolls and orcs sneaked in their land and attacked villages and farms. Most of the times the Farstriders managed to kill these intruders before something bad happened.

But sometimes, the attackers were faster and killed inhabitants before the Farstriders even knew about their presence. Sylvanas and her Farstriders did everything in their powers to protect as many inhabitants as possible but it was impossible to save everyone. Without them, tens of thousands would have died over the past years by troll or orc attacks.

Sylvanas hated it that Xenarion didn't respect what she and the Farstriders did. He was despising them for whatever reason. But Sylvanas knew better than arguing with him about the necessity of the Farstriders. Kelrian's father was too stubborn to give in. She decided to let him think whatever he wanted. She was here to convince him to sign the agreement, not to argue with him.

"I don't want to argue with you about what we are doing right or wrong. I'm here because I want to tell you that Kelrian would make a good Farstrider"


"I want to ask you if you would sign his agreement so that is allowed to join us"

Xenarion leaned forward, regarding Sylvanas with narrowed eyes and a strict face. "As I've said, I don't want him to be a Farstrider. He is my son so he will either become a priest or a paladin. He is not suitable for shooting arrows and hunting boars and wolves"

"I decide if he is suitable to be a Farstrider. Not you. I've witnessed his development over the past eight years. I put my trust in him and he has not disappointed me. He told me that he is not good enough to be a servant of the light. Trying to make him a priest or a paladin would be a waste of time. You know there is nothing wrong about being a Farstrider. He won't shame your family if he becomes one of us. He..." spoke Sylvanas but she was interrupted once again by the rude male.

"He has already ashamed our family by failing both priest selections. He is unable to use the light in general so he can't even become a paladin"

"I would like to argue with you about this but this would lead us to nowhere. Your son won't be a shame for your family if you allow him to become a Farstrider. He will defend the innocents and defenceless and he will help us defeat the trolls and orcs one day. He will honour your family by receiving victory with us. Think about it" spoke Sylvanas, hoping that this was enough to convince him.

Unfortunately, it wasn't. Xenarion's facial expression hadn't changed at all over the past few minutes. He was still having this upset look on his face and he didn't look like he wanted to cooperate.

"I want my son to train harder until he will be good enough to become a servant of the light. I would go so far and try to speak with the human paladin and priest trainers. Maybe they are able to show my son how to use the light correctly. My son is too weak to use the light even though I've tried to train him. Maybe I was not strict enough. I should have trained him harder"

He made a pause, looking at her. His eyes widened as if something has come in his mind. He leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms in front of his chest, smiling at her dirtily. Sylvanas tilted her head, regarding him with narrowed eyes. She was wondering what was going on in his mind. She was sure that she didn't want to know what he was thinking at this very moment.

He spoke eventually after being silent for two minutes. "Maybe we can solve this little problem in some other way" he spoke, smiling mischievously.

"What are you talking about?" asked Sylvanas. She didn't seem to be convinced that Kelrian's father would have a real solution to solve this problem. She could only assume that he had something dirty in his mind.

"I could see myself signing this stupid agreement if I get something in return" he spoke, still smiling at her like this.

"What would that be?"

Xenarion's smirk became wider. He leaned forward, putting his hand under her chin. He lifted it a bit and caressed it with his fingers. "You"

Sylvanas' eyes narrowed once again, her lips were pressed together to a thin line.

"Do I look like a common whore to you?" she snarled aggressively. She was unable to hide her anger and the disgust she was feeling.

He laughed. "Of course not. You look much prettier than a common whore"

This was enough for Sylvanas. She had shown lots of patience with this man. She hadn't said a word when he had insulted Kelrian and the Farstriders in general. She had kept her mouth shut about everything he had said so far. But this was too much for her.

How could he dare to offer to sign the agreement in exchange for sex? First of all, he was married. He was the father of the young man Sylvanas admired so much and she was the Ranger-General of Silvermoon. She was not a common whore who worked in a brothel. She was no whore in general. She didn't sell her body to achieve what she wanted. She always got what she wanted without needing to use her gorgeous body.

This man wasn't taking her serious nor did he pay the necessary respect for her. Sylvanas hated only one thing: Being taunted and insulted by others. She stood up abruptly and connected the palm of her left hand with his cheek. The slap had been so forceful that a red mark in the form of a hand was left on his cheek.

"Don't you dare to ever insult me or the Farstriders again or I will hit you again but harder next time" she hissed. She stared at Xenarion whose face was distorted in pain but in anger as well. She stared into his hateful eyes for a few seconds before she turned around and walked out of his office, slamming the door behind her.

Chapter Text

Sylvanas arrived at the place where the person she was looking for had been seen last. She was standing right in front of a small village in the south-east of Quel'Thalas. The village consisted of a maximum of ten small houses, which meant that the survey of the villagers would not take too long. That came in handy for Sylvanas because she had travelled for two days without getting much sleep.

Unfortunately, she hadn't found a mage in the near of Suncrown village. She wouldn't have ridden for two days if she would have had the opportunity to take a portal. But mages were a rarity outside Silvermoon City. It was hard to find a mage outside the capital city who was skilled enough to create portals alone.

Sylvanas would have taken a portal if she would have found a mage. She could have gone back to Silvermoon City to look out there for a mage. It would have been a lot easier to find a mage in Silvermoon City because most mages were living and training there.

But she had decided against it because she would have arrived earlier in this village than in Silvermoon City. She had only managed that because she had only slept for two or three hours every day. Nevertheless, she had arrived at the village earlier this way.

Sylvanas had tied her horse to a pillar of a wooden fence which surrounded a large wheat field. At this very moment, she regarded her surroundings as she entered the village, walking to the nearest house. She didn't hesitate to ask the occupant about Lady Liadrin.

The man, who was living alone in his house, told her that he had never seen the person Sylvanas had described. He apologized to her, signalizing her that he was deeply sorry that he couldn't help her. Sylvanas told him that everything was fine. She said goodbye to him before she turned around and walked to the next house, which was also made of simple wood.

She had to question every single inhabitant of the small village to find a hint about the woman she was looking for. A young hunter told her that he had seen High Priestess Liadrin in the near of the river with four priest apprentices. Sylvanas thanked him, gave him a small bag of coins, and returned to her horse.

Her horse was a large stallion with brown fur and a black mane. He was taller, more muscular and faster than every other horse she had ever seen. She had named him Winddancer because it looked as if he was dancing with the wind whenever he galloped. Sylvanas untied him and put her left hand on his head. She closes her eyes as she pressed her forehead against his head, stroking his nose carefully.

It may sound stupid but she believed that she had a spiritual connection to the horse. Most of the times, she didn't need to tell Dancer where he had to bring her. For some reason, he knew almost every time where Sylvanas wanted to go as if he could read her mind, which he obviously couldn't do. As a high elf, the animals and nature itself were very important for Sylvanas. But Dancer was more than a normal horse for her. He was not only a transportation tool. He was her friend as stupid as it sounded. She felt a close connection to him.

She stroked over his fur, his nose and his head in general. She gave him an apple, smiling as she watched him eating the fruit with pleasure. She waited for a few moments before she swung onto his back. She took the reins in her hands but she didn't pull them nor did she needed to ram her heels in his side. She didn't need to spur Dancer to make him move. The strong horse began to move without a command, carrying Sylvanas in the exact direction where she wanted to go.

After a while, they reached the long and wide river Sylvanas was looking for. She dismounted, bending down to look for footprints on the ground. She found footprints of five different persons. Two of these footprints were a lot deeper than the others. Sylvanas concluded that at least two males belonged to the group. She got up, signalizing Dancer to follow her. The horse didn't hesitate to walk behind her, stopping whenever she stopped to observe the course of the footprints.

After following these footprints for an additional hour, Sylvanas finally found the group which had left these footprints. She spotted two men and three women, kneeling next to an injured deer. Their larger physique was the only thing which distinguished the males of this group from their female counterparts. With their long hair and their shaved faces, they looked like women from afar. Only when Sylvanas became closer to the group, she recognized the two red-heads as males.

It was clearly visible who were the apprentices and who was the instructor. The apprentices wore simple yellow coloured robes while the robe of the instructor was made out of silk which had a much better quality than the material out of which the apprentices' clothes were made. Also, the robe of the instructor was decorated with golden embroideries and gems which had been embroidered into the sleeves of the robe.

At this very moment, the instructor showed her group how to heal an injured deer which was unable to stand up alone. Sylvanas leaned against a tree not far away from the group and regarded them. The instructor didn't need long to heal the wounded animal. She helped the deer up, guiding it to the river so it could drink some water. The instructor said something to her group, turning her head to Sylvanas when she finally noticed her. She gave her group the signal to wait for her as she headed over to Sylvanas.

Sylvanas' lips formed a smile when the familiar person came closer to her. She regarded her from head to toe, noticing that she hadn't changed at all over the past two decades.

Her light-brown, almost orange coloured hair was tied up in a ponytail. Her face was flawless, her skin was smooth and had a natural colour which was similar to the colour of peaches. There was no real difference between the colour of the person's eyes and the colour of Sylvanas' eyes. The woman's lips were covered by red lipstick which matched perfectly with her hair colour.

This beautiful woman looked peaceful and didn't give Sylvanas the impression that she was looking for trouble. She stopped right in front of Sylvanas, who was one head taller than her. She regarded her from head to toe, the smirk she was having on her lips since she had spotted the Ranger General didn't vanish.

"You are looking good, Ranger-General" complimented the priestess.

"You look great as well, High Priestess Liadrin. Feel free to call me Sylvanas. We know each other since a while, so there is no need to be formal"

"If you say so" responded Liadrin. "To what do I owe the honour that you take the long way from Suncrown to this area? It has to be very important if you come personally instead of sending someone to get me to your office in Silvermoon City" Liadrin regarded Sylvanas curiously, wondering about the reason for her visit.

"I'm here because I need your help"

"My help?" she asked, tilting her head curiously.

"I'm pretty sure you know that your distant cousin has tried to become a Farstrider"

"I've heard that he has failed two examinations in a row but he has proved that he has more talent as a ranger than a servant of the Light" responded Liadrin, still giving Sylvanas a curious look.

"He passed the exam three days ago" responded Sylvanas. It was hard for her to hide how happy she was that he had passed the exam.

Liadrin raised an eyebrow, making a slightly doubtful expression. "Did he really?"

"Yes, he did" burst out Sylvanas, not caring that she had overreacted.

The doubt on Liadrin's face disappeared and was replaced by pride. "Such good news. I'm glad that he made it. I had always feared that he would be the black sheep of the family but it seems that he has found his destiny. He doesn't need to be a priest or a paladin to make his family proud of him"

Sylvanas smile vanished. A slightly sad look appeared on her face. "The truth is that his parents are still despising him"

Liadrin's expression changed as well and became similar to Sylvanas'. "Oh, that's not good. I have hoped that his parents would support him at least when he finds something he is good at"

"I have hoped that as well. I even spoke with his father but I didn't manage to convince him to sign the agreement for Kelrian's admission.

"Xenarion can be... difficult sometimes"

Sylvanas tilted her head and raised an eyebrow. "Only sometimes?"

"Okay, most of the times" corrected Liadrin.

"Better" said Sylvanas, giving the smaller woman a smile.

"So, you've come all this way to convince me to sign the agreement"

"Yes, that was my only intention. I need the signature as soon as possible or Kelrian is not allowed to join us. This would be a shame, considering that he is even under the best twenty-five"

"He is?" Liadrin asked surprised.

"Yes, I've even chosen him to be one of the recruits who have the honour to get trained by me"

"Is he that good?" asked Liadrin. She still couldn't believe that her distant cousin was that good.

Sylvanas smiled widely. "He is"

"Well, if you are convinced that he would make a fine ranger there is nothing I could say against it. Who am I that I would deny him a possible future as a successful and well-respected Farstrider?"

"So, would you sign for him?" asked Sylvanas. Hope was reflected by her eyes and clearly hearable in her voice.

"Of course, I will" responded Liadrin. "Let's get back to the village, then I will sign this agreement"

"That's all I wanted to hear" spoke Sylvanas, smiling widely at the priestess who returned her smile.

Half an hour later, they found themselves in a small hut in the middle of the village. The hut was sparsely furnished, only a table, two chairs and a small wardrobe stood in the living room. There was also a bedroom and a bath but other than them there were no other rooms. Sylvanas assumed that this was only a temporary place to stay for Liadrin.

She sat down on a chair, happily accepting the pot of tea Liadrin gave her. Liadrin took a seat on the other chair, crossing one leg over the other as she relaxed.

Sylvanas pulled a document out of a folder which she had taken out of her bag. Liadrin started to read the document as soon as Sylvanas had handed it over to her. She looked up to Sylvanas after she was done, noticing that she was regarded with a curious and at the same time expecting look.

"Don't worry, I will sign this agreement" assured Liadrin, smiling when she noticed that Sylvanas' body relaxed as her ears received her answer. She put the document on the table, walked over to a drawer and pulled a pen out. She walked back to the table, leaning over it so that she was able to sign the agreement. She handed it back to Sylvanas who accepted it happily. Sylvanas regarded the signature for a few moments before she put the document in the folder which she put in her bag. She stood up, walked over to Liadrin and hugged her.

She pulled back after a few moments, smiling at the obviously surprised priestess. "I didn't do much to deserve this hug from you, Sylvanas"

Sylvanas chucked. "You did more than you imagine. You are the only mature member of Kelrian's family who believes in him. His parents don't want him to become a Farstrider. His father has expressed clearly that he thinks that we Farstriders are doing nothing except for searching for traces in the dirt. I haven't spoken to his mother but I know this arrogant bitch since my youth, so I assume that she would agree with her husband" she made a small pause, giving Liadrin a thankful smile. "At least you believe in him"

"I do. I would rather see him becoming a priest. But if fate has chosen him to become a Farstrider then I see no reason in preventing that he could become one" spoke Liadrin.

"I thank you so much for signing"

"It was nothing, really" responded Liadrin, rubbing the back of her head as she returned Sylvanas' smile which almost reached from one ear to the other.

"I owe you a favour"

"You don't need to owe me anything. I'm not only doing it for you. I do it because I believe in Kelrian. I wouldn't have risked making my family's mad at me by allowing him to live in my house if I wouldn't believe in him. I wouldn't have put my signature under his agreement if I wouldn't believe in him. I hope he will hold out the stress and make it through the apprenticeship. I'm pretty sure that he will become a good Farstrider under your guidance"

Sylvanas chuckled. "I think that as well. That's why I'm doing everything in my power to enable that he can join the Farstriders and get trained by me"

"I'm glad that you think he has the talent of becoming a skilled ranger, Sylvanas. I've heard that your subordinates are not very convinced by his talent, especially your sister"

Sylvanas expression changed a bit but she still had a happy expression on her face. "Sadly, my sister and the other high ranked members don't think that he deserves my attention. They think that Kelrian would make a fine ranger but they don't believe that he would get better than anyone else. They don't think that he will become one of the best Farstriders one day. I don't know why they can't recognize his potential"

Liadrin made a thoughtful face. "I have no clue either. I've seen Kelrian practicing over the past eight years. He has gotten better and better from year to year. I believe he is worthy enough to be a member of the group you train personally. But don't forget that you have to be strict with him too. You may favour him but you should also make sure that everyone is treated equally. He won't become one of the best if you don't treat him like the others. A very strict training will be necessary for him"

"Thank you for the advice, Liadrin. Don't worry, I know better than spoiling him. The training will not be easy, even for him. But he will master it and become one of the best Farstriders under my watch. I will promise you that in the name of my family and my position as the Ranger-General of Silvermoon"

Liadrin patted Sylvanas' left shoulder softly, smiling at her. "I believe you. You will give everything to make him an extraordinary Farstrider"

"Yes, I will" responded Sylvanas.

"Is there anything else I can help you with?" asked Liadrin curiously.

"Actually, there is something" responded Sylvanas and sat down on her chair.

Liadrin did the same. "Tell me" she requested. She took her cup of tea and brought it to her lips. Her eyes didn't leave Sylvanas' face as she took a sip of the delicious moonberry tea.

Sylvanas also took a sip of the tea, enjoying the delicious taste as it flowed down her throat. She put the cup back on the table, looking at the curious Liadrin. "I was wondering if you are busy in general. As far as I know, the apprentices you have accompanied are not yours"

"There are not mine that's right. These are the apprentices of a colleague who is sick at the moment. I have promised him to take care of them as long as he is sick. But he has gotten better other the past days so he will take over his group tomorrow" explained Liadrin.

"So, you have nothing to do at all?"

"I have no order to stay in a certain area and help the wounded there. Why are you asking?"

"I was wondering if you want to join the first regiment. We have noticed during the recent skirmishes against the orcs and trolls that is always good to have a healer with you. We have not enough healers for all regiments so I was hoping that you could try to convince as many healers as you can to join us. You can be the leader of the priests of regiment one and you can also be the main healer of my squad. Not the trainee squad. My real squad which consists of my best rangers" Sylvanas took another sip of her tea as she was done explaining.

"It would be an honour for me to join you, your squad and your regiment"

"It would also be an honour for me to have the great High Priestess Liadrin in my regiment"

"Now you are flattering me" said Liadrin, blushing a little.

"I have heard from every corner of Quel'Thalas that you are by far the best priest of your family. Maybe even the best priest in Quel'Thalas. You have wondrous effects on your patients and you have saved lots of people other healers couldn't have saved"

Liadrin didn't respond. She just stared at Sylvanas, trying her best to hide her blush. It didn't work well. Sylvanas chuckled as she saw Liadrin's reddened cheeks. She patted her shoulder softly, emptied her cup of tea and stood up eventually. "I will see you in a week in Silvermoon City. Just come to my office whenever you have time and so we can speak about the details"

Liadrin nodded. "I will, Sylvanas"

"See you soon" Sylvanas responded. She patted Liadrin's shoulder, looked at her for a few moments before she turned around and walked out of the hut.

"Don't be shy. Come in and take a seat" recommended Sylvanas, pointing at the chair in front of her desk. Kelrian hesitated for a moment, regarding the inside of her office before he made the first step.

The walls were coloured in light blue, decorated with golden ornaments. The floor was covered by a carpet which had a similar colour. On the left wall hung trophies, in this case, the heads of slain beasts. Boars, deers, lynxes, bats, murlocs and even dragonhawks.

On the opposite wall hung paintings which showed areas of Quel'Thalas, members of Sylvanas' family and even the royal family, the Sunstriders. The wall behind Sylvanas wasn't decorated by anything. There was a glass door which led to the bordering balcony from which the entire training area of the Farstrider Enclave could be seen.

The wall behind Kelrian was decorated with lots of skulls of orcs and trolls. Kelrian's gaze rested on one of the troll heads. He had never seen this troll before but he assumed that this troll had once been a worthy opponent, otherwise he wouldn't be hanging on the wall. He regarded the other troll heads, not saying anything

He got scared for a short moment as he noticed that Sylvanas was standing directly behind him. She was so close that her upper body was slightly pressed against his back, not to mention that he was able to feel her warm breath on his neck.

For some reason, his skin tingled nervously and a shiver of excitement ran down his spine. His heart was beating rapidly in his chest and he noticed that his breathing had become faster. It was obvious for both elves that her presence was causing this sudden change in his body's reaction. He didn't feel uncomfortable around her but he was definitely more nervous than before.

One of Sylvanas' hands rested on his shoulder, the other pointed at the troll head in the middle. "The name of this troll was Ha'jin. He was the father of Zul'jin, the current leader of the Amani trolls"

Kelrian turned his head, regarding Sylvanas for a few moments before he looked back at the troll head. The head had large tusks and a silver mohawk. His red eyes were widened, his mouth was wide open. His face let Kelrian assume that the troll had screamed out in pain before he had been beheaded.

"You killed him, right?" Kelrian asked as he turned around to look at the Ranger-General.

"Yes, I did. He was a fearsome and well-respected warrior among the Amani trolls but he had no chance against me. He fought well and he held out longer than expected, but in the end, my arrows slowed him down and my sword beheaded him"

"Astonishing" whispered Kelrian. Sylvanas' lips formed a small smile as she noticed that Kelrian was admiring her more than ever at this very moment.

She chuckled, patting his shoulder softly. "I could tell you the story behind each of my trophies but that would take too long"

"I would love to listen to your stories"

She chuckled again. "I guessed so but I don't have the time for that. I would love to tell you everything but there are other tasks if have to do"

Kelrian gave her an agreeing nod and turned around, intending to go to the chair in front of Sylvanas' desk. But the Ranger-General kept standing on the same spot so Kelrian was unable to walk over to the chair in a direct way. He could walk around Sylvanas to get to the chair but for some reason, his body didn't obey him. He kept standing in front of Sylvanas, staring into her beautiful eyes. Sylvanas remained on the same spot and returned the staring.

Kelrian noticed that his body began to sweat as Sylvanas' face came closer to his until it was only a few inches away. Her lips were only a few inches away from his, her eyes stared directly into his eyes. His heart was beating rapidly in his chest, a small blush crept on his cheeks as he continued to stare at her.

They didn't move for an inch for almost five minutes. Eventually, Sylvanas pulled away, walking to her desk. She sat down on her chair, signalizing Kelrian to sit down as well. He nodded to her and wiped the sweat from his forehead before he walked to the chair and sat down.

He put his hands on his lap, toying with his fingers nervously. He had never been alone in a closed room with Sylvanas before. Nobody could see how nervous he was in her near. Nobody except for Sylvanas Windrunner herself. He was not as nervous as he had been eight years ago. He had grown over the years and had become more mature. Still, he was always nervous when Sylvanas was around. She was the most beautiful woman in Quel'Thalas so it was not a shame to be nervous in her near.

He leaned against the back of his chair, regarding Sylvanas curiously. They weren't speaking at this very moment so he was able to admire her beauty without getting disrupted. He was able to do that until Sylvanas cleared her throat.

"I'm pretty sure you are asking yourself why I've called you to my office" said Sylvanas. She opened one of the drawers of her desk, pulling out a jug and two glasses. Kelrian was able to see that the jug was filled with a purple liquid. He assumed that it was moonberry juice, one of the most favourite non-alcoholic drinks in Quel'Thalas.

His throat was dry and he was really thirsty so Sylvanas' offering came in handy for him. He thanked her and took the glass after she had filled it, bringing it to his lips. He emptied the content of the glass in one gulp. He was pretty sure that he had never tasted better moonberry juice than this.

He put the glass back on the desk, giving the Ranger-General a thankful smile. She returned his smile after she had emptied her glass as well.

"I think I know why I am here" Kelrian replied eventually. "You want to tell me if someone has signed the agreement for me or not". His face was full of expectation. Hope was reflected by his eyes. He was hoping that Sylvanas had managed to convince someone to put his signature under the agreement.

He wanted to become a Farstrider so badly. He had trained so hard over the past eight years. He had given his best to impress Sylvanas and he had made it through the exam. He had even managed to become a member of the new squad Sylvanas will train. It would be a shame if he couldn't become a Farstrider because nobody in his family believed in him and supported him.

He didn't notice that he was clenching his fists as he imagined what would happen if Sylvanas wouldn't have managed to get a signature. He didn't know what to do if he couldn't become a Farstrider. He was not good enough for becoming a priest or a paladin and he didn't want to learn an ordinary profession. He didn't want to become a baker, a blacksmith or a trader. He wanted to be a Farstrider, a ranger who would hunt wild animals and protect the inhabitants of Quel'Thalas against all evil. Becoming a Farstrider was his greatest wish. He didn't want anything else. He only wanted to be a member of the organization Sylvanas was leading.

Sylvanas noticed that something was troubling Kelrian. He was having a strange expression on his face as if he was having an inner fight. Maybe he was debating with himself about something. She couldn't know what was going on in his mind at this very moment. But she knew what to do to calm him down and comfort him. She put her hand on his left hand, giving him a comforting smile. Kelrian looked at their hands, then he looked back at Sylvanas.

"Is something wrong?" Sylvanas asked with a soothing voice.

"Err, I... No, nothing is wrong. Really" he spoke but he didn't sound very convincingly.

"You can tell me about everything which is bothering you. You can come to me every time and tell me what is troubling you. I will always listen to you no matter how busy I will be" she spoke, caressing his hand softly.

He blushed as he noticed that Sylvanas' hand was still resting on his. He looked at their hands for a few moments before he looked back at the Ranger-General's gorgeous face.

"Thank you for offering me this, Ranger-General"

"Please call me Sylvanas when we are alone" she said, leaning forward. Kelrian's cheeks became redder when he noticed that he was able to look directly at Sylvanas' breasts. He couldn't stop himself from ogling the Ranger-General's cleavage which was only half covered by her chest plate. Her breasts were so large and full that it was impossible for the young man to avert his gaze.

Sylvanas didn't notice that he was looking at her breasts or at least she didn't stop him. She didn't pull back or cleared her throat to get Kelrian's attention. Instead, she kept sitting like this and regarded the young man in front of her.

Kelrian didn't know how much time had passed as he finally managed to stop looking at the cleavage of the famous Ranger-General. He leaned back, smiling shyly at Sylvanas.

"I would love to do that" he responded.

Sylvanas returned the smile, filling his and her glasses with moonberry juice. "I have called you to me to tell you that I'm managed to convince High Priestess Liadrin to put her signature under your agreement"

His heart stopped beating for a few moments as his ears received the news. She had managed it. She had really managed to get a signature for him.

He will become a Farstrider.

That was all he had ever dreamed of. There was nothing he desired more than becoming a Farstrider. And now it was going to happen. There was nothing which could stop him from joining the Farstriders. It was final and nobody could change that. Not even his father.

He was so happy at this very moment that he noticed too late what he was doing. For some reason, he had stood up, walked around the desk and hugged an astonished Sylvanas who had gotten up as well. His head rested on her left shoulder, both his arms were wrapped around her upper body, even his hands rested on her back and caressed it carefully.

Sylvanas was more than surprised about this but she didn't mind that he was hugging her. She didn't say anything nor did she push him away. She didn't return the hug but she didn't stop Kelrian. She allowed it to happen because she enjoyed it.

She noticed that tears were formed in Kelrian's eyes. Tears of joy. She didn't put her hand on his head and toyed with his hair even though she wanted to do it so badly at this very moment. She kept regarding the younger elf, chuckling when he pulled away as he realized what he had done. His face became as white as chalk, he opened his mouth but nothing else than stuttering came out.

What had he done? How could he...? He just hugged the Ranger-General of Silvermoon... He was an ordinary citizen of Quel'Thalas, he had not the right to come so close to the Ranger-General and touch her, not to mention to hug her without her permission.

What had he done? He had ignored her personal space as he had hugged her. He could get seriously punished for this if Sylvanas insisted. Maybe she wouldn't accept him in her group anymore because of this. He was so angry at himself at this very moment. He hadn't thought about what his actions could cause but now it was too late... Maybe he could lower his punishment by apologizing to her. He was hoping that Sylvanas wouldn't be too angry at him.

"I...I'm so sorry, Ranger-General. I... I didn't m...mean to..." he stuttered and looked at the floor, averting Sylvanas' gaze. He was too afraid to see the angry look on her face so he refused to look at her. He made a small pause, taking a deep breath before he tried to formulate an apology.

He stopped speaking after the first words had slipped out of his mouth when he felt a soft and warm hand under his chin. The hand lifted his chin up, forcing him to look at Sylvanas.

On the contrary to his expectation, she wasn't angry or hurt. It didn't seem that she was mad at him. Instead, it looked like Sylvanas didn't mind what he had done. She gave him a comforting smile, signalizing him that everything was fine. Colour returned to his face as her hand wandered to his left cheek and caressed it for a few moments. His cheeks were reddened and he bit his bottom lip softly.

Kelrian didn't seem to be convinced that everything was fine so Sylvanas decided to convince him that he didn't need to worry. She pulled him in a tight hug, putting her arms around his back. She didn't care that his head rested on her chest. She chuckled when she noticed that his face became as red as a tomato. She smiled when he returned the hug. She lowered her head to press a soft kiss on his forehead.

It was impossible for his face to become even redder so his body reacted in a different way to Sylvanas' lips which had come in contact with his skin. Kelrian's skin tingled nervously and he was sweating as if the sun was shining on him on a very hot summer day.

Sylvanas pulled away eventually, observing the bundle of nerves in front of her with an amused smile on her perfect lips. "Believe me, it's okay. I don't mind hugging you but do me a favour and don't do it when someone else is around"

"Don't worry, I won't. It won't happen again. Promised"

Sylvanas didn't respond to that. She just smiled at him and sat down on her chair. Kelrian walked around the desk and took a seat as well. He took his glass and emptied it in one gulp. He placed the glass back on the table and put his hands on his lap, not knowing what to do with them.

"I have to remind you that it will take five years of training to get you ready for the final exam. You will only become a Farstrider if you pass it. But the exam will be pretty hard and the same counts for the five years of training. I will train you and the others very hard. It will be exhausting and painful and there will be some days where you think you can't take it anymore. But you have to endure everything if you want to become a Farstrider. I can't treat you differently. You have to endure the same procedure as the others. I'm pretty sure you will make it. You are strong enough and have enough perseverance. You just need to hold out"

"I will do everything which is required to become a Farstrider. I will do everything you want from me. I won't complain about the training and I will obey every one of your commands. I promise you that I will endure the five hard years and pass the final exam" he responded, signalizing Sylvanas that he was serious about this.

She gave him her brightest smile. "I expect that you will keep your promise"

He smiled shyly "Don't worry, I will"

"I will see you on the next Monday at eight o'clock in front of the Farstrider Enclave. The others will come as well. The training will start from that day"

"I'm looking forward to it. I've to thank you for making sure that I could become a recruit. You didn't need to speak to my father or search for Liadrin to get the signature. Actually, it should have been my task to convince someone to sign the agreement. But you did it for me even though I didn't ask you to. I owe you so much, Sylvanas". He expressed his deep thanks by bowing to her.

"You can make up for efforts by training hard and passing the intermediate exam and the final exam. I want you to become a Farstrider. I won't accept anything else than you becoming one of us" Sylvanas replied with a slightly strict tone in her voice.

"I won't disappoint you"

"I believe you. See you next Monday, Kelrian"

"I'm already super excited. I can hardly wait to be trained by you" he said happily. He regarded her for a few moments before he got up and walked to the door slowly. He looked back at her more than just one time before he reached the door. He regarded her for half a minute before he opened the door and closed it behind him as he left her office.

Chapter Text

Two and a half years had passed since Sylvanas had made it possible for Kelrian to become her recruit. Two years had passed since his training had started. The training had been hard, a lot harder than he had expected. Sylvanas hadn't spared him although he was her favourite. She had treated him like the other recruits. She had been strict to him when he had lacked discipline or when he hadn't been able to do what she had expected. She had urged her recruits to go to their limits and give their best.

Almost every day, Kelrian had been completely exhausted after the training which had lasted for at least ten hours. Often, he had been forced to train for twelve hours with only little pauses. The training had been strength-sapping and had exhausted him so much that he had gone to bed after it almost every day during the first year. His body had needed time to get used to this rhythm. After a year the training became less exhausting because he had gotten used to it.

The training was not easy these days but it was not as hard as it had been two and a half year ago. He knew the procedure of their daily training and he knew how to get perfectly prepared. He could fulfil the daily tasks he had to do during his daily routine without problems.

He had grown over the past years, had gotten more muscular and stronger in general. His skills with the bow were by far better than it had been two and a half years ago. Also, he had become faster, more skilled in close combat and better in following tracks. All in all, the two years of hard training had made him better and stronger.

Additional two and a half years were awaiting him. He had to withstand them to become a ranger. He was still a recruit but his will was unshakable. He would never give up no matter how hard and exhausting the training will become. He had sworn to himself and to the Ranger-General that he wouldn't stop until he becomes a ranger of the Farstriders.

Kelrian's dream was to fight alongside Sylvanas one day. He wanted to assist her, help her fight against all evil. He couldn't wait to become a ranger so he could accompany Sylvanas on very important missions like hunting groups of trolls who dared to invade the high elven land. He would love to sneak with her and her best rangers in a troll village and kill the warriors in their sleep before anyone would notice their presence. He knew that he had to wait two and a half more years to become a ranger. But he was a patient person so he would endure the remaining years. The training will become a lot harder but he was sure that he would endure it.

Kelrian entered the room at this very moment and his first action was to check his surroundings. He had just entered the dining room of the Farstrider Enclave. The room was large enough that at least three hundred persons could fit in it. The dining room was not extraordinarily furnished or decorated. A few paintings hang here and there, the floor was covered by a soft blue carpet. At least thirty large tables with six or eight chairs stood in the room. Most of the chairs were already taken.

Kelrian noticed by the uniforms of the present persons that about fifty rangers of all ranks were in the room. The others were recruits who were either sitting on the chairs, stood somewhere or walked to the tables on the right side of the room where the buffet stood. The rangers were wearing better uniforms so that they were easy to distinguish from the recruits.

As a recruit, Kelrian was wearing a leather vest which was coated with a thin chain mail and green cloth. He was also wearing leather pants which were dyed in green and firm boots which allowed him to move trouble-free in muddy, snowy and steep areas. Climbing mountains, wandering through swamps or snowed areas were no problem for him as long as he wore these boots.

The uniforms of the rangers were also made out of leather but it had a much better quality than the leather used for the armours of the recruit. Either the leather was dyed in blue or it was coated with blue cloth. The chain mails the rangers were wearing were thicker and protected them better but they weren't much heavier than the chain mails of the recruits. Their boots were also better, held longer and were more resistant against dampness and sharp objects like stones or the tips of arrows.

It was easy for recruits to find a contact partner if they had a question or a problem. They just needed to look out for a person with a blue coloured uniform. One of the few exceptions was Alleria who was wearing a green coloured uniform even though she was a Ranger-Captain and not a recruit.

Kelrian spotted the group of persons he was looking for on a table near the entrance. Elonis, Elena, Kelia, Zetai and another member of Sylvanas' squad with the name Saith were sitting on a table on which a few plates and glasses were standing. This table had only six chairs so Kelrian had no other choice than sitting down between Elena and Elonis.

Of course, he didn't mind because he had become friends with the two beautiful and nice women. He didn't see them very often because they belonged to Regiment Two which was led by Alleria but he was able to meet them during the weekends when all of them had time off. Even Zetai joined them whenever they agreed to do something together.

Kelrian hadn't talked much with Zetai during the first year but they more time they had spent together the more information had Zetai given about himself. He hadn't become a very talkative person but at least he didn't remain silent whenever they met.

The relationship between Kelrian and Zetai had become better over the past two and a half years. Zetai had mostly ignored him during the first few months. He had barely looked at him and never spoken to him. He hadn't even answered Kelrian's questions. Kelrian had never taken it personally. Zetai was a special person and he had treated everyone equally. Every male at least.

But then his attitude had changed from one day to another. He had become more opened and had even talked about his feelings, his interests and other topics which seemed to be important to him. Kelrian had trained more often with Zetai and spoken with him about casual topics so he had gotten to know him better. He was even considering him as a friend. He was not sure how Zetai was seeing their relationship but he was pretty sure that he was considering him as a friend too.

Kelrian sat down between the two women he also considered as his friends. He loved to spend time with them and Zetai. They hunted together very often or went to the market to buy things, food most of the time. Sometimes when it was really hot, they even walked to the nearest beach and got in the water to cool off.

Kelrian saw them only during the weekends so he spent as much time as possible with them. He saw Zetai every day so it was not so tragic if he didn't come with them. Sometimes, Zetai refused to go with them without telling them why. Kelrian found it strange but he never asked him about the reasons. If that happened, he just accepted Zetai's decision and spent his free time with Elena and Elonis.

Kelrian also saw Kelia and Saith every day because, like him, they were also trained by Sylvanas. He got along with them very well but he wasn't doing something with them during his free time. They had their own circles of friends with who they spent their free time. Kelrian talked with them from time to time but other than that he didn't do anything with them.

Kelrian leaned against the back of his chair and observed his friends. He was not very hungry at the moment so he had decided to just take a seat and listen to what the others had to say. At this very moment, Elonis told the others about the intermediate examination she had passed successfully. Like everyone else, her task had been to survive alone in the wilderness for a week.

Judging by what Elonis was telling, surviving in the wilderness had been no problem for her. She had found a cave where she had slept at the end of each day. She hadn't had any problems finding animals to eat. Kelrian listened to her attentively and compared her experiences with the ones he had made during that week. All in all, he hadn't had it as easy as her but he had also been able to survive without having had huge problems.

"How was your exam, Kel?" asked Elonis after she had finished reporting about her week.

"Fine, I guess. It was easier than expected. I was always careful and stayed away from groups of wild beasts. Most of the times I hunted deers, smaller boards or lonely lynxes. Sometimes I only managed to bag a rabbit but it was still enough to satisfy my hunger. Unlike you, I didn't find a cave so I had to build a small hut out of thick branches. It was not the safest accommodation but it was better than nothing. I survived this week without any incidents. That's all that matters"

"I'm glad that you didn't get injured. Not like this one guy from Regiment Four" said Elena.

"What happened?" asked Kelrian. A frown appeared on his forehead and he raised an eyebrow as he looked at Elena curiously.

"We don't know any details. We have only heard rumours. According to these rumours, one of the recruits from Regiment Four stumbled over a large stone and fell from a steep hill. His left leg broke as he fell. He was lucky that a ranger from his regiment, who was secretly checking on him from time to time, found him before the wild beasts could" explained Elena.

Kelrian tilted his head, making a thoughtful face. "I don't want to imagine what would have happened if the beasts would have found him before the ranger"

Elena didn't say anything in return, but Elonis did after being silent for a few moments. "The life of a Farstrider is no bed of roses. We will face worse threats than lynxes or boars in the future. One day, when we won't be recruits anymore, we will fight against orcs and trolls. We can't allow ourselves to get injured by stumbling over a stone. Every mistake, even the smallest one, can cost us our lives in times of war. We need to be careful. We have to learn to be careful as fast as possible. I think this will be a lesson for the guy. I hope he won't do the same mistake twice or he could get in serious trouble"

"Elena is right" responded Zetai. "The life of a Farstrider is and will never be easier. It will become more difficult as soon as they decide that we are ready to participate in the skirmishes against the trolls and orcs"

"I share your opinions. Hopefully, the following two and a half years will be enough to prepare us against the real threats. I can't wait to kill these orcs and trolls who raid our villages and kill traders which are coming from Lordaeron or Stormwind to visit our capital city" responded Kelrian.

He was showing everyone that he was serious about this. He wasn't afraid to face a troll or an orc even though they were known to be physically stronger than elves. On the other hand, the high elves were faster than them so even the brute strength of the orcs wouldn't save them from a precise arrow right between their eyes. Kelrian wasn't afraid of having to fight them one day. On the contrary, he was already excited to help the Farstriders expel them from their home.

"Don't worry, we will show these bastards what we are capable of. Together with the others, we will avenge the numerous innocent inhabitants who die by the hands of these bastards every year. The orcs and trolls will wish that they had never gone to war against us" responded a self-confident Zetai.

"Don't forget that the humans and dwarves are also fighting against the Horde. We don't have to face these bastards alone" reminded Elonis.

"Pah, we don't need the help of humans and dwarves. We are able to handle these underdeveloped creatures alone"

"You might be right, Zetai. But more of our people will die without the help of the Alliance. I know you are proud that you don't need anyone's help but sometimes we have to give up our pride and let others help us for the greater good" said Kelrian, wondering what his friend would respond.

Zetai's response didn't surprise him at all. "If you think so". He lifted his glass, which was filled with alcohol, and brought it to his lips. He emptied the glass in one gulp, putting it back on the table.

"I think we all agree that we will make the Horde pay for what they have done to our people over the last two decades" intervened Kelia.

"The funny thing is that these trolls and orcs maintain that they are fighting with honour. But the truth is that they aren't. They hide from us and only attack us when we are not aware of them. They raid villages and kill defenceless villagers. They don't even spare women and children. They plunder, abduct, rape and murder. I can't wait to shoot an arrow through Zul'jin's eye and his underdeveloped troll brain. I will make sure that this bastard will die by my hands" Zetai's tone had been relaxed at first but it had become more and more influenced by anger and hatred the longer he had spoken. It was unmistakable that his hatred for orcs and trolls was a lot more distinctive than of the other elves.

The others were asking themselves what had happened that Zetai hated them that much. But nobody dared to ask him about this. Nobody except Kelrian who wanted to help Zetai. He put his hand on Zetai's shoulder, signalizing him that he was not alone "What did they do to deserve your hatred?"

Zetai was silent for a few moments as he stared at the empty glass he was holding. He frowned when he noticed that his hands were shaking a bit. He put the glass down, regarding his still shaking hands. He took a deep breath, put each hand on the opposite upper arm and rested his elbows on the table. The others were also silent, waiting patiently that Zetai would say something.

The current best recruit refused to say anything for a few minutes. He didn't do anything except for staring at his empty glass. But then he spoke eventually after almost ten minutes. "The trolls raided my village six years ago. I went out to hunt boars for the evening meal so I was not there to defend my village. My father was one of the only inhabitants who knew how to fight. He was a good swordsman and archer but he was not strong enough to defend the village against twenty trolls. The trolls burned down every house, defiled the corpses of the dead, raped my mother in front of my father's eyes and tortured my father slowly while my mother was forced to watch.

My sister is the only member of my family who survived this slaughter. She has hidden beneath a carriage which had fallen over. The trolls haven't found her so they couldn't kill her. But my sister had to watch everything. She managed to escape but the occurrence has marked her forever. She has not been able to speak with me for an entire month. She broke out in tears when she finally told me what exactly happened. She has nightmares every night since the troll attack. A few priests and mages have managed to help her. Since her therapy, she has far fewer nightmares and they are not as bad as the ones she had before the therapy.

She is doing better but that doesn't mean I will easily forget what these trolls did to my village and my family. Every single troll will pay for what these twenty trolls and all the other trolls did to our people"

The listeners remained silent for a few minutes after Zetai was done speaking. None of them had ever witnessed that Zetai had sounded so depressed and angry at the same time. None of them had ever seen such a sad expression on his face. None of them had believed that Zetai had negative emotions. He always had a neutral expression or an amused expression on his face. He had never shown grief, anger and loss before.

His comrades showed compassion for him. They didn't hug him, even though they wanted, because Zetai hated getting hugged. Instead, they patted his shoulders and spoke comforting words to him, managing to calm him down a little.

Kelrian exchanged Zetai's empty glass with a new one which was filled to the brim. "I understand you. You want to seek vengeance but killing Zul'jin won't bring your family back. I understand that you want to kill at least ten trolls for each inhabitant they had killed but this is no weird black magic ritual. You won't resurrect them if you kill their murderers"

"I know that. I'm not that dumb"

"I didn't say that" responded Kelrian politely.

"But you are right. Killing the murderers won't bring them back. I was hoping that when I hunted them but even killing their shaman didn't change anything. The dead stayed dead but at least these bastards died. Maybe too quickly for my liking" Zetai emptied his glass quickly as he was done speaking.

"Wait a second..." said Elonis, giving her comrade a surprised look. "You met the ones who were responsible for the destruction of your village?"

"Yes, I did. They were foolish enough to return five months later because their shaman lost some sort of an amulet which was important to him. I have found this amulet and for some reason, I have known that they would return sooner or later. I've prepared lots of traps and waited for their return. Then I killed them one by one until only their leader was left. Killing him required more arrows but in the end, he fell like the other members of his disgusting kind"

"You killed twenty trolls alone?" asked Kelrian. It was hard to miss that he was heavily surprised by this. And he was not the only one. Every other elf who sat at the table and even those who sat were in the near were having similar expressions on their faces.

"I had twenty-four arrows" told Zetai. "One arrow right between the eyes was enough to kill a troll bastard. My traps caught some of them and prevented that they could move which made it a lot easier to kill them. But even without the traps, they fell quickly. Only their leader survived three of my arrows. He was a lot larger, stronger and even faster than the rest of his group. My fourth arrow hit right in the left eye but he was still alive. I had no arrows left so I went in close combat and rammed my sword deep in his ugly widely opened jaw"

"That's impressive" whispered Elonis.

Zetai continued his report. "I could have defiled their corpses as they had done with the corpses of my neighbours but I decided against it. I wouldn't have been better than them if I would have sunken to their level. I haven't wanted that one of their crazed shamans would bring them back so I burned them"

"Killing twenty trolls is already impressive. I'm sure that only a few rangers would have managed that. The Ranger-General would have managed that and maybe her sister, otherwise I don't know anyone else who could have done that" said Kelrian but he didn't get a response. Zetai just stared at his empty glass and chose to be silent. Kelrian offered him his glass which was still full. Zetai took it without thanking him and emptied it.

Kelrian didn't know how many glasses of alcohol his friend had emptied so far. He assumed that he had drunk at least five glasses. Maybe more. But Zetai didn't seem to be drunk. Not even close. He had seen him drinking bevor. He had never gotten drunk before when he had been around, no matter how many glasses he had emptied. It seemed that he was immune to the influence of alcohol. Or maybe he just could tolerate a lot. Kelrian was not sure.

He, on the other hand, started to see things twice after only three glasses. That was the reason why he hadn't drunk anything yet. He didn't want to end up drunk in a corner an hour after the had arrived at the celebration. He wanted to enjoy more of the celebration before he would get drunk.

"Did you feel better now that all twenty trolls are dead?" Kelrian asked eventually.

Zetai hesitated with his answer for a few moments. "Not really. I was pleased for the moment but in the end, their deaths didn't make me feel better"

"I'm afraid that Zul'jin's death will not make you feel any better" announced Kelia.

"Maybe it will. Maybe not. But it is a good start at least. I won't rest as long as the trolls are still living in our lands and looking for trouble. I will only rest when every single troll is dead"

"Just be careful that your thirst for vengeance won't induce you to do something stupid which could endanger you or even cost your life" responded Kelrian, making a worried face.

Zetai chuckled, patting his friend's shoulder. "Don't worry, Kel. I can take care of myself"

"I hope so"

"Trust me. I handled these twenty trolls so I can also handle my thirst for vengeance"

"Hopefully" muttered Kelrian, not sounding very convinced. He gave him a small smile as he stared at him. Zetai emptied another glass, requesting Kelrian to finally drink something which contained alcohol. The younger male forwent but he agreed on getting a few more glasses of alcohol for the best recruit.

He stood up and walked to the table on which the alcoholic drinks were standing. He put a few glasses on a tray and was about to turn around and walk back to the table where his friends were sitting as he recognized a familiar person leaning against a column.

It was no other than Sylvanas Windrunner who was regarding the event. Her right leg was bent so her right feet could rest against the column. She was holding a half-full glass in her hand while the other toyed with a few strands of her majestic hair. Sylvanas turned her head in his direction, her lips formed a smile as she spotted him in the crowd. She stopped toying with her hair and waved at Kelrian, signalizing him to come closer. Kelrian didn't hesitate and walked over to her, returning the smile she was giving him.

Sylvanas' gaze fell on the tray he was carrying. "That's a lot of alcohol for one person. Do you want to forget everything around you or why have you taken so many glasses?" she teased.

Kelrian blushed a little for a reason he didn't know. "No, this is not for me. It is for Zetai... and our friends I guess"

She chuckled. "I would have said the same if I would have gotten caught with too many glasses of alcohol by my instructor"

"You know me very well, Ranger-General. My body doesn't tolerate much alcohol. Things wouldn't end well for me if I would empty every single glass. I've not planned to hug the toilet for the rest of the day, to be honest"

"What do you want to do instead?" Sylvanas asked curiously, raising an eyebrow.

"I've no clue. Celebrating, talking with my friends, maybe doing other things. I don't know yet"

"Would you like to follow me and talk with me a bit?" she asked, giving him a small inviting smile.

Kelrian looked around, checking if the nearest persons had heard what Sylvanas had offered him. To his relief, the closest person was over thirty feet away and didn't seem to have heard anything. Also, it was very loud which minimized the chance that someone would have heard her.

He also found out that nobody was really watching them, which really surprised him because Sylvanas' look was always a feast for everyone's eyes. He didn't mind at all because this meant that he could follow Sylvanas without getting noticed by too many people.

Not even Alleria or Verena were paying attention to what Sylvanas was doing so she took this opportunity and began to walk through the nearest corridor, signalizing Kelrian to follow her. He wanted to protest, to tell her that he had to bring the drinks to Zetai first but no sound escaped his lips. Kelrian hesitated for a few moments before followed her willingly. He carried the tray with him, hoping that he wouldn't spill a single drink.

He followed her until she stopped after a while. He looked around, noticing that they were standing on a balcony. The night was so dark that no one could see them from outside. Sylvanas closed the door behind him and locked it, making sure no one else could join them. She walked to the railing and leaned against it. She folded her arms in front of her chest, tilting her head as she regarded Kelrian curiously.

"Are you not afraid someone might find us here?"

"Don't worry, no one will spot us on this balcony and even if, I don't care"

"So, you have me where you want me. I guess you have planned to bring me to this balcony. What exactly are you up to?

Sylvanas smirked teasingly as she responded "Come closer and find it out"

Chapter Text

Come closer and find it out

These had been her words. He had obeyed her and come closer. And now he was standing right in front of Sylvanas Windrunner who was leaning against the balcony's balustrade. Her hands rested on the balustrade, her perfect lips formed a teasing smile.

Kelrian didn't know what to think at this very moment nor did he know what to do. Sylvanas had asked him to follow her and brought him to this place for a reason. A reason he wanted to know so badly. He was curious about what would happen next.

There were only a few reasons why Sylvanas wanted to be alone with him. She wouldn't have needed to bring him to this balcony if she just wanted to chat with him.

Did she want to talk to him in private? If yes for what reason? About what she wanted to talk? Was it something about important? Or did she just wanted to have peace? Maybe she just wanted to relax and talk a little without getting disturbed by others... There were so many questions on his mind but he couldn't find an answer for any of them.

Kelrian had no clue what was awaiting him. She just stared at the Ranger-General, returning her wide smile. He opened his mouth, wanting to ask Sylvanas why they were here but no sound escaped his lips. He frowned as he realized that his throat was not producing any sound. He closed his mouth, looking away ashamed. He assumed that the expression he had made had looked pretty silly. Sylvanas chuckled about his embarrassment, walking to him slowly.

At this very moment, she was standing in the middle of the balcony, right in front of the nervous Kelrian. She took a glass of wine from the tray he was still carrying in his hands. "It's nice that you have brought drinks with you"

"Well, as I have said, these drinks were originally meant for Zetai. But I guess you won't leave me until we have done whatever you have planned"

"I'm not forcing you to stay, Kelrian. You can leave whenever you want. You can go to Zetai and watch him getting drunk or you stay with me and talk to me. It's up to you" she responded and gave him a likable smile. He returned the smile, staring into her beautiful blue eyes. He thought he would get lost in them forever if he would look in them for too long. These were by far the most beautiful eyes he had ever seen. It was always a pleasure for Kelrian to stare into them, sometimes even longer than necessary.

He didn't know how much time had passed when he finally managed to stop himself from just looking into Sylvanas' eyes without doing anything else. He cleared his throat and shifted his gaze from Sylvanas' gorgeous face to her hands which looked untainted even though she had to use them every day for doing ordinary tasks.

As a ranger, it was normal to get his hands dirty while doing the daily stuff every ranger was doing like training, preparing traps or making arrows. Sometimes a ranger had to check the ground for hidden and almost unrecognizable tracks. Cracked or broke off fingernails were usual for a ranger, especially for an apprentice. But unlike most recruits, Kelrian knew, his fingernails were clean and not broken most of the times.

Sylvanas blue-painted fingernails always looked perfect. Kelrian had never seen that they had been cracked or missing. He didn't know how she managed to always look perfect. He had never seen her looking differently. She was always perfect. Kelrian thought that her middle name was perfection. Of course, he wasn't believing that but he found that this name would fit for her.

He found himself staring at Sylvanas once again. This time he regarded her entire upper body and not only her face or her hands. He noticed that she had almost emptied one of the glasses while he had been busy staring. He returned her curious smile, putting the tray on the balustrade so that he and Sylvanas could reach it. Sylvanas took another glass, offering it to Kelrian.

The younger elf wanted to reject the offer but he found out that he was unable to refuse Sylvanas anything. He accepted the glass even though he didn't want to drink anything. Sylvanas emptied her glass then she took another. She took a sip, signalizing Kelrian to try the wine. He nodded to her, taking a sip as well.

The alcohol tasted worse than he had expected. He had never liked the taste of alcohol so he had never enjoyed drinking. He had only drunken one or two glasses whenever his family had celebrated something important like the birthday of a family member.

Whenever he had drunken a glass or two, he had done it slowly and hadn't emptied within a few minutes. Not like he had done at this very moment. For a reason he couldn't explain to himself, he had emptied the glass within a few seconds. Maybe he had done that because Sylvanas had given him an expecting look. Maybe he had done that for another reason. He couldn't explain that to himself.

He was not used to consume high-proof alcoholic drinks so the effect of the drink quickly set in. He didn't feel tipsy nor did his senses become murky. But he felt different, at least a bit. He regarded his empty glass before it was taken out of his hand and replaced by a new full glass.

He looked up at Sylvanas, his heartbeat became a bit faster as he noticed the smile on her lips. It was not like her usual smiles. It looked different. Kelrian was not sure if he was imagining this but for some reason, he had the impression that this smile was supposed to be a seductive smile.

Maybe he was wrong about this. Maybe he had misinterpreted her smile. There was no way that Sylvanas Windrunner, THE Sylvanas Windrunner, would try to seduce him. He was thinking that at least. He couldn't know what Sylvanas was really feeling for him. He couldn't know that she had developed feelings for him over the years.

She hadn't been sure about her feelings for the first eight years but the more time she had spent with him, the stronger her feelings for him had gotten. She wasn't denying her feelings anymore but she didn't tell anybody about her heavy crush. Not even her sisters or her best friend Verena. She kept it as a secret since she had realized her feelings for him.

During the past two and a half years she had been able to observe Kelrian a lot. She may have not found out if he was feeling something for her but she had gotten to know him better which had increased her feelings for him. Watching over him and the other recruits had been more fun than she had expected. She had always enjoyed training others but she had never enjoyed it as much as with her newest group. The main reason for that was Kelrian who was becoming better than better with each passing week. But training Zetai was also more fun than expected.

Zetai had by far the most talent of all current recruits. He was a lot better than anyone else. He was the best in everything. Hitting fast-moving targets with arrows, chasing enemies, beating others in close combat, following tracks and many other disciplines. It was clear for Sylvanas that he will be the best of the newest generation of recruits.

Kelrian was also skilled but not as skilled as Zetai. But Sylvanas believed that he could become the second-best recruit if he would train harder. He was already giving his best but Sylvanas believed that he had more potential. He could do better if he would focus better. Sylvanas had noticed that he could get easily distracted sometimes. She was pretty sure that she was the reason he got distracted. She felt flattered about that but at the same time, she remained strict with Kelrian. He had to learn to not get distracted by anything if he wanted to become one of the best Farstriders.

Sometimes she was scolding Kelrian for getting distracted and it worked wonders. Whenever she scolded him, he didn't get distracted for the rest of the day. Sylvanas had thought about changing her outfit and dressing up in a uniform that didn't reveal too much of her cleavage and her flat belly.

She knew that this would cause that Kelrian wouldn't get distracted so often. One the other hand, she loved it when she caught him staring at her and ogling her gorgeous body. In the end, she had decided against changing her outfit because she loved her uniform. It made her look gorgeous and she loved to impress others with her look. Of course, her main goal was to impress Kelrian but she also loved to see the impressed faces of other men and even women.

And Kelrian was more than impressed by her looks. At this very moment, he was secretly ogling her cleavage, trying to not make it too obvious. Sylvanas had noticed what he was doing but she didn't do or say anything. Instead, she drank more wine. She managed to engage him in a conversation eventually, talking with him about the training, about the Farstriders, and about hobbies. They talked for a while, emptying the one or other glass during their conversation.

She asked him about his family but he didn't give her many informative answers. She noticed quickly that he didn't want to talk about his family so she stopped and switched topics. They began to talk about Sylvanas' family. She told him about her sisters, her brother and her parents. She told him about their hobbies, about their behaviours and their quirks. She even told him that her mother had handed her bow to Alleria while Sylvanas had followed in her footsteps as the Ranger-General of Silvermoon.

They kept talking for a while. Kelrian found himself staring into her gorgeous blue eyes without being able to look away. These blue orbs demanded his attention, they forced him to look into them as if they had control over him. Even though he was forced to look into Sylvanas' eyes, he didn't resist. He loved staring into her eyes.

He got the impression that he could get lost in them forever. He would love to stare into Sylvanas' eyes as long as possible, even if that would mean that he would be standing with her on the balcony until the end of time. He had no desire to avert his gaze nor did he wanted to be away from her. He was happy to be around her.

He was not sure if it was some sort of a supernatural power Sylvanas was possessing or the effect of the alcohol which made his body move of its own. Kelrian had lost control over his body which made him walk forward until he was standing directly in front of Sylvanas. It was obvious for the two elves that Kelrian was more than just a bit tipsy. He could barely walk forward without needing to put a hand on the balustrade.

Sylvanas put a hand on his shoulder, helping him to stand steady. He gave her a thankful smile, his eyes found hers once again. He could smell that the alcohol hadn't left Sylvanas unaffected. She behaved as if she was sober but her breath betrayed her. Kelrian didn't mind that her breath was smelling of alcohol. He assumed that his breath smelled worse so he was glad that he couldn't smell it.

The effect of the alcohol made him realize too late that Sylvanas' face had gotten very close to his. Her lips were only a few inches away from his lips. He could kiss her if he would lean in but he was too afraid of the consequences. He had always imagined sealing his lips with the lips of this goddess. But he had always feared to ruin their friendship if he would do that. He had had a few opportunities to kiss her when nobody was watching them during the past years but he had never seized such an opportunity. He had been too afraid that Sylvanas would turn him down so he had never tried it.

Sylvanas had had similar thoughts over the past years and like him, she hadn't dared to try it. She had been too afraid as well about what could change if her attempt would backfire. She had been too afraid that Kelrian could turn her down. Him having no interest in her had been her greatest fear over the past years. This fear had held her back from taking a risk.

But at this very moment, she didn't feel any fear. She was not afraid of anything. There was no pressure on her shoulders. There was nothing which held her back. It was the effect of the alcohol which freed her from all insecurities. It was the effect of the alcohol which strengthened her back and gave her a lot more self-confidence than she already had. It was definitely the effect which led her to the next step.

She leaned in, her lips came dangerously close to his. She could feel his hot breath and smell the alcohol in it but that didn't bother her. She was about to put her lips on his as she heard a sound coming from behind the door. She pulled away quickly, looking at the door. She was curious who or what was making these sounds and she was wondering how someone had managed to find them.

She had made sure that nobody had seen them when they had left the main hall. There was no way someone could know that they were on this balcony. Maybe someone had gotten lost and randomly found the corridor which led to this balcony. This was the only logical explanation which came in Sylvanas' mind.

At least the door was locked so no one could come in and interrupt them. Sylvanas turned back to Kelrian, wanting to finish what she had started. But she didn't get to it because someone was knocking loudly on the door. The two elves were sure that it was the same person who had made these strange noises. The person knocked heavier against the door, shaking the doorknob as if he or she was hoping that it would open if he or she would continue doing it.

Sylvanas' eyes rested on Kelrian, signalizing him to stay calm and don't say a word. Kelrian also looked at her, pressing his lips together. He obeyed her command and didn't say anything. He didn't move an inch, he just stood there and looked at the Ranger-General.

"Kelrian" shouted a familiar voice. "Kelrian open the freaking door. I know you are on this balcony. I can smell the alcohol, you wanted to bring me, from here"

Now they knew who was the intruder. It was no other than Zetai who was standing behind the door and asked for entrance. Kelrian already knew from the way he was speaking that he was heavily drunk. He assumed that his friend had emptied a lot of glasses over the past hours. And with a lot, he really meant A LOT. He didn't want to know the exact number of glasses Zetai had emptied. He had watched Zetai drinking lots of glasses and bottles of alcohol whenever they had celebrated something. So he was pretty sure that Zetai must have really drunken A LOT to sound like this.

Kelrian looked at the door for a short moment before he looked at Sylvanas, raising an eyebrow as he gave her a curious look. He was not sure what to do at this very moment so he was hoping that Sylvanas would decide what to do.

"I won't leave until you give me the drinks you are owing me" he shouted, shaking the doorknob heavier. Sylvanas looked at Kelrian, then at the tray and at the door. Kelrian nodded, signalizing her that he had understood what she wanted from him. He took the tray, noticing that only three of ten glasses were still filled. The rest had been emptied by them over the past hours. He walked over to the door, unlocked and opened it.

Kelrian wanted to give Zetai the tray but the best recruit rushed past him to the balustrade and leaned over it. He vomited. Sylvanas turned away, making a slightly disgusted face. Kelrian walked over to his friend and propped him, making sure he wouldn't fall over the balustrade. The balcony was two hundred feet over the ground so falling from it would have fatal consequences. Zetai thanked him after he was pulled back, wiping his mouth clean with the back of his hand.

He put his arm around Kelrian's neck, pulling him close. "Thank you, my friend" he shouted as he staggered a few feet forward. Sylvanas regarded him with narrowed eyes. She knew how most of her subordinates behaved when they were drunk but she had never seen someone who had been as drunk as Zetai and had been still able to walk. Walk was not the right word in this case. Zetai was staggering with every step he made. It was a miracle that he was still able to stand upright.

Sylvanas covered her nose as she noticed his breath, which smelled strongly after alcohol. She smelled it although she was standing in the middle of the balcony. She kept regarding the two friends but she didn't do anything.

Zetai let go of Kelrian eventually and took the tray Kelrian had put on the balustrade. He took a glass and emptied it in one gulp before Sylvanas or Kelrian were able to say something.

"Do you think it's wise to drink more after you... emptied the content of your stomach?"

"Don't worry, little one" responded Zetai, patting his friend's head. "I know what I'm doing"

"You are drunk. You don't know what is good for you and what is not. You can barely walk without staggering" said Kelrian. He tried to convince his friend to stop drinking but he didn't listen to him. Zetai emptied the remaining glasses and flung the tray with the empty glasses off the balcony.

Kelrian frowned as he looked at Sylvanas who was shrugging her shoulders. Zetai walked to Kelrian, putting his arm around his shoulder. "How are you doing my friend?"

Kelrian had to put his hand over his nose to bear the strong smell of alcohol which was coming out of Zetai's mouth. This was the reason why his voice sounded muffled. To say that the smell was unpleasant was an understatement.

"I'm fine, I guess" he responded. He was not fine at all because Zetai was disturbing them during their private conversation. Zetai's grip around Kelrian's shoulder began to hurt him but he didn't say anything because he didn't want to be rude. Nor did he mention that Zetai's breath smelled worse than a pigsty. He just kept standing on the same spot and hoped that Zetai would loosen his grip a bit. But he didn't and Sylvanas realized that he didn't plan on doing it.

Sylvanas walked to her subordinates, putting her hands on her hips as she gave Zetai a strict look. The large male grinned at her as if he had no clue what was going on and what Sylvanas wanted from him.

Sylvanas said his name with the same strict voice she used whenever she trained her group. Zetai stared at the Ranger-General for a few moments but then he finally let go of Kelrian and saluted to her.

Kelrian backed off and walked to Sylvanas, stopping behind her. Sylvanas regarded Zetai from head to toe before she formulated a question. "How did you find us?"

"Kelrian accidentally stepped... in a piece of cake which was lying on the floor...I...I just the prints of his shoes until I came to this corridor. Then I checked ev...ery door until I came to this. Not to mention that my sense of smell is much better than...than... the senses of... other people"

"So, you followed my scent?" Kelrian asked irritated.

"No... I smelled the Ranger-General's lovely rose perfume so I knew that you had to be here"

"How did you know I was with her?"

"I was the only one who saw you leaving... The others..." he randomly paused for some reason. "What I wanted to say?" he asked. His bleary eyes regarded Kelrian who was still frowning about his drunkenness.

"You wanted to tell me... Ah forget it, it doesn't matter anymore"

"You wanted to tell us that you want to go back to the others and leave us in peace" replied Sylvanas.

"Did I... Did I really wanted to say this? I'm not so sure... B...B...But on the other hand, I have no clue what I'm doing here. I think you are right, Lady Windrunner. I should go" he said laboriously. It was unmistakable that he was so drunk that it was hard for him to speak clearly and coherently. Sylvanas came to the conclusion that it was better for him to go to sleep in one of the many guest rooms.

"You should rest and get some sleep, Zetai. We won't train tomorrow so you have enough time to sleep off your drinks. But I think it would be better for you to stop drinking for today. You will be knocked out for days if you keep drinking. I need you to be fit in two days. The training will continue with or without you being well-rested. I would suggest that you go to sleep now, Recruit Zetai"

"As you wish... Ranger-General" responded Zetai and saluted before he turned around and left the balcony. Kelrian walked to the door, peeked out of it to make sure that Zetai really walked to one of the nearest guest rooms. He closed the door as soon as Zetai had entered one of the rooms. Kelrian turned around and walked back to Sylvanas who was leaning once again against the balustrade. Sylvanas smiled at him as she stared into his eyes.

"That was awkward"

"Do you know what wouldn't be awkward?"

"What?" he asked curiously.

"This" she whispered as she leaned in and attached her lips to his. Kelrian's eyes widened when he felt Sylvanas' lips, which were a lot softer than he had imagined, on his lips. His heart stopped for a few moments, the same counted for his breath. His mind went blank at this very moment so he wasn't able to react to her kiss. She kept pressing her warm lips against his, smiling into the kiss as she noticed that he was returning the kiss.

Sylvanas was the one who had initiated this kiss so she took the lead. She pressed her lips harder against his, chuckling when her ears heard the low moan which came out of Kelrian's mouth. She put her hand on the back of his head, deepening the kiss. Kelrian did nothing except returning the kiss. At first at least. He put his hands on her hips after a few moments and caressed them carefully but other than that he didn't do anything.

Sylvanas pulled away eventually, smiling widely while breathing heavily. Kelrian was out of breath as well. It took a while for him to realize what had happened. His brain began to work again, slowly assimilating the awesome kiss they had shared. Kelrian had never expected that kissing the Ranger-General would feel that good. He hadn't initiated the kiss, and he would have never found the courage for that, but he was happy that it happened.

He wasn't angry that Sylvanas had kissed him and it didn't seem that Sylvanas regretted what she had done. She wouldn't give him her brightest smile if she would regret having sealed her lips to his.

"So..." said Kelrian after a while.

"So..." mimicked Sylvanas, giggling softly. They stared at each other, observing the other's facial features. Sylvanas chuckled when she noticed Kelrian's reddened cheek and his slightly trembling bottom lip. Her facial expression, on the other hand, didn't change at all. She still had a satisfied expression on her face.

"We should go back to the main hall before my sister gets suspicious and looks for us"

"We should probably do that" Kelrian responded quietly. He was still stunned from the kiss and his brain was still had troubles handling the hundreds of thousands of thoughts which were in his mind at this very moment. He didn't know if Sylvanas had kissed him because she had really wanted or only because she was drunk. He had no clue how much impact the alcohol had had on Sylvanas' decision. He only knew that she had enjoyed the kiss the same way he had.

There were many unanswered questions in his mind. Will they be able to kiss again one day? Does she feel something for him? Was it only the effect of the alcohol which led her to kiss him? Will the kiss change anything between them? If things will change, will it become better or worse?

He was brought out of his thoughts when he felt Sylvanas' soft hand caressing his cheek. "You will wait here for a few minutes and then you will walk back to the hall. People will get suspicious and ask questions if we return together, so we should return separately. And do me a favour and do not tell anyone about what happened between us. This will be a secret only between you and me. Only us and no one else should ever know about this kiss"

Kelrian nodded. Sylvanas smiled at him, caressing his cheek a few times before she left the room. Kelrian walked to the door and peeked out. Sylvanas was swaying her hips in the sexiest way as she walked and Kelrian was not able to avert his gaze from her well-formed butt. He kept staring at her until she walked out of his field of vision. He obeyed Sylvanas' request and waited for a few minutes, then he started to walk back to the main hall where the celebration was still taking place.

Chapter Text

"Oh shit, what did I do last night?" Kelrian muttered. He opened his eyes, closing them immediately as he noticed that everything was spinning around him. He turned around and buried his face in his pillow, hoping that this would make the world stop spinning around him. He tried to remember what had happened the previous day but he didn't remember much.

There was a celebration. He had sat at a table with his friends. They had talked and drunk a lot of alcohol, at least everyone but him. Then he had met Sylvanas and followed her to this balcony. He was not sure if he remembered correctly that Sylvanas had kissed him after they had talked for a while. He tried to remember harder, coming to the conclusion that it was true that Sylvanas had kissed him.

He turned his head a little, touching his lips with the tips of his fingers. He could still feel Sylvanas' lips on his. Her soft, warm and full lips. He still remembered how her lipstick had tasted. It had tasted after peaches. He was also remembering the lovely smells of her perfume and her hair. He was one hundred percent sure that Sylvanas had kissed him but he was not sure if she had done it because she had really wanted it or because the alcohol had led her to do that.

If it was not the alcohol this could mean that she had feelings for him. Kelrian shook his head, pressing his face against the pillow again. No, there was no way Sylvanas Windrunner was interested in him. He was just an ordinary ranger while she was a legend. There was no way Sylvanas would want something from an ordinary ranger. He had heard rumours that Sylvanas hadn't had a male lover in sixty years. Not to mention the rumours about her and her best friend Verena.

Maybe she wasn't interested in men. Maybe she was really interested in women and this kiss had just been an accident. An accident caused by the large amount of alcohol Sylvanas had consumed.

Kelrian shook his head once again, burying his face deeper in his pillow. No, this didn't make sense either. Sylvanas wouldn't show so much interest in him and wouldn't favour him if she wouldn't feel something for him, wouldn't she?

Kelrian had no clue what he should think about this entire situation. He had no clue what was right and what was wrong. Maybe he was misinterpreting things. He was not sure about everything which concerned Sylvanas.

He decided that it was the best to not approach her about the previous day. He would wait that Sylvanas would say something, if not he will just forget that it happened and never speak about it.

He turned around after a while, sighing out in relief when he noticed that the world around him wasn't spinning anymore. He still had a bad headache but at least he was able to recognize his surroundings.

He tried to remember what happened after the kiss but there was nothing but darkness. He didn't remember what had happened after the kiss. There was nothing. A lot could have happened.

Maybe it was better not to remember what had happened after the kiss. He had been drunk so the chances were high that he had done something he would be ashamed of if he would know about it.

He got up after a while, walking to the mirror next to his wardrobe. He regarded himself, noticing that he was wearing nothing at all. Why was he naked? Did he walk home alone or did someone bring him to Liadrin's house?

He hoped that he had managed to walk home alone, otherwise it would be very awkward, considering that he must have stripped off his clothes before going to bed. He was just hoping that no one had seen him undressing before going to bed. He shook his head slightly as he decided to not think about this anymore. He came to the conclusion that it was the best to stop thinking about what happened yesterday and just leave it behind him. The best was if he would act as if nothing had happened.

He opened his wardrobe and pulled out underwear, socks and his recruit uniform. He got dressed and left his room quickly, walking to the kitchen. A surprised expression appeared on his face when he spotted a familiar person sitting at the table. "What are you doing here?"

"I'm living here, silly" responded Liadrin with a small smile on her lips. She had crossed one of her legs over the other and was sipping on a cup of tea.

"I know that but I... Never mind. I'm just surprised to see you here right now. I thought you are working for Sylvanas' main team from Monday to Friday"

"I am but yesterday was the celebration which all recruits who had passed and all instructors have attended. Whenever such a celebration takes place all Farstriders and priests who have attended the celebration have a day off to recover from the many glasses and bottles of alcohol they have consumed" Liadrin explained.

"But you didn't attend the celebration, didn't you?" he asked as he took a seat opposite to her.

"I didn't attend the celebration that's right but the rest of my team did. Sylvanas could have sent me to a hospital to take care of the injured and sick but instead, she gave me the day off so I could look after you"

Kelrian took an apple and regarded it for a short moment before he took a bite. "As you can see, I'm fine" he spoke with a half-full mouth.

She chuckled, giving him a teasing grin. "Are you sure about that?"

He nodded in return.

"You weren't fine yesterday when the Ranger-General brought you home"

Kelrian spat out the pieces of apple he was chewing on when he heard what his cousin had just said. "Excuse me?" he asked, leaning forward. He regarded Liadrin with widened eyes, hoping that she was joking about this.

But she was not joking about this. She meant it seriously and she told him this.

"What happened exactly?" he asked.

"Well, shortly after midnight someone knocked at the door. I was tired and half asleep when I opened the door to look who was disturbing me at this late hour. It was a very drunk Ranger-General with her very drunk subordinate. I didn't protest as she brought you up to your room and left an hour later"

"She left an hour later?" asked Kelrian. His voice was a bit louder and filled with irritation and surprise.

"She did"

"What did she do while she was in my room?"

"I have no clue. I didn't dare to ask and I was too tired, to be honest. You should be the one who should answer this question"

"I have no clue what happened after... after..."

"After what?" asked Liadrin, raising an eyebrow as she gave him a curious look.

"After... I talked to her privately"

"You talked to her privately?"

"Why are you grinning like this?" asked Kelrian, pointing at the teasing grin on Liadrin's lips.

She giggled, patting his shoulder playfully. "I don't know what you are talking about"

"Of course, you do" exclaimed Kelrian. It was unmistakable that he was not amused at this very moment.

"Ah, c' mon, Kel. You know that I'm just making fun of you. Don't be such a sourpuss"

"I'm not a sourpuss" he responded quietly. He took a banana from the fruit plate in front of him and started to peel it.

Liadrin regarded her cousin while sulking. She was wondering why Sylvanas herself had carried him home. She could have sent one of her rangers to bring him home. She was also wondering why she had stayed in his room for an hour.

What did they do there? Did they...? No, Sylvanas wouldn't take advantage of a drunk man, even though she liked him, wouldn't she? Kelrian was her subordinate after all. On the other hand, Liadrin had never seen Sylvanas so drunk before. Normally, the Ranger-General didn't drink much so she could control her actions. But yesterday she had been so drunk. This meant that everything could be possible.

Maybe Kelrian knew something but he didn't want to tell it for some reason. Maybe it embarrassed him too much, so he had decided to not tell anyone about it. Liadrin wanted to know so badly what had happened yesterday but she knew that she wouldn't get any information from him if she would pressure him. Maybe she could involve him in a conversation and elicit a few information. Maybe she could find out something. Maybe she didn't find out anything but she could try it at least.

She put her hand on his, caressing it softly. She waited until he lifted his head and looked at her. "So, you don't remember what happened yesterday after she brought you home?"

He shook his head. "I can't remember what happened after I talked with her at the celebration"

"I didn't remember that you like to drink so much"

"I normally don't drink alcohol but... I don't know... Lady Windrunner convinced me to try a sip. The sip turned into a whole glass which turned into many glasses. I don't know why I drank so many of them. If only I knew the reason for that"

"I think I know the reason and I can understand it"

Kelrian tilted his head, giving her a questionable look. "What do you mean?"

She chuckled about his innocence. "C'mon, I'm not the only one who has noticed the way you look at her and the way she looks at you"

"What do you mean?" he asked confused.

Liadrin chuckled once again, shaking her head amused while smiling. "I guess it's better if you find out for yourself what you are for Sylvanas"

"I'm her recruit, that's all I am to her"

"Sure, you are but you are also her favourite recruit. I think she really likes you. And with really I really mean REALLY"

"If you say so" he responded quietly and looked at his fingers.

Was Liadrin serious about this? Was she telling him the truth or was she just mocking him like she usually did from time to time? No, he wouldn't believe that. Liadrin loved to make jokes about him from time to time but she would never about something which involved others. She would never give false hints about people who had feelings for Kelrian. She had never made jokes when he had met his first girlfriend. She had supported him and given him tips on how to talk to women. She would never give him false hopes. She was always honest with him.

So, this could only mean that Sylvanas was really feeling something for him, at least Liadrin was interpreting that. Kelrian was still unsure about his feelings nor was he sure if Sylvanas was really feeling something for him. But the kiss and these comments from Liadrin...

Kelrian was so confused at this very moment. Maybe she was feeling something for him and maybe he was feeling something for her but what would that mean for Sylvanas and him?

He couldn't just confess to her and start a relationship with her. Sylvanas was one of the most famous persons of Quel'Thalas. He would stand in the midpoint if people would find out about their relationship. There would be many people who would be jealous of him and maybe treat him differently in a negative way. Not to mention that Sylvanas would also be focused. People would talk about them but not always positively. People will say that he had only gotten his spot in Sylvanas' trainee squad because she had feelings for him and not because he deserved it. Kelrian was sure that he would manage to handle such gossips but he was not sure if Sylvanas would. He was worried that something between them would cause troubles for her.

He was brought out of his thoughts by Liadrin who patted his shoulder softly. "I've given you many tips about women in general. I don't think a relationship with Sylvanas is impossible but it would be more difficult than your previous relationship. But first, you have to think about yourself and your feelings for Sylvanas. I know you feel something for her, you just need to figure out what exactly you feel. You need to be one hundred percent sure about everything before you do the next step. A secret relationship would be the best solution. Think about it and don't hesitate to come to me if you have found out what you feel for her"

"I will " responded Kelrian as he stood up. "Thanks for your advice, Liadrin"

"Where are you going?" the priestess asked curiously.

"I just want to catch some fresh air and get my head clear so I could think about what you just told me"

"Okay, see you soon I guess" she responded and waved at him. He waved back, giving her a small smile before he walked to out of the kitchen.

Her hand reached out for his, caressing it softly as soon as she got it. Her lips placed soft kisses over the length of his ear. Her wet body was pressed against his so she could feel the warmth which was radiated by his body. Her other hand rested on his belly, caressing his stomach muscles. She intertwined her fingers with his and began to kiss his neck softly as her other hand travelled downwards until it reached the waistband of his pants. She didn't hesitate to take the big thing in her hands which was already waiting to be touched. The corners of her lips formed a smile when her ears recognized the low moan which had escaped his lips. She loved to be the aggressive one. She loved to be the one who initiated everything. She loved to be the one who was having the active part.

She loved to be in control so she really enjoyed when she pleasured the man next to her. His moans were music for her ears and the faces, he made when she satisfied him, were priceless. Sylvanas was working wonders with her skilled fingers. He really enjoyed it but he didn't want that their love-making would be one-sided. He wanted to do something for her. He wanted to return her service. He took her hands away from his private part then he put them over her head and tied them together. She gave him a confused look but he ignored that and made the next step.

She noticed too late that his hand had moved downwards and was now resting between her legs. He was rubbing her through the fabric of her blue panties. He was very good at what he was doing, causing that a low moan escaped the Ranger-General's lips. Her moans became louder as he removed her panties and started to caress her southern lips with his skilled fingers. He pressed his thumb on her love bud, causing that a wave of pleasure was built up in her slowly. The wave became stronger as his fingers slipped in her wet folds and started to penetrate them. The single low moans which had escaped her lips from time to time turned into a melody of moans which was loud and echoed through the room.

In the end, she couldn't take it anymore. The wave of pleasure hit her hard, causing that her entire body trembled in excitement. She smiled and looked at the man she loved as she rode out her orgasm.

She stared at the fingers right in front of her face which were covered by her climax. But these fingers weren't Kelrian's fingers. He was not even in the same room as Sylvanas. He was not naked nor did he lie in her bed. Only Sylvanas herself laid in her bed with nothing on except for her birthday suit. She was panting heavily, exhausted but also satisfied by the orgasm she just had.

She realized soon enough that the hand which had pleasured her was her own. She blushed when she realized that she had pleasured herself while thinking about Kelrian. She had once pleasured herself while thinking about him wearing nothing but his swimming trunks. But this time she had imagined doing it with him. Sylvanas shook her head slightly, cleaning her fingers with a handkerchief.

She noticed that a person had opened the door and was standing in it. Her facial features derailed, she opened her mouth to say something but no word came out. The person chuckled when Sylvanas' face became redder.

Sylvanas didn't hesitate to grab her blanket and cover her body with it. "Ah c'mon Sylvie, you don't need to cover yourself. There is nothing I haven't seen before" the person said as she walked to Sylvanas' bed and sat down on the edge. She put her hand on Sylvanas' head, running her fingers through her majestic golden-hair.

"If you are sexually frustrated and tired of men you can come to me whenever you want. I will make sure that all your worries will vanish" the person said, giggling softly.

"Thanks for the offering Verena but I will pass on this"

"Are you sure about this?" her best friend asked. She tilted her head and regarded Sylvanas with a teasing smirk on her lips.

"Yes, I'm pretty sure about that" she responded, regarding Verena curiously.

Verena just shrugged with her shoulders, giving her a playful smile. "I still love you, you know"

"I know, Verena but you know that I'm not really interested in women. I'm attracted to men and not to women. You were the only exception"

"Were?" she asked, sounding a bit sad.

"Are" corrected Sylvanas. "You are gorgeous and smart, and I have really enjoyed the few years where we have dated secretly but... you know..."

Sylvanas stopped speaking as Verena pressed her index finger on her lips, silencing her. Sylvanas frowned and raised an eyebrow, regarded her best friend curiously.

"You don't need to explain yourself again. You have told me once why something between us would never work and I've accepted it"

"I know. I still feel bad for having refused your proposal"

"You don't need to. The spreading of the rumours about us stopped when you refused me. Our lives got easier, especially mine because I was not in the midpoint anymore. People stopped talking about me and they stopped staring at me all the time"

"If you say so" responded Sylvanas. She didn't seem to be convinced by this statement. But she knew her best friend since her youth. She knew when Verena was telling the truth and when she was lying. She could read her like a book. A very chatty book in this case.

Verena used the opportunity, where Sylvanas was lost in thoughts and couldn't stop Verena from whatever she wanted to do, to slip under the blanket and put her arm around her friend's shoulders. Sylvanas turned her head when she noticed what her friend had done. She didn't move away, she just regarded Verena. "What are you doing?"

"Well, it seems that you need body contact so I'm here to give you what you need" responded Verena. She gave Sylvanas a teasing grin as she put her hands on her hips, caressing them softly.

"I don't need body contact"

Verena giggled. "Understandable after you touched yourself for so long"

Sylvanas' cheeks became as red as a tomato. "Wait... you saw that?" stuttered Sylvanas nervously.

"Yep, I saw everything. Damn Sylvie, seeing you touching your breasts and slipping your skilled and smooth fingers in your womanhood looked pretty damn hot. It was hard for me to not take advantage of that. It was also hard to not touch myself while regarding you touching yourself" teased Verena.

Sylvanas rolled her eyes "Gosh, Verena. You are impossible"

The other woman didn't respond to her. She just laughed about Sylvanas' reaction.

"Why did you watch? Why didn't you let me know you were here"

Verena gave her a teasing grin. "First of all, I found it pretty sexy what you were doing. I also didn't want to interrupt your release of stress. I know you haven't slept with a man for seventy years so I didn't want to stop you from making yourself feel better. You deserve to feel good and I understand that you are tired of short-lived relationships and one-night-stands. I understand why you haven't slept with a man for so long"

"If it would be up to you, I would never be allowed to have sex with a man again. You would want me only for you, until the end of the time"

"You are right about this, Sylvie. Good for you that I'm not the one who is deciding about your life"

Sylvanas chuckled. "You would want me to only wear clothing which would accentuate my curves"

"You are god damn right. I love your curves, especially your breasts" responded Verena and put her hands on her ex-lover's huge rounds.

"Stop it, Verena. I will say it only one time"

"Fine" moaned Verena, lifting her hands to signalize Sylvanas that she surrendered. Sylvanas chuckled and shook her head slightly. She wouldn't admit it to her but she loved Verena's silly side. She loved joking and fooling around with her. She loved to hang around with her and do things no mature woman would do.

They knew each other since their youth and sometimes they behaved as they had behaved during their youth. Sylvanas was always serious when others were around. She could only relax and not be the strict Ranger-General when she was alone with Kelrian or Verena. She could only be herself when no one was around her, no one except for these two. These two were the only persons who could take all the pressure from her shoulders without needing to do much.

Verena did that with her perverted jokes and her silliness while Kelrian didn't need to do anything in particular. He just needed to be around to make Sylvanas feel better. She had grown fond of him over the past ten years. When they first had met, he hadn't appeared to be the perfect recruit Sylvanas had been looking for. He had been worse than most of the other candidates but he hadn't given up. Not even after he had failed the examination for the second time. Others would have given up and looked for another profession.

But not Kelrian. He had trained hard over eight years to get good enough to pass the third examination and become a member of Sylvanas' newest training group. He had proved that he had lots of patience and a very strong will. He deserved to be trained by her, especially because Sylvanas was sure that he would become one of the best Farstriders one day under her watch. She was sure that he wouldn't disappoint her. She will prove her sister and the other examiners that they had been wrong about him. She will prove that her assumption was right.

She was brought out of her thoughts when she felt that Verena had pinched her left nipple. Sylvanas raised an eyebrow, regarding her best friend.

"You are back in our reality" spoke Verena.

"I've never been somewhere else" exclaimed Sylvanas.

"You were daydreaming or lost in thoughts"

"You are right"

"What were you thinking about?"

"I think you already know the answer" replied Sylvanas.

"Kelrian, right?"

Sylvanas nodded.

"You thought about him when you masturbated, didn't you?"

Sylvanas blushed and hesitated for a few moments. Verena knew her from her youth, she could read her like an open book so there was no reason to lie to her. Sylvanas nodded her head, slower this time.

Verena chuckled and grinned teasingly. "I knew it. Do you want to know about who I'm thinking when I masturbate?"

"About me" responded Sylvanas without hesitation.

"Exactly" responded Verena, patting Sylvanas shoulder. She pulled the blanket up for a little, observing Sylvanas' nude body from head to toe. "May I touch your breasts one more time. Only for a short moment"


A faked growl escaped Verena's lips. "Fine. How was the celebration?"


"Only good?" Verena dug deeper. She was pretty sure that her friend had much more on her mind but she didn't want to say it for some reason.

"Well... What do you want to know?"

"I don't care about the details. Just tell me if you and Kelrian interacted"

"We did"

"Tell me more"

Sylvanas sighed. "We talked privately, drank some alcohol and then we kissed"

A big smile appeared on Verena's lips. "AAANNNDDDD?"

"I enjoyed the kiss and I am pretty sure he enjoyed it as well"

"What happened after the kiss?" asked Verena, sounding more curious and excited than before. It was unmistakable that she was really happy for her. She was hoping that things would work out between Sylvanas and Kelrian even though she still loved Sylvanas. She knew she couldn't have Sylvanas but she didn't stop loving her. She loved Sylvanas so much that she wanted that she could happy with someone else who truly loved her.

She had talked with Sylvanas a lot about Kelrian and she had given her useful tips over the years. She had advised her to not rush things and to not do silly or stupid actions. She had preached that patience was really important if Sylvanas wanted to be together with the younger elf one day. She had done everything in her power to support Sylvanas and the Ranger-General was more than glad to have her.

"Well, he was too drunk to go home alone. I was drunk as well but my vision was still good enough and I was still able to walk without staggering so I brought him to Liadrin's house. I brought him up to his room and then..."

"Then what?" asked Verena, nearly jumping on Sylvanas because she was super excited to hear more.

"I spent an hour in his room"

"Ohoh" sang Verena. She gave Sylvanas a teasing grin and patted her shoulder softly. "Sylvanas, you naughty girl"

"Naughty girl? Wait... what are you thinking about?" asked Sylvanas with a confused expression on her face.

"Probably not what you were referring to"

"What do you think I was referring to?"

"Isn't that obvious, Sylvie? You know me pretty well. I'm a pervert, you should know what I thought first"

"You thought I had sex with him?"

"Haven't you?"

"No, of course not" exclaimed Sylvanas. "He was too drunk. I would never take advantage of a drunk person, not even when I'm drunk too"

"So, what did you do instead?" Verena asked curious.

"We talked a bit and then I watched him sleep"


"Creepy? Do you want to know what is creepy?"


"It's creepy that I pleasured myself two times while thinking about my subordinate. Today, I even imagined having sex with him"

"There is nothing wrong about masturbating while thinking about a person you really find attractive. I always imagine you pleasuring me when I play with myself" Verena admitted with faked shame.

Sylvanas shook her head about this statement and threw her pillow in her best friend's face. Verena laughed and threw the pillow back at Sylvanas who caught it and put it back beneath her head.

"So, what are we doing now. Do you want to talk about Kelrian?"

"Yes, but not now. I'm very hungry. Let's go to the kitchen and eat breakfast. Then we can talk about my feelings for him"

"Sounds fine to me" responded Verena. She got up and helped Sylvanas getting dressed. Of course, she used every opportunity to touch Sylvanas while helping her taking on her clothes. Nor did she stop looking at Sylvanas' breasts and her firm ass. Sylvanas didn't mind at all because she and Verena had been lovers for eight years which meant that Verena had seen everything of her and had already touched every spot of her body countless times. She didn't need to be embarrassed about showing her best friend her nude form.

The two women got ready and left the room. Both of them were really hungry so they couldn't wait to make breakfast and satisfy their hunger.

Chapter Text

Kelrian arrived at the Farstrider Enclave after riding for an hour. He brought his horse to the stable next to the building. One of the stable master's apprentices took the horse and guided it inside. Kelrian gave the boy a silver coin before he turned around and regarded the impressive building next to him. It was not a closed building with closed rooms like most of the other important buildings and houses in Quel'Thalas. It was a very opened place where lots of rangers were gathered. They could enjoy the fresh air while they talked about certain topics or discussed missions and tasks.

There was a large platform at the back of this building. A red and golden coloured mandala decorated the ground of the platform. In the middle of the platform was a fireplace around which a few rangers stood. There was even a Ranger-Captain among them. From the platform run two bent stairs-like paths which led to the top of two round turret-like building parts. There were also a few large pillars which supported the building's roof. The roof, which was covered by yellow tiles, only protected the Farstriders from rain which came from above.

Kelrian regarded the magnificent building for a few minutes before walked over to it. He was greeted by the recruits and rangers he passed and he greeted them in return, of course. He even spotted a few recruits he knew very well but he didn't walk over to them. He didn't want to be late so he hurried to the turret-like construct on the left side of the building. He took a deep breath, collecting himself before he knocked at the door.

"Who is it?" asked the most beautiful voice he had ever heard.


"Wait a moment" Sylvanas responded. "You may enter now" she said after a minute.

Kelrian didn't hesitate to open the door, entering the room immediately. He closed the door behind him, turning his head to the direction where he expected Sylvanas. But she wasn't sitting on her chair behind her desk. Instead, she was standing next to the door and regarded her apprentice curiously.

"I'm here" she said, smiling as Kelrian got startled by her sudden appearance.

He turned around immediately, holding his hand over the spot where his rapidly beating heart was. "You frightened me, Sylvanas"

"It was not my intention to do that. Sorry"

"You don't need to apologize" he said, smiling at her.

Sylvanas pointed at the chair in front of her desk, offering him to take a seat. He gave her a nod and walked to the chair, sitting down. Sylvanas walked to her chair and sat down as well. She pulled two glasses out of a drawer and filled it with moonberry juice. Kelrian thanked her and emptied half of his glass immediately.

Sylvanas smiled at him. "You seem to be very thirsty"

"The sun was shining all the way down at me when I rode from my home to this place. It's pretty hot outside"

"Indeed, it is"

"Thank you for offering me this drink"

Sylvanas chuckled. "You don't need to thank me for that. It's nothing extraordinary"

"I still want to thank you"

She returned his smile. "What can I do for you, Kelrian?"

"Who said that I want something from you?"

Sylvanas tilted her head. "Why else would you come to me?"

"Am I not allowed to just be around youor do I need to have a reason when I want to spend time with you?"

Sylvanas chuckled. "I'm flattered, you are the first person who pays me a visit without wanting something from me. So, once you are here, I want to talk to you about something"

Kelrian gave her a curious look. "I wanted to do the same, to be honest"

"So, you came to me for a reason I knew it" she said, giving him a teasing smile.

"Well, I... yeah. You are right but I'm also here because I really enjoy your company"

"I enjoy your company as well"

Kelrian's eyes widened in surprise. "Really?"

Sylvanas gave him a nod. "I would never lie to you" she said, putting her left hand on his right hand. Kelrian looked down at their hands, blushing as Sylvanas' hand caressed his.

"I believe you"

She smirked. "You better do so"

"About what do you want to talk, Sylvanas?" he asked, wondering if she also wanted to talk about the night two days ago.

"About the celebration and what happened there" she didn't break eye contact with Kelrian as she spoke.

Kelrian sighed out in relief. "That suits me fine. I also wanted to speak to you about what happened there. What happened between us, to be exactly"

"I think it is obvious what is going on between us" statemented Sylvanas.

Kelrian tilted his head, giving her a surprised look. "So, it was not the alcohol which led you to kiss me"

Sylvanas' facial expression became upset for a very short moment but then it became normal again. "Of course not. The alcohol may have strengthened my back but my feelings for you were already there since the first day I met you"

Kelrian was silent, not knowing what to say in response. He hadn't expected that Sylvanas' feelings for him existed since the first day they met. He had expected that her feelings for him had developed over the past years. Just like in his case. Finding out that she had feelings for him since ten and a half years made him speechless. He just stared at her, returning her smile.

She wasn't nervous at all. But he was, even though he had no reasons to. Sylvanas had told him that she was feeling something for him. She didn't seem to regret the kiss nor did she ignore him. These were good signs. Still, Kelrian felt insecure for some reason.

His gaze fell back on Sylvanas' hand which was resting on his. She intertwined their fingers and caressed the back of his hand with her thumb. She continued to smile at him, telling him that she was serious about her feelings for him. But Kelrian was still insecure. He felt unworthy of her. There were so many other men who were worthier than him, who also had a higher rank than him. They weren't expelled from their families and regarded as shames.

He, on the other hand, was just an ordinary recruit while she was the Ranger-General. She was Sylvanas Windrunner, the most beautiful woman of Quel'Thalas. And he was just the son of a priest who wanted to be a Farstrider. He was nothing compared to her.

"I fell for you from the first day we met" Sylvanas repeated. "I knew from day one that you were special. You haven't gotten much practise with the bow when you attended the first examination. You wanted to become a Farstrider so badly and you did everything to become one of us. You practised hard and you always stood up when you stumbled over an obstacle. You never gave up, even after you failed the second time. You pulled yourself up and worked harder. You passed the third entrance exam and even the intermediate exam.

I admire your will power and your stamina. Others would have given up after the first or second failure but you didn't. You ignored the opinions of the others and you tried it over and over again. You did it. You became a recruit against the expectations of many high ranked rangers. I knew from the beginning that you will make it through the exam one day. I really admire you Kelrian and I can't hide my feelings anymore. I have hidden them for ten years because I was insecure. But I'm not anymore. Not after our kiss, which felt right to me"

Kelrian was silent for a few minutes. He stared into those gorgeous blue eyes which regarded him curiously. Sylvanas' and his fingers were still intertwined but he didn't mind that. He really enjoyed close contact with her soft and skilled fingersbrushing his while looking into her eyes made his heart beat faster. His body reacted positively to her, only his mind was unsure of this entire situation. He was still insecure about everything.

He didn't know what would happen if a relationship between them wouldn't work out. Would she get distant to him? Would she put him in another regiment? Would she treat him differently?

Do I have similar feelings for her? Do I love her? Or do I only regard her as a very close friend and as my mentor?

He had feelings for her but he was not sure if these feelings were similar to the ones Sylvanas had for him. He had talked with Liadrin about his feelings but he was still insecure. Insecure about everything.

"But you are not favouring me because of your feelings for me, aren't you?"

"Of course not. I favour you because I believe that you can become one of the best Farstriders if you train hard enough"

"I'm glad you believe in me, unlike everyone else". His response sounded sadder than it was supposed to be. Sylvanas put her other hand on Kelrian's shoulder, patting it softly. Her smile was enough to drive out all worry and sadness. He returned her smile, staring into her eyes. She did the same, caressing the back of his hand with her thumb.

"Now you know how I feel about you. Is there anything you want to say to me?" Sylvanas asked curiously. She was hoping that he would tell her that he loved her. Such a confession would make things a lot easier for them.

"We...ll...I..." Kelrian began but stopped speaking when he noticed that he was stuttering. He closed his eyes for a few moments, calming down eventually. He opened them and stared once again into Sylvanas' gorgeous eyes.

"I'm not sure what to think at this very moment. I'm flattered but I don't know exactly how I feel about you. I feel more than friendship, I know that for sure but I'm still unsure about my feelings... I need more time to figure out how I feel about you..." he responded quietly, looking ashamed at his feet.

He felt Sylvanas' hand under his chin. He didn't want to look at her but he had no choice because the Ranger-General lifted his chin and forced him to look at her. A quiet sigh of relief escaped his lips when he realized that Sylvanas was neither angry or hurt. On the contrary, she gave him an understanding look. Her likable smile comforted him and convinced him that everything was alright.

Sylvanas didn't show that she was a bit disappointed. She could understand him so she didn't want to push him. She assumed that he felt unworthy of her or maybe he was just insecure about his feelings. She couldn't know that but she didn't want to ask more questions because she didn't want to put him under pressure.

She was a hunter and hunters often needed to be patient. And Sylvanas was a patient person. She wouldn't have gone without sex for sixty years if she wouldn't be a patient person. She was waiting for the right person and she was pretty sure that Kelrian was the right person she wanted to be with. She just had to give him enough time. Pressuring him would only scare him away.

"I understand you, Kelrian"

"Do you really?" he asked.

"I do. I don't want to put pressure on your shoulders and I don't want to push you. I understand that you need time to think about everything. Just keep in mind that I will never be angry about you if you don't feel the same and I won't treat you differently if you reject me. We can't force anyone to love us. Take your time and tell me how you feel as soon as you are ready. And don't be afraid of me. I'm a big girl, I can handle rejections"

Kelrian didn't say anything, he just nodded to her. He looked at their intertwined fingers, then at Sylvanas. He remained silent for a few moments before he spoke eventually. "Thank you for your understanding"

"No problem, Kelrian"

"May I go now or do you have something else you want to talk about?"

"Not now. You can leave if you want"

Kelrian pulled his hand away and stood up. Sylvanas did the same and walked to him, guiding him to the door. She opened it but put her hand on Kelrian's cheeks before he could walk out of the office. She leaned in and kissed his left cheek softly, giggling when she saw the deep blush on his face. He stared into her sky-blue eyes for a few moments. He realized too late what he was doing, so he couldn't stop it. He mimicked Sylvanas' move and kissed her cheek softly. His face became as red as a tomato when he pulled back.

Sylvanas made an amused and satisfied face but she didn't say anything. She just caressed his cheek for a few moments and looked at him. "Don't forget that we and the rest of the group will meet in Fairbreeze Village in two hours"

"Don't worry, I won't be late"

"Good" responded Sylvanas and gave him her brightest smile, regarding him for a few moments before she waved at him and closed the door after he had left her office.

Kelrian arrived in Fairbreeze Village. He looked around, noticing that no other member of his group was here. He was half an hour too early so he thought about what he could do until the others would arrive. He looked over to the market house where the village's traders were selling their goods. He was figuring out if he needed something from them. Nothing came in his mind which he really needed. Nevertheless, he decided to walk over to the house to find out what the traders were offering.

He spotted two women and one man in the shop. He had met these traders a few times whenever his group had made a stop in this village to buy supplies. Kelrian had gotten known to them a little because he had talked to them from time to time. The woman with the silver dyed hair was Sathiel. She was at least double the age of Kelrian and sold items which could be used for mining or dyeing cloths and other materials. The other woman had the name Marniel Amberlight and wore a beautiful yellow-purple coloured dress. She was selling various delicious food and drinks.

The last trader was named Halis Dawnstrider and wore purple leggings and a turquoise tunic. He sold bags and other stuff which could be useful for an adventure. Kelrian greeted them, observing their offerings. He talked with them a little, mostly about casual topics and his apprenticeship. He wished he could stay longer and talk more with them but he had to look out for the others. He bought a few flasks filled with melon juice, giving Marniel a few more coins as a bonus. She nodded to him and gave him a thankful smile. Kelrian put the flasks in his bag and said goodbye to the traders before he left the shop.

He walked to the centre of the village, noticing that Zetai and Kelia were standing in the near of one of the smaller houses. They were so engrossed in their conversation that they didn't notice Kelrian, not even when he approached them and stopped right in front of them. He waited a few minutes, not saying anything while he listened to them. They were talking about dragonhawks and other beautiful creatures which lived in the forests of Quel'Thalas.

Kelrian cleared his throat after he had listened to them for a while, greeting them as soon as they turned to him. Kelia pulled him in a quick hug while Zetai offered him a handshake. Kelrian didn't hesitate to accept the handshake, smiling at his friend.

"Have you seen the others?" Kelrian asked curiously.

Kelia shook her head. "No, we haven't. We haven't seen the Ranger-General either. Normally she is at least half an hour earlier than us but today she isn't. I wonder why"

"Maybe she is busy because has to do a lot of work so she can't allow herself to be here earlier and do nothing while she is waiting for us. Even if, I'm pretty sure she will arrive on time" responded Kelrian. He thought about the stacks of documents he had spotted on Sylvanas' desk. He was wondering how many hours she would need to work them off. She wouldn't finish the stacks in a few hours, he knew that for sure.

But she would finish them sooner than others would because she was a really hard-working person who did her work no matter if she liked it or not. She would do everything which was necessary. She didn't even mind working a lot longer than she had to. No matter if she would have less free time or less time to sleep. She only went to her home when everything was done.

There had been times where Sylvanas hadn't left her office for a whole week. She had constantly worked off the stacks of documents and only made pauses to eat or sleep for a few hours. Her sister had told her more than one time that she didn't need to do this, that she could take an assistant who could help her but Sylvanas insisted on doing this on her own. Alleria had accepted her decision because she was tired of discussing with her stubborn little sister.

"Who will arrive on time?" asked a familiar voice. The recruits turned around, making surprised faces as they saw Sylvanas standing to their right. None of them had seen her coming nor had they heard her. None of the recruits had heard any footsteps as if the Ranger-General had appeared out of nowhere.

"Nobody, Ranger-General" responded Kelia.

Sylvanas raised an eyebrow. "You were talking about me, weren't you?"

"Yes, we were. We were just wondering why you didn't arrive earlier as usual"

"I have assumed that. I was busy with a lot of paperwork so I didn't manage to come earlier" responded Sylvanas. Her gaze shifted from Kelia to Zetai and then to Kelrian. "All of you look very relaxed so I assumed you get enough sleep. I've been afraid that some of you would still be affected by the after-effects of the alcohol. It wouldn't be the first time that a few recruits would be missing on the first day of the following week after such a celebration"

"Well, Saith and Vendora are still missing" said Zetai.

"I'm pretty sure that they will come sooner or later"

Indeed, they did. They arrived five minutes later. Unlike Zetai and Kelrian, they hadn't drunk much at the celebration so they didn't feel unwell. Kelrian and Zetai didn't feel unwell either because they had slept a lot while Saith and Vendora had been able to use their free time differently. They hadn't needed to sleep half of the day to feel well again.

"Now that we are complete, we can finally begin" statemented Sylvanas.

"What are we doing?" Kelrian asked curiously.

"We are investigating something"

"Investigating something? What do we investigate?"

"Bandits. Bandits have been seen near this village. We need to catch them. We can't allow that renegades and criminals threat, harm or rob the citizens of Quel'Thalas. It's our duty to protect those who cannot protect themselves" explained Sylvanas.

"Where do we start our investigation?" asked Kelia.

"We will check the surroundings of the village and speak with the inhabitants. Saith and Vendora will speak with them and gain as many useful information as possible. Kelia and Zetai will take a closer look at the nearest forests. It's not unusual that bandits set up their camps in forests. They also love to hide in dark caves. Kelrian and I will follow the main road which leads to the next larger city. Maybe we can find some tracks there. We will meet again in four hours" told Sylvanas. She asked if someone had questions but none of them asked her something. Everyone understood what they had to do.

Nobody had an objection so the group split up. Kelrian found himself next to Sylvanas as they walked out of the village to the main road which was wide and plastered with firm stones. The main road was taken by lots of people every day so Kelrian was asking himself why the Ranger-General wanted to investigate it. It would be almost impossible to figure out which footprints belonged to traders, inhabitants of the village or visitors, and which footprints would belong to the bandits.

He was not even sure if the bandits would have taken this road. It didn't make sense to him that bandits would show themselves on a well-known and often used road where everyone could see them. Bandits would only take this road when they would be sure that no one could see and recognize them. That would mean that the bandits came at night when it was dark and most people were sleeping. If they had used this road.

Kelrian didn't say anything. He just followed Sylvanas, keeping his eyes on the ground and on the surroundings at the same time. They followed the main road for a while without finding anything useful. They came to a crossroad with three paths which led in three different directions.

Sylvanas stopped in the middle of the crossroad, observing every path closely. Kelrian didn't know what she had seen to decide to take the path to the west but he followed her without asking questions. Kelrian was still curious why Sylvanas had taken this way so he asked her after they had walked for twenty minutes.

"I haven't found much, only a few pieces of cloth and a few rusty coins. There are no real hints that the bandits went this way" told Sylvanas, looking at him over her shoulder while she continued to walk.

"So, why are we following this path then and not the others?"

"For some reason, my gut instinct told me that they went this way. This is only an investigation. We aren't chasing them. We are not in a rush so we can take a closer look at every path they might have taken. I've heard that the bandits had been in this area, so we have to observe more than just the village and the nearest forest. We have to investigate the entire area around it"

"I'm not sure if we will find many hints in this area"

"I understand your doubts but there aren't many villagers we can question so we have to find hints elsewhere"

"I understand that but we have no hints which could help us. We have no clue where we should start with our search. We are just wandering around and hope that we find something. Maybe we should have asked the villagers together and then go to the places where the bandits had been seen. We have to be really lucky if we want to find anything here"

"Trust me, Kelrian. I'm doing this for quite some time. I have investigated lots of things and followed lots of groups of bandits since I became a ranger. I have lots of experience. Trust me, I know what I'm doing"

"I believe you" he responded quietly.

"So, why do you doubt my decisions then?"

"I'm not doubting your decisions, Ranger-General"

Sylvanas stopped and turned around, looking at him. "But you don't understand why we are doing this, right?"

"Well, I..." he said but he was too nervous to finish his sentence. He returned Sylvanas' staring and took a deep breath before he responded to her without stuttering. "I'm not convinced that we find any hints in this area. There are so many footprints on the ground that it would be impossible to find out which belong to the bandits. If any of these footprints belong to them. We don't even know if they went this way"

"Do you trust me?" asked Sylvanas and stared deeper into his eyes.

"Of course I do" Kelrian responded immediately.

"Why do you doubt my decisions then?" she asked with a strict expression on her face.

"Errm..." Kelrian had no clue what to say at this moment. Of course, he trusted Sylvanas. She was the best ranger of Quel'Thalas and she had a lot of experience. Sylvanas knew what she was doing because she was doing that for quite some time. Kelrian regretted immediately that he had doubted her. If Sylvanas was sure that she was following the right path then she was following the right path. He knew that she was never wrong about her assumptions. She always trusted her instincts which had never led her on a wrong trail. She just followed her instincts which told her to follow this path.

"I'm sorry, Ranger-General" said Kelrian eventually after he had been silent for a few moments.

"It's okay" she said, giving him a small smile. She put her hand on his shoulder, patting it softly. He returned her smile, staring into her gorgeous eyes. Sylvanas cleared her throat after a few minutes, bringing him back to the present. "Can we continue walking then?

"Of course, Ranger-General"

"I think I told you that you can call me by my name when we are alone"

"I remember that but I thought you meant it only when we are in a closed room where nobody can hear or see us"

"Do you see anyone in our near?" she asked as she spun around and pointed at the surroundings.

"Well, no but what if an invisible person follows us?"

"Are you serious about this?" asked Sylvanas, assuming that he had meant this as a joke.

"Of course not"

Sylvanas chuckled. "Good, let's keep moving then"

They didn't find any useful hint in the next thirty minutes. They came to another crossroad, taking the way which led to the west. They followed this path for a while and then they came to a small forest, in which lots of trees with colourful leaves stood. Some of them had orange and even red leaves, others had green or yellow leaves. The Eversong Forest was known for its variety in tree species and for its beauty. They regarded the forest for a few moments before they entered it, beginning to walk straight through it. They checked their surroundings closely, stopping after a while.

Sylvanas bowed down and stroked over the ground which was covered by lots of colourful leaves. There was a small pile of leaves which stood out from the even swept it away, smiling when she saw something beneath it. They found the remains of an extinguished bonfire.

"I knew there had to be something beneath it. It was too obvious. This is not the work of professional bandits. Professional bandits would have covered her tracks much better. I would have still been able to identify them but it would have been a lot harder. But this is too easy. This can only be the work of amateurs" she explained.

Kelrian crouched next to her, regarding the bonfire from the near. "The burned pieces of wood are still glowing. This bonfire was extinguished recently, which means that whoever has made this fire shouldn't be far away from us"

"You are absolutely right"

"There have to be footprints somewhere we can follow"

Sylvanas pointed at the tree stump. "There is another hint"

Kelrian stood up and walked over to the stump, pulling the knife out which stuck in it. "This is not a casual knife" he statemented after he had observed the knife for a minute.

Sylvanas walked over to him, taking the knife out of his hands. "This is a troll knife" she said eventually.

Kelrian turned his head, looking at her. "Are you sure?"

She looked at him, tilting her head. "Of course, I am. I've been fighting trolls for decades"

"But that doesn't have to mean that the owner is a troll. Maybe these bandits are renegade humans or elves who obtained such a knife somewhere"

Sylvanas looked at the ground, observing the footprints in front of them. "These are no human or elven footprints. Whoever was there had no shoes and only two toes. These can only be troll footprints"

"I can't believe that trolls dared to come in our lands. Do you believe that they are these bandits?" Kelrian asked curiously.

"I don't think so. My informants would have told me if trolls would have been seen in our lands. The trolls have been here but I believe the bandits are still somewhere. This means that we have a bandit and a troll problem at the same time"

"Maybe we have only one problem"

"What do you mean?"

Kelrian didn't say anything. He just pointed at the freshly turned over ground behind a small bush. Sylvanas didn't hesitate to walk over to the bush. "If only we had shovels" she muttered. Kelrian came to her, regarding the ground as well. "Do you think that someone has been buried here?"

"That could be possible". She turned her head, checking her surroundings. Her eyes widened a little when she spotted a large amount of blood on the ground near them. It was definitely fresh blood.

Sylvanas walked over to the spot, bending down to investigate this. "This could be troll blood or human blood. It's hard to differentiate it. It doesn't really matter which blood it is. What matters is that a fight has happened here recently. We have to investigate this but we have to be careful as well. We don't know how many enemies are in our near"

"I..." Kelrian started but was interrupted by a loud war cry. He turned around, spotting a troll who was holding with a spear and was running towards him. It was unmistakable that this troll wanted to kill him. But this troll was not alone. Two other trolls followed him and charged towards the two elves.

The elves couldn't use their bows because these trolls were already too close to them. Sylvanas had no other choice than drawing her blades from her belt.

"This is not good" Kelrian muttered as he drew his sword, holding it in front of his body. He was ready to block the first attack. He was ready to defend himself against these intruders and he was not scared even though they were one more. Sylvanas Windrunner was on his side, so he should be able to kill these trolls with her help. He was hoping that at least. He couldn't know that these trolls were not the only trolls in this area.

Chapter Text

The troll with the spear came closer. He was a large, muscular male with green skin, a short red mohawk and two large tusks. He wore a leather vest and leather pants but he didn't wear any shoes or gloves. The other trolls wore similar clothes but they had no spears. They carried large, very sharp knives on which blades fresh blood stuck. They looked really fearsome with their tall sizes and their angry faces. But Sylvanas wasn't scared nor was Kelrian.

The two elves couldn't use their bows because the trolls were too close to them. But they didn't need their bows to defend themselves. Both of them were excellent fighters. Kelrian had never killed an enemy before but he wouldn't hesitate to defend himself and kill his opponents if necessary.

The troll with the spear approached him and tried to hit him but Kelrian managed to sidestep the attack at the last moment. The two trolls with the knives ran to Sylvanas and attacked her but she blocked their attacks with her two blades. Kelrian tried to hit his opponent with his sword but the troll was not as slow as he had hoped. He jumped to the side and pushed the tip of his spear in Kelrian's direction. The blond elf managed to shove the tip away with his sword, causing that the spear missed him.

Kelrian came closer to the troll, grabbing the handle to the spear. It was not possible to snatch the spear away but at least he managed to push it away so that the spear couldn't hit him. A frustrated noise escaped the troll's lips as he realized that Kelrian managed to keep his weapon away from him while using only one arm. It was clearly visible in the troll's eyes that Kelrian's strength surprised him. He hadn't expected that Kelrian was that strong.

Kelrian's facial expression didn't change as he noticed the expression the troll made. He didn't get cocky nor did he do something rashly. He tried to hit the troll with his sword but the troll managed to grab his upper arm and shove it away forcefully. Kelrian gritted his teeth, ignoring the pain the troll's tight grip was causing. He noticed that the troll's eyes rested on his arms which meant that he wasn't paying much attention to what his legs were doing.

Kelrian acted quickly and kicked the troll's left knee as hard as he could. The troll loosened his grip on the spear as a painful cry escaped his lips. Kelrian also noticed that the grip on his hand had been loosened as well so he managed to free his hand and rammed his sword in the troll's chest. A pained scream followed by a large amount of blood came out of his mouth. Kelrian didn't hesitate and disarmed the troll, impaling him with his own spear. He beheaded the troll, turning to Sylvanas immediately.

Sylvanas had already killed one of them and was currently fighting the other. Kelrian rushed to her and rammed his sword in the troll's back, thrusting it deeper until it came out of the troll's chest. Sylvanas beheaded the troll and gave Kelrian a thankful nod. She put her swords back on her belt and pulled her bow from her back. She pulled an arrow out of her quiver and nocked it for the case that more trolls would come to them.

Sylvanas' assumption turned out to be true as five trolls came in their field of vision. Kelrian had also nocked an arrow so he was also ready to shot. Two trolls fell before they even realized what happened. Two more died before they came too close to the elves, meaning that only one troll remained.

Sylvanas pulled a knife out of her belt and flung it at the troll, hitting him in the eye. The troll cried out in pain and stopped moving, trying to remove the sharp object. That gave Kelrian enough time to shot an arrow which hit the troll right between the eyes. A very loud cry escaped the troll's lips, then he fell backwards and landed on the ground. Sylvanas nocked an arrow, walking forward without losing sight of her surroundings. She regarded the troll with one eye, checking if he was really dead, while her other eye observed the surroundings.

He was still alive for some reason but he didn't move at all. He was breathing heavily, his eyes stared at nothing. Sylvanas looked at Kelrian, receiving a nod from him. He nocked an arrow and kept an eye on the surroundings as Sylvanas lowered her bow and drew one of her blades from her belt. She ended the troll's life by piercing the blade through his heart.

Kelrian turned his head as he heard a very quiet noise. His eyes widened as he saw the arrow which flew through the air. He noticed that whoever had shot his arrow, had aimed at Sylvanas. But it was too late for him to warn her. A loud cry escaped Sylvanas' lips as the arrow hit her in the left shoulder. She didn't drop her bow, even though the pain she was feeling was unbearable for the moment.

Kelrian's eyes were widened in shocked as he checked the surroundings in panic. He needed to find out where the attacker was so he could eliminate him. Another arrow hit Sylvanas, this time in the left upper thigh. She cursed loudly and pulled a much larger knife out of her belt, throwing it at the direction where she assumed the archer was.

The corners of her mouth formed a small smile for a short moment as her ears recognized the muffled cry. She pointed at the direction, giving Kelrian the signal to fire. The young male shot an arrow in the direction, hearing another pained cry, this time it was much louder. Sylvanas found shelter behind a large tree so that no arrows could hit her. At least no arrows from the direction where they had been fired previously. She pressed her back against the tree trunk, holding a knife in her left hand for the case that another attacker would approach them. Fortunately for them, nobody came.

The two elves waited for a few minutes but no one came. Sylvanas looked at Kelrian, receiving a nod from him. He took his sword and walked slowly to the nearest bush. As a recruit he hadn't learned the technique yet which would allow him to hide in the shadows and become invisible. He had no other choice than walking to the bush, risking that any attacker could jump out of the bush and attack him.

He checked if the bush was empty before he hid in it. He checked his surroundings, looking out for more enemies. He spotted no one. No living person at least. Not far away from him laid a dead person on the ground. Like his tribesmen, the person was an Amani troll under the command of Zul'jin. A knife stuck in his neck and an arrow in his left eye. He was clearly dead and it seemed that he was the last troll in this area.

Still, Kelrian remained careful and didn't do any rash moves. He returned to Sylvanas, letting his eyes wander from corner to corner with each move he made. He found Sylvanas still leaning against the trunk. She was biting her bottom lip and her beautiful facial features were distorted in pain but other than that she was fine.

"It seems that all attackers are dead" spoke Kelrian, observing the arrows in Sylvanas' body. He was no doctor and no healer but he was pretty sure that Sylvanas wouldn't go far with the arrow in her left upper thigh. Even if he would remove it, she would still hobble. He approached the Ranger-General and put his arms around her upper body, helping her to get in a comfortable sitting position.

"I didn't see the arrows coming. I would have dodged them if I would have seen them earlier"

"Now it's too late to blame yourself, Sylvanas. The attackers are gone at least. We need to find a way to treat your wound" spoke Kelrian.

"I wish now that we would have taken the horses but I had decided to go without them because I wanted to focus better on observing the surroundings to find tracks and other hints. We could need them right now" she hissed.

"It would have been difficult for you to ride with this wound. I mean it would have been possible but it would have really hurt" explained Kelrian.

"I know but I have ridden with worse wounds in the past. I would have endured the pain for sure"

"I believe that" responded Kelrian. "Anyways, I guess we have to walk then"

"I can't walk on my own with the arrow in my upper thigh" statemented Sylvanas.

"I know that's why I will support you"

"We are easy targets for every bandit or troll if we move like that. Maybe it's better if you leave me here and run to the nearest village to get help"

"I won't leave you alone, not even if we would know that no troll or bandit would be around" responded Kelrian, looking into Sylvanas' eyes. He signalized her that he was serious about this. He would never leave her side no matter what would happen.

"I can take care of myself. I'm a big girl"

"I would believe you under normal circumstances. But you are hurt and you can barely move your left arm and left leg. I won't leave you here, not in this condition"

Sylvanas sighed. "Fine. But first, you have to break off the arrows"

"I can also remove them. I may be a bad priest but I still know how to treat wounds. If I break off the tips, I can pull out the arrows and dress your wounds"

Sylvanas nodded to him, staring at him with a determined expression on her face. She bit her bottom lip hard to prevent that a loud scream escaped her lips as Kelrian broke off the tip of the arrow in her shoulder. A scream was still hearable but it was muffled.

Kelrian pulled out the arrow carefully, signalizing Sylvanas to press her hands on the wound. She did as she was told, looking at Kelrian who pulled a bandage out of a small pocket which was attached to his belt. He unrolled it and wrapped it tight enough around the wound to stop the bleeding. He did the same with the wound in Sylvanas' upper thigh. She gave him a thankful nod, accepting his hand which helped her to get up.

Kelrian wrapped his arm around her shoulders, allowing her to do the same. Kelrian blushed a little when their bodies came in contact but the blush faded then he realized that this was a dangerous situation and not a comforting situation like the situation on the balcony two days ago.

But for some reason, he couldn't stop thinking about the celebration and what had happened there. He remembered the moment where they had kissed and had pressed their bodies together. He remembered how warm his body had been when Sylvanas had pressed her lips against his. He remembered how good her body had felt when they had embraced each other.

He shook his head, banishing these thoughts out of his mind for the moment. This was not the right moment to remember the comfortable and passionate moment they had shared together. This was not the right moment to think about something else but Sylvanas' security. She was injured and wasn't really able to defend herself. It was his task to protect her no matter what would happen.

She was his Ranger-General, his superior and his friend. Probably more than a friend because she was interested in him and he assumed that he was also feeling something for her. He was still not sure if he loved her but he knew that she was important to him and he considered her more than just a friend. But it was not the right moment for figuring out if he wanted Sylvanas the same way she wanted him.

He needed to bring her to safety. He needed to bring her to the nearest safe place. Fairbreeze village was too far away from them. They had needed a lot of time to get to this place so they would need more time to get back because they would be a lot slower than usual. Kelrian knew that there was a farm in the near. He knew he had to bring her to this farm, hoping that the inhabitants could help them.

"Where are we going?" asked Sylvanas as soon as she realized that Kelrian didn't intend to go back to Fairbreeze Village.

"There is a farm in the north where we can get help. We would take too long to reach Fairbreeze Village. The chances, that some bandits are going to attack us if we walk the entire way back to the village, would be pretty high. We wouldn't need long to reach the farm so it's better if we go to it than to Fairbreeze Village" explained Kelrian.

Sylvanas was silent for a few moments, thinking about what he had just said. "You are right" she admitted eventually.

Kelrian didn't respond to her. He kept a close eye on the surroundings as he walked, making sure that he didn't hurt Sylvanas. They left the forest faster than expected and came to the main road. They walked for a while, stopping from time to time so that Sylvanas could relax her injured leg for a few minutes.

They came to a crossroad and followed the path which led to the north. Kelrian was pretty sure that this was the right way. He was pretty sure that this path will lead them to the farm they were looking for. They followed the path for almost an hour, only stopping when they noticed that three persons were coming from the opposite direction. Kelrian and Sylvanas stayed on the same spot, regarding the three persons as they come closer.

Kelrian allowed Sylvanas to sit on the ground before he took his bow and nocked two arrows, aiming at the three persons. The strangers stopped when they noticed that Kelrian was ready to fire arrows at them. This gave Kelrian and Sylvanas enough time to scrutinize them closely.

They saw a human male and a human female supporting an injured male high elf. All three of them were wearing black clothes, some of them looked like rags while others had a much better quality. The lower halves of the persons' faces were covered by black scarves. Lots of daggers and large knives hung on their belts. It was unmistakable that these guys were bandits. Maybe the bandits Sylvanas and her group were looking for.

The clothes of the injured man in the middle were partly ripped, smaller and deeper cuts could be found on his exposed chest. He was also hobbling which meant that he had been hit in the leg or in the foot. Kelrian took a closer look on the cuts on the bandit's torso. These cuts were differently shaped, meaning that no ordinary knife or blade had caused these wounds. He had not enough experience to know what sort of a knife had been used to cause such wounds. But Sylvanas had the experience so she knew that a troll knife or sword had caused these wounds. She concluded that the bandits had bumped into the trolls or the other way around.

It didn't matter who saw who first. Things had become violent for sure. Sylvanas assumed that this had resulted that this bandit had gotten injured and that someone had been killed. Sylvanas was pretty sure that either trolls or bandits had been buried in the freshly filled hole.

"Don't you dare to come any closer" shouted Kelrian with a strict voice. His narrowed eyes rested on the bandits. He was ready to let loose his arrow from his bow if any of these bandits would do a wrong move. Sylvanas' arm hurt so much that she was sure she wouldn't be able to hold her bow properly. But that didn't mean she was defenceless. She had pulled three daggers from her belt which she would throw at the bandits if they would try something. A precise dagger right between their eyes would be enough to take them down.

One of the bandits, the woman, lifted her free arm, the other was still wrapped around her companion's shoulders. "We don't want to cause any trouble. As you can see, we are injured as well"

"You fought against trolls, didn't you?" asked Sylvanas. Her eyes didn't leave the bandits. She regarded them closely, trying to predict what they would do.

"We did but we didn't plan to fight them. They came out of nowhere and surprised us while we were resting"

"So, the campfire was yours"

The uninjured male nodded. "About fifteen trolls attacked us. They had bows, axes, swords, knives and very large spears. We killed six of them but we lost eight of our comrades"

"So, you fled but you returned later to bury your dead. But why did you make another campfire?" asked Sylvanas.

"It started as a campfire but we wanted to turn it into a pyre for the dead trolls but the remaining trolls returned before we could burn them"

"They chased you" statemented Sylvanas.

"They did but they stopped following us after a short time. Probably because they wanted to collect their dead" she said.

"The trolls are dead so you have no reason to keep fleeing from them"

"You killed them?" she asked, making a surprised face.

"We did but that doesn't mean you are safe. You are criminals who are threatening defenceless traders and villagers. Normally, I would kill you right on the spot or arrest you at least but the clash with the intruding trolls has wounded us all. You have two options. You will leave Quel'Thalas and never return but you will also promise to never do criminal activities again. Or you fight and die today" spoke Sylvanas. She made a determined face, signalizing the bandits that she was serious about this.

"You are allowing us to go?" asked the injured man. He was not the only one who had a surprised expression on his face. The other bandits and even Kelrian were more than surprised about Sylvanas' offering. They had expected that she would capture them or kill them. But she didn't intend to do that.

Kelrian was asking himself why she was doing this. He believed that she could kill them alone only with her daggers, even in her condition. On the other hand, the bandits didn't deserve to die. They may have stolen and threatened innocents but they didn't kill anyone. At least not until this day. But this could change in the future so Kelrian was not sure if letting them go was the right choice. He knew it would be hard for them to capture these bandits without killing them. If Sylvanas would be able to walk on her own it would be no problem. But she was injured so she couldn't help capturing them.

So, Kelrian had to face these bandits alone and he knew it would be pretty hard for him to fight them and protect Sylvanas at the same time. Letting them go for now was the right decision. Kelrian was hoping that at least.

He looked at Sylvanas, noticing that she was still having this strict look on her face. He looked back at the bandits, noticing that they had stuck their heads together and were discussing the offering. They pulled away after a few minutes, looking at Sylvanas and Kelrian.

"We thank you for your offering, Ranger-General. We also thank you for avenging our fallen comrades. We will promise that we will never steal again or do other criminal actions"

"I hope for you that you will keep your promises, otherwise I will hunt you until the end of the planet. I have my informants and spies everywhere, so I will find out if you do criminal things. Trust me, I won't stop until I get you and make sure you get your just punishments"

"I believe you" said the woman and lowered her head in respect. Sylvanas' facial expression didn't change. She continued to stare at the bandits with narrowed eyes, signalizing them with a gesture to walk past them. Kelrian had put his bow on his back and drawn his sword for the case that the bandits would change their minds and attack them. But they didn't. They passed Sylvanas and Kelrian without trying anything. The elves two waited until they were out of their sight before they turned their heads to look at each other.

"Do you think it was the right choice to let them go?" asked Kelrian.

"It was not the best decision overall but it was the best decision in this situation. I believe that you would have managed to defeat these bandits alone. If they were ordinary bandits at least. But we didn't know how good they were so it was the best to not make it escalate. I don't want you to get hurt for no reason. You mean a lot to me"

Kelrian bowed down next to her, regarding her closely. "I would have defended you, even if it would have cost my life to save you"

Sylvanas put a hand on his cheek. "But I don't want you to lose your life"

"I know but I will become a ranger in two and a half year which means that my life could end every day if a sudden troll attack comes. We are rangers, we have to risk our lives every day for the greater good"

"I know that. You don't need to tell me this. I'm risking my life every day as well" she said, caressing his cheek softly.

"I know and I admire you for your courage. You don't think about yourself in the first place, whenever you do something. You think about the many lives you could save. You wouldn't mind losing your life to save others. I've met other recruits and rangers whose mindset is different. They would protect our people but they wouldn't give their lives for them"

"I know. It's so sad some people under my command still have this mindset but what should I do? The Farstriders need every single ranger and recruit they can get. We have lost a lot of good rangers over the past decades. The skirmishes with the orcs and trolls have cost countless lives. The skirmishes with the trolls won't stop if Zul'jin stays alive. We need to take him down one day but to achieve that we need more warriors and rangers like you. You belong to the best recruits we currently have. You also don't mind risking your own life. I appreciate your courage but I don't like that you risk your life. I'm afraid that I could lose you.

"Now I'm confused. You told me that you want your subordinates to risk their lives for the greater good but you don't want me to risk my life"

"You know why. I'm in love with you" responded Sylvanas. She took one of his hands and intertwined their fingers. Kelrian regarded Sylvanas from head to toe. His gaze rested long on her beautiful face before it shifted to her breasts, her exposed belly, her thighs and then to the wound in her upper thigh.

He realized that he really hated seeing Sylvanas being hurt. He had been unsure about his feelings for her but at this very moment, where he realized that they both could have lost their lives today, he found out that he had similar feelings for Sylvanas. She was important to him. She was not only his superior or his role model. She was also his friend but not only that. She was more than an ordinary friend for him. She was his love interest. She was the one he had feelings for. He had had a few girlfriends in the past but none of these had ever been so important for him as Sylvanas.

He would do everything for her. He would do everything to save her even if he had to sacrifice his life. She was worth all efforts and all pain he would have to endure to protect her. Normally she didn't need protection because she was the strongest and most skilled ranger in Quel'Thalas. She was better than everyone else. She was smarter than everyone else and she was prettier than everyone else. But she was more than that. She was friendly, funny, self-confident, brave and much more. He loved to talk with her and spend time with her.

And unlike most rangers Kelrian had met, Sylvanas was not arrogant and didn't think she was better because she was a trained ranger. She didn't think she was better because she was the best. Every person in Quel'Thalas was equal in her opinion. She treated everyone the same, even Kelrian. She didn't treat him differently during the training. She was in love with him so she was afraid that he would lose his others, she didn't want that he would risk his life. But other than that, she treated him like everyone else. She was just very afraid of losing him.

Kelrian looked back at her, staring into her eyes. "I think I have similar feelings"

Sylvanas' lips formed a smile, her hands caressed his cheeks. "That's all I wanted to hear" she said as she closed the distance between their faces and sealed her lips to his. Kelrian didn't hesitate to kiss her back, putting one of his hands on the back of her head as he deepened the kiss. He noticed that Sylvanas was asking for entrance by biting his bottom lip. He parted his lips, allowing her tongue to sneak in his mouth. Sylvanas didn't hesitate to explore his mouth with her tongue, licking every reachable corner. Kelrian brushed his tongue past hers to get in her mouth, mimicking her actions.

His heart was beating rapidly in his chest, his skin was tingling nervously. Sylvanas' heartbeat was also very fast and her skin also tingled. She noticed that the tips of her ears became stiff which was a sign that she was really enjoying this kiss. This was the second kiss they had shared in ten years of knowing each other. There weren't enough words for Sylvanas to describe how good this kiss felt for her. It was awesome enough to make her hold the kiss until she had to pull back because she needed to breathe.

Sylvanas was breathing heavily as she regarded the young man in front of her. He was also out of breath, his cheeks were reddened a little but he didn't look at the ground. He stared into her eyes. The face he was making told the Ranger-General that he had enjoyed the kiss as well.

"We need to talk about us when we have the time. But for now, we need to reach this farm. But we will talk about everything, I promise. I just want to say that I'm glad you are feeling the same" she said with a wide and happy smile on her lips.

Kelrian returned her smile, helping her to get up. She wrapped her arm around his shoulders, her other hand rested on the hand of the arm which was wrapped around her shoulders. She pressed her body against his, smiling when she noticed that his cheeks became redder. She put a quick kiss on his cheek, signalizing him to start walking. He made sure that Sylvanas wasn't feeling unnecessary pain as they walked as fast as Sylvanas' hurt leg allowed it.

Chapter Text

"We are almost there" spoke Kelrian. Sylvanas turned her head, looking at the direction he had pointed at. She saw a large and very long building which was made out of wood. To its right stood a house which was a lot smaller and shorter than it. To its left was a large field on which wheat was cultivated. There was also a thick forest behind the smaller house.

This was the farm they were looking for. Sylvanas assumed that the left building was a barn in which the animals of the farm were living. The other, which was made out of stones, must be the farmer's house. Kelrian stopped out of sudden, regarding the farm for a few moments, then his gaze fell on the path in front of them.

There was no one who could stop them from getting closer to the farm, so they walked until they reached the fence gate. Sylvanas supported herself on one of the many fence posts so Kelrian could open the door. He didn't hesitate to return to Sylvanas, helping her to the other side. He sat her on the ground, then he walked back to the gate and closed it.

He helped her up as he returned to her, then they walked towards the smaller house as fast as Sylvanas' injured leg allowed it. The farm was so large that they needed almost half an hour to reach the house.

They arrived in front of the smaller house, looking around for someone. They didn't saw any person, they only spotted a large, dangerous-looking dog which was leashed to a post next to the barn's entrance. The dog, which fur had a light brown colour, was looking at them but he didn't bark. He observed Sylvanas and Kelrian curiously but it didn't seem that he was regarding them as a threat. Kelrian looked at the dog for a few more moments before he turned back to the house in front of them and knocked at the door.

Nothing happened within the first few moments but then shouts were hearable from the inside. They heard a female voice asking someone to open the door. Half a minute passed until the door was finally opened but only slightly. The head of a blonde young female elf poked out. Her face was freckled but looked very cute. The girl was a lot younger than Kelrian who was, even with his sixty-seven years, still a teenager. The girl didn't say anything for the first moments. Her blue eyes widened when she realized who was standing in front of her.

"Ranger-General, is it really you?" she asked nervously. "By the Sunwell, you are hurt" she shouted. Her nervous expression was replaced by shock when she noticed Sylvanas' injuries.

"Are your parents at home?" Sylvanas asked, comforting the girl by looking in her eyes.

"Yes, they are"

"Can we come in? The Ranger-General's wounds need to be treated" spoke Kelrian.

"Of course, you can" responded the young woman. She opened the door, allowing Sylvanas and Kelrian to get in. Kelrian didn't hesitate to enter the house and rush to the nearest chair. He pulled the chair out and helped Sylvanas to sit down. He saw the girl, who was wearing a simple green dress, leaving the room and walking up the stairs to the second floor.

Kelrian turned back to Sylvanas, his eyes roamed over her body and returned to her face eventually. "Are you okay?" he asked, giving her a worried look. She leaned back against the chair, signalizing him that he didn't need to be worried. "I'm fine, really. I have suffered worse wounds in the past. I have managed to return home with a broken leg and a sprained arm, so I will survive this as well"

"I'm not worried about the injuries. I'm worried that the trolls might have poisoned you"

"They didn't use poison" assured Sylvanas.

Kelrian raised an eyebrow. "How can you be so sure about that?"

"I know the effects of troll poisons. The symptoms would have occurred by now if I would have been poisoned"

"What if they have used a new, slower working poison?"

"Using slower working poison is not the style of Amani trolls. They only use poisons which effects set in within a few minutes. They want to get an advantage as fast as possible. They don't want to kill their victims later. They are trophy hunters. They want to steal things from the dead bodies of their victims. Killing their opponents later wouldn't help them at all because they wouldn't be able to loot anyone if they would flee and die somewhere. The trolls wouldn't get any trophies if they wouldn't find the corpses of their victims"

"Are you sure? What if they have changed their minds?"

"I find it really cute that you are so worried about me. This means that I am really important to you but believe me when I tell you that I'm not poisoned"

"Nevertheless, we should check you as soon as we find someone who can heal your wounds"

"I..." started Sylvanas but she stopped speaking as she realized that two persons had entered the room together with the young woman. There was a man with short red hair and a woman with long silver-dyed hair. The man was wearing average farmer clothes, in this case, a leather trouser and a green vest. The woman wore a blue dress which didn't look very expensive. Sylvanas assumed that they were the parents of the young woman.

The parents lowered their heads in respect, their faces showed worry. "You are hurt, Ranger-General" statemented the woman. She didn't hesitate to walk over to Sylvanas and kneel in front of her, observing the bandages closely.

"I'm fine, really. I just need a priest or a paladin who can heal my wounds"

"There are priests in Sunsail Anchorage but this is far away. They would need three hours to walk to this farm, maybe one and a half if they have horses" said the woman.

"I can hold out much longer. I have suffered worse injuries in the past" responded Sylvanas. Her gaze wandered from the mother, over the father to their daughter. "May I ask you who you are?"

"Of course, you can" said the man. "My name is Alois Summerbell. These are my wife Lynlia and my daughter Vasina"

Sylvanas smiled at them. "It's a pleasure to meet you. I wish we would have met under different circumstances. All I'm doing right now is sitting on your chair and bleed all over your floor"

"That's a bit exaggerated. Your ranger did a very good job at dressing the wound" Lynlia statemented.

"He is not a ranger, he is a recruit" told Sylvanas. "But that doesn't really matter right now"

"I can order one of my stable lads to ride to Sunsail Anchorage and look out for a priest if you want, Ranger-General" suggested Alois.

"That would be awesome" responded Sylvanas, nodding to him. He returned the nod, lowered his head in respect and rushed out of the house.

"What happened?" asked Lynlia.

"We bumped into trolls and bandits"

"Trolls AND bandits?" asked Lynlia, making a very worried face.

"Don't worry, the trolls are dead and the bandits will never return to Quel'Thalas" comforted Kelrian. The worry vanished out of their faces and was replaced by relieved expressions.

"Did the trolls or the bandits wounded you, Ranger-General?" asked Vasina.

"The trolls but we killed all of them" explained Sylvanas.

"How many came in our land?" asked the mother.

"We know about fifteen. We killed nine. The other six were killed by the bandits but that doesn't mean that all are gone. I will send teams to check the area as soon as I'm back in the Farstrider Enclave. Or wait, have you got another stable lad who could deliver a message for me?"

"We have five in total, so yeah, we have more than enough, Ranger-General"

"Good" responded Sylvanas, making a thoughtful face. "I could need paper and a quill. An inkpot would be also helpful"

"Of course we have such items" said Lynlia. She turned around and looked at her daughter. "Honey, would you get these items for the Ranger-General?"

Vasina nodded and rushed to the stairs, climbing them as fast as possible. "She doesn't need to rush. This is no emergency"

Lynlia nodded to her. Her eyes widened as if something had come in her mind.

"Is something wrong?" asked Kelrian.

"Well, not really. I just realized that I'm a terrible hostess. I have forgotten to offer you something to eat or drink"

Sylvanas gave her a comforting smile. "It's okay, really. But now that you mention it, I have to say that I'm really thirsty"

"What can I offer you?"

Sylvanas made a thoughtful face. "Water or milk would be fine. Some bread be fantastic, if that is okay for you"

"Of course it is" said Lynlia, smiling at Sylvanas. She regarded her for a few moments before she turned her head to look at Kelrian. She didn't say anything but her expression told him that she wanted to know if he wanted something.

"I take the same" Kelrian responded shortly. He was still standing, so Sylvanas ordered him to take a seat next to her and relax. He hadn't realized that his body was still tensed up even though there was no reason to.

He was still a bit uneasy even though Sylvanas was not in danger anymore. The Ranger-General had noticed that but she didn't say anything. She gave him a nod and a barely recognizable smile as soon he sat on the chair.

"I will return in a few minutes" announced Lynlia.

"You don't need to hurry" told Sylvanas. The farmer's wife nodded to her and walked through the door on the opposite side of the room. Sylvanas assumed that she was going to the kitchen to prepare something.

She smiled as she remembered how the farmer family had looked at her as soon as the worry had vanished out of their faces. It was unmistakable that it was an honour for them to help Sylvanas and entertain her. Sylvanas belonged to the most popular people of Quel'Thalas. After the queen, she was the most famous woman in the kingdom. She was loved and respected by everyone. There was no one whodidn't like her, except for a few men she had rejected. But other than them she was loved by all inhabitants of Quel'Thalas.

Vasina was no exception. It was clear that she admired Sylvanas. The way she looked at her at this very moment told the Ranger-General that she was the girl's role model. She was the role model of a lot of girls, women and even men. She was very friendly, resolute, sympathetic and much more. She was an excellent strategist and fighter and she was not arrogant. She tried to help wherever she could without demanding something in return. She had lots of positive qualities and no negative qualities. It was no surprise that so many people admired her.

Sylvanas smiled at Vasina who was standing in the door and regarded her curiously. She held the items, Sylvanas had asked her for, in her didn't move from her spot nor did she say something so Sylvanas assumed that she was lost in thoughts. She cleared her throat, the corners of her lips formed a small smile as she saw that the girl's cheeks became red. Vasina was too embarrassed to look at the Ranger-General, so she looked at her fingers as she walked over to her.

She didn't see the small stool on the ground, nor did Sylvanas or Kelrian see it because their gazes rested on the girl's head. Vasina stumbled over the stool, dropping the items as she fell to the floor. The inkpot shattered as it landed on the floor. The girl's eyes widened as she looked up and saw that some splashes of ink had landed on Sylvanas' uniform. Her facial features derailed, her mouth formed words but no sounds escaped her lips. She began to stutter, becoming very pale.

"I'm so sorry, Ranger-General. I didn't mean to..." she said eventually but stopped speaking as Sylvanas signalized her that everything was fine.

"It's okay, Vasina"

"Are you sure? I just ruined your uniform"

"I have several others which look exactly like this. Trust me, it's really fine" spoke Sylvanas, comforting the nervous girl. Vasina didn't respond to her verbally, she just looked at Sylvanas for a few moments. Then she picked up the sheets of paper and the quill and placed them right in front of Sylvanas.

"I might need a new inkpot" mentioned Sylvanas.

"Oh, yeah...Right. I will get you another one" responded Vasina and turned around, walking to the stairs slowly. She returned a few moments later, this time she made sure that nothing was in her way over which she could stumble. She handed the inkpot over to Sylvanas and blushed as she received a thankful smile. She stared at Sylvanas, watching her dipping the quill's tip in the ink.

Her mother returned the same moment Sylvanas started writing the letter. Lynlia looked at the puddle on the floor, then at her daughter who looked away ashamed. "What happened here?" she asked, sounding very strict. She also had a strict expression on her face which troubled Vasina. Lynlia regarded the floor once again, noticing that the ink stuck on the Ranger-General's uniform. "Did you drop the inkpot, Vasina?"

"I..." started her daughter but was cut off by Sylvanas. "It's okay, really. She didn't do it on purpose. I have so many other uniforms, that I can go without this. You don't need to be too strict with her. Everything is fine"

Lynlia's facial features softened."Okay but she needs to clean up the mess she made" she responded, looking at her daughter this time. Vasina nodded and rushed out of the room, returning later with a bucket full of water and a sponge. She kneeled down and began to scrub the floor. Her mother regarded her for a few moments before she looked at Sylvanas. "Do you want to eat now, Ranger-General? Or after you have written your letter?"

"You can put the food on the table if you want so Recruit Kelrian can eat something. I will eat later when I'm done with this letter"

"As you wish" responded Lynlia, walking out of the room. She returned a few moments later with a tray in her hands. She put the tray in the middle of the table, smiling when Sylvanas and Kelrian expressed their thanks. Kelrian looked at his mentor who signalized him that he could start eating if he wanted. Kelrian signalized her that he wanted to wait for her.

Sylvanas gave him a nod, regarded him for a few more moments before she turned her attention back to the letter in front of her. Kelrian was not the only one who regarded her while writing. Lynlia's eyes and Alois' eyes rested on her as well. Sylvanas looked up to him as soon as she noticed his presence.

"The stable lad is on the way. We don't know how long he will take nor do we know when the priest arrives. But you can stay here as long as you want, Ranger-General"

"Thank you for everything" said Sylvanas, smiling at the farmer family.

"It's nothing really. You and the Farstriders do your best to protect us from every threat. It's the least we can do to repay your services" responded Alois.

"It's our task to protect those who cannot protect themselves. You are not owing us anything but I appreciate your hospitality"

"It's an honour for us to take care of you. You can stay in one of our guest rooms if you want. My wife will exchange your bandage with a new one and make sure you get everything you need"

"That would be pretty helpful, thanks"

"You are welcome, Ranger-General"

Sylvanas returned his smile.

"Anyways, I will leave you alone now. You have an important letter to write" the father said and lowered his head in respect before he walked out of the room.

"We will be in your near, Ranger-General. You can call us if you need anything. My daughter will guide you to a guestroom as soon as you are ready" spoke Lynlia.

Sylvanas nodded to her, looking back at her letter as soon as Lynlia had left the room. She noticed Kelrian staring at her but she didn't mind didn't feel uncomfortable, especially not because he was the one who looked at her.

She wished she could hold Kelrian's hand while writing the letter but Vasina was still in the room, so she resisted the urge to touch Kelrian. They hadn't talked yet about a relationship but both knew for sure that only a secret relationship would be possible. Keeping it secret would be better for both of wouldn't get too much unwanted attention by others and Sylvanas wouldn't have to answer countless questionsThere were lots of jealous men and women who admired and loved Sylvanas. She didn't want to cause any unnecessary trouble for Kelrian.

She was done with the letter after half an hour. She read through it once again before she folded it and put in an envelope. She pulled a little wooden stamp out of her belt pocket, sealing the letter with a wax symbol which showed the letters S and W.

She turned her head, looking at Vasina who gave her a nod before she left the room quickly. She returned with her mother who took the letter. "Tell your stable lad to bring this letter to Ranger-Captain Sweetblossom. She is stationed in Sunsail Anchorage. If he doesn't find her then he should hand it to a ranger and tell him or her to bring it to Captain Sweetblossom"

Lynlia's nod told Sylvanas that she had understood. "I will tell him this"

"Good" said Sylvanas, giving her an appreciating nod. Lynlia told her daughter to guide Sylvanas to the guest room before she walked out of the room. Vasina, who had cleaned the floor in the meantime, walked over to Sylvanas and asked her to follow her. Sylvanas nodded to her, then she looked at Kelrian from who she received a nod.

He stood up and helped her to get up. He wrapped his arm around her waist, walking with her to the other side of the room. They followed Vasina to the stairs but they needed longer than expected to climb them. They reached the second floor eventually, following the young woman until she stopped in front of a door. Vasina opened the door and allowed them to get in. She rushed to the bed and pulled the blanket back.

Kelrian brought Sylvanas to the bed, helping her to lay down. It was unmistakable that Sylvanas was glad she could relax her injured leg. She rested her head on the pillow, stretching her legs out. Her injured leg still hurt but the pain was bearable. She had suffered worse wounds in the past, which had hurt much more. She was in no danger so she could relax here and wait that a priest would arrive and take care of her wounds.

The priest arrived after three hours. Sylvanas and Kelrian had remained in the room and had looked at the other as long as no one else had been in the room. Most of the time they had been alone. They had talked a lot and Kelrian had held her hand from time to time. He had also told her that everything will be fine. It wasn't required because Sylvanas knew she would make it. Still, she found it cute that he was worried about her so much.

This proved her that he was regarding her more than a friend or than his mentor. The looks he was giving her told her that he had feelings for her. She had already known this before because he had told her that he had similar feelings for her. Still, it made her happy to see that he wanted her as well.

They hadn't looked at the other or had hold hands whenever someone had come in their room. Fortunately for them, it hadn't happened often. Lynlia had come to exchange Sylvanas' bandage and Vasina had come to them from time to time and had asked them if they needed something. They had been able to spend the rest of the time alone in the guest room. They hadn't talked about their feelings for the other because Sylvanas had been afraid that one member of the family could hear them while being near the room.

Sylvanas knew that she had to be patient. She will talk to Kelrian about everything at the right moment. She will ask him out and find out how serious he meant things with her. She was hoping that she could convince himof a secret relationship. It wouldn't be easy, she knew that for sure but it was better than not having a relationship. Not to mention that a secret relationship would be better than a public relationship which could have consequences for both of them. Good and bad consequences, probably.

The door was opened and a priestess entered the room. She was wearing a blue dress and a beautiful necklace which was wrapped around her neck. She was beautiful and looked familiar to Sylvanas even though she had never seen her before.

Sylvanas tilted her head a little, regarding the priestess from head to toe. She looked so familiar to her but she couldn't remember who she was nor where she had seen her before. She turned her head to Kelrian, noticing that his face reflected surprise. She looked back at the priestess, noticing that she made a face of disgust as her gaze landed on Kelrian.

Sylvanas assumed that this woman was either a member of his family or a former lover. "Who is this?" she asked as she looked at her love interest.

Kelrian hesitated for a few moments. "This is my older sister Sydori" he said then he looked at his sister who was still signalizing him that she was not pleased to see him. Like her parents, she considered him a disgrace to their family. Her gaze rested on her little brother longer than necessary before it shifted to Sylvanas. Her disgusted facial expression was replaced by concern but also by admiration.

It was unmistakable that it was an honour for her to see Sylvanas. She was one of the many who admired Sylvanas and regarded her as their role model. She rushed over to Sylvanas, pushing Kelrian aside, causing that he nearly fell onto the floor. At least, he was able to catch himself at the last moment. He was giving her an annoyed look but Sydori had already turned away from him so she couldn't see it. She didn't hesitate and removed the bandages which covered the Ranger-General's upper thigh, then she started to heal the wound immediately.

Sylvanas knew that this will take a few minutes, so she made sure that she laid in a comfortable position"What happened?" asked Sydori.

"We got surprised by trolls while we followed the tracks of bandits" explained Sylvanas.

"Did the trolls wounded you or was it my useless brother?"

Sylvanas didn't answer, instead, she frowned. Her eyes didn't leave Sydori who didn't seem to feel bad for having insulted Kelrian in the presence of his mentor.

"Knowing him well enough, it could be possible that h hit you instead of his targets. Kelrian was never good at anything. He always sucked no matter what he was doing" added Sydori.

Sylvanas was still frowning, giving the priestess a very confused look. She was asking herself if Sydori was serious about this but then she remembered that Kelrian had told her about his family from time to time. His older siblings and his parents weren't fond of him since he had decided to become a Farstrider against the will of his father.

It surprised Sylvanas that Sydori was brave enough to insult one of her recruits in front of her eyes. It seemed that she had inherited such behaviour from her father. Her father had insulted Sylvanas on their first meeting. He had offered her to have sex with him in exchange for his signature on Kelrian's agreement, which he had needed to join the Farstriders.

"Well, it seems that you are not informed at all. Kelrian is one of the best recruits I currently have" responded Sylvanas eventually.

"Are you sure about this?" Sydori asked.

Sylvanas was not sure if she was doing this to provoke her, to make fun of Kelrian and make him feel bad or if she did this because she really believed that her brother was a loser. But Sylvanas knew the truth. Kelrian was everything but a loser. He was very skilful, likeable and friendly. His sister on the other hand...seemed to be an arrogant bitch, who begrudged the success and the skill of her brother.

"I'm Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner, I'm very good at assessing if someone has talent or not. Kelrian is a very skilled and determined recruit. He will become a very successful and popular ranger one day. I would really appreciate if you would stop insulting him"

"Sorry, Ranger-General" she muttered. Sylvanas didn't need to look into her eyes to know that she was not really sorry about this. She had only said this to prevent that Sylvanas would get angry at her. Sylvanas had become angry but she didn't show it. She didn't say anything to Sydori but that didn't mean she wouldn't talk to her about this if she would catch her insulting him again. She didn't want to start an argument while being healed by herShe was just hoping that Sydori wouldn't insult Kelrian again, at least not in front of her or other rangers and recruits.

Sydori didn't make any negative comments about Kelrian during the few minutes she needed to heal the wounds in Sylvanas' left upper arm and left upper thigh. Sylvanas thanked her, getting up after she was done. "You shouldn't overtax yourself, Ranger-General. Your body needs time to rest"

"I know but thanks for reminding me"

"You are welcome" she said and lowered her head in respect.

Sydori remained in the room and looked at her longer than necessary. It didn't seem that she intended to leave the room. Sylvanas signalized her that she was dismissed, giving her a thankful nod. Sydori gave Sylvanas a barely recognizable smirk, then she looked at Kelrian. She regarded him with narrowed eyes for a few moments before she walked out of the room.

Sylvanas stared at the room's exit for a few moments before she turned around to look at Kelrian who was leaning against a wall.

"Your sister is a..."

"...complicated person" finished Kelrian before Sylvanas could say anything negative about her.

"Yeah, kind of"

"You wanted to use other words to describe her, right?" asked Kelrian curiously.

"Yes, I guess"

"I know she is a bitch but she is still my sister. I don't hate her"

"Even though she is regarding you like shit?" asked Sylvanas, regarding him with a slightly confused expression on her face.

"Well, she is not treating me like shit, she..." he started but he stopped speaking as he saw that Sylvanas was frowning. "Okay" he admitted after a few moments. "She treats me differently but she is still my sister. I don't hate her for this"

"Teasing and making fun of the other is okay between friends and siblings. I'm calling Alleria a lot of things but she knows that I only make fun of her. Your sister, on the other hand, is not joking. She doesn't like you at all"

"I know but what can I do about it?" he asked rhetorically.

"Well, I don't think talking would change anything" Sylvanas took a deep breath, making a thoughtful face. "I've no clue, to be honest"

"See" he said as he stood up and came closer to her. He sat down on the bed, looking at the guest room's exit to make sure that nobody was seeing them. He leaned in until his mouth was only a few inches away from her right ear. "I don't need my family's support. I became a recruit without their help. I don't need them to be happy. I'm happy as long as I have you"

He pulled away, giving her a shy smile which she returned. "I'm happy to have you too" she whispered, standing up a few seconds later. She moved her left leg and her left arm carefully, smiling as she noticed that she was able to move them without feeling pain. She looked at Kelrian, noticing that he was smiling as well.

"You should still take things easy. My sister might be an arrogant bitch but she is right about this. She belongs to the best priests of my family so she knows what she is talking about. You need at least one or two days of rest before you can start training and fighting again"

"Did I miss something? Did we swap roles or what? Are you the Ranger-General now and I am the recruit?" Sylvanas asked teasingly, a wide smirk was visible on her lips.


"It was a joke, Kel. I know that you are just worried about me. I find it cute and I'm glad that I mean something to you. I'm glad that I'm more than a friend or a mentor to you" she said, her voice was barely louder than a whisper.

"You are, indeed. You told me that we will speak about this when we are alone" he whispered.

"We will talk later. Promised. She stared into his eyes, smiling at him. He returned her stare, noticing that he was about to get lost forever in her eyes. She cleared her throat after a while, bringing him back to the present. "We should go. I won't overtax my leg if I ride. Let's ask the farmer for two horses so we can return to Fairbreeze Village. I'm pretty sure the others are already waiting for us. I also think they are afraid that something happened to us"

"Probably" said Kelrian as he walked with Sylvanas through the room's exit and closed the door behind her.

Chapter Text

"Where is it?" Kelrian asked himself as he looked at the map in his hands, figuring out where he was. He knew his place of destination and he knew how to get there but had managed to get lost somehow and had ended up somewhere. He wasn't even sure if he was close to the place he was looking for. Sylvanas had told him to go to a certain place. She had shown him on the map where this place was, assuming he would reach it without a problem.

The truth was that he had been lost in thoughts so he had missed the turn-off he was supposed to take. He had walked back and but then he had taken the wrong turn-off.

He had no clue how to get back to the road he was supposed to follow. He was in the middle of a forest somewhere in the east of Quel'Thalas. He knew that he would be too far in the east if he would reach the cost. He would be too far in the west if he would reach the foot of the long and tall mountain range. This meant that the place he was looking for had to be somewhere between the mountains and the ocean.

He found the road again, he had been looking for, after walking for half an hour. He followed the road, taking the right path this time. He walked through another forest in which different kinds of trees were standing. He didn't regard them nor did he take a closer look at his surroundings. His eyes rested on the path he was following. He had never been in this area before so he was hoping that this path would lead him to the place he was looking for.

He came to a wooden hut after half an hour. The hut was not small but it wasn't gigantic either. The hut wasn't made out of the best wood in Quel'Thalas. It seemed that trees from this forest had been used to build it. Kelrian spotted lots of young trees which were a lot smaller than other, older looking trees. Kelrian assumed that this hut had been built a few years ago. He also assumed that the tree seeds had been manipulated by magic so the trees would grow faster.

He couldn't see it because the mages had made sure that there was no visual difference between the trees which had grown out of normal seeds and those who had grown out of the manipulated seeds. But he could feel it. He was a high elf so he had a very close connection to nature. He could interpret by the way an animal looked at him how it felt at the moment. He also knew when a tree was sick or infected by vermin without needing to take a closer look at it. He only needed to put his hand on the tree's bark, sometimes he just had to be in the tree's near. He was not the only member of his race which had a similar connection to the plants and the wildlife. Most citizens of Quel'Thalas had such a close connection to nature. He didn't know about any ranger who hadn't such a strong connection.

Kelrian got close to a few trees, touching them to find out how they were feeling. The trees seemed to be alright. None of them was infected or sick. Sometimes, Kelrian heard the trees of the Eversong Forest whisper words or even entire sentences to him.

But today, the trees were silent in this part of the Eversong Forest. He was wondering why they didn't speak to him today. It was impossible to have a conversation with a tree, not to mention members of other races would call him insane if they would see him speaking to a tree. Every creature which wasn't an elf would believe that. Other elves wouldn't think that he would be insane. They would understand him because they were also connected to nature.

Kelrian regarded a tree which had grown out of a manipulated seed. Kelrian didn't know much about forestry but he assumed that such trees would become older than normal trees, also they would grow faster. He removed one of the tree's leaves, wondering if that would make the tree angry. But the tree didn't communicate with him, so ´didn't get an answer to his unspoken question. Kelrian regarded the leaf, noticing that its shape was not different from the shapes of the leaves of the natural trees. He dropped the leaf and walked over to the hut, knocking at the simple wooden door.

The door was opened a few moments later. Sylvanas stepped out of it, her lips formed a wide smile as her eyes spotted the young man she had been waiting for. Kelrian returned her smile, regarding her from head to toe.

She was not wearing her Ranger-General uniform she was usually wearing. Instead, she wore a blue dress. It was not an extraordinary dress, so it wasn't adorned by jewels or other decorations. Instead, it was a normal looking dress which didn't seem to be very expensive. The dress may not be extraordinary but Sylvanas still looked gorgeous in it. She looked stunningly beautiful in such a normal dress, so Kelrian was wondering how gorgeous she must look in an expensive dress.

Kelrian found himself staring at her, even drooling a little. He wiped it away, hoping Sylvanas hadn't seen this. The big grin on her lips confirmed that she had seen it. Her grin became wider when she noticed that his gaze wandered to the low neckline of her dress. She didn't mind that he was ogling her breasts because that was the neckline's purpose.

She loved to make him speechless with her looks. She knew she was gorgeous and she knew exactly how to use her beauty to get an advantage. In this scenario, there was no advantage she could get. What she got instead was a stunned Kelrian who was looking at her as if she was a goddess.

Sylvanas chuckled, waving her hand in front of his eyes. Nothing happened. She snapped her fingers in front of his eyes. Still no reaction. She put her hand on his cheek, caressing it carefully. At least this worked causing that he was brought back from the dreamland, he had been in, to the cheeks became dark red as he realized that he had been lost in thoughts. He wanted to look away ashamed but Sylvanas held his chin in her hands and prevented that he could turn his head.

"You look gorgeous" he complimented.

Sylvanas chuckled. "Thank you" she said, regarding Kelrian. "I really like your look" she said as she pointed at his blue jacket and his brown trousers.

"Thank you"

"It's the perfect choice of clothing for our first rendezvous" statemented Sylvanas.

Kelrian's eyes widened and his lower jaw dropped. "R...Rendezvous?" he stuttered. "I thought that we are having a surprise birthday party for Zetai"

"Where did you get that idea?" she asked with a teasing smile on her face.

Kelrian pulled an envelope out of his pocket, taking a letter out. He unfolded it, read it quickly and handed it over to Sylvanas. She took it and read it even though she knew what was written in it because she was the author of the letter.

"There is nothing wrong about this letter"

"You told me that I have to come to this hut and help you prepare everything with the others"

"This was just a pretext, an excuse to lure you to this place"

Kelrian regarded Sylvanas once again, his gaze rested long on her breasts and on her beautiful face. He noticed for the first time that she wasn't wearing a hood, so her golden-blonde hair was loose. It looked far better than he had expected. It looked magnificent like the rest of Sylvanas' body. There was nothing about Sylvanas' body that didn't look beautiful. She was perfect. Not too perfect but too good for Kelrian. At least he was believing that. He thought that he didn't deserve her but Sylvanas saw things differently. In her opinion, he deserved her.

"Well, to be honest, you wouldn't wear a dress to a private birthday party, so I should have known that no birthday party is happening in this hut. What is going on?" asked Kelrian, signalizing her that he wanted answers.

She chuckled. "I already told you why I have invited you to this place"

"You invited me for a date?"

"I did. If you consider everything, it all makes sense. The remote hut which is not easy to find if you don't know where it is exactly, the dress and the fact that I have forbidden you to mention anything to anyone. You are the only one who received such a letter, so I didn't want that you get confused when you find out that the others aren't invited to a surprise birthday" explained Sylvanas, smiling at him.

"You planned everything just for me? "

"Of course I did. We are unofficially dating for half a year, so I finally want to spend some time with you"

"Don't we see each other every day?" asked a still confused Kelrian.

Sylvanas rolled her eyes. "Yes, we see each other every day but we don't have much time for us. We can't really spend time together when the others are around. Seeing you every day during the training is not enough for me. I want to do so many things with you but I can't. Mainly because I'm very busy but also because we want to keep our relationship secret to prevent that we get unnecessary attention. You know there are a lot of jealous admires who would do things to you once they are alone with you. This is the best way to protect you"

"I don't need your protection, Sylvanas. I'm a big boy. I can take care of myself"

She chuckled. "I know. But is it wrong for me to worry about you?".She put her hands on his cheeks, caressing them carefully as she stared into his blue eyes. He returned the staring, smiling at her. She closed the distance between their faces, pressing her lips on his. He didn't hesitate to return the kiss, wrapping his arms around the smaller elf. Years ago, Sylvanas had been one head taller than him but Kelrian had grown over the years. Sylvanas was taller than most high elf females, she was even as tall as the most males she knew. But she was not as tall as Kelrian who had become one head taller than her.

Kelrian pulled the quel'dorei woman closer to him, deepening the kiss. He inserted his tongue in her mouth, smiling into the kiss as he felt her doing the same. Their tongue's wrestled but Sylvanas' tongue won the fight for dominance. She was the first who could explore the mouth for her partner. They breathed heavily as they parted after a few minutes. None of them denied that this kiss had felt everything but wrongBoth of them had really enjoyed this awesome kiss. They couldn't kiss very often, because they were always afraid someone may see themBut when they did it, the kisses they shared were full of passion and desire.

Sometimes, they couldn't kiss for a few weeks because both of them were very busy. So, whenever they had the opportunity, they made the most of it. And they did it at this very moment. Sylvanas put one of her hands on the back of Kelrian's head, pulling him in again to seal her lips to his. Their tongues danced, their hands roamed over their bodies, their eyes were closed as they held the most passionate kiss they had ever shared. They pulled away eventually, both of them were out of their breaths. They stared at each other, not saying anything because they didn't want to ruin this moment.

They remained silent for a few minutes, wondering who will break the silence first. It was Kelrian who broke the pleasant silence as he ran his fingers through her hair. "Your hair is gorgeous, it's a real shame that you hide it beneath your hood all the time"

"The more of my hair I hide under the hood, the smaller the chance is that an enemy will manage to grab it and pull on it. Pulling one's hair can really hurt. I know I'm good but that doesn't mean that I have to give my opponents an unfair advantage"

"You are right as always" statemented Kelrian.

"I know" said Sylvanas, returning his smile.

"Do you want to come in? Only because nobody will find us in this place doesn't mean we have to stay in front of the hut all day and all night"

"You are right. I'm sorry"

"There is nothing to apologize for"spoke Sylvanas, patting his back softly.

"You are right. Let's go inside, I'm curious what you have prepared for me"

"Why are you so sure that I have prepared something?" teased Sylvanas.

You wouldn't have tried so hard to lure me to this place if you wouldn't have prepared something" statemented Kelrian.

"You are a smart guy" responded Sylvanas as she opened the door and led Kelrian in. The first thing he did was to let his eyes roam from corner to corner, scrutinizing the hut's inside closely. The furniture seemed to be made out of the same wood which had been used to build this hut. There was a table in the middle of the room around which four chairs were standing. On the left side of the room was a small wardrobe, a closet and a shelf. On the right side was a chimney made out of stones. There was a fire burning in it, which warmed up the room. The floor was covered by bear rugs. All in all, the room looked comfortable.

"This place seems nice"

"Thank you" said Sylvanas, guiding him to the table.

"Did you build it yourself?"

"I did"

Kelrian didn't hide how impressed he was when he looked at her. "What was the reason for that?"

"I wanted to have a place where I could withdraw and relax after a stressful week. Also, I wanted to try something new so I decided to build it" Sylvanas responded, offering him to take a seat. Kelrian did as he was told, leaning against the back of the chair which was more comfortable than he had expected.

"Why did you choose this area?" he asked curiously.

"It's a rarely visited place, so the chance is pretty low that someone will find out that this is my place of retreat"

"What if someone follows you? Wouldn't someone find it out sooner or later? You are a very popular person which means you have a lot of admirers. Aren't you afraid that a person will stalk you one day and find out where your place of retreat is?"

"Don't worry" said Sylvanas, walking over to the right corner of the hut which was furnished like a small opened one of the little cupboards, pulling two glasses and a bottle of wine out of it. She walked back to Kelrian, putting one glass in front of him and the other in front of her. She opened the bottle, pouring wine in their glasses, then she put the bottle in the middle of the table.

"I always make sure nobody follows me. I would notice soon enough if someone would follow me. Only a few rangers are able to make no noises while moving. Most of my best rangers make quiet, almost unrecognizable noises. Only an experienced elf with excellent hearing can recognize such noises. I am experienced enough, not to mention that I am able to find out if someone follows me without needing to listen to the noises they make. I recognize even those who don't make any noises"

"So, you are one of the few whose ears hear excellent enough" concluded Kelrian.

"That's right"

"I have to say that you impress me more from day to day" complimented Kelrian. Sylvanas smiled at him, putting her hand on his. She caressed the back of his hand while she stared into his handsome eyes.

Kelrian returned the staring, not noticing that he became addicted to the shining of her eyes. He was drawn to them like a moth to a very bright source of light. He couldn't stop himself from staring into her beautiful blue orbs. Only when Sylvanas cleared her throat, he was brought back to the presence. "Sorry" he muttered, looking ashamed at his hands. Sylvanas put her hand under his chin, lifting it up. She gave him a teasing grin, caressing his chin softly. "There is nothing you have to apologize for"

"Why did you request me to come to this hut? I thought you want to relax here alone"

"I would rather relax together with you here than relaxing alone"

"I can't blame you for that" he said and scrutinized the hut's inner once again. "This is a really loveable place"

"I'm glad you like it" responded Sylvanas, smiling at him before she took a sip of wine. Kelrian did the same, his eyes widened when he noticed that this wine tasted much better than every other wine or alcoholic drink, he had ever consumed in his life so far. Sylvanas chuckled when she saw the expression he made. It was clear that she was pleased that Kelrian enjoyed the drink.

Sylvanas emptied half of her glass, then she stood up and walked to the left corner of the room where a record player was standing. She took one of the many record disks, placing it on top of the record player. She walked back to the table as the music started to play. The music was slow and harmonious, making it ideal for a romantic date.

Kelrian was about to say something but Sylvanas put her index finger on his lips, silencing him. Kelrian raised an eyebrow and gave her a confused look but Sylvanas just giggled and signalized him to enjoy the moment. Kelrian nodded to her, taking another sip of his drink before he leaned back and looked into Sylvanas' gorgeous face. She looked back at him, put her hand on his and intertwined their fingers. She caressed the back of his hand, smiling when she noticed the barely visible blush on his cheeks.

"You don't need to be ashamed" she said after a while.

"I'm not ashamed, I'm just a bit nervous" he admitted.

"You don't need to be nervous either"

"Well, I'm having a date with the most beautiful woman on Azeroth so that is reason enough to be nervous"

"Don't exaggerate, I'm not that beautiful. There are many other women who are as beautiful as I" Sylvanas spoke.

Kelrian raised an eyebrow, tilting his head a little. He leaned forward and pulled her hands closer to his body, putting his hands on hers. "That's not the truth. You are by far the most beautiful woman I have ever seen in my life. There is no one who is a match for you, not even your sisters"

"You are exaggerating again"

A faked sigh escaped Kelrian's lips. "Fine, your sisters are gorgeous as well but they aren't as gorgeous as you are"

"Thank you" she responded, smiling at him. She was very happy at this moment. On a usual day, she gets countless compliments from others but she didn't care about any of these compliments. They meant nothing to her. The only compliments which mattered for her where those Kelrian said to her whenever they were alone. She was deeply in love with him, so she highly valued every compliment he said to her.

"You don't need to thank me for speaking out what everyone thinks"

"I don't care what everyone thinks. I only care about what you think" she said.

He didn't say anything in response. Instead, he brought one of her hands to his lips, kissing it softly. He had to admit that he really liked touching her. Her skin was so smooth, her hands were so warm and soft. He loved to hold them and intertwine their was really lucky to have her. He was lucky that he was the one she had fallen in love with.

There were so many other good-looking men, some of them looked by far better than him. There were so many other men who were more popular than him and had a greater influence than him. Nevertheless, Sylvanas had chosen him to be her boyfriend. He still found it weird to regard himself as her boyfriend and Sylvanas as his girlfriend. It sounded so surreal to him. Sometimes he didn't believe that it was real. But it was real, luckily for him.

Kelrian and Sylvanas held hands but other than that they didn't do anything in the next thirty minutes. Sylvanas pulled her hands away eventually. She didn't do that because she had got tired of holding hands with him. On the contrary, she loved it. She only let go of his hands so she could refill their glasses.

They emptied their glasses while speaking about casual topics and flirting from time to time. Kelrian became a bit tipsy after the third glass but he was still able to behave as if nothing had changed. The only difference Sylvanas noticed was that he wasn't afraid anymore to let his gaze wander to her breasts even though he knew she would notice that.

Sylvanas didn't mind at all. She didn't even complain about the lack of exposed skin on Kelrian's side. She remembered the day where she had found herself ogling Kelrian's exposed upper body. She had done that on the day of the second exam Kelrian had attended. The candidates had shown the examiners back then how good they were at swimming. She had shamelessly scrutinized his muscular upper body back then and she wouldn't mind doing it again these days.

Unfortunately for her, he was wearing his jacket and probably an undershirt beneath it. She couldn't ogle him in return, she could only regard his handsome face. But she didn't mind that because she found his face really attractive. He was really attractive in general, not only to her. She knew that lots of women wererhapsodizing about him. Those women really liked his appearance as well and they found him sympathetic. Sylvanas had found out that she became jealous whenever another woman was talking about Kelrian like this. But her jealousy had vanished when she had asked Kelrian out and convinced him to start a secret relationship with him.

Nobody except for them knew about their relationship so nobody talked about them. Men and women were still admiring Sylvanas and lots of women rhapsodized about Kelrian. It seemed that his fanbase was almost as large as Zetai's, who was by far the most attractive and popular man among the newest generation of recruits. Unlike Zetai, Kelrian wasn't aware that so many women liked him. Nobody had told him what an effect he had on other women. He hadn't done much to cause that the best and the most beautiful ranger of Quel'Thalas had fallen in love with him.

Of course, Sylvanas would never tell him that so many women liked him. She trusted him and she was pretty sure that he wouldn't choose another woman over her, still, she didn't want to risk anything. Nor did she wanted to risk that he might turn into a playboy.

She loved him for who he was. She wouldn't like it if he would change completely. He was such a loveable man and Sylvanas would never replace him with someone else. There was no one who was like Kelrian. There was no one else who didn't only like her because of her look or her fame. Unlike most men and some women she knew, he hadn't thrown himself at her. Sylvanas had come to him and confessed her feelings to him. Kelrian had needed some time but then he had told her that he felt the sameThis convinced Sylvanas that he wasn't just dating her because he was hoping to get a better reputation.

Sylvanas insisted that he would lean back and relax while she would prepare the food. But Kelrian had other plans. He didn't stop talking to her until she allowed him to help her. Together they roasted the boar, Sylvanas had hunted hours ago, peeled and prepared the potatoes and cut the vegetables in small pieces. Sylvanas prepared a sweet sauce while he cut mushrooms which Sylvanas had found in the hut's near. Kelrian didn't know much about mushrooms so he had been worried at first that these mushrooms were poisonous. She had assured him that these were eatable mushrooms, so he had used them for a mushroom soup.

He had to admit that he had really enjoyed cooking with her. There was only one thing he enjoyed more than doing that: Holding her hand while eating with her. They didn't dare to look at something else than each other as they eat the soup which tasted better than expected. They only pulled their hands away as they started to eat the main course for which they needed both of their hands. In Kelrian's opinion, the meat was the best meat he had ever eaten. Sylvanas really liked it as well but she had eaten other types of meat which had been even more delicious than this one. It was not her favourite type of meatbut it was definitely recommendable in her opinion.

"We should do this more often" spoke Kelrian as soon as they had finished eating.

"I would love to, but you know as well that we don't have many opportunities where we can be alone for a few hours. We are both very busy usually. I will try to give you and your team a day off from time to time so we can meet and spend time together" responded Sylvanas.

"What about the weekends?"

"Usually, I'm very busy as well at the weekends. I'm visiting my family every weekend, not to mention that I give private lessons to my younger siblings. My little brother wants to be a ranger one day, as my sisters and I. I want that as well so I train him whenever I can"

"Too bad"

Sylvanas put a hand on his cheek, caressing it carefully. "Don't worry, I will find excuses so I don't have to go to Windrunner Spire every weekend. This could mean that we can see us on some weekends but we have to be careful as always"

"It's better than nothing, I guess" Kelrian said, smiling at her.

Sylvanas returned the smile. "Indeed, it is". He stared into her beautiful eyes, not realizing that the time was passing by quickly when he did so. He turned his head after a while, not knowing how much time had passed as he looked out of the only window. His eyes widened in surprise as he noticed that night had already fallen. He realized that they had spent the entire day in the hut.

He looked back at Sylvanas, noticing the many candles which were placed on different spots in the room. Their flames enlighten the room enough so the couple was able to see each other clearly.

"When did you..." he started but stopped speaking for the moment as he saw the desserts in front of them. "I didn't notice you enlightening the candles and serving the desserts"

Sylvanas chuckled. "You were so lost in your thoughts that you didn't notice anything. I could have undressed in front of you and you wouldn't have noticed it"

"Was I really that absent?"

Sylvanas nodded.

"Why didn't you paw me slightly?"

"I don't know, to be honest. I found the face, you were making, cute. What were you thinking about?"

Kelrian blushed, looking away in embarrassment. Sylvanas chuckled softly, standing up from her seat. She walked over to her boyfriend, putting her hand beneath his chin, turning it so that he had no other choice than looking at her. "You don't need to tell me everything but it would be rude if you wouldn't tell your girlfriend about the inappropriate thoughts you have about her"

Kelrian blushed deeply but didn't avoid eye contact. Girlfriend.

Sylvanas was his girlfriend. That was the truth but it still sounded so surreal to him. He would have never believed that he, of all men in Quel'Thalas, would be allowed to date Sylvanas Windrunner. THE Sylvanas Windrunner who was the most beautiful and popular woman in Quel'Thalas.

He considered himself as an ordinary recruit and almost everyone thought the same. Sylvanas belonged to the few who knew that he was different than the others. Sylvanas was pretty sure he will become very successful as a ranger. She was sure that he will belong to the best rangers one day and she expected that sooner or later he will join her main unit, which consisted of the best rangers in Quel'Thalas.

"Is something wrong?" asked Sylvanas, regarding Kelrian with a raised eyebrow.

"Well... Not really... It's just still strange to me to consider you as my girlfriend. I mean you are Sylvanas Windrunner, the most beautiful woman in the world and the best ranger of Quel'Thalas. I, on the other hand..."

"You are one of the best recruits I have. You are a very smart man, not to mention that you have a strong will and you wouldn't shrink back from risking your life to save others. You have a big heart. But these are not the only reasons why I love you. I love to spend time with you, to talk to you and be silly when only you are around me. You help me forget how stressful life is as Ranger-General. You help me to relax after a stressful day.

There is so much more I love about you, which I'm not aware of, which doesn't want to come in my mind at the moment. I love you for who you are, for the whole package and I'm glad that you love me as well" told Sylvanas, smiling as she noticed that Kelrian was speechless. He could only stare at her. Sylvanas put her hands on his cheeks, rubbing them softly. She lowered her head, closing the distance between their faces so she could press her lips against his.

He hesitated at first but then he gave himself to her, returning the kiss. He couldn't stop her from inserting her tongue in his mouth nor could he stop her from sitting down on his lap, straddling him. She pressed her body against his, putting one of her hands on the back of his head. Her other hand continued to caress his left cheek.

Kelrian ran his fingers through her soft hair, toying with a few strands he deepened the kiss by inserting his tongue into Sylvanas' mouth. He could taste the alcohol on her lips whenever their lips met but he didn't mind. He was tipsy as well so he didn't mind that Sylvanas might have emptied too many glasses. He couldn't remember how many she had drunken but he didn't care. What mattered to him was that Sylvanas sat on his lap and kissed him hungrily.

They pulled away after a while, breathing heavily as they stared into the eyes of the other. They needed a few moments to relax a noticed the lust in Sylvanas' eyes nor did he miss that she wanted to do the next step but hesitated because she was afraid that she could ruin everything by rushing things. He was unsure if he wanted to do it with Sylvanas at this very moment. Of course, he would do it with her one day but he wasn't sure if this day was the currentdayHe would prefer to not rush things and wait longer. Probably as long as necessary. He wanted to wait until he was ready for everything and he was pretty sure Sylvanas would understand that.

Sylvanas stared into his gorgeous eyes, wondering what was going on in his mind. She wanted him so badly. She knew he was the man she had been looking for overseventy years. She hadn't slept with a man since this period of time, so it was only understandable that she longed for direct body contact. Pleasuring herself from time to time was not a permanent solution. She needed a man and this man was Kelrian but she didn't want to ruin everything so she had decided to let him do the first move.

She could undress in front of him and seduce him. With her beauty, it would be too easy. Kelrian wouldn't be able to resist her as soon as he would see her naked form. Sylvanas was sure about this because this trick had worked so often on men and women. But Kelrian was not just a meaningless love affair for her. He was the one for her. He was the man she had been looking for a long time. And she would give him all the time he needed in the world. She had survived seventy years without sexso she could survive longer if necessary.

"What about the desserts?" Kelrian asked after a few minutes of pleasant silence. Sylvanas chuckled. She would love to respond I am your dessert but she didn't because she didn't want to push him. Instead of responding verbally to him, she turned around and took the creamy yoghurt from the table.

She turned back to Kelrian, starting to feed him with a spoon. From time to time, she also tried a few spoons of the yoghurt but she fed most of the delicious dessert to the man on which lap she was still sitting. Sylvanas didn't stop until she had fed both desserts to her boyfriend. She used the back of her hand to wipe the amount of yoghurt away, which stuck on his lips.

She smiled at him and he smiled back at her, staring into her blue orbs. They kissed again, holding it as long as possible. They pulled away eventually, breathing heavily. Sylvanas caressed his cheeks, smiling as Kelrian did the same. The young couple sat there for a while, enjoying each other's presence.

Kelrian yawned, noticing that he was really tired. He looked at the bed, then at the couch on the other side of the room. "It's already late"

"You can spend the night here if you want"

"I have to sleep on the couch then, right?"

"Unless you want to sleep in the same bed as I" spoke Sylvanas, smirking at him.

"I would love to but I think that would be too soon. Remember, this is our first real date"

"I know, it was meant as a joke" responded Sylvanas, hiding her disappointment as best as possible. She wished she could have cuddled with him at least but she understood his hesitation. She didn't take offence at his behaviour, she could understand that he didn't want to rush things.

"Fine" spoke Kelrian, walking over to the couch. Sylvanas walked to the closet next to her wardrobe, pulling a blanket and a pillow out of it. She walked over to Kelrian, handing him these items.

He nodded at her. "Thank you, Sylvanas"

"You are welcome, my dear" she said, regarding him closely. You don't have a pyjama with you, right?"

Kelrian nodded his head.

"I expected this so I bought you one" she said as she walked back to the closet and pulled a blue pyjama out of it. She returned to him and gave him the pyjama. "I hope it fits you"

"Let's find it out" responded Kelrian, staring at her for a few moments. He cleared his throat after an entire minute had passed, then he asked Sylvanas to turn around. She rolled her eyes playfully but she listened to him, turning away until he told her that she was allowed to look again. She regarded him, finding out that the pyjama fit perfectly. "It suits you"

"Thank you"

"Now, it's my turn but you don't need to look away"

"It would be indecent if I would watch a lady changing her clothes"

"I wouldn't mind" teased Sylvanas.

Soft laughter escaped his lips. "I believe that, but I'm a gentleman so I insist. Sorry to disappoint you"

"It's fine" responded Sylvanas. She waited until Kelrian had turned around, then she removed her dress and put it back in the wardrobe. She debated for a second if she should remove her underwear as well or if she should leave it on. She remembered that nothing will happen between them during this night so decided to keep it on. She put on her pyjama and walked over to the couch, telling Kelrian to turn around.

The first thing he did when he turned around was to scrutinize her from head to toe. The pyjama didn't reveal skin nor did it accentuate her curves. Still, Kelrian had to admit that she looked gorgeous in it. He was pretty sure that she would even look gorgeous if she would wear a potato sack. He believed that there was nothing in which Sylvanas wouldn't look good. He didn't dare to imagine how she would look like if she would wear nothing. He was pretty sure his mind wouldn't be able to cope with that.

He tilted his head a bit when he noticed that Sylvanas was standing right in front of him. She didn't say anything, she just stared into his eyes and he did the same. She put her hand under his chin, pulling him closer so she was able to press her lips against his. The kiss was quick but passionate. She licked her lips as she pulled away, staring at Kelrian for a few moments before she turned around and walked to her bed.

"Goodnight, my love" she whispered.

"Goodnight, Sylvanas" responded Kelrian. He waited until Sylvanas laid in her bed and covered herself with her blanket. He laid down on the couch, wrapping the blanket around his body. He put his head on the pillow and closed his eyes, then he listened to Sylvanas' quiet breaths until he fell asleep eventually.

Chapter Text

A quiet groan escaped Kelrian's lips as he realized that he was not sleeping anymore. He was not fully awake but he wasn't slumbering either. He opened his eyes slowly, realizing that everything was blurred out. His head was hurting as well, so he assumed that he had drunk too much the previous day.

At least he was able to remember what he had done the previous day. Last time he had drunk too much, he hadn't been able to remember everything. But this time, he could. He remembered meeting Sylvanas in a hut. They had eaten, listen to music, talked a lot and, of course, they had kissed. He had to admit that he had really enjoyed the previous day and he would love to do this again one day.

He opened his eyes after a while, sighing out in relief as he noticed that the world wasn't spinning around him anymore. He got up and looked around, noticing that Sylvanas was still lying in her bed. Her head was covered by her blanket so he couldn't tell if she was awake or not.

He didn't know how much time had passed as he saw Sylvanas moving a little. The quiet groan, which escaped Sylvanas' lips, was music to Kelrian's ears. He was wondering how every noise she made sounded so wonderful. His thoughts drifted in the wrong direction, making him wonder how she would sound if she and he would...

He shook his head, banishing these thoughts out of his mind. She may be his girlfriend and to have sex may be normal in a relationship but he was not ready yet, even though he knew Sylvanas very well. He knew a lot about her others didn't. She was his girlfriend and one day, they will do the next step and sleep together.

Kelrian didn't want to rush things so he would wait until he felt that he was ready. He had to admit that being near Sylvanas didn't make things easier. It had been really hard to resist her the previous day but the effect of the alcohol had diminished, which meant it should be easier for him to not give in to his lower desires and to remain patient.

He smiled as Sylvanas pulled the blanket away and got up slowly. She stretched her arms and her back, her perfect pure white teeth were visible as she yawned. She opened her beautiful blue eyes, looking at him. "Good morning" she said, smiling at him.

"Good morning" he said in return, smiling at her as well.

"Did you sleep well?"

"Indeed, I did, even though it's not easy to fall asleep when a goddess is in the same room as you"

Sylvanas giggled, walking over to him "You are such a charmer" she said as she patted his shoulder.

"I know" he whispered, caressing her left cheek. Sylvanas put her hand on his, rubbing it softly while she intertwined the fingers of her other hand with his free hand. Kelrian brought them to his lips, planting a kiss on the back of her hand, then he looked up to Sylvanas and gave her his brightest smile. Sylvanas' smile became brighter as well, her eyes stared into his.

They stared at each other for a while, caressing the other's hands and cheeks until Sylvanas decided to pull away. She would love to do this all day but she also knew that she had a lot of duties to do as Ranger-General. She was responsible for the safety of her people, especially for those who cannot defend themselves. She wouldn't be able to lead the Farstriders if she would play around with Kelrian all day, at least it wouldn't end up very well for her people if she would do so.

It was a phenomenon that the people felt safer and were more motivated when she was around them. Her captains and lieutenants had told her often that they had noticed that the members of the Farstriders were fighting better and were braver when she was around. She had an effect on every creature around her. Allies felt better when she was around and enemies were afraid of her which often led to a rash retreat.

Her mere presence was often enough to win a battle which had looked lost for the high elves at first sight. Sylvanas' skill in combat, her experience and her superior knowledge as a strategist had won the high elves so many battles and skirmishes and prevented that too many elves would have lost their lives during these times of war. She was the hope of her people.

She was even feared under the name troll slayer by all troll tribes and even by the orcs. Her enemies often avoided her for these reasons. Many trolls and orcs had tried to kill her, they had tried to take this advantage away from the high elves but none of them had succeeded. All of them had been killed by Sylvanas herself or by her subordinates.

Sylvanas didn't ask Kelrian to turn around this time. She started to remove her pyjama, not caring that Kelrian was watching her. She was pretty sure that he stared at her well-formed ass which was only partly covered by her blue panties. Half of each butt cheek was exposed, giving Kelrian enough reasons to look at her butt longer than necessary.

He blushed when he found out that she had caught him ogling her. He didn't say anything nor did she. She just looked at him over her shoulder, scrutinizing his handsome face for a few moments before she walked to her wardrobe and pulled out one of her many Ranger-General uniforms.

"The training starts in three hours, you should hurry if you want to eat something before we go back to Farstrider Enclave"

Kelrian nodded and picked up his clothes, getting dressed before he approached Sylvanas who was already preparing breakfast. She put it on the table as soon as she was done, then she sat down on a chair. Kelrian sat opposite to her, so he could look directly at her while eating.

"Enjoy the food" spoke Sylvanas, smiling at him.

"Thank you, Sylvanas. Enjoy it as well"

Two years later

"Kelrian, over here" shouted a familiar voice. The addressed young man turned his head, looking in the direction where the shout had come from. He spotted Zetai and a woman, he had never seen before, sitting at a table. As expected, Zetai was wearing the newest uniform he and every other recruit, who had made it through the final examination, had received during the ceremony an hour ago. His uniform was not green, like the uniforms of the recruits. He was wearing a blue uniform which signalized everyone that he was now a ranger and no longer a recruit.

Kelrian was wearing the same uniform. Sylvanas herself had handed the uniform over to him. Not everyone had been allowed to get the uniform from Sylvanas herself. Many captains and lieutenants had helped her handing out the uniforms which meant that only a fraction had received their newest uniforms from the Ranger-General.

Sylvanas had given everyone, who had received the uniform, a the smile she had given Kelrian had been different from those she had given the others. She had regarded him longer than necessary. She had whispered congratulations in everyone's ears but she had said other words to Kelrian. She had told him how proud she was of him and how much he deserved this. She had also told him that she will allow him and Zetai to join her elite team and she had made more compliments before she had pulled away. She had regarded him for a few more moments, then she had walked to the next recruit.

Kelrian didn't remember much of the ceremony. He remembered a bit of the opening, where an orchestra had played epic-sounding music. He remembered bits of the speech Sylvanas had given and he remembered receiving the uniform from her. He didn't remember more because he had stared at Sylvanas all the time and had admired her beauty. The ceremony hadn't mattered for him. He was just glad that he became a ranger.

He had dreamed of this ever since he had found out that he was not able to use the light. He had set his mind on becoming a Farstrider, a ranger which would protect the people of Quel'Thalas, no matter what it would cost. And his dream had come true on this day. He was a ranger who had been trained by the best ranger in Quel'Thalas and he was allowed to join the best team the Ranger-General had assembled. He was able to join the best of the best. He had never believed that this might happen one day.

He was proud of himself that he had managed to achieve his goal. Sylvanas was also proud of him and he was glad about that. Her opinion really mattered for him. And he knew Sylvanas was not only saying this because he was her lover. She was saying this because she meant it honestly. She had known since they had met for the first time, thirteen years ago, that he had great potential. He had proved her assumption right as he had passed the final examination without any problems. After Zetai, he was the graduate with the best had turned out as Sylvanas had guessed.

Kelrian sat down next to his best friend and looked curiously at the woman, who was sitting next to him. Zetai wrapped his arm around her and pulled her closer to him. The woman, who was wearing a mage robe, didn't seem to mind that. On the contrary, it seemed that she was comfortable around him which could only mean that she was a close friend of Zetai, maybe even his girlfriend.

"Who is your companion?" asked Kelrian.

Zetai looked at the woman, then at his best friend. "This is my girlfriend Salna Sweetblossom"

Kelrian gave Salna his hand, who shook it. "Sweetblossom? So, you are related to Ranger-Captain Sweetblossom?"

"Yes, I am" responded Salna. "Vara is my sister"

"I didn't know that Captain Sweetblossom's name is Vara. It's always good to know more about your superiors. Anyways, it's nice to meet you" said Kelrian, then he shifted his gaze to Zetai. "I didn't know you had a girlfriend. How long are you together?"

"Two years" Zetai responded shortly.

"Two years? And you didn't tell me?"

"We wanted to keep it secret as long as we are not sure if a serious relationship between us will work"

"I can understand you" muttered Kelrian, looking at his fingers.

"Are you dating someone secretly?" teased Zetai.

"Hm?" Kelrian looked up at his friend. "What did you say?"

"You said that you can understand me, so I assume you have experiences with secret relationships"

"Yes, I had a few short-lived secret relationships in the past but I don't want to talk about my love life, not with you and especially not when your girlfriend is with you"

"Ah, come on" said Zetai, patting his friend on the back. "There is nothing you have to be ashamed of, you can tell me everything"

"How many glasses has he emptied so far?" Kelrian asked Salna.

She chuckled. "Five, if I remember correctly"

Kelrian shook his head, giving them an amused smile. "You intend on getting drunk again, Zetai. Aren't you?"

"Maybe" responded the larger elf, giving his friend a very wide teasing grin. "Don't worry, I won't interrupt you making out with the Ranger-General this time"

"We weren't making out back then. We just talked" Kelrian said, looking at his friend and then at Salna, hoping that at least she was believing him. It was easy to read Salna's expression, so Kelrian found out that she didn't believe what her boyfriend was prattling. It seemed that she knew that Zetai talked a lot of bullshit whenever he had drunk too much.

Kelrian sighed out in relief, regarding the couple next to him. He was happy for Zetai. He didn't know much about Salna but he was happy that his friend had found someone who was important to him. Like himself, Zetai had kept his relationship secret, at least for the beginning. Unlike him, Zetai had decided to make his relationship public. That was something Kelrian was a bit jealous of when he was honest with himself.

He loved Sylvanas will all of his heart and he loved spending time with her whenever he could. He loved to kiss her, touch her and do other things with her but it bothered him that he could only show her how much he loved her when they were alone. They had started their relationship three years ago but only unofficially. Nobody knew about them, nobody except for Verena. Not even Sylvanas' sister Alleria knew about them. Sylvanas had assured him that only Verena knew -because she was her best friend - and because she wouldn't tell anyone. Sylvanas had promised that Verena's lips were sealed.

Kelrian didn't complain about their relationship. He would rather have a secret relationship with Sylvanas than being single. He only wished from time to time that he could show everyone that Sylvanas was his. He would love to hang out with her in public and kiss her in public like normal couples would do. This would also mean Sylvanas' admirers would stop flirting with her, ask her for a date or propose to her. But this would also mean that Kelrian would get unwanted attention from society and from Sylvanas' exes and admirers. Sylvanas wanted to protect him and prevent that a jealous admirer would do something to Kelrian. That was the reason why she held their relationship secret.

Unlike Zetai and Salna, she knew from the beginning that a relationship with Kelrian would work out so it wouldn't have been a problem to make it public from this perspective. But she didn't want to set Kelrian under so much pressure so she had decided to keep it secret even though it would mean they couldn't meet so often and could only hang out and doing stuff together when they were alone.

But the most important thing was that both were happy with this solution. They loved each other so they would rather be together secretly than not being together. This was the best solution for them and they were fine with it.

Kelrian was brought out of his thoughts when Zetai cleared his throat, giving his friend a questioning look. Kelrian turned his head looking at his friend. "I'm sorry, what did you say?"

"I asked you if you know where the others are"

"I have no clue" responded Kelrian, shrugging his shoulders.

"They will come sooner or later, I'm pretty sure about that. If not, it's fine as well. In this case, we will have a chance to speak because Elonis and Elena wouldn't talk the entire time. Speaking of them, did you notice that Elena has a crush on you?"

Kelrian tilted his head, his face reflecteda huge amount of surprise. "What?"

"You can't tell me that you haven't noticed her many attempts to break the ice"

"I haven't noticed anything. You must misinterpret something"

"I am not misinterpreting anything" spoke Zetai, raising an eyebrow. "She has flirted with you very often but it seems you have never noticed it"

"I can't believe that she has done that. Why didn't I notice it?"

Zetai shrugged his shoulders. "Don't ask me. I don't miss whenever someone is flirting with me" he said. Salna cleared her throat noisily, causing that Zetai turned around to her. He raised an eyebrow and tilted his head as he gave her a questioning look. "What?"

Salna cleared her throat again, quieter this time. "Nothing" she muttered, giving her boyfriend an innocent smile.

Zetai shrugged his shoulders. "If you say so"

"Whatever" muttered Salna, rubbing his back softly as she leaned closer to him. She turned her head, leaning forward to look at Kelrian. "Elena is a good friend of mine. She is a very nice and smart woman. I don't know you but from what Zetai has told me about you, I assume that she would be a perfect match for you"

"Do you think so?"

Salna chuckled. "I wouldn't tell you this if I wouldn't think so"

"That makes sense. Anyways, Elena is nothing more than a good friend to me"

"Really?" asked Zetai.

Kelrian nodded.

"What a shame, she is so cute" Zetai turned his head to his girlfriend who was regarding him with a raised eyebrow. "Not as cute as you are, of course"

"I hope so"

Soft laughter escaped Zetai's lips as he pulled her closer until she had no other choice than slipping onto his lap. He wrapped his arms around her, placing a few kisses on her neck. He looked at his friend after a while, noticing that he was eating grapes.

"Hey, where did you get the food?" asked Zetai, making a slightly surprised face.

Kelrian pointed at the banquet on the other side of the room. Zetai looked at it, his eyes roamed over the various dishes and drinks which stood on dozens of tables. He looked back at his friend after he had regarded the wide range of food and drinks, wondering why he hadn't noticed that Kelrian had left the table.

"When did you get these?" he pointed at the grapes.

"Five minutes ago, I guess"

"Why haven't I noticed you walking away?" he asked confused.

Kelrian chuckled. "You were busy making out with your girlfriend, that's why you didn't notice anything". He gave his friend a teasing smile, which became wider as he noticed that Salna was also smiling at Zetai. "It seems that you are the only one who didn't notice anything, honey" she statemented.

"Anyways, I'm really hungry. Let's get something to eat, my love" spoke Zetai, telling the woman on his lap to get up. She did as she was told, offering him her hand when he had stood up. Zetai took it and intertwined their fingers, then they walked over to the banquet.

While they were busy selecting their food, Kelrian ate his grapes, letting his eyes wander around. He saw a few familiar persons, recruits and rangers he knew for years. He also saw Sylvanas sitting at a table in the near of the right corner of the room. Verena was sitting next to her, her arm was wrapped around her shoulders.

Kelrian was too far away to hear what they were talking about. He had met Verena a few times over the past years. Sylvanas had told him a lot about her and he had also heard a few rumours about her but other than that he didn't know her very well. Sylvanas had explained to him how Verena was behaving. She had told him that he didn't need to worry about her, even though she loved to flirt with Sylvanas from time to time.

Kelrian was not sure what to think about this but he trusted Sylvanas. Nevertheless, he was still a bit jealous of Verena. He was not jealous because she was flirting with Sylvanas even when others were around them, nor was he jealous that Verena could spend so much time with Sylvanas.

He was jealous that he couldn't sit right next to Sylvanas in public and lean against her, hold her hands or kiss her cheeks. Verena could do that and nobody would mind because she was a woman and Sylvanas' best friend. Lots of people would start talking and spreading rumours if Kelrian would do that. Sylvanas and he had agreed to keep their relationship secret so he wouldn't do anything which could violate their agreement. As long as he was able to hold, kiss and snuggle up to Sylvanas when they were alone, he was fine.

Kelrian's gaze rested on Sylvanas, who noticed his staring eventually. She returned his staring, giving him a smile which he could even recognize from the distance. She would have stared longer at him if Verena wouldn't have put her hand under her chin and turned her head to her to get her attention. Kelrian didn't know why she had done that but it seemed that Verena was saying something to Sylvanas, at least it looked so from his perspective. She was moving her jaw, so she was either chewing on something or she was speaking to Sylvanas. Both options could be possible but Kelrian assumed that Verena was talking to Sylvanas.

Kelrian stared at his lover for a while, only turning his head as Zetai and Salna returned. They carried four plates in total which were filled to the brim"Are you preparing for an eating contest or why have you put so much food on your plates?" asked Kelrian, giving them an amused grin.

"Haha, quite funny, Kel"

"I know I'm funny, you don't need to tell me this"

Zetai shook his head amused, nudging his friend's forehead playfully. He looked at Kelrian's plate, then at his own plate. "You don't eat much today, do you?"

"I'm not really hungry, to be honest" told Kelrian.

"I see. Would you mind getting something to drink for us?"

"Sure. I can. I assume you want alcohol"

"I do. Lots of alcohol, please" he responded with a wide grin on his lips.

"Fine, I will get you some but first you have to tell me something"

"Ask me whatever you want"

"I don't mind your girlfriend's presence but I'm still curious why she is here. She is not a ranger"

Zetai tilted his head, raising an eyebrow. He frowned. "Didn't the Ranger-General told you that you can invite someone to accompanyyou to this very important event?"

"No, she didn't" responded Kelrian, making a thoughtful face. He was wondering why Sylvanas had withheld this information from him. Maybe she had just forgotten this. This would plausible but on the other hand, Sylvanas rarely forget something. He didn't care about it. Liadrin had been already invited to the event so there would have been no one he could have asked to accompany him. He could only think of his younger siblings but his parents wouldn't have allowed that. Also, his older siblings and his parents would have never come to the celebration. Kelrian would have come alone even if Sylvanas would have told him the information.

But he didn't mind that. His friends were with him, even if it was only Zetai and his girlfriend at the moment. Sylvanas was also here but he couldn't do something with her, at least not when so many people were around them. Maybe Sylvanas would lure him away like she had done two and a half years agoat the celebration for the successful passing of the intermediate exam. He didn't think it was possible this time because lots of eyes were on Sylvanas. People would get suspicious if Sylvanas would walk away with him and return after a while.

"That is weird" commented Zetai eventually.

"Yeah, whatever"

"Do you go now or not?"

Kelrian patted his friend's shoulder softly. "Of course"

The other male smiled at him. "Thank you"

Kelrian nodded to him, got up and walked towards the banquet before Zetai would get impatient. He arrived at the tables on which dozens of bottles and hundreds of empty and filled glasses were standing. He took a tray from the nearest table, regarding the bottles in front of him. Even though he knew that Zetai drank almost every kind of alcohol he could get, he was unsure which bottles he should take. He took a bottle and regarded its label. 'Extra long ripened moonberry juice'. He placed it on the tray, picking up the next bottle. He also placed it on the tray after he had regarded the label.

He was about to pick up the third bottle as he noticed out of the corners of his eyes that someone was coming closer to him. He turned his head, spotting a smiling Elena. He regarded her from head to toe, noticing that her new uniform fitted her perfectly. Like Sylvanas' uniform and the uniforms of most female rangers and recruits, it accentuated her found himself staring at her longer than necessary but he managed to shift his gaze back to her beautiful face. He scolded himself inwardly for ogling someone who wasn't Sylvanas.

"Hey, how ya doing?" he managed to say eventually.

"I'm fine and you?" Elena asked, looking down at the tray in his hands. "It seems that you are planning on getting drunk"

"What? No, I don't want to get drunk" he exclaimed.

Elena put her hand on his left shoulder, soft laughter escaped her lips. "I know, Kel. I was just teasing you. I don't need to ask to know that these bottles are meant for Zetai who is too lazy to get his ass up"

"Well, I think he is just hungry and wants to eat something. The ceremony has endured longer than expectedso it's understandable that he is hungry. Maybe he just wants to make out with his girlfriend while I'm away. Who knows" he joked.

"He doesn't want to make you feel bad" statemented Elena.

"Make me feel bad, what do you mean with that?" asked Kelrian, regarding the woman with the short cut turquoise dyed hair. Her hair only reached to the spot where the neck ended and the head started but she looked good with this haircut. Even Kelrian had to admit that, although he had only eyes for Sylvanas. He couldn't deny that Elena was gorgeous but that didn't matter to him because he was together with Sylvanas and happy about that.

"You are single, aren't you?" she asked, giving him a curious look.

"Yes, why are you asking?"

"Isn't it obvious, why I am asking"

"Well, maybe..." he responded quietly. He knew why Elena was asking if he was single. He could lie to her or tell her that he was already taken but he didn't want to think up lies if Elena would ask him questions about this girlfriend. He had no clue how to answer the questions she would ask him.

Soft laughter escaped her lips, she shook her head slightly and patted his shoulder. "I don't know why but I find it cute that you pretend to be stupid"

"What? I..." he started but stopped speaking as he saw the flirtatious look on her face. She was grinning at him, playing with strands of her hair while her eyes rested on his face.

"I know you are a very smart person but sometimes you can behave like a fool. You do not only look good. I know you are also very skilled and very clever. There is nothing wrong with showing the others how smart you really are" she spoke.

Kelrian's eyes widened as he realized that Zetai had spoken the truth when he had told him that Elena was interested in him. The woman was indeed flirting with him and she had probably flirted with him over the past years without him only had eyes for Sylvanas. Maybe that was the reason why he hadn't realized that Elena was interested in him for quite some time.

"I...", he tried to say something in response but no words escaped his lips. Elena chuckled, telling him that she found him very attractive. Kelrian was pretty sure that she enjoyed embarrassing him. She was a predator but Kelrian wouldn't end as her prey. He loved Sylvanas too much to cheat on her with another woman even if she looked good as well.

He noticed that Elena was stroking his left arm as she smiled at him and stared into his eyes. He turned his head a little to look at Sylvanas, noticing that she was not looking in his direction so she didn't know what was going on. He looked back at Elena, realizing that she wouldn't give up that easily. He noticed that her breath smelled of alcohol as she came closer to him, leaning in until her face was only a few inches away from his. He didn't want to know how many glasses she had emptied so far. He could only assume that she had drunk a lot.

Elena was a very vivid person, she was also very direct about everything. Until this day she had never flirted with Kelrian when someone had been around, but this day was an exception. The alcohol she had consumed, had caused her to overcome her inhibitions, so she had gathered her courage and flirted with Kelrian who had no clue what to do in this situation. He didn't want to turn her down and risk a scene, on the other hand, he didn't want to cheat on Sylvanas. Flirting with Elena was not cheating in his eyes, nevertheless, he felt uncomfortable.

He didn't know what to do. He was already nervous even though Elena hadn't asked him out yet. She was too drunk to hold back at this point so she will ask him out sooner or later. He had to say or do something if he wanted to prevent that she would do something which could make Sylvanas pretty angry if she would see that.

But it was too late for him. He had had a small time window where he could have done something to stop Elena but he hadn't used it. Now it was too late. Elena wrapped her arms around his neck before he was able to say something. She gave him a flirtatious smile before she pulled him in and pressed her lips against his. Kelrian was too surprised and shocked to react immediately. He needed a few moments before he realized what was going on. He pulled away as soon as he had regained control over his body.

His eyes were widened in shock, his jaw was half-opened as he looked at the woman who had just kissed him without warning him. It didn't seem that she wanted to apologize to him, instead, it seemed that she had really enjoyed this kiss and wasn't regretting it. Kelrian couldn't tell if this kiss had been good or not. He only knew that it had felt wrong.

He was hoping that neither Sylvanas, Verena or Alleria had seen that. They will find out eventually, he was sure about that. A lot of people had seen them kissing, so it wouldn't take long until the news would reach Sylvanas.

Kelrian knew he had to speak to Sylvanas and confess what had happened. He was only hoping that Sylvanas wouldn't freak out. He had never seen Sylvanas being jealous before, so he was hoping she wouldn't overreact when he would tell her.

He noticed that Elena was about too lean in to kiss him again, so he turned his head at the last moment, causing that her lips met his cheek and not his lips. He looked back at her, noticing the frown on her forehead. She didn't say anything nor did he. She just stared into his eyes, caressing his forearm softly.

Her voice was not much louder than a whisper as she started to flirt with him again but he didn't respond to her. He just looked at her, frowning and raising an eyebrow as he tried to predict what she might do next. He assumed that it was very likely that she would try to kiss him again, so he turned his back to her and began to put random wine bottles on his tray.

He didn't look back at her. He only told her that Zetai was waiting for his drink before he walked away. He left her alone and walked as fast as possible to the table, where his friends were sitting at, as fast as possible. He knew his behaviour was rude and he would apologize to Elena later as soon as she would be sober. He didn't know what else he could have done in this situation so he assumed that this had been the best solution if he didn't want that Sylvanas would be mad at him.

He reached the table, putting down the tray with the bottles and glasses. He didn't respond to Zetai who thanked him nor did he say hello to Kelia who had arrived at the table a few moments earlier. He had only one thing on his mind. He had to find out if Sylvanas had noticed something. He looked at her, his heart skipped a beat as he noticed that she was approaching him. Her expression was unreadable so he had no clue if she had noticed something or not.

Kelrian assumed that she would stop in front of him and talk to him but she walked past him instead, their hands touched lightly. He turned his head, looking at her over his shoulder. Sylvanas was swaying her hips as she walked towards one of the many corridors which led away from the room. She didn't turn around to look at Kelrian as she left the room.

Kelrian frowned as he stared at the corridor longer than necessary. He was wondering what was going on in Sylvanas' mind.

Had she seen something? Was she mad at him? Why had she left the room so quickly without saying something to him?

Questions upon questions.

At this very moment, he noticed the rolled-up piece of paper in his hand for the first time. He unrolled it and read what was written on it.

Meet me in the attic in twenty minutes.

Don't you dare to come late. Be careful that no one follows you.


Sylvanas wanted to meet him. In twenty minutes. Alone.

What could that mean? What did she want from him? Did she want to talk to him? If so, about what?

There were lots of questions to which he had no answers.

He could only meet Sylvanas on the building's attic and find out what why she wanted to meet him there. That was the only option he had and he didn't intend to not go to the attic. He had decided to meet up with Sylvanas and find out what she wanted from him.

Chapter Text

He had his eyes closed, taking deep breaths as he tried to calm down. He could hear the beats of his heart which was rampaging in his chest. He was afraid that it would explode the next moment. Fortunately, it didn't. After a few minutes, he had finally managed to calm down. He made sure he was ready before he knocked at the door in front of him. He waited a few moments, then he opened the door slowly, sighing out in relief as he found out that it didn't produce too loud noises.

He entered the attic, noticing that it was smaller than expected. The building, in which the celebration was taking place, was very large so was its roof. That was reason enough to expect that its attic would be very large as well. But it wasn't for some reason. It was barely larger than forty square meters, meaning it was smaller than an average room in an average house.

Kelrian was wondering why the architects of the building hadn't made it larger. Maybe the architects had assumed that the headquarter of the Farstriders didn't need a large attic. Kelrian couldn't understand this because he thought that it didn't hurt to have a large attic. In his opinion it was never bad to have enough room to store things.

Kelrian looked around, noticing that no objects were standing on the floor. No cartons, no crates and not even chests. The attic was completely empty except for an ordinary chair which was standing in the middle. Kelrian walked over to it, regarding it curiously. He checked his surroundings once again, hoping to see Sylvanas somewhere. But she wasn't there.

This was strange. Hadn't she asked him to meet her there? Kelrian looked at his clock, realizing that twelve minutes had passed since he had received the eight minutes to wait.

He looked back at the chair, wondering why it was the only object in the room. He was about to reach out for it as he heard a quiet noise, which caused him to stop immediately. Someone had moved. He spun around, his eyes widened as he saw Sylvanas leaning next to the door he had forgotten to close. She had crossed her arms in front of her chest, one of her legs was bent and so its foot leaned against the wall.

Guilt came up in him as he remembered the kiss with Elena. He hadn't initiated it but he still felt guilty. It felt for him as if he had cheated on Sylvanas, even though he didn't. He wanted to look away because he felt unworthy to look at her but he was unable to avert his felt as if a spell had been cast on him which prevented that he could look at something else.

"You should close the door if you secretly meet someone somewhere" advised Sylvanas, giving him a small smile.

"Sylvanas" he said, sighing out in relief. "I didn't notice that you entered the room after me.

"I didn't, I was in the room the entire time"

"You were invisible, weren't you?"

Sylvanas nodded.

"Why do you want to meet me there?"

Sylvanas locked the door, then she walked over to him and wrapped her arms around his neck. "Aren't you happy to see me?"

"Of course I am but..."

"But what?" asked Sylvanas, raising an eyebrow.

"I'm wondering why you want to meet me in this place while the others are celebrating. I'm pretty sure that the others will notice soon that you are absent"

"I don't care what the others think. I only care about what you think" she said, making a pause as she regarded him from head to toe "I've locked this room so no one can come in and interrupt us"

"But they could hear us talking" said Kelrian.

Sylvanas lowered her voice. "Not if we whisper"

He lowered his voice as well "Alright"

"I don't need a specific reason to meet you, do I?"

"I don't think so" replied Kelrian.

"Good" Sylvanas smiled at him, pulling him closer until their bodies met. She pressed her upper body against his, her smile became wider as he put his hands on her hips. "I've missed you so much. It's a shame that we weren't able to see each other often in the past weeks except for the daily training every day"

"You were very busy the past weeks"

"I had to organize and prepare everything. The uniforms, the final examination, the ceremony, the celebration and so much more. I would have met you every day in secret if I would have had the , I didn't have the time.

"But now you have"

"Yes" she whispered, giving him a big grin. "Now I have more than enough time" she spoke before she pressed her lips against his, putting one of her hands on the back of his head and the other on his cheek. She deepened the kiss, biting his bottom lip softly until he parted his lips and allowed her to insert her tongue. She didn't wait for too long to explore every reachable corner of his mouth. He couldn't keep up with her. His tongue entered her mouth after she had licked every spot of his mouth three times at least. At least he was able to run the fingers of his left hand through her hair while his other hand caressed her left hip.

He didn't try to take over and lead, knowing Sylvanas wouldn't allow it. He just mimicked her actions with a delay of a few seconds. Even though this kiss felt so awesome, Kelrian decided to break it and pull away. Sylvanas tilted her head a little, raising an eyebrow as she gave him a confused look. "What's wrong?"

"Well, I... Something happened which doesn't want to leave my mind"

"You don't need to tell me more. I already know that Elena has flirted with you and touched you"

"She didn't just touch me" Kelrian said.

"She kissed you, I know". Sylvanas sounded oddly calm.

"You know that?" asked Kelrian, making a very surprised face.

"Verena has told me"

Kelrian made a doubtful face "Did she?"

Sylvanas' response was a simple nod.

"You don't seem to be upset" diagnosed Kelrian.

"That's true"

Kelrian frowned. "But why?"

"You didn't initiate the kiss, right? Nor did you deepen the kiss. You walked away as soon as possible and left Elena in front of the banquet. You didn't do anything wrong"

"You might be right" he muttered, looking at his feet.

Sylvanas smiled, putting her hand under his chin. She lifted it up so he had no other choice than looking at her. "So, there is nothing which has to be forgiven as long as you don't kiss her again"

"I will be careful next time. I will make sure she won't kiss me again. Promise

"I'm hoping that for you, otherwise, I have to punish you" she responded with a very erotic sounding voice. She stared into his eyes for a few moments, then she pressed her lips against his.

She deepened the kiss after a few moments, pulling away from time to time only to kiss him again after a few was still in the lead so she sneaked one hand under the top of his uniform. She caressed his stomach muscles while placing kisses on his jaw, his cheeks and his long ears. She even took the tips of his ears in her mouth from time to time, chuckling whenever a quiet moan escaped his lips.

His eyes, which had been closed while they had kissed, shot open as he felt her other hand on a certain spot on his body. He looked down, noticing that Sylvanas' hand had found its way in his trousers and in his pants. It was touching his most sacred thing, stroking it to make him feel better. She didn't blush nor was she embarrassed. She only gave him a dirty grin as she continued.

"Are you sure that we should doit here?" he asked, giving her a surprised look.

"Do you remember when we have done it the last time?"

"Well, yeah. It was four weeks ago, wasn't it?"

"Six. Six weeks, to be exactly" she corrected.

"I don't see a problem there"

"Other couples have sex every day or at least every second day if they are newly in love with each other. We have waited a whole year before we had sex. Don't forget that we don't have sex that often. Once a week is our maximum. That's not enough for me"

"I know but we are not a normal couple. We have to hide which means we can spend less time together. You are very busy most of the time which means we don't have many opportunities to enjoy ourselves"

"I know. You don't need to remind me of that. I use every opportunity I can get. This seems to be a perfect opportunity for us, don't you think so?"

"Well... I guess you are right"

"Good" spoke Sylvanas, giving him a triumphing smile. "Then shut up and keep your voice as low as possible"

"What do you..." he started but was stopped by Sylvanas who silenced him by pressing the palm of her hand on his lips. She stared into his eyes, waiting until he returned the staring. She took her hand away as she received an understanding nod. She unbuttoned his trousers, pulling them with his pants down. She bent down, using her hands and her mouth to make him feel good.

Kelrian found himself on the chair later, giving his best to be as quiet as possible. It was impossible to prevent that every single moan would escape his lips but he was able to hold back most of them. It was not easy because Sylvanas made him feel really good. She was sitting on his lap, her leggings and panties were lying on the floor, her chest plate and her bra were removed as well. Kelrian's face rested between her large breasts, his hands were tied behind the back of the chair. He was not doing much except for pushing his hips up and down, causing that Sylvanas felt good as well.

Their love-making ended as soon as Kelrian released inside her. Kelrian was too exhausted to perform again but that was no reason for Sylvanas to get off his lap. She was still straddling him, kissing him from time to time until she was satisfied enough. She stared into his eyes, getting off his lap after quite some time. She gave him a wide grin, glancing one last time at his semi-nude form before she picked up her clothes and got dressed. She pulled the key of the handcuffs out of her pocket, walking around the chair so she could undo the handcuffs. Kelrian stood up as soon as he was free, rubbing his wrists softly.

He got dressed within a few minutes, looking at his lover who also had a satisfied expression on her face"I've needed this so badly" Sylvanas admitted.

"You are not the only one who has missed direct body contact"

Her smile became wider. "I know. You have really enjoyed it as well"

"How do you know I've enjoyed it?" asked Kelrian, giving her a teasing grin.

"The sounds you were making and the way your body has reacted are enough to prove that you have enjoyed it" told Sylvanas, grinning back at him.

He rubbed the back of his head softly "Fine, you got me"

Sylvanas smiled, staring into his eyes for a while. She cleared her throat eventually. "We should return. You will wait here for twenty minutes before you go back to the hall"

Kelrian nodded his head.

Sylvanas pulled him in for one last passionate kiss. She pulled back after a while, looking at him while she walked to the door and unlocked it, opened and closed it behind her as she left the attic.

Kelrian checked his surroundings as soon as he entered the gigantic room where the celebration was taking place. He spotted lots of rangers and many guests who weren't members of the Farstriders. This could only mean that most of the Farstriders had brought someone to the celebration. Every Farstrider, no matter if ranger or recruit, was allowed to bring up to two guests to the celebration. That was the reason why so many persons, Kelrian had never seen before, were in the room.

Every attending person was in a good mood and happy to celebrate with the others. He didn't spot a single person who wasn't enjoying this event. He looked at the table where Sylvanas had sat before she had left the room, noticing that only Alleria was still sitting there. He frowned as he regarded his surroundings closely, wondering where Sylvanas was.

He found her on the other side of the room, at the room's largest table, where almost all captains and lieutenants sat. She was talking to Verena and another woman Kelrian recognized as Ranger-Lieutenant Velonara. He didn't know much about her. He only knew that she was a friend of Verena.

Kelrian noticed that Sylvanas was looking at him from time to time, giving him a barely recognizable smirk whenever she did that. Kelrian regarded her for a while, then he walked back to the table where his friends sat. He saw Vendora, Kelia, Zetai and Salna. He didn't saw Elena and Elonis. He looked around, wanting to know if they were anywhere near but he didn't spot them. He took a seat next to Zetai, looking in the round as he formulated his question. "Where are Elena and Elonis?"

"Elonis got sick after emptying too many bottles of alcohol. Elena accompanied her to the nearest bathroom" responded Vendora. "At least I believe that because they left the room in a hurry. Not to mention that Elonis' face was as white as chalk"

"Or she has only pretended to be sick because they needed an excuse to get away, so they could be in peace without anybody wondering why they are away for so long" commented Zetai.

Kelrian's gaze fell upon him. "What do you mean?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.

"It seems that Elonis has spent a lot of time over the past months with the Ranger-General's best friend"

Kelrian tilted his head, giving him a confused look "And?"

"It's not a secret that she is into girls, maybe she has turned Elonis. And now Elonis wants to make out with Elena in the bathroom"

Kelrian put one of his hands on his forehead, shaking his head slightly. "This is very far-fetched, don't you think?"

"Maybe but what if it's not?"

"It wouldn't change anything if one of them is into girls" spoke Kelia. "Homosexuality is not uncommon in our society. Just remember that the Ranger-General once had a relationship with Ranger-Captain Sunbather"

"These rumours were never confirmed" Salna threw in.

"We may have no proofs for that, but everyone knows that the Ranger-General and Ranger-Captain Sunbather have been an item for some time"

"Even if that is true, it doesn't change anything. There are no restrictions when it comes to love. Every creature is allowed to love who it wants, no matter of age or gender. It makes no difference if you love the opposite gender or the same gender" spoke Kelrian, receiving nods from everyone.

"So, let's be serious" he said after a few moments of silence. "What are Elena and Elonis doing?"

"No clue" muttered Zetai.

Kelrian looked in the round. "Does anyone know anything about them?" Everyone shook their heads.

"Maybe Elena needs to catch herself after you have turned her down" joked Zetai.

"Quite funny" muttered Kelrian.

"I'm always funny, you know"

Kelrian looked at his friend, observing him closely. It was unmistakable that he had drunk too much. Kelrian knew that Zetai could be very funny if he wanted to, but at the moment he wasn't. Sometimes, he could be a jerk which was the case at this very moment.

"Hey look, there she is" exclaimed Kelia, pointing in a direction. Kelrian's eyes followed the direction Kelia's finger was pointing at, spotting Elena near the entrance. She was leaning against a wall, arms crossed in front of her chest. She was making an expressionless face, not showing anyone how she was feeling at the moment.

Kelrian's gaze rested on her for a few moments before he turned his head to search for Elonis. He found her sitting at a table next to Verena. The Ranger-Captain had put her arm around the ranger's shoulder, pulling her closer. Her mouth was very close to Elonis' face, to her ear to be precise.

Kelrian assumed that she was whispering something in her ear. They could be speaking about something or Verena could be flirting with her. Maybe what Zetai had said was true. Kelrian was one of the few who knew about Sylvanas' and Verena's past. Sylvanas had told him this one day as they had spoken about lovers and love affairs from the past. To his disappointment, she hadn't given him many details about her relationship with her best friend, but she had confirmed the rumours at least. He had promised her to never tell anyone about this and he intended to keep this promise.

It didn't matter for him if Elonis and Verena were lovers or not. He didn't need to be afraid that Sylvanas will choose Verena over him because he knew she loved him and that she wasn't interested in women in general. Verena had been an exception. The only exception. Still, it would be only to his advantage if Verena would be in a would mean she wouldn't couldn't crave Sylvanas and wouldn't try to get her back.

"She looks so lonely and sad, this is almost heartbreaking" commented Vendora. Kelrian turned his head, looking at the elf with the long brown hair which was tied to a ponytail. He scrutinized her closely but didn't say anything. Of course, he knew that she was exaggerating. Elena didn't look very happy but she didn't look sad, in Kelrian's opinion at least.

"I would also be sad if my love interest would turn me down" muttered Kelia.

"C'mon guys, what should have I done in your opinion? She is just a friend for me but I didn't want to tell her this to prevent that I would break her heart" spoke Kelrian.

"You shouldn't have walked away" responded Salna. "At least not without saying anything in return"

"I won't justify my decisions. I have my reasons. Just leave it be, will you?"

"Fine" spoke Salna, a faked groan escaped her lips.

"Why don't you go over to her and clear things up with her? Tell her that you don't feel the same as she does. It would be better for both of you. This way you won't give her false hopes, so she can try her luck with someone else" suggested Zetai.

Kelrian frowned. "Are you sure that this is a good idea?"

"It's the best you can do right now. You don't want her to remain sad for the rest of the day, right? We all became rangers after the five hardest years of our lives. It would be a shame if Elena wouldn't be able to enjoy the celebration"

"She wouldn't feel better if I talk to her about everything. She will find out that I don't feel the same for her, so there is no way her mood will get better"

"Just try it" said Kelia.

"Fine, I will try it. Stop getting on my nerves" Kelrian said as he got up. He looked at Kelia, noticing the small grin on her lips. He shook his head slightly, deciding to not say anything in response. He walked towards Elena, reaching her within two minutes. She didn't notice him as he stopped right next to her, so he cleared his throat, giving her a small smile as she spun around and looked at him. Her eyes widened, her sad facial expression was replaced by a mix of surprise and hope.

"Hey" he started, not sure what else to say.

"Hey..." she responded, not knowing what to say either.

"I'm sorry for walking away without saying a word. I didn't want to hurt you... I was just...overtaxed, I guess. I didn't know how to handle the situation. I guess I was taken by surprise"

She looked at her hands as she spoke. "I'm sorry about that. I didn't know what was going on until it was too late. I guess the alcohol had spoken and acted for me"

"I forgive you" Kelrian smiled at her.

"I'm afraid I've ruined our friendship" she said quietly.

"You haven't, don't worry about that" he spoke and checked his surroundings quickly. "Would it be okay if we talk somewhere where it isn't that loud?"

"Sure, what place do you have in mind?"

"Hmm" Kelrian made a thoughtful face. "We should be able to find a place where it's quiet when we follow the nearest corridor. I don't want to get disturbed while talking to you. Not to mention it is hard to understand you while the others are cheering and celebrating.

"I'm fine with that. Go ahead"

Kelrian nodded to her, telling her to follow him. She did that without hesitation, stopping when he stopped in the middle of the corridor.

"So..." she said quietly as he turned around to look at her.

"How are you feeling?"

"Good, I guess" responded Elena, making a thoughtful face. "As good as it can be expected under the circumstances"

"I'm sorry if I have hurt you"

"You didn't but it was not cool to that you walked away. On the other hand, it was not the best idea to kiss you out of nowhere, especially when dozens of people were around us"

"I haven't noticed that you have feelings for me. I haven't noticed that you have flirted with me from time to time. I really like you but the truth is that I consider you as a friend and I don't think that will change. Ireally like you but only as a close friend. I'm sorry that I have to say this but I can't see us as lovers"

"It's okay" spoke Elena. It cost a lot of strength and willpower for her to hold tears back.

Kelrian pressed his lips together, giving her an apologizing look. He didn't know what else to do. Telling her the truth had been necessary because he didn't want her to chase someone she could never have. He didn't want that she would waste so much time on trying to get closer to him.

He wanted her to be happy but that was only possible if she would accept that he was not meant for her. The sooner she would accept that, the sooner she could move on and look out for another man she could love. He just felt bad for hurting her feelings. He cared about her but she was nothing more than a good friend to him.

"You are not the only man in this world but you are by far one of the best men a woman can dream of. Any woman would be happy to have you" she made a pause, taking a breath. "Can I ask you something?"

"Sure, go ahead"

"Is there another woman? Are you involved with another woman or what is the reason why you just consider me as a friend? Am I not your type?"

Kelrian sighed out, waiting a few moments before he answered. "I don't really have a type. I have to admit you are a very beautiful, smart and nice woman. I really like you but there is another woman I love with all of my heart. I won't tell you who she is nor will I tell you if you know her. I just want to be honest with you and tell you that I'm already in a relationship. That's the reason we can't be together. I love her too much to cheat on her, nor do I want to leave her for you. I'm sorry"

Elena lowered her head a bit, staring at the floor. Her ears hung lower than usual, signalizing Kelrian that she was really sad at the moment. But then she lifted her head after a while, looking back at him. It didn't seem that she was still sad, maybe just a bit disappointed. "I can accept this answer. At least, you haven't rejected me because you find me ugly"

Soft laughter escaped his lips. "You are everything but ugly, trust me"

She smiled at him. "Thank you"

He returned her smile.

"We are still friends, aren't we?"

"Of course, we are friends. Only because I don't want you as a lover doesn't mean I don't want to have you as a friend" told Kelrian, giving her a comforting smile.

"I'm glad then"

"Same am I"

"We should go back to the others" suggested the woman with the turquoise coloured hair.

"Go ahead, I will join you soon" responded Kelrian.

"Okay" she said, waving at him before she walked back to the hall.

Kelrian waited until she was out of his field of vision, then he turned around and looked in the opposite direction. "Was it necessary to spy on me?"

"I wasn't spying on you. I just made sure that Elena wouldn't try again to make out with you" spoke Sylvanas as she stepped out of the shadows, becoming visible. "Don't get me wrong, I trust you but I don't trust her"

"I see" he responded, regarding her with narrowed eyes.

"Your senses have gotten better" she complimented. "A year ago, you wouldn't have noticed me but now you can"

"Your perfume is betraying you. Because of our little love sessions, I have gotten used to the smell of your perfume. That's the reason why I have managed to notice your presence"explained Kelrian.

"Still, you have noticed me. Others wouldn't have managed that even if they would have known the smell of my perfume. You are not the second best ranger of your generation without a reason. Turns out my hard training has paid off" she complimented.

"I think we will see that as soon as you take me to a important mission"

"I'm pretty sure you won't disappoint me"

"I think that as well"

"Let's go back to the hall, shall we?" asked Sylvanas, patting his shoulder softly.

"After you, Sylvanas" whispered Kelrian.

Chapter Text




Sylvanas startled as she felt a warm hand on her left shoulder. She turned her head immediately, looking at the hand's owner. It was Alleria who regarded her with a raised eyebrow. She didn't say anything, she stared at her.

"What?" asked Sylvanas eventually.

"Mother asked you something. It is rude to not answer her"

Sylvanas turned her head, looking at her mother. Like her daughters, Lireesa Windrunner was a very beautiful woman. She was over one thousand years old but she still looked very young like all elves. She wore a beautiful blue dress and a gorgeous necklace which consisted of blue gems. Her hair was blonde and wrapped up in a ponytail.

At this very moment, her mother was sitting on the opposite side of the table, regarding Sylvanas curiously.

"I already told you that I'm not going to marry Prince Kael'thas or anyone else you want me to marry. I will not marry anyone father wants me to marry only because he wants to get more influence and a wire to the royal family" told Sylvanas eventually, staring into her mother's eyes.

"But Sylvanas..."

"No buts, mother. I'm not going to marry someone I do not love"

"Nobody asked you to do that. I just wanted to ask you if you would at least meet up with the prince to get known to him better. I'm pretty sure he is a charming and wise man like his father"

"There are many other charming and wise men in Quel'Thalas. He is not the only one" interrupted Sylvanas before her mother could speak any further.

"But none of them is the crown prince. You don't know how many doors will open up for you if you marry Prince Kael'thas" spoke her mother, trying to convince Sylvanas but failing horribly.

"There are already enough doors open for me as Ranger-General. You were Ranger-General before me so you must know how powerful and influential I am in this position. I already have the king's ear, same counts for the prince and their advisers. If I want something, the chances are pretty high that I get that. I don't need to marry the prince to get what I want"

"But..." her mother tried again but fell silent as Sylvanas lifted her hand, signalizing her that she didn't want to speak about it anymore. Lireesa made a thoughtful face but then she decided to try it again.

"You are over one hundred seventy years old, my dear. Other women at your age are already married. I was married too when I was your age. A woman at your age with your status shouldn't remain unmarried for too long". She leaned over to Sylvanas, taking her hands in her own, caressing them carefully. "I only want the best for you. I only want you to be happy and that your wishes and dreams come true"

Sylvanas pulled her hands away, putting them on her lap. "Then you have to accept that I won't marry anyone father wants me to marry. He has to achieve the position, he is striving for, alone. If he wants to become one of the king's advisors, he has to prove himself worthy. I also had to prove myself worthy to become your successor after you resigned because of your disease. Father has to do the same. I won't marry someone I don't love only because father wants more power and influence. You can try to talk Alleria into this marriage or Vereesa but not me"

Sylvanas stared into her mother's eyes, signalizing her that she was serious about this. Her mother wasn't making a happy face but she seemed to have accepted Sylvanas' decision. Sylvanas turned her head after a few moments, looking at Alleria who was regarding her with an expressionless look on her face. Her lips were pressed together and her eyes hung on Sylvanas.

"I'm already spoken for" Alleria mentioned. "Also, Kael'thas wouldn't want to marry someone who already has a child"

Sylvanas sighed. "Where is your son anyways? I haven't seen him for a few weeks"

"He is visiting Stormwind City with his father"

"I still can't believe you have fallen for a human" spoke Sylvanas. "But I accept him because you love him and he loves you. Just don't forget that humans aren't living so long as we high elves do"

"I know about that, Sylvanas. You don't need to remind me of that. I will spend as many years with Turalyon as fates allow us and then... I have no clue what will happen then"

"I accept your relationship as long as you are happy"

"Trust me, I am"

"Good. Vereesa is still a minor so she wouldn't be able to marry the prince which means no one of us will marry him" Sylvanas statemented.

Her gaze shifted to her younger sister Vereesa who was avoiding eye contact by observing her plate longer than necessary. She didn't miss the blush on her face. Sylvanas chuckled. Her sister was so young and naive. She was still a minor by law, even with her ninety-three years. She may have the body of a mature woman but the mind of a teenager. Sometimes at least.

Sylvanas knew her baby sister pretty well, so she knew about her crush on Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider. Sylvanas had to admit that she could understand the reasons for that. Kael'thas was a very handsome, charming man who knew how to treat women. He was always friendly to others and did his best to help his people whenever he could.

He had a lot of admirers who wanted to be with him. Vereesa was one of them but she would never speak to him even if she would be alone with him. She was too shy and too afraid that she might disgrace herself in front of him. Sylvanas was not shy. She had no problem speaking to the prince or the king but she had no interest in Kael'thas, not even if she would be single. Kael'thas was not her type but there was someone else who was clearly her type.

Kelrian Sunsinger. Thinking of him was enough tomake her happy. She wanted him whenever she thought of him. She wanted to touch him, kiss him, cuddle up to him and do more things with him. She desired him but also sexually. He was the only man she had slept with after a long break of over seventy years. She had done this pause because she had been tired of one-night stands and short-lived relationships. The relationship with him was not only her longest but also the only relationship which made her truly happy.

There was only one thing which would make her a lot happier than she already was. She would love to have an official relationship with Kelrian. She wished she could show everyone that he was hers and that she was his. Telling the society about their relationship would be possible but it would also have its risks.

Sylvanas was loved by most citizens of Quel'Thalas which meant she had lots of admirers, lots of jealous admires too. She didn't want to imagine what some of them could do to Kelrian if they would see him alone somewhere. Sylvanas had always kept her relationships secret for this reason. She didn't want anyone to get hurt because of her. She was not sure if she would ever make their relationship official. She was not sure yet, maybe her opinion about this will change someday. Maybe. Maybe not.

Sylvanas regarded Vereesa closely. Unlike the rest of her family, her natural hair colour was silver instead of blonde or golden-blonde. Sylvanas remembered that her sister had hated her hair colour some time ago. She had even asked their mother if she could dye it. But Sylvanas had talked her out of this. She had told her that her hair colour was unique and special. Not everyone had silver-coloured hair so she should be proud of it. Sylvanas had needed some time to talk to her but in the end, she had managed to convince her sister to keep her hair like this.

Sylvanas noticed that her little sister was wearing her ranger uniform. "Are you going on a mission today, little moon? I don't remember giving one of my subordinates a task for you"

Vereesa lifted her head, looking at Sylvanas who regarded her curiously. She wanted to say something but Alleria was faster and responded for her "I'm hunting with her today"

Sylvanas looked at Alleria, tilting her head a little. "She belongs to my regiment which means you have to ask me first if I can spare her. I don't remember that she has a day off this week so she has to fulfil her duties from Monday to Friday this week. You can hunt with her on the weekend but not today"

"What is she doing that is so important that you can't spare her?"

"She joins the patrol which starts at Windrunner Village, then travels to the Sanctum of the Sun before they return to our village. Ranger-Captain Sweetblossom is sick for this week at least so I need an experienced ranger to replace her" explained Sylvanas.

Alleria raised an eyebrow. "Vereesa is only a normal ranger, not even a lieutenant. She can't replace Vara"

"I know that's why I'm going with her"

"Vara's group, Vereesa and you?" asked Alleria, making a doubtful look.

"No, Vara's group is doing something else. Zetai, Kelrian and a few of my rangers will join us"

"Why do you have to attend the patrol? Aren't there enough other captains or lieutenants who could replace her? Haven't you enough other duties to fulfil?"

"Surprisingly not. I don't have to do any other task this week so I will accompany my little sister on her patrol. Also, I want to show Kelrian and Zetai what they have to pay attention to when they are patrolling" explained Sylvanas, smiling when she noticed that she had won.

Alleria exhaled loudly. "Fine, do whatever you want. I will hunt with Vereesa on Saturday"

"Do that" spoke Sylvanas, smiling at her. She looked back at Vereesa who was also smiling at her. She put her hand on her cheek, caressing it softly. "Don't worry little moon, you will be able to hunt a few deers, boars and other animals soon enough. Father's birthday party is not till next week, so you have enough time to hunt animals and store their meat in a cold place"

Vereesa nodded to her but didn't say anything. Her gaze still rested on Sylvanas as she continued to eat her roasted rabbit meat and her potatoes. Sylvanas chuckled but didn't say anything. She was Vereesa's role model and she liked it. Of course, Vereesa was also regarding Alleria and her mother as her role models but Sylvanas was the person she looked up the most. She wanted to become a successful and skilled ranger like her sisters. She wanted to impress her sisters, especially Sylvanas. She knew she had a long way to go if she wanted to reach this goal. But she was pretty sure she will, so were the other members of her family.

Sylvanas' gaze rested long on her baby sister before it shifted to her little brother who hadn't said anything so far. Lirath was wearing a red tunic and blue trousers, his blond hair reached to his shoulders. Like his sisters, he also wanted to become a ranger one day but he was still too young to attend the examinations. He may be the Ranger-General's brother but that didn't mean that he could attend the examinations earlier than everyone else. He had to wait until he would reach his fiftieth year oflife to be allowed to attend the examination. Sylvanas was pretty sure he will endure the next thirteen years. He would have enough time to practise and become good enough to pass the exam.

Sylvanas looked at her plate eventually, noticing that she hadn't touched it yet. There were two fried chicken wings, potatoes, peas and lots of sauce on her plate. Her meal looked pretty delicious and Sylvanas was sure, without needing to take a bite, that it was very delicious. Sylvanas' mother was an excellent cook. She may not be able to be a ranger anymore but at least she was able to take care of her family and cook delicious meals for them. Sylvanas was a great cook too but she was not as good as her mother and she knew that. She loved to eat whatever her mother had prepared. There was not a meal Sylvanas didn't like.

She looked at her mother, receiving a simple nod. She gave her mother a smile before she took the cutlery in her hands and looked back at her plate. She cut the potatoes in little pieces and dipped them into the sauce, putting them in her mouth eventually. Then took a bite from the chicken wings.

"Delicious as always" said Sylvanas, smiling at her mother.

"I'm glad you like it" responded Lireesa.

"You have to show me one day how you manage to make every meal perfect"

"Well, there is nothing extraordinary I do. I only prepare the food, that's it. I don't use magic or special ingredients. I'm not doing it differently than others" explained her mother.

"Nevertheless, you are far better than the best cooks in Silvermoon City. I have eaten in a lot of noble restaurants where the best cooks of Silvermoon are working. Believe me when I tell you that none of them is as good as you are" complimented Sylvanas.

"Thank you, my dear" responded Lireesa. She blushed a little but didn't avert eye contact, neither did Sylvanas. They stared at each other for a while, not saying anything else. There was a pleasant silence in the room and nobody dared to break it.

Sylvanas' father joined them after a while, taking a seat next to his beloved wife. He wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her closer to place a kiss on her left cheek. Lireesa giggled, snuggling closer to him. Sylvanas regarded them while having a smile on her lips. It amazed her from day to day anew that they still loved each other after such a long time. Their relationship had begun three hundred years ago but they still act as if it was the very first day where they had fallen in love with the other.

Sylvanas was glad that their love hadn't faded and that it seemed they will never stop loving each other. Sylvanas was hoping that her relationship with Kelrian will be like the relationship of her parents. She was hoping that her love for Kelrian will never fade. She couldn't imagine her life without him and she was pretty sure he was feeling the same.

Kelrian made her happy. She was already happy when he was only around her. Being near him, speaking to him and spending time with him made her very happy. She wanted to be together with him for the rest of her long-lasting life. She was also hoping that his love for her wouldn't fade. She didn't want to imagine him with another woman. She had to be careful that no other woman would try to get what was hers. Other women like Elena, who had already told Kelrian how she felt about him. Sylvanas couldn't do much to prevent that other women would get interested in Kelrian. She could only hope that he would do the right thing. She trusted him, she knew him pretty well so she knew he would never cheat on her or leave her for another woman.

Sylvanas was brought out of her thoughts by her father who had cleared his throat to get her attention. She looked at him, regarding him closely. He was wearing a decorated blue jacket and matching trousers. His shoes were made by the best shoemaker in Silvermoon City. Overall, his outfit was very expensive. His blond hair was cut quite short, making him look good.

Unlike Sylvanas' mother and the rest of their family, he was not a ranger. He was a very influential businessman. As far as Sylvanas knew, he hadn't been born with a golden spoon in his mouth, instead, he had come from a very poor background. Sylvanas didn't know much about his past, she only knew that he had managed to earn enough money by selling things to buy a piece of land where he had found a hidden mine. He had found precious gems in the mine which he had sold for a massive amount of money. He had used this money to found his first commercial business. In the end, he had become more and more successful over time.

These days he had several manufacturing companies which were very successful. Because of his success, the Windrunner family had a huge manor known as Windrunner Spire and their own village. Windrunner Village was one of the largest villages south of Silvermoon City. Almost three hundred inhabitants lived there along with twenty guards who made sure that no intruders, like bandits, orcs or trolls, would harm the inhabitants.

Sylvanas knew that her father strived for more success and influence. That was the reason why he wanted her to marry Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider. Of course, he couldn't force her to marry him, even though he wanted to get more influence so badly. He could only try to convince Sylvanas to marry the prince. But Sylvanas would never do that voluntarily so her father had tried to make deals with her but Sylvanas had always refused.

She was hoping that he would spare her today and wouldn't talk to her about that topic, at least not when the rest of the family was around. It was very rare that all members of the Windrunner family were gathered in the same room at the same time. Sylvanas and Alleria only visited their home at the weekends. They still had their rooms in the house but their main residences were in Silvermoon City. Only Vereesa and Lirath still lived with their parents because they were minors. Vereesa would reach adulthood in seven years so she could move out if she wanted but Sylvanas knew that she would stay longer in Windrunner Spire. Every child of the Windrunner family was allowed to live in the Spire as long as they wanted.

Sylvanas' mother was hoping that Lirath and Vereesa would stay in the house as long as possible. She would feel pretty lonely otherwise. Her husband was working most of the day and her oldest children were working as well. She understood that because their positions were really was responsible for the safety of the inhabitants of Quel'Thalas and Alleria was doing her best to support her. Unlike Sylvanas and Alleria, Vereesa was not working twelve hours a day so she had more free time she could spend with her parents and her younger brother.

Sylvanas remained silent longer than necessary but then she spoke eventually. "Welcome back father, it's good to see you. How have you been doing?"

"Work was exhausting but other than that I'm fine" he responded, shoving a potato in his mouth. "What about you, Sylvie?"

"Well, I have only done some paperwork so far so I can't say that it exhausted me. But I'm going to take Vereesa and some of my rangers on patrol later, so we will have lots of fun there"

Her father laughed. "I remember you telling me dozens of times that patrolling and doing paperwork are the most boring tasks a ranger can do"

"That's true but someone has to do it. There are lots of teams who patrol every day and every night and they don't complain. They know that these patrols are necessary to detect invaders as soon as possible"

"Makes sense" responded her father, taking a bite from the chicken leg he was holding.

"When will you return?" asked her mother. Sylvanas looked at Vereesa who was also giving her a curious look, then she looked at her mother.

"If we start in one and a half hour, we should return at half-past ten"

"So, the poor girl is going to work eight and a half hours today?" asked Lireesa, looking at her youngest daughter and then at her middle daughter.

"I've worked for ten hours every day, six days a week when I was at her age. Eight and a half hours are nothing compared this"

"You know I've never asked you to work so long back then I was Ranger-General" mentioned Lireesa.

"I know but you had more rangers back then. We lost countless over the past few decades because of orc and troll attacks. We have less available rangers and recruits than we had when you were Ranger-General. This means that a lot more rangers have to do additional shifts to cover-up every sector. We need more people who patrol every day and every night, we need more instructors, we need more hunters who hunt food so we can feed every citizen of Quel'Thalas, we need more bowyers and more armourers. Overall, we need more people in every sector, not only in the military sector.

But we don't have that many people so our rangers have to work longer than usual. I wish it would be different but we have no other choice than biting into the sour apple and work up to fourteen hours a day if it's necessary. I give my best to reduce the time Vereesa has work every day. Most of the times she only has to work for six hours but someday even she has to work for nine or ten hours if it's necessary. I can't make an exception in her case, not always at least" explained Sylvanas, staring into her mother's eyes.

"It's okay, mother" spoke Vereesa, putting her hands on her mother's. Lireesa looked at her youngest daughter, returning her smile before she looked in the determined face the Ranger-General was making.

"Fourteen hours? That's pretty hard" statemented her father.

"It doesn't happen very often, only when some of my captains or lieutenants are not doing their work correctly or when too many people have gotten sick. I can't just say that it's not my problem if my subordinates aren't able to finish their tasks in time because, in the end, it's my problem. The king will have my head when he finds out that a group of trolls breaks through an area which should have been patrolled by enough groups. I can't allow that innocents die because my subordinates do mistakes or are not there where they are supposed to be. Being the Ranger-General is a rock-hard job and it has become harder over the past thirty years"

"I'm sorry to hear that, my dear" spoke her father, giving her a comforting smile. She returned his smile, then she looked at her mother who was smiling at her as well. Lireesa leaned over and put her hands on Sylvanas' cheeks, caressing them softly. "I knew that you would be the right choice as my successor. Originally, I have wanted Alleria to take my place but she has refused. You are as good as your sister when it comes to combat skill and experience but it seems that you know better how to handle stress. I don't believe Alleria would have held out very long if she would have had the same amount of stress you have to endure every day"

"Maybe, maybe not. Who knows" said Alleria as she wrapped her arm around Sylvanas' shoulders and pulled her closer.

"Stop it, Alleria. You know I don't like to be hugged. Not by you at least"

"Ah, come on. I know you love my hugs" replied Alleria as she pulled Sylvanas closer until their bodies were pressed together. She wrapped her arms around her sister's upper body, not caring that Sylvanas' face was pressed against her bosom as she caressed her back. She ran her fingers through Sylvanas' hair, ruining her hairstyle a bit. It didn't matter at all because Sylvanas looked perfect even with tousled hair.

Sylvanas managed to free herself, looking at her older sister with narrowed eyes. "Quite funny" muttered Sylvanas, ignoring her laughing family as best as she could. But she couldn't be mad at her sister forever, so she relaxed and playfully patted her sister's shoulder. She looked at Alleria for a few moments, ignoring her mocking grin, then she turned to Vereesa and Lirath. "Don't you dare to try the same. I will throw you into the nearest lake if you try it"

Sylvanas chuckled when she saw the anxious faces of her younger siblings but they relaxed as soon as they had realized that Sylvanas was not serious about this. Like Alleria, she loved to mock and tease her siblings from time to time. Most of the times, they didn't dare to say something in return. Only sometimes, Vereesa tried to counter Sylvanas' teasing. Sometimes it worked,sometimes it didn't.

Her family was very important for Sylvanas. She loved every single member of it. Even Alleria who teased her often. Even though she was the Ranger-General and Alleria was only a Ranger-Captain, she still looked up to her. Despite their ranks, Alleria was her older sister. She still had enough tips and tricks up in her sleeves which could help Sylvanas from time to time. Alleria had more experience than her because she was forty years even Sylvanas learned a thing or two from her sister. But that didn't happen very often because she knew most of the important things she had to know as a ranger.

Sylvanas' mother was also her role model. She had told her everything she knew and made her to the next Ranger-General. She had made sure that Sylvanas will be a worthy successor. Sylvanas admired her and she hoped she would never fail her and always make her proud of her. She also wanted to impress her father even though he had no clue what a ranger must endure to become successful and respected. He didn't know much about the work of the Farstriders but had heard enough of Sylvanas' achievements to be proud of her.

Sylvanas also loved to spend time with her younger siblings. She helped Vereesa becoming a better ranger and she trained Lirath whenever she had the time. He also wanted to become a ranger, so he trained every day. Sylvanas supported him whenever she could. Because of her training, he had gotten a lot better over the past years. She was pretty sure he would make it through the examination in thirteen years. He was a Windrunner after all.

Lireesa was the first female Windrunner who had been better than every other ranger. Her children had the same potential. Lireesa was sure all of her children will surpass her one day. Sylvanas and Alleria were already better than her, only Vereesa and Lirath needed more time to become better. But they will reach their mother's level sooner or later. She was pretty sure about that.

Chapter Text

"Don't dawdle, little moon" said Sylvanas. She stopped in the middle of the path and turned around to regard her sister who was about thirty feet behind her. The younger Windrunner was walking as fast as she could but she couldn't keep up with Sylvanas who was rushing through the streets as if she was attending a race.

"I'm not dawdling, you are just too fast" complained Vereesa. She reached Sylvanas eventually, stopping next to her to take a long breath. She needed a few moments until she was able to able to continue moving. Sylvanas' head was tilted, an eyebrow was raised as she regarded her little sister. "How can you be out of breath when you have only walked for half an hour?"

"Walk? We didn't walk. We ran very fast. The last time I have run so fast was when a group of lynxes have chased me. I don't know why you want to arrive at the patrol's starting point so early. We have to reach it in half an hour which we will manage easily. But you ran so fast that we have almost reached it within half of the predetermined time. We have no reason to be in such a hurry"

Sylvanas remained silent as she scrutinized her sister from head to toe. Her sister was right about everything she had said. They will arrive at their destination a lot earlier than they had planned. They didn't need to be there that early because the others wouldn't be there earlier either. Nevertheless, Sylvanas wanted to be there earlier than the others for a reason she couldn't explain to herself. Maybe she was hoping that Kelrian would arrive earlier as well so she could talk to him. Maybe she was hoping she could touch him and kiss him if they would go deep in the forest or in a small cavern where nobody could see them. Maybe she just wanted to have him near, so she could look at him from time to time.

Sylvanas knew that Kelrian was a very punctual person, often he was ten minutes or fifteen minutes earlier than expected. Sometimes he was even half an hour earlier. Sylvanas was hoping that he was also over-punctual this time.

Indeed, he was. He arrived ten minutes earlier at the meeting point, which was a bridge. The bridge allowed people to walk over the river which flew in the near of Windrunner Village.

The river was wide and very deep, meaning people should be careful and always use the bridge to cross it. It was unwise to not use the bridge and swim through the river, especially because the current was stronger than it looked like. The inhabitants of the nearest villages told stories about children who had gotten caught by the current and had been taken away by it. According to these stories, they had never been seen again. Sylvanas didn't believe such stories but she didn't put it on the test. If she wanted to swim, she would go to the nearest beach or lake and not in this mysterious river.

Sylvanas looked at Kelrian, waving at him. Kelrian mimicked her actions, ignoring his companion who was rolling his eyes. Zetai knew Kelrian for five years so he had noticed that he was behaving differently whenever Sylvanas was around. He may have noticed that but he wasn't able to interpret something out of it. He had no clue what was going on between his best friend and the Ranger-General. Kelrian had never told him anything about his relationship with Sylvanas. The only persons who knew about the relationship were Verena and Liadrin. No one else knew a single thing about them.

Sylvanas' smile became wider as the two males came closer to them, stopping in front of them eventually. She didn't hesitate to stretch her arm out, offering them her left hand. Kelrian didn't hesitate to shake her hand, nor did Zetai. They stared at their general for a few moments before their gazes shifted to the smaller woman with the silver-coloured hair. They scrutinized her for a few moments before they looked back at their superior.

"It's nice to meet you, Ranger-General. Would you give us the honour to introduce us to this young woman?"

Sylvanas smiled. "Of course I would. This is my sister Vereesa. Vereesa, these are Kelrian and Zetai, the best rangers of the current generation"

"It's an honour for us to meet you, Lady Vereesa" Kelrian and Zetai said at the same time.

Sylvanas chuckled. "She is not a lady, nor am I. We belong to a famous family but that doesn't mean we have royal blood in our veins. You two have are rangers now so you are allowed to call my sister by her first name, same counts for every other ranger who has the same rank as you. Just ask the lieutenants and captains first if you are allowed to call them by their first names. Some of them may allow you to use their first names"

"As you wish, Ranger-General" spoke Kelrian.

Sylvanas had a small smile on her lips as she regarded him. She noticed out of the corner of her eye that her sister had turned to her and regarded her with a curious look on her face. Sylvanas looked at her sister, raising an eyebrow. "What?"

"Nothing" muttered Vereesa as she turned back to the male rangers who were giving her curious looks. Vereesa hesitated for a few moments but then she extended her arm and shook hands with the other rangers. She was curious to meet the two rangers Sylvanas had rhapsodised about whenever she had been home. Sylvanas had told her a lot about these two, especially how good they were at fighting, shooting and following traces. According to her, they were good at basically everything. Sylvanas was not the person who was exaggerating when talking about something, nevertheless, Vereesa wanted to find out if what she had said was true.

"It's nice to meet you" she said eventually, smiling when they said the same in return. She scrutinized them for a few moments before she turned back to her sister who was looking in the opposite direction. Vereesa turned around, wondering at what Sylvanas was looking. The corners of her lips formed a smile when she recognized a familiar person on the other side of the bridge. The person passed the bridge quickly, shaking Sylvanas' hand.

"I'm glad you made it in time, Velon" said Sylvanas, giving him a small smile.

"I have promised you that I will never be late, Ranger-General" he responded, staring into her eyes longer than necessary. Then he turned to Vereesa, pulling his close friend in a quick but tight hug. "It has been a long time since we have seen each other" replied Vereesa after he had let her go.

"Indeed, it has. Sorry about that" he responded, rubbing the back of his head. He ran his fingers through his bluish dyed hair, putting a strand of it behind his left ear. He regarded Vereesa for a few moments before he turned to Kelrian and Zetai. Both rangers regarded him closely, noticing the insignias which were attached to the chest area of his uniform. He was a Ranger-Captain.

Kelrian remembered that he had seen him on the day of his first entrance examination. Velon had had blond hair back then and had been a lieutenant and not a captain. This could only mean that Velon had proved himself worthy. Kelrian had heard that getting promoted was not easy. Sylvanas only chose the best of the best to become lieutenants or captains. This meant that Velon belonged to the best of the best. He had the same rank as Sylvanas' older sister while Kelrian and Zetai had the same rank as her younger sister.

"Congratulations to your promotion" said Zetai.

"Thank you" responded Velon, smiling at him. "Then I have to congratulate you to make it in the Ranger-General's elite team. I have never heard of a recruit who made it in the Ranger-General's group directly after passing the final exam. Also, it had never happened before that two joined her team at the same time. I have heard a lot about you, only positives things of course. I'm curious if you are as good as our Ranger-General praises"

"I'm only praising those who deserve it and these two deserve it more than everyone else" told Sylvanas.

Velon looked at her for a few moments, then he looked back at Kelrian and Zetai. "I believe you"

Sylvanas gave him a small smile "Good"

"Are there any other rangers joining us today?"

"Keith is the only ranger who is missing, I guess he will arrive a few minutes too late" answered Sylvanas.

Velon rubbed his forehead, shaking his head slightly. "He always comes too late. I have to talk to him one day about the importance of punctuality"

"You better do that as soon as possible"

He smirked. "I will. Don't worry about that"

"Good" she said, nodding towards Zetai and Kelrian. "Would you tell them everything they need to know?"

Velon nodded to her, then he turned his head and looked at the two male rangers. "The most important thing, you have to do while being on a patrol, is to keep your eyes open"

Soft laughter escaped Zetai's lips.

Velon tilted his head, a frown appeared on his forehead. "I'm not joking about this. Many rangers often forget the simplest and most important thing. You only have to keep your eyes open and watch over your surroundings carefully. It might be boring to walk for hours and do nothing except for checking the surroundingsbut it's necessary for the safety of our people.

We have to make sure that no enemy is sneaking around in our lands. We have to detect all enemies before they manage to get close to our civilians. We can't allow that innocents get harmed because we weren't paying enough attentionWe must always remain focused, no matter how boring our tasks are. Otherwise, the lives of the innocents will be endangered. Do you understand that?" His voice had been much louder and sounded much stricter at the end of the speech.

Zetai's smile had vanished from his face, instead, a neutral expression was visible on his just looked at Captain Velon, giving him a nod. Velon's gaze shifted to Kelrian. "Yes, sir" he responded.

"Good" Velon muttered as he turned around to look at Sylvanas and Vereesa. Sylvanas gave him an appreciating nod before she looked at Kelrian, giving him a small smile. The smile was barely recognizable but Kelrian still noticed it. He didn't smile back, he just nodded to her and stared into her gorgeous eyes for a few moments. Sylvanas returned his staring, then she averted her gaze and turned so she could see the bridge right in front of her. On the other side stood a ranger, who was waving at them.

A quiet sigh escaped Sylvanas' lips as she recognized who it was. She pulled her pocket watch out of her belt pocket, checking the time. The ranger was five minutes late. She signalized him to come to them, she even greeted him with a handshake but she didn't comment his unpunctuality. The look she was giving him told everyone that she was disappointed in himA bit at most unimportantThe ranger looked at Captain Velon who shook his head slightly.

The ranger didn't manage to hide his embarrassment nor did he manage to hide that he was ashamed of himself. A quiet sigh escaped Sylvanas' lips. "Now we only have to wait until our healer arrives, then we can start"

"Why do we need a healer? I thought we are just patrolling" asked Kelrian.

"We are but it is always good to have a healer with you. Remember the incident two and a half years ago. Since that day I have decided that every group needs a healer, even if they are just patrolling. It's never bad to have a healer at your side, especially during patrols. It's not impossible that orcs, trolls or bandit could invade our lands and attack us. People might get badly wounded and require a healer immediately. Without healers we will lose too many good rangers" explained Sylvanas.

"Make sense" responded Kelrian.

Zetai sighed. "So, we wait until the healer arrives?"

Sylvanas nodded at him.


The healer arrived five minutes later. It turned out that it was no other than Kelrian's cousin. Liadrin lowered her head in respect, greeting Sylvanas first then she greeted the rest.

"You are a bit earlier than expected" said Vereesa.

"Yeah, I thought the earlier I arrive, the earlier we can start and get home. Also, I have expected that you wouldn't need that long to explain to them everything they need to know. It seems that I was right, wasn't I?"

"Yes, you were. We have already explained everything to them"

"Good" responded Liadrin, looking at the younger Windrunner for a few moments before she looked at her cousin, giving him a small smile. Kelrian returned her smile, nodding to her. Then Liadrin looked at Sylvanas. "I'm ready"

"We can start with our patrol then. Ranger-Captain Velon, Ranger Keith and I will go ahead while Liadrin, Zetai and Kelrian will follow us with a distance of thirty feet" Sylvanas turned her head, looking at Kelrian and Zetai. "My sister will walk with you and make sure you won't talk too much and focus on the surroundings instead. Do you have any questions?"

Kelrian raised his hand.


"How long will we walk?"

"An average patrol lasts for six to eight hours. The longest patrols last about ten hours but we won't do such a long patrol today. Our patrol should be over after about eight hours which means you have no other tasks today" explained Sylvanas. Kelrian nodded to her, signalizing that he had no more questions. She looked at Zetai, finding out that he had no more questions either.

She smiled. "Let's go then" she announced as she stepped on the bridge and began to walk over it. The others didn't hesitate to follow her. Velon, Vereesa, Liadrin and even Keith already knew this route so they knew where Sylvanas was leading them. Zetai and Kelrian, on the other hand, had no clue to which position they were walking first. They could only try to find out by scrutinizing their surroundings closely. They did that while following, also they concentrated on the sounds they were hearing. They heard the footsteps of their companions but they also heard the footsteps of smaller creatures. Sometimes they even spotted a rabbit or a deer in the far. Sometimes, they met travellers which footsteps they had heard before they had seen them.

They didn't notice anything remarkable during the first three hours. The main road, they had followed, was safe. They walked to the next crossroad, taking one of the side paths which led away from the main road. The side path wasn't plastered with cobblestones, it was more like a larger version of a desire path. The ground was muddy, causing that the group needed longer to travel the distance. Their shoes got dirty and they left footprints in the ground, which meant that someone could follow them if that person would know how to follow traces.

She was pretty sure that they would able to handle intruders as long as they weren't too many. Of course, Sylvanas knew better than anyone that she shouldn't underestimate their enemies no matter who they would be. It could be possible that intruders could hide somewhere and plan a surprise attack. Everything could be possible but Sylvanas and her group were well prepared. They were prepared for everything and their reactions were good enough so they could even deal with a surprise attack. They only needed to notice what was coming for them to react quickly, that was the reason why every single member of this group checked the surroundings over and over again with each step they made. They wanted to be prepared for everything.

They were prepared for everything but nothing happened in the next hour. They had followed this desire path, spotted a few animals but other than that they hadn't seen anything. They had seen nothing remarkable, which was a good sign. Being only able to check the surroundings during patrols might be boring but it was better than getting into unnecessary trouble. Sylvanas was an untainted fighter, one of the bests of her race, so she had no problem handling any opponent. Nevertheless, she preferred a quiet shift where nothing unusual happened over an unnecessary skirmish with trolls, orcs or bandits. She didn't want to endanger the lives of her subordinates, as long as it wasn't necessary. So, she was glad that nothing had happened within the first four hours.

The group came to a small village after another half an hour where nothing had happened. They were greeted by the villagers and greeted them in return as they followed the village's only road which led them to the small market square on which only a few trading stalls were standing. It was already six o'clock in the evening so it was understandable that not many villagers were outside.

The group didn't waste much time on the market on which various products were offered. They walked to the inn which was on the opposite side of the market. They entered the inn, noticing that not many guests were inside. The guests lowered their heads in respect as they greeted Sylvanas and her followersThey greeted them in return, walking to a large table in the inn's left corner.

"We have an hour before we will set off. You can do whatever you want within that hour but have to be here on time" told Sylvanas as she sat down on a chair. Kelrian sat down to her left while Vereesa took a seat to her sister's right. Zetai and Liadrin sat down opposite to them, only Velon and Keith didn't take a seat at the table. They told them that they weren't hungry at all so they wanted to use the time to regard the village and the offerings on the market. Sylvanas nodded to them, then she signalized the only waitress to get over to them.

The woman in the green dress came over to them. She was pretty cute and had naturally brown hair which reached to half of her back. It was unmistakable that she had a thin layer of make-up on her face even though she didn't need it because she was a natural beauty, like all high elves. Her lips were covered by dark-red lipstick, her jaw moved frequently as if she was chewing on something. Maybe a bubble gum or something else.

She had a bored look on her face even though one of her guests was the Ranger-General herself. It didn't seem that Sylvanas' presence interested the waitress at all. Maybe she didn't recognize her or she didn't care at all, for whatever reason. Her behaviour made her a bit suspicious but Sylvanas didn't approach the waitress about her slightly disrespectful behaviour.

"Yeah?" asked the waitress, her voice reflected her boredom even better than the look on her face.

"We want to order something" said Sylvanas, hoping to lighten up the waitress' mood by smiling at her. It didn't work at all. Sylvanas' frowned, wondering why it didn't work. Normally, she could brighten up everyone's mood with only a simple smile. But not in this case. The waitress remained unimpressed and bored.

She didn't respond at first, rudely staring at Sylvanas. Her gaze wandered from her face to her breasts, resting there longer than necessary before it wandered back to her face.

Sylvanas saw out of the corner of her eyes that Vereesa wanted to jump up and tell the waitress to give Sylvanas the necessary respect she deserved. She put her hand on Vereesa's left upper thigh, signalizing her that she should do nothing. The fury vanished out of Vereesa's eyes as she saw Sylvanas' barely recognizable smile. A quiet sigh escaped Vereesa's lips as she leaned back, shaking her head in disbelief. She couldn't believe that her sister was tolerating this. She would have already reprimanded the woman if she were Sylvanas.

Sylvanas was the Ranger-General after all. She gave her best to make sure that every citizen of Quel'Thalas could live in peace without needing to be fear that trolls, orcs or bandits would attack them. It was only natural that the people would show Sylvanas the necessary loved Sylvanas and everyone cheered whenever they saw her. Everyone but this woman who didn't care that the second most popular woman in Quel'Thalas was her costumer.

The waitress, who was still standing in front of Sylvanas, hadn't said anything so far. She was blowing a chewing gum bubble while she continued to stare at the Ranger-General. Even if Sylvanas wouldn't be the Ranger-General, the waitress' behaviour was still unacceptable. It was very rude to not to respond to the Ranger-General, also was it rude to behave like that. Everyone wanted to remind the waitress who she was and who Sylvanas was but nobody dared because Sylvanas had signalized them to stay calm.

Sylvanas tilted her head, regarding the waitress from head to toe once again. She repeated her question, this time the waitress showed a reaction. "What'cha want?" she said, not caring that she had just responded in slang. She had used slang to respond to a famous person like Sylvanas and she didn't care about that. She didn't seem to care what others were thinking about her.

"Do you know who I am?" Sylvanas asked eventually. Everyone was surprised that she was still polite even though the waitress had insulted her with her misbehaviour and her disrespectfulness.

"You are the Ranger-General, right?"

Sylvanas nodded. "Yes, I am"


Sylvanas didn't stop giving the woman a barely recognizable smile. "Don't you think that you have to behave differently in my presence? Not because I'm the Ranger-General but because I am a customer in the inn where you it normal that costumers are treated like this in this inn?" she asked, letting her gaze wander through the room. She noticed that the other costumers were having shocked expressions on their faces. Just like the owner of the inn, who had entered the room a moment ago.

The owner was a man with short black hair who was wearing brown trousers and a green tunic. His eyes were widened in shock and his mouth was widely opened. He rushed over to the waitress in no time, grabbing her by the arm. He whispered something to her. His voice was so low that only Sylvanas could understand some words, which she interpreted as insults.

Sylvanas tilted her head, frowning at him. He whispered another insult to the waitress, pushing her away so she nearly fell onto the floor. Kelrian stood up and caught her, preventing that she would land on the floor. He did that even though she had insulted his lover. He was a good guy, so he didn't want anyone to get hurt. She might have deserved to fall and get hurt but he was not an asshole who would only watch and doing nothing instead of helping her. Not like her.

"I'm so sorry, Ranger-General. I don't know what is going on in my waitress' mind. Normally, she doesn't behave like this. I swear" the owner said, lowering his hands to signalize that he was really sorry.

"I believe you" responded Sylvanas, giving him a soothing smile.

"Can I do anything to apologize for her behaviour?" he asked, regarding her with pleading eyes.

"I think there is something you can do"

"Tell me and I will do everything in my power"

"My companions and I are really hungry, so we would appreciate if you could serve us something which could satisfy our hunger"

"Of course, Ranger-General. Whatever you eat or drink today is on the house"

Sylvanas smiled. "That's good to hear"

"So, what do you want to eat and drink?" he asked.

Sylvanas let her companions tell him what they wanted, then she told him what she wanted. The owner nodded to her, telling her that she will get everything as soon as possible. He lowered his head in respect, turned around and grabbed the waitress forcefully by the arm. Sylvanas noticed that he didn't seem to care that he was inflicting pain to her as he dragged her away. He dragged her through the door behind the bar which led to the kitchen. Sylvanas regarded the door for a few moments before she turned around to look at her companions.

All of them were silent because they didn't know what to say.

"Am I the only one who thinks that something is wrong about this entire situation?" she asked after she had scrutinized her companions' faces closely.

"Everything is suspicious to me" spoke Liadrin

Sylvanas turned her head, looking at her. "What you mean?"

"I have visited this village very often in the past. I know this woman. She is a good friend of mine. Normally, she is a very polite and quiet person. She has never caused trouble before nor has she behaved like this in front of a stranger or a popular person. Something is not quite right but I have no idea what is going on"

" This is very suspicious indeed" said Sylvanas, caressing her chin with her left hand.

Kelrian also told what he was thinking. "I understand that the owner is angry at her but this doesn't justify that he has pushed her away and caused pain to her. No matter what she has done, he is allowed to be so violent with her. He didn't care if she would have fallen to the floor as he has pushed her. She could have gotten seriously hurt if her head would have hit the floor. Something must be going on between them but I'm not sure if we should interfere"

Sylvanas made a thoughtful face. She remained silent for a few minutes, so did the others. Sylvanas turned to her sister eventually, giving her a curious look. "What do you think, little moon?"

"Hmm... I'm not sure. Something tells me to stop thinking about them but, on the other hand, I don't want to imagine what the man would do to her in his anger. The chances are pretty high that he might hit her"

"We cannot allow that" muttered Sylvanas. She looked at Kelrian and Zetai, receiving agreeing nods from her. She looked at Liadrin who nodded at her as well.

She pointed at everyone except Kelrian "You will keep sitting here. Kelrian and I will investigate this"

Vereesa frowned. "What are you going to do?"

Sylvanas stood up, not answering her question. "Trust me, I will find out what is going on here. Come, Kelrian"

"As you wish, Ranger-General" he said as he got up and followed her to the bar. Sylvanas turned her head, checking if someone was watching them. She noticed that the other guests were busy with eating or talking, meaning nobody paid attention to them. She looked at Kelrian, receiving a small nod from him. Sylvanas jumped over the bar, landing behind it without making a sound. Kelrian didn't need long to get in there as well.

Sylvanas checked her surroundings again, finding out that nobody was minding that they were standing behind the bar, where only staff members were allowed to be. She didn't hesitate to walk over to the door through which the owner had dragged the waitress. She pressed her left ear against the door, hoping she could hear something. Kelrian did the same, smiling at her as their gazes met. Sylvanas was also smiling but her smile faded when they heard a loud scream coming from the other side of the door.

Chapter Text

The two rangers didn't hesitate to open the door, entering the room as fast as possible. Kelrian's eyes widened as he realized what was going on there. The waitress huddled up in a corner while the owner was standing not far away from her, his facial expression reflected anger. It was unmistakable that the waitress was scared. Her face was white as chalk, her nose bloody. The blood on the knuckles of the inn owner's left fist made Kelrian suspect that he had punched her.

Sylvanas cleared her throat, causing the man to turn to her. His eyes widened but his anger didn't fade. His eyes narrowed then, his look became really dangerous and fearsome but neither Sylvanas nor Kelrian were intimidated by him. They had faced dangerous beasts in the past so a very angry high elf didn't scare them in the slightest.

"What is going on here?" asked Kelrian, trying to calm the owner down somehow. It didn't work at all.

"That's none of your business" the man responded in a low but dangerous sounding voice.

"You are hurting a citizen of Quel'Thalas, so it's our business. Not to mention that she is defenceless and a woman as well. Explain yourself or things won't end well for you" spoke Sylvanas, her voice was strict, the same counted for her facial expression.

"She deserves it" shouted the owner.

"She may have been very disrespectful to me but that doesn't justify that you can hit her. First of all, she is your employee and she is a defenceless woman. You have no right to hit her, no matter what she has done"

"I told you that this is none of your business. She is MY employee, not yours. I can do whatever I want with her" he shouted.

Sylvanas crossed her arms in front of her chest. "I don't think so"

"Leave my inn NOW"

"We will stay" spoke Kelrian, holding his gaze on the man whose facial expression had changed. His eyes narrowed to thin lines, a frown appeared on his forehead and he started to bite his bottom lip very hard. He gave Kelrian and Sylvanas the impression that he was about to lose control and do something stupid as he clenched his fists.

"I'm calling the guards if you don't leave now" he shouted louder than before.

Laughter escaped Sylvanas' lips.

"What is so funny?" his voice sounded very hysterically.

"To who you think the guards are subordinated to? You can call for as many guards as you want but none of them will do anything unless I tell them to" explained Sylvanas. She didn't smirk nor did she give him a provocative look. She just looked at him with a neutral expression on her face, hoping that he will calm down eventually. Unfortunately, he didn't.

Sylvanas didn't know what was going on in the man's mind. She had never seen a man before who was so angry at her, at least not a man of her people. No sane high elf would behave like this in front of the Ranger-General. The inn's owner and the waitress had behaved very weirdly. Something was wrong with them. Sylvanas had an assumption but she didn't want to leap to hasty conclusions without clues which could prove her looked at Kelrian, quietly asking him if he was ready to intervene if needed. He gave her a quick nod, then he focused on the inn owner who was still standing on the same spot.

"Calm down" spoke Sylvanas with a soothing voice.

The man didn't respond to her, he only looked at her with the same dangerous expression on his face. "Something is wrong with this guy. He acts very strangely" Sylvanas whispered to Kelrian.

"What shall we do?" Kelrian kept his voice quiet enough so that only Sylvanas could hear him.

"We can only be patient and try to reach him"

Kelrian nodded to her but didn't say anything in response. He looked back at the man, scrutinizing him. The man was muttering something as he stared at the floor. It was too quiet so neither Sylvanas nor Kelrian could understand it. From their perspective, it seemed that he was talking to himself.

The man looked up suddenly, his gaze fell on the waitress. It seemed that he was having an outburst of anger as he rushed to the waitress, pulling her up in the air. He pushed her hard against the wall, ignoring the loud pained cry which escaped her lips. He pressed her against the wall but he couldn't inflict more pain to her because Kelrian reached him within a few seconds and pulled him away. The man managed to prevent that Kelrian could turn him around and press him against the wall. He turned around and tried to hit Kelrian with a swinging blow but the ranger foresaw his attack and dodged it easily.

The man attacked him again but Sylvanas prevented that. She rammed him, sending him on the floor. She sat on his back before he even realized what had happened. She pressed her knee in his back, pinning him on the floor. She turned her head, giving Kelrian a signal. He nodded in return, rushing to the scared waitress. He kneeled next to her, speaking to her with a soothing voice. He assured her that everything was fine and that the man wouldn't hurt her again. She didn't believe him at first but the longer he talked to her, the more convinced she got.

She gave him her hand, allowing him to help her up. He wrapped his arm around her waist, making sure that she stood steady on her feet. He pulled a handkerchief out of his belt pocket, giving it to her. She thanked him quietly, pressing the handkerchief on her broken nose.

Kelrian brought her to the nearest chair, helping her to sit down then he shifted his gaze to Sylvanas who had tied the man's hands and legs together. He wouldn't be able to stand up and ran away so Sylvanas could allow herself to get up and step away from him. She turned her head, giving Kelrian a small smile.

"You have done pretty well, Kel"

"Thank you, Ranger-General. What are we doing with him?"

"We will arrest him at first, then we will see what we will do with him. He behaved strangely, very strangely. Something must be wrong with him and we have to find out what" explained Sylvanas, making a thoughtful face.

"What do you have in mind?" Kelrian asked curiously.

"Liadrin should check him, maybe we bring him to the doctors"

Kelrian frowned. "How can the doctors help us?"

"I've heard of special poisons, herbs or substances which can cause a person to freak out completely. Maybe it explains why he was so aggressive"

"You think he is high? Do you think he has consumed drugs?"

"Maybe not drugs. Maybe he just put the wrong herb in his tea, who knows. We have to find out what happened to him. There must be a logical explanation for his behaviour" she said, pointing at the man. Kelrian turned his head, regarding him. He may not be able to shout because Sylvanas had put a gag in his mouth but he was still able to wriggle. He tried to get free but the ties were too tight. He will never be able to wriggle out of them because it had been Sylvanas who had tied his limbs together.

Sylvanas told Kelrian to stay here before she walked out of the room. She was not absent for too long, returning half a minute later with her sister and Liadrin. They regarded the scene for a few moments, then they acted without needing to receive orders. Liadrin went to the waitress, touching the broken nose with the tips of her fingers. A quiet whimper escaped the waitress' lips but other than that she didn't say a word or make any sound. Liadrin closed her eyes, starting to heal the nose with the help of the light.

In the meantime, Kelrian and Vereesa had pulled the man up. Sylvanas had removed the ties which had bound his legs together so the man could walk. He didn't do it voluntarily at the start but after a few harsh words and one or another threat he had decided to do as Sylvanas demanded. Kelrian and Vereesa brought him out of the room while Sylvanas and Liadrin remained in the room which seemed to be an anteroom of the kitchen.

Liadrin looked at Sylvanas, raising an eyebrow. "What is going on?"

Sylvanas explained quickly what happened. Liadrin frowned as she regarded the waitress. "I don't think we will get any useful information out of her. At least not now. She is too shocked. We need to try it later but first, she needs some rest.

"We will give her the rest she needs, then we will find out what is going on here" told Sylvanas.

"I have an assumption" mentioned Liadrin. "I don't know if the theory with the substance is right but if it's right, I think Janelliena is also affected by it. I've never seen her behave so disrespectful to an authority figure. She was not herself, you have to believe me"

"I do believe you. We will find out what is fishy in this case"

Liadrin gave her a thankful nod.

"Let's go to the others" said Sylvanas as she walked over to Janelliena and helped her to get up. Together with Liadrin she supported the smaller woman and left the kitchen with her.

Sylvanas walked through the room, stopping next to the person who leaned against a wall and stared at the opposite wall. She looked around, making sure no one else was in the room before she put her hand under the man's chin. "Is something wrong, Kel?" she asked as she turned her lover's chin so that he had no other choice but to look at her.

A loud sigh escaped Kelrian's lips. "We are investigating this new case for three days but we didn't get any results yet. All clues have led us to a dead end"

She caressed his left cheek, telling him to not lose hope. "I understand that it's frustrating to work hard and harder without achieving results. But you have to hang on there if you want to find out what happened to the waitress and the inn's owner"

"Silvermoon's best alchemists have examined the pills we have found in the waitress' house. We have found the same pills in the pockets of the inn owner's trousers"

Sylvanas gave him a curious look "What do the alchemists say?"

"It seems to be a mix of very addictive substances"

"Like some sort of a drug?"


Sylvanas sighed, closing her eyes for a moment as she shook her head. "This is not good"

Kelrian put his hand on her shoulder, rubbing it softly. His gaze found hers, his lips formed a small smile. "We will find a way to get rid of this problem"

"We have to. I don't want to imagine what would happen if more citizens would get addicted to these substances"

"Imagine if everyone would react like the inn owner, it's only a question of time until a mass brawl will happen somewhere. We have to find out where they got the pills and who sold them. We have to solve this case as fast as possible because there are still other things we have to worry about"

Kelrian raised an eyebrow. "Other things?"

Sylvanas nodded. "Our scouts have reported that the Forest and Amani trolls have acted strangely in the recent weeks. I have a bad feeling that they are up to something"

Kelrian made a thoughtful face. "This is not good"

Sylvanas didn't say something in return, she just looked at him.

"Either we keep investigating this case or you order others to solve this case, so we could investigate what the trolls might be up to" he said.

"I've already ordered Alleria and her group to find out what the trolls are planning. We will solve this case no matter how much time it will take. I can't allow that drugs are affecting our people and lead them to do crazy things" told Sylvanas.

"I've never heard of a drug problem in Quel'Thalas before. I've heard about gangs which are selling drugs in smaller human cities or remoted areas but I have never believed that our people will be affected as well"

"I wouldn't have believed it either. Normally, our guards have always detected those who had tried to smuggle such pills and other illegal products in our lands. But it seems that the dealers have found a way to smuggle them in. We have to get to the bottom of the matter and find out who is smuggling these substances in our land"

"You are absolutely right" he said, turning his head as he noticed the sudden arrival of another person. It was no other than Zetai who walked directly to Sylvanas, lowering his head in respect. "Ranger-General"

"Ranger Zetai. How can I help you?" she asked as she shook his hand.

"I just wanted to let you know that the waitress is no longer suffering from the aftereffects of drugs. You can interrogate her if you want"

She gave him a nod. "I will, thank you"

He lowered his head in respect. "You are welcome, Ranger-General" he left the room as fast as possible after Sylvanas had told him that he was dismissed. Sylvanas turned her head, looking at her lover. "Are you ready?"

He nodded "Yes, I am"

"Good. Follow me then"

Kelrian did as he was told, following her out of the lunchroom through the bordering long corridor to the interrogation room. The guards in front of the door lowered their heads as the greeted them. They didn't hesitate to open the door, allowing Sylvanas and Kelrian to get in.

The room was not very large but it was not too small either. There was a table in the middle of the room around which four chairs were standing. The floor was covered by a soft blue carpet, on the walls hung a few paintings. This was not a normal interrogating room. Sylvanas didn't want to scare the woman so she had chosen this room instead of the other rooms which weren't decorated.

Sylvanas leaned against the wall, pointing at one of the chairs on the left side of the table. Kelrian nodded, taking a seat. He looked at Sylvanas, wondering why she didn't take a seat. He shifted his gaze from Sylvanas' gorgeous face to the two persons who had just entered the room. Janelliena and her friend Liadrin stood in the door, taking a closer look at what was inside the room before they walked over to the table, taking seats opposite to Kelrian.

Sylvanas didn't hesitate for too long. She closed the door and walked to Kelrian, sitting down on the chair next to him. She wrapped one leg over the other, putting her arms on the table as she looked forward.

"How are you feeling, Janelliena?" asked Sylvanas, looking directly at the brunette woman. Liadrin, whose brunette hair had a much lighter colour and was not as long as hers, put one of her hands on her friend's upper arm, giving her a comforting smile. The waitress returned Liadrin's smile for a few moments, then she turned her head to look at the Ranger-General. "I'm fine. Thanks for asking" she said shyly.

"We are grateful that you have agreed to answer a few of our questions. I'm pretty sure you know that the pills we have found in your house are addictive drugs which affect your body in a negative way"

"I have found that out the hard way, Ranger-General" responded Janelliena, giving Sylvanas a shy look. It was unmistakable that the effects of the drugs had vanished because Janelliena was behaving like a completely different person. A few days ago, she had been very disrespectful and rude even to Sylvanas. Now she was nothing more than a shy person who was afraid what the Ranger-General would do if she would upset drugs had led her to behave like a spoiled brat. But now that she wasn't affected anymore, she could be herself again.

"So, you didn't know that these substances would have such an effect on you?" asked Sylvanas, staring into the woman's eyes. She didn't need a spell to find out if someone was lying or not. She was an expert at figuring out if someone was lying or telling the truth. She was not the best ranger without a reason.

Janelliena continued to look into Sylvanas' eyes as she responded. "No, I didn't"

Sylvanas was silent for a few moments. "I believe you"

A sigh of relief escaped her lips. Liadrin put her hands on the hands of her friend, pressing them together. "Come, tell the Ranger-General what you have told me" Liadrin said quietly. It didn't take long for her to convince Janelliena to start explaining.

"Everything began a week ago. I was done with my shift so I packed my things and headed home. It was already dark outside so I wanted to get home as fast as possible. I didn't follow the village's main street, instead, I took a short cut through the narrow alleys. I met a person in one of the alleys. The person told me that he had something for me which could help me to release some stress. Of course, I refused to take what he was offering me. I didn't know that person nor did I know what exactly he wanted to give me. I ran away as fast as I could and got to my house eventually.

Two days later, I met another person, but this time before the sunset. It was a woman and she offered me the same. The day has been pretty stressful so I have accepted the woman's offering. She gave me a small pouch with some of these pills for free" the waitress stopped speaking, taking a deep breath. "I assume that these first few pills made me addicted. I don't remember much what happened after I had consumed the first on the same day"

Sylvanas gave her a thankful nod. She looked over to Kelrian who made a thoughtful face, then she looked back at Janelliena. The woman was still looking at her, shyness and nervousness were still written all over her face.

"Can you tell me something about the woman and the man?"

"I haven't seen the man's face because it has been too dark but I am pretty sure he was an elf. The woman, on the other hand, was a human with short blonde hair. She wore black clothes, her vest and her trousers were made out of black dyed leather. I can't remember much of her face. I only remember the thick and ugly-looking scar with ran from her left cheek to her chin"

Sylvanas put a hand under her chin, rubbing it softly as she made a thoughtful face. "It's better than nothing" she said eventually, "But it's not enough. We need more information"

"Did the woman tell you anything about herself? I assume that you have met her again, so can you tell us where did you meet her for the second time?" asked Kelrian.

Janelliena turned her head, looking at the ranger. "She didn't tell me anything about herself, not even her name or who she was working for. She just told me to meet her in the middle of the nearest forest during midnight if I wanted to have more pills. We met there three times in total. She gave me more pills in exchange for money and objectives of value. I remember buying and consuming these pills but I don't remember more. I'm sorry. Most of my memories... are still blurred..."

"Your boss has taken the same pills. Do you think he got them from the same persons? Have you seen him with them?"

Janelliena shook her head. "I have no clue, sorry"

"Can you show us where exactly you met the woman?" asked Sylvanas.

"I could but I don't believe they will return. I'm pretty sure they have already found out that you have arrested me, so they will be careful. They might think twice about returning to this village"

"That could be possible but it could also be possible that they would wait for a few days and then return. We have to consider that as well and we will stay in this village as long as those drug dealers aren't captivated" announced Sylvanas.

Curiosity appeared on the brunette's face. "How will you capture them?"

"Let me worry about that, I will find a way. We will eliminate this threat and prevent that more citizens will consume these drugs"

"I hope so"

Sylvanas patted her shoulder softly, giving her a small smile. "Do you have any questions?"

"I have one" replied Janelliena.

"Go ahead"

"Will I be punished for possessing and consuming these drugs?" she asked, regarding Sylvanas with pleading eyes.

"I will think about that. You didn't know that these pills would make you addicted when you accepted them. On the other hand, you should never take something from a stranger, especially not when you meet them at night or in the late evening. Never trust someone who is dressed like them. I'm pretty sure they belong to some sort of a gang. If your information turns out to be useful, I may consider giving you only a warning for this time"

"Thank you, Ranger-General" said Janelliena as she lowered her head in respect.

"We are done here for today. Feel free to come to us whenever you remember anything which could help us"

"Don't worry, Ranger-General. I will help you wherever I can"

Sylvanas stood up, walking to the door. She opened it, signalizing Janelliena that she was allowed to go. The waitress stood up immediately, bowing to Sylvanas before she left the room as fast as possible. Liadrin followed her so only Sylvanas and Kelrian were left in the room.

"You are planning something, aren't you?" he asked as he walked to her.

"I do. I think we should wait a few days until the dealers return. Maybe we can lure them in a trap by using Janelliena as a bait. She could pretend that she wants to buy more of these drugs, then we will captivate them and squeeze out the information we first, we will meet with Vereesa and listen to what she has found out"

"She interrogates the inn's owner at this moment, doesn't she?"

"Captain Velon is in charge of the interrogation but my sister supports him. Like you, she never attended an interrogation before so this is new territory for her too. You will find out that interrogations in times of war will be necessary to gain an advantage over your enemy. The sooner you learn how things work, the better you become over time. That was the peaceful version of an interrogation because Janelliena wanted to talk to us. There will be creatures who don't want to tell you anything. You often have to threaten them or find another way to make them times of war, almost every method is acceptable. Even torture is allowed to be used but only if you could save lots of lives with the information you need. We are not orcs, trolls or other cruel creatures who torture their prisoners for their own amusement. We only do what is necessary to protect those we love"

"I get your point" responded Kelrian, giving her a small smile.

"Good. Come, let's go to my sister" she said, closing the door behind her as she left the room together with her lover.

Chapter Text

They arrived at the room they were looking for, noticing that the door was still closed. The two guards in front of the door lowered their heads in respect as they spotted the Ranger-General. Sylvanas greeted them in return so did Kelrian.

The guards wore blue and golden coloured armours. They carried large shields and sharp and long swords in their hands. Lots of such guards in such armours were stationed in Silvermoon City and in the area around it. These guards were not as manoeuvrable as the rangers, their heavy armours prevented that they could move as fast as a ranger but they protected them pretty well from arrows and melee weapons.

"Where is my sister?" asked Sylvanas after she had scrutinized the two males in front of her.

"She is still in the interrogation room. She doesn't want to get disturbed as long as the interrogation is enduring" explained the left guard, a large male with short blond hair. The other guard, who was two heads smaller than his companion and had long black hair, didn't say anything. He just looked at Sylvanas and Kelrian, not daring to leave his post. He seemed to be determined to not let anyone pass.

Sylvanas could order the guards to step aside and let her in but she didn't, because she didn't want to disturb Velon and her sister. They had to do this on their own. Sylvanas leaned against the opposite wall, crossing her arms in front of her chest as she kept an eye on the door. Kelrian mimicked her, waiting with her until the door was opened and Vereesa came out. Behind her came Velon who was guiding the inn's owner through the bordering corridor.

Vereesa's lips formed a small smile as she spotted her sister. She didn't hesitate to walk over to Sylvanas, hugging her. Sylvanas returned the hug, wrapping her arms around Vereesa's back. She smiled as she noticed that her little sister was leaning against her. Sylvanas was wondering why she looked so exhausted. She assumed it had been a real challenge to get useful information from the inn's owner. Otherwise, she couldn't explain to herself why Vereesa looked so tired. Sylvanas held her little sister for a while, smiling at her as she pulled away eventually.

"Are you okay?"

Vereesa brushed a strand of silver hair behind her ear, nodding at her. "I'm fine, I guess. It was not easy to get useful information out of him. He talked a lot. A lot of nonsense most of the time. Somehow, I managed to filter out the most important information and note them. I'm not sure if they turn out to be useful but it's better than nothing"

"What did you find out?" Kelrian asked curiously.

"He told me that he met a man who calls himself Infamous sold him weird-looking pills which manipulated his perceptiveness. He didn't remember much what happened after he has consumed the pills. He only knows that he felt happy and wanted to consume more of these drugs"

"Infamous? Is this some sort of a joke?" asked Kelrian.

"I don't think so. Criminals or members of gangs often havecode names or nicknames" responded Sylvanas.

A sigh escaped Kelrian's lips. "Did he tell you how this man looks?"

"Unfortunately, he is not sure how he looks like. He gave me a lot of descriptions but his statements contradict each other. We have no clue how he looks like, we don't know how old he is, we don't know how tall he is. Basically, we don't know anything about him" told Vereesa.

"That's unfortunate" muttered Sylvanas.

"Did you find anything out, sister?"

"Yes, but I'm not sure what to do with the information" Sylvanas explained quickly what the waitress had told them. Velon had arrived in the meantime and listened to the last half of her explanation. He asked a few questions to understand everything, then he made a thoughtful face as he figured out what to do. The others did the same.

"We should station disguised rangers in the nearest villages. Maybe even in all villages in Quel'Thalas. They will dress up as normal inhabitants and keep an eye out for suspicious persons" suggested Velon.

"Invisible rangers could patrol through the villages and follow any suspicious person. Maybe they will find a base of the gang, of the group of bandits or with whoever we have to deal with" added Kelrian.

"That's not a bad idea" praised Sylvanas. "We should do that and we should try to lure out those who have sold the drugs to the waitress and her boss. Maybe they return a few days or weeks later if we give them the impression that the coast is clear and we have stopped investigating this case"

"It's worth a try" said Vereesa.

"If there is no one who has doubts or objections, we will do it like this"

Nobody said anything. They just nodded their heads, telling Sylvanas they agreed with everything. Sylvanas dismissed everyone. Velon bowed to her and said goodbye before he walked away. Kelrian did the same but he walked in the other direction. Vereesa stayed with her sister and followed her to her office.

Two weeks later

Sylvanas hid in the bushes and regarded the scene not far away from her. Kelrian, Zetai, Vereesa and three of Sylvanas' best rangers were hiding in the same bush. Alleria and five of her rangers were crouching in a bush on the opposite side of the clearing. There were four persons in the middle of the clearing.

Janelliena was one of them. She was the decoy. She had agreed to buy these pills from the mysterious persons so the rangers could follow them. They were hoping that these persons would bring them to their base or to their boss. The drug dealers had been inactive for almost two weeks because they had been scared that they might get caught. They had only returned as they had noticed that the coast was clear.

Of course, it was not but they didn't know that. They believed the Farstriders had stopped investigating this case because the trolls were causing troubles in the south of Quel'Thalas. They expected that the Farstriders would focus on the troll problem and ignore them completely. But that was not the truth.

Ranger Captain Sweetblossom and Verena were taking care of the trolls while Sylvanas and the others investigated the drug problem. They had found out that more citizens had bought these pills but most of these drugs had been seized before the citizens could have consumed them. Only a few had consumed them but they had been arrested before they could have endangered others.

Sylvanas' hidden spies had reported that these three persons had been seen in lots of smaller villages near the west coast of Quel'Thalas. They hadn't dared to visit larger places like towns or outposts. They had only tried to sell their stuff in small villages where only a few guards were stationed.

Sylvanas was pretty sure that these three were only responsible for selling the drugs. She assumed that there was a big boss who was coordinating everything. She could capture the sellers right now but that wouldn't solve the problem. She knew she had to catch the big boss if she wanted to solve this case. She just had to be patient and wait until the drug dealers would bring her and her rangers to their boss.

At this very moment, Janelliena handed a small leather sack to the persons. The smallest of the three, the woman with the scar, opened the bag and checked if the amount of gold was sufficient. She closed it and made a gesture with her hand. A man with short red-dyed hair handed Janelliena a small bag. Sylvanas' spies had found out that this man was the one who was known as Infamous. He seemed to be the one who sold the most drugs and he was by far the best when it came to vanish into thin air whenever a guard came in his near.

The last human was the man who had found Janelliena first and had offered her the drugs first. Like the others, the lower half of his face was covered by a scarf. He had lots of scars on the back of his bald head. He and the others were wearing black clothes which made them look like bandits. Half a dozen knives and a long machete hung on his belt. His companions had similar weapons.

Janelliena opened the bag, checking the content then she closed it. She thanked the men and hurried away.

"Easy money" commented Infamous as soon as the elf was out of his sight. "I told you that no one is pursuing us. This whore of a Ranger-General has no clue who we are, where we are and who we are working for. We wouldn't have sold so many drugs during the past days if she would know a thing"

"You are right" said the woman. "The famous Sylvanas Windrunner doesn't know shit about us. I expected more of her"

"We have no time for talking. The boss is waiting, we should return now" spoke the bald man.

"Alright, let's go" ordered Infamous, turning around. He started walking to the east side of the clearing, the others didn't hesitate to follow him.

Sylvanas waited for a few moments, then she gave her rangers the signal to follow her. They walked with a stoop as they followed them. They didn't make any noises so the dealers didn't notice them as they walked through the forest. They didn't turn around nor did they increase their walking tempo. It seemed that they were convinced that no one was following them. They walked for half an hour, arriving at a camp in the middle of the forest.

The camp consisted of seven tents, one of them was larger than the rest. Sylvanas and her group stopped about sixty feet away from the camp. The quiet whistle they heard told them that Alleria's group was not far away from them and ready for direct access. Sylvanas' whistle sounded different than Alleria's, telling the older ranger to be patient.

Sylvanas and her group spotted seven humans and one elf as they checked their surroundings. Kelrian and Sylvanas were the only ones who recognized the elf. He was no other than the elf Sylvanas and Kelrian had spared two and a half years ago. He had broken his promise to never return to Quel'Thalas but that didn't surprise them at all. They hadn't expected much from a criminal.

The elf seemed to be one of the group's lookouts. He was staring in the direction where Sylvanas and her group were hiding. But he couldn't see them because it was too dark and the bushes were covering them. The other lookout stood on the opposite side of the camp.

The gazes of the group members fell onto the only guy who was standing in front of the was a lanky man whose face was decorated with lots of scars. The clothes he wore looked better than the clothes of the rest of his gang. He stared at the fire, only looking up when Infamous cleared his throat.

"We sold another bag of pills, boss" announced Infamous, handing him the sack of gold. The man took it, opened it and studied its content. Then he pulled a few gold coins out of it and handed them to Infamous. "Well done. Who was the purchaser?"

"It was this beautiful waitress from Sunset Village. I forgot her name... But I remember that she has bought five bags in total"

"A very loyal customer" commented the boss then he stared into the flames again. "I hope no one followed you"

"Don't worry, boss. I've sold drugs and other illegal goods for fifteen years and I've never been caught by anyone" responded Infamous.

"Don't underestimate the high elves. They are a lot smarter than the guards of Lordaeron. They won't give up that easily"

"I will handle them, they won't find us"

The boss turned his head, regarding him for a few moments then he stared back into the flames. "I hope that for you, otherwise... You know what happens to someone who disappoints me"

Infamous gulped. He looked frightened for a short moment but then his facial expression became determined. "I won't disappoint you"

"I hope that for you"

"Do you have any news for us?"

"We managed to steal more pills from the trolls"

Infamous made a surprised face. "Where do these trolls get all the drugs?"

"They stole it as well. Zul'jin's raiders attacked another bandit camp and those bandits stole the drugs from corrupt human alchemists who tried to smuggle them out in a cart"

"I don't really care where we get them as long as we get enough of them. We're gonna be rich" responded Infamous. His lips formed a wide grin, his eyes reflected greed.

"We have to be careful, this is not as easy as you might think" responded the boss, giving his subordinate a strict look.

Infamous nodded, signalizing him that he understood.

"What are we doing now?" asked the woman with the scar.

The boss didn't look at her as he answered. "Waiting. Waiting for our rogues to return. They have found a small troll camp not far away from this place. Maybe they have managed to steal some drugs, maybe they didn't. We will find that out soon"

The gang waited patiently until three persons returned after half an hour. They wore similar clothes but their faces were covered by veils. It was obvious that they were rogues, otherwise, they wouldn't dress like that. The rogues dismounted and walked to the boss, handing him three larger bags. He opened all three of them, smiling as he saw that every single bag was filled to the brim with pills.

"These were the last pills the trolls had" said one of the three men.

"We have to steal from the corrupt alchemists then if we want to get more" responded the boss.

"Or we make a deal with those alchemists. Maybe we can establish a commercial partnership with them" said the second rogue.

"I will think about that" replied the boss. "Dismantle the camp. We will travel to the next village"

His subordinates didn't hesitate to do what they have been ordered, dismantling the first tents quickly. They had removed half the tents as numerous arrows flew through the air and hit them. The arrows weren't aimed for their heads or other vulnerable spots. Instead, the Farstriders had aimed for their feet. Half of the drug dealers fell to the ground, screamed in pain as they tried to get rid of the arrows. The wounded were lying on the ground, unable to do anything except for hiding behind something. It didn't help them at all because they were surrounded by the elven rangers.

The others, who had remained unharmed until this very moment, were either hit in the foot, in the shin or in the upper thigh. Sylvanas' rangers didn't want to kill them, they only wanted to prevent that they could fight back or flee. Some of them threw knives at the nearest bushes but they didn't hit any of the rangers because they had no clue where they were.

None of the drug dealers had escaped the hail of arrows. Not even the boss. He had been hit by many arrows but these arrows hadn't just hit his legs. There were three arrows in each arm and leg and two in his upper body. He was pinned to a large tree in the middle of the camp. A few feet next to him laid Infamous. Four arrows stuck in his left leg, the rest of his body was unharmed.

Sylvanas' rangers stepped out of the bushes as soon as Sylvanas had given them the signal that the coast was clear. The rangers rushed to the gang members, tying their arms and legs together. They removed the arrows, turned them around and pressed their knees in their backs as they pushed their faces against the muddy ground, preventing that they could get up.

Infamous managed to get up somehow before any ranger could reach him. He pulled a knife from his belt, intending to throw it at Sylvanas who came out of bushes at this very moment. An arrow hit the forearm which was holding the knife, causing him to drop the weapon. Infamous screamed in pain and his screams became louder as Zetai threw him over his shoulder and pressed him onto the ground.

Sylvanas turned her head, looking at the man who had shot the arrow. Kelrian had already pulled another arrow out of his quiver for a case that another gang member would try something. He returned Sylvanas' nod, looking at her for a split of a second before his eyes fell back on the whimpering Infamous.

Sylvanas walked over to the lanky man, stopping a few feet away from him. She scrutinized him closely, smiling as she saw the fear in his eyes.

"You made yourselves liable to prosecution by selling illegal substances to the inhabitants of this land. In the name of High King Anasterian Sunstrider, I, Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner, take you and your men into custody"

With the help of her sisters, she removed the arrows in the boss' body. They tied his hands behind his back, dragging him away with the rest of his gang. Zetai and Kelrian searched the camp for drugs together with the other members of Sylvanas' elite team. They found a few crates in the boss' tent. The crates were filled with pills, gold coins, pieces of jewellery and other valuable items. Mel'ron, one of Sylvanas' best spies, took a few gems out of one of these crates and put them in his pocket. Neither Kelrian nor Zetai said something. They pretended that they didn't see anything as they lifted the crate, which contained at least thousands of pills, and brought it out of the tent. The crate was so heavy that they had to carry it together. Otherwise, one of them would have dropped it and spread its content over the ground.

Together they carried the crate out of the forest. Velonand Felicia, who was a member of Alleria's team, accompanied them and took care of them. Nothing extraordinary happened so the small group managed to bring the crate to the small camp the Farstriders had established two hours ago. They put the crate in front of the Ranger-General's tent, then they turned around and looked at the forest they had just left. The gang members were brought to the camp one by one. Each member was guarded by at least two rangers who made sure that they got no opportunity to flee.

"What are you waiting for?" asked a familiar voice. Both rangers startled, turning around to look at the person who had surprised them. "What was that?" asked Sylvanas, tilting her head a little.

"Well... We weren't expecting you would approach us from behind like a rogue" said Zetai.

"You always have to expect that someone can come from anywhere. Haven't I taught you to be prepared for everything?"

"You did, my Ranger-General. We are sorry" said Kelrian, giving her a smile only she could recognize in the dark.

Sylvanas chuckled, smiling at them. "You don't need to be sorry. I understand that you are tired after chasing these criminals for days but you always have to be prepared for everything. Don't forget that"

"We won't"

"Anyways, we have the gang finally. Now we need to inform Lordaeron about their corrupt alchemists. We also have to take a closer look at the troll camp, the rogues of the gang mentioned" told Sylvanas.

Vereesa and Alleria came to her as they had heard what their sister had just said. "I think our rangers are too tired for a fight" the oldest Windrunner said.

"I never said anything about fighting. I only mentioned that we have to take a closer look at them. You and your team have joined us a few hours ago which means you shouldn't be too tired. Why don't you find out how many trolls are in this camp? Observe them until another group will replace you. I will bring my group to the nearest base and send a group of spies and rogues to you. They will replace you so you can help me to plan a sneak attack"

"As you wish, my dear Ranger-General" responded Alleria, teasing Sylvanas by making a curtsey. Sylvanas rolled her eyes, looking at her other sister.

"What will I do?" asked the silver-haired woman next to Alleria.

"You will interrogate the criminals while I gather more rangers in case there are more trolls than expected in our land"

"As you wish, my dear sister" responded Vereesa, smiling at her. Sylvanas returned her smile, regarding her for a few moments. She turned her head eventually, looking at her secret lover and his best friend. "You two will carry the crate with the pills to the nearest base. Be careful that no pills fall out of it"

Kelrian and Zetai nodded to her and lifted the crate up. They started to walk as Sylvanas told them to follow her. They walked and walked, arriving at the nearest base after two hours. A few rangers took the crate from them, bringing it to the office of the leading captain. Kelrian and Zetai took a rest because they were really exhausted after they had carried the crate for such a long time. Meanwhile, Sylvanas was speaking to the captain. She told him to send his best rogues and spies to the coordinates she had given him, then she informed him what had happened.

The Ranger-Captain nodded to her, telling her that he will do that immediately. Sylvanas gave him a thankful smile, leaving his office the next moment. She returned to her rangers, spotting Kelrian and Zetai first who were having a little chat while sitting on wooden benches. She stopped in front of them, regarding them for a few moments. They stopped talking as soon as they recognized her presence, turning their heads to look at her.

"We will depart in thirty minutes. I know we have travelled a lot today but Silvermoon City is only a ride of two hours away. We will get through that as well. Eat something and relax so you will have enough strength to stay on your horses. I don't want to see that any of you falls off his horse" told Sylvanas.

Kelrian chuckled, giving her a small smile. "Don't worry, Ranger-General. We won't"

"Good. I will see you in thirty minutes then" she responded, walking away after she had received nods from them. Kelrian and Zetai remained on their benches, talking while eating the food, some recruits had brought them. Kelrian noticed a young woman from time to time which seemed to look at him whenever she was in his near. The woman randomly appeared from time to time but she always stayed away from them. Kelrian could have walked to her or told her to come closer so he could ask her what was going on. But he didn't because he was too exhausted to do anything. At least the half-hour of rest restored a portion of his strength.

The meal, which was a bean stew, had been really delicious. It had satisfied their hunger, for the moment at least. They brought the empty bowls to the kitchen before walked to the stable in front of which Sylvanas and the other rangers of her elite group were waiting. Sylvanas was standing next to Mel'ron, telling him to go with the group the captain had gathered to replace Alleria's group.

He turned around, as soon as he was dismissed, and walked over to the group. They were already sitting on their horses so they were able to depart. Mel'ron mounted his horse, leaving the large base with the group without hesitation.

Sylvanas turned her head to Kelrian and his friend as soon as the spies and rogues were gone. She gave them an inviting smile, signalizing them to come closer. The two rangers did as they were told, approaching Sylvanas. She only needed to point at two horses on which no one was sitting to make them understand. They climbed on the horses as fast as possible, making sure they were sitting comfortably in their looked at Sylvanas, showing her that they were ready.

Sylvanas walked over to her horse, looked around and checked if the others were ready as well. Indeed, they were so Sylvanas gave the command to follow her. She spurred her horse, leading her rangers out of the military base. They followed the main road back to Silvermoon City, arriving at the capital city two hours later. The only ones, who were still outside during this late hour, were the guards which were either patrolling somewhere or standing right in front of the main gate. The Silvermoon guardians wore their typical blue-golden coloured armours and carried massive shields and long swords or even spears. They greeted the rangers as soon as they saw them, some of them even bowed as Sylvanas passed them.

The group stopped in front of the main gate, dismounting quickly. The leader of these guards, a petite woman with short blonde hair,saluted to Sylvanas as soon as she approached her. "Welcome back, Ranger-General. I hope your mission was successful"

"It was indeed. Thanks for asking, Captain" Sylvanas scrutinized the guard. Her armour was adorned with more decorations and was made out of a firmer material, which protected her better against magic spells, than the armours of the average guardians. "Is everything alright outside?"

"It is. We haven't heard of any other group of trolls which is causing trouble in our land. The rest of Quel'Thalas is safe"

"There is a group of trolls near the east border but we are already taking care of them" responded Sylvanas. "You don't need to worry but tell your men to keep their eyes open and stay careful"

The captain smiled. "Don't worry, I have already told them this"

"Good. I hope your shift will be uneventful, Captain Blossompicker"

"Thank you, Ranger-General" responded the petite woman, lowering her head in respect as Sylvanas passed her and walked through the opened gate. Her rangers, who had dismounted in the meantime, followed her without hesitation. The streets were rather empty to this late hour, only a few inhabitants could be found there. They greeted the Ranger-General and her companions, then they went on with what they had done before.

The group didn't need long to arrive at the Farstrider Square. Like the streets, the entire square was enlightened so everyone was able to clearly see the magnificent building known as the headquarters of the Farstriders. It was larger than most buildings in the city, its walls were coloured in white and adorned by yellow strips which reached from one side of the to the otherThere were six statues in front of the building, three to the left side and three to the right side of the main entrance. The first statue to the left of the entrance was a statue of Sylvanas while the first statue to the right was a statue of Lireesa Windrunner. The other statues resembled common rangers.

Even as a statue Sylvanas looked gorgeous. Everyone agreed on this point. Kelrian was no exception. He regarded the statue longer than necessary, turning his head as Sylvanas' whistle brought him out of his daydreams. He blushed a little but he didn't get embarrassed nor did he look at his feet. He looked at Sylvanas instead, realizing that the other rangers were not there anymore.

"Where are the others?" he asked curiously.

"I've dismissed them, I assume that each of them is taking a rest now"

"Oh, I shouldn't get lost in thoughts so often" he muttered.

"Well" said Sylvanas, looking for the right words. She smiled at him, putting her hand on his shoulder. "You look cute when you are lost in thoughts and staring at something like that" she whispered.

Kelrian just smiled at her.

"Come, follow me to my office. I need your help with something"

"I'm curious what it is" he whispered.

Sylvanas didn't say anything in response. She gave her lover a teasing smirk, then she turned around and walked through the entrance. Kelrian didn't hesitate to follow her, his eyes rested on her butt which she swayed whenever she made a step. She did that on purpose but he didn't object that she was swaying her hips like that. Her well-formed butt looked even sexier in the leggings she was wearing. It was no wonder that Kelrian was unable to avert his gaze. Inappropriate thoughts came in his mind as he kept regarding her ass. Unlike most of the times where he caught himself having these thoughts, he didn't banish them out of his mind. Instead, he remembered how Sylvanas' butt looked like without leggings and underwear covering it.

He was so lost in thoughts that he didn't notice that Sylvanas had stopped in front of a door. She was regarding him with a raised eyebrow, wondering when he would stop. She stepped aside and regarded Kelrian who ran straight against the door and staggered back after his head had come in contact with it.

"Ouch" he hissed quietly as he rubbed his forehead. He turned around after the pain had vanished, looking at Sylvanas whose hands were on her hips. Her head was tilted, an amused expression was visible on her face.

"What are you doing?" she asked.

"If only I would know that" he muttered.

Sylvanas smiled at him as she shook her head. She walked to the door and opened it with a key she had pulled out of her belt pocket. She pushed the door open, allowing Kelrian to enter. She closed the door behind her, locking it. She put the key back in the pocket, guiding Kelrian over to her desk.

Kelrian didn't look around in her office because he had seen it a lot of times. He knew on which spot which piece of furniture stood and he knew which door led to which room. The left door at the opposite side of the room led to a bedroom, the other door which was on the right side of the room led to a bathroom.

"How exactly can I help you?" asked Kelrian, regarding her curiously. He tilted his head a little as he noticed the smirk on Sylvanas' lips. She walked over to him, stopping directly in front of him so their bodies almost touched. She wrapped her arms around his neck, pulling him closer. He could feel her hot breath on his neck, her skilled hands massaged his shoulders.

"Today was a very stressful and exhausting day. My muscles are tense and my skin is tingling when I'm only in your near. I need to relax and release some stress" she whispered in his ear, licking over its entire length. She chuckled when she saw his ear twitch in response. She didn't need to touch the tip to know it was very stiff, meaning her presence and her actions had the expected effect on him.

"Your wish is my command"

She didn't respond. She just smiled at him, staring into his eyes. She put one hand on the back of his head, pulling it down so she could connect her lips with his. She deepened the kiss as soon as she noticed that he was kissing her back, inserting her tongue in his mouth. She felt that her heart was beating rapidly in her chest as she held the kiss as long as possible. They pulled away but reconnected their lips as soon as they had breathed in enough air.

Sylvanas pushed Kelrian backwards slowly until they reached her desk. She pulled away, biting her bottom lip as she regarded him with a horny expression on her face. She recognized the lust in his eyes which made her even hornier. Her gaze didn't leave his face as she swept the documents off her desk nor did it leave his face as she got closer to him, pressing her hips against his. She put one hand on his chest, pushing him until his upper body landed on her big desk. It was big enough that two persons could lay on it.

She removed the top of her uniform and her bra, dropping them to the floor. Her smirk became wider as she noticed that Kelrian was scrutinizing her nude upper body. She climbed on her desk, sitting down on Kelrian's upper body. "Let the fun begin"she whispered, her voice sounded very erotic.

"I have needed this so badly" admitted Sylvanas as she stretched her back and got off her desk she was sitting at. She turned her head, looking at her lover who was still lying on top of the desk. Kelrian was fully naked, his chest rose and fell with each breath he made. He lifted his upper body up eventually, his eyes scrutinized Sylvanas' nude form. She was doing the same, smiling when she noticed that his gaze rested on her breasts longer than on every other part of her body.

"That's one way to end a very tense and eventful day"

"Indeed" Sylvanas commented. "One way we both enjoy, right?"

He returned her smile. "You are absolutely right my love". He stood up and walked over to her, putting his hands on her hips as he leaned in to kiss her. She didn't hesitate to return the kiss, inserting her tongue as soon as Kelrian's lips were parted. Kelrian wrapped his arm around her waist, pulling her closer as their kiss deepened. Their sweaty bodies were pressed against another, their lips didn't separate as if they were glued together.

But the pair separated after a while. They were breathing heavily, staring into the other's eyes, smiling. Sylvanas lowered her gaze, smirking as she spoke. "It seems you are ready for round two"

She looked up again, finding him smiling at her. "Maybe but at the same time I really need to get a shower"

Sylvanas chuckled. "We can combine both, you know. There is a bathroom we can use"

"How practical"

"It is indeed" Sylvanas pointed at the bathroom. "Good ahead, Dalah'surfal. I will join you soon"

He smirked "You better do, otherwise I have to punish you later"

Sylvanas grinned. "I would love to see that"

"Maybe you will"

"Come, go in the shower. I will join you in a minute"

Kelrian nodded to her, letting his eyes roam over her perfect shape one last time before he turned around and walked to the bathroom, entering it without hesitation.

Sylvanas stared at the door for a few moments before she walked around her desk and opened one of the drawers. She took a small tin, which contained pink pills, out of it. She opened it, took one pill out of it and swallowed it. She closed the tin and put it back in the drawer, closing it as well.

She was about to turn around and walk to the bathroom as she heard loud knocks at the door. A frustrated groan escaped her lips as she heard a voice calling her.

"Who is it" shouted Sylvanas, making sure her frustration wasn't reflected by her voice.

"Ranger-Captain Vara Sweetblossom" a female voice answered.

"What you want?" asked Sylvanas, getting dressed as fast as possible. She rushed over to the wall mirror, fixing her hair.

"I have important news for you, my General"

"Good or bad news"

Vara was silent for a few moments but then she spoke after having considered what to answer. "Both"

Sylvanas walked to her door, opened it and let the woman in. Like her younger sister Salna, Vara's long blonde hair was voluminous and curly. She looked very similar to her sister. The only difference was that she had a long scar on her neck. She had more scars all over her body but they were covered by her clothes.

"Tell me the good news first" Sylvanas burst out.

"Ranger-Captain Sunbather and I managed to take care of the troll problem in the killed forty trolls in total"

"That's good. How many men did we lose?"


Sylvanas was silent for a minute, mourning for the fallen. She exhaled loudly. "At least we won and killed more than we lost. Now we only have to take care of the trolls in the east". Sylvanas made a small pause. "Tell me about the bad news" she demanded, already prepared for the worst.

"Another group of trolls attacked a village in the south. They were killed by the rangers and Silvermoon Guards which were stationed there. But..."

"But what? Spill it out already"

Vara hesitated for a moment. "A group which was patrolling near the village wanted to aid them, but they got ambushed before they reached the village. Only the paladin who escorted the group survived but she was badly wounded. "


"It's the mother of one of your rangers. Her name is Liana Sunsinger"

Chapter Text

Liana Sunsinger. Kelrian's mother. Was badly wounded.

"Her life is no longer threatened but I'm afraid she will never be able to fight again. She won't be such a good fighter as she has been before, that's for sure" said Ranger-Captain Vara.

Sylvanas was biting her bottom lip. "She lost a limb, didn't she?"

"Her left forearm which is her sword arm"

A loud sigh escaped Sylvanas' lips "At least she is alive and has one hand left with which she could heal the wounded. She can still work as a priestess. She may not like it but at least she didn't die like the rest of her group"

"You need to tell Ranger Sunsinger what happened to his mother"

"I will as soon as I see him" said Sylvanas. "Is there anything else you want to tell me?"

Vara shook her head.

"You may go now. You did a great job at handling these trolls, so you deserve a reward. I give you and your team three days off. Same counts for Verena's team"

"Thank you, my General" responded Vara lowering her head in respect. Sylvanas nodded to her, gesturing her to leave the office. Vara did as she was told, closing the door behind her.

Sylvanas stared at the door for a few moments, not sure what to do at this very moment. She didn't want to ruin her lover's good mood but she had to tell him the truth even though this would mean she wouldn't be able to join him in the shower. He deserved to know the truth. He may not have the best relationship with his mother but that didn't mean she wasn't important to him. She had to tell him the truth. As soon as possible.

She turned her head as she heard her name, looking at the bathroom door which was opened slightly. Kelrian's head poked out, a confused expression was visible on his face. "Sylvanas?" he asked quietly, wondering why she wore her uniform and was not in the bathroom already. He noticed the thoughtful expression on her face, so he was wondering what was wrong.

He came out a few moments later, a towel was wrapped around his waist. His blonde hair was as wet as the rest of his body. He stepped to Sylvanas, drying his left hand before he put it on her shoulder. He turned her around, staring into her eyes, a worried look was visible on his face.

"What is wrong, Dalah'surfal?"

She put her hands on his face, rubbing his cheeks. His presence was enough to brighten up her mood, for a bit at least. "I received bad news"

Kelrian frowned, his face also reflected worry. "Did something happen to the units of Verena and Ranger-Captain Sweetblossom"

"No, they succeeded. They killed forty trolls and only lost five rangers"

"What is wrong then?" he asked, bringing her face closer to his.

"Another group of trolls attacked a village in the south. An entire patrol died, except for a high-ranked paladin. She was badly wounded and lost her sword hand. I'm afraid she will never be able to fight again, at least she won't be as good as she was before"

"At least she survived...I feel sorry about the rest of her group...We're getting less and less..." Kelrian made a depressed face, looking at his feet for a few moments. Then he looked up, regarding Sylvanas curiously. "Did you know the members of this group personally?"

A sad sounding sigh escaped Sylvanas' lips. "I didn't know any of them", she made a small pause, "But you know a least one of them. You know the survivor"

Kelrian's eyes widened. "Who is she?" he asked louder than he had intended to.

Sylvanas hesitated for a moment but then she gave him the answer. "Your mother"

Kelrian's facial features derailed. He didn't move, he didn't even blink, he just stood there. His mind went blank. He didn't do anything nor did he say anything. His eyes stared at a random spot behind Sylvanas.

Sylvanas didn't know what was going on in his mind. Her face reflected worry as she regarded him. Her hands still rested on his cheeks, caressing them softly. She whispered comforting words in his ear, hoping to cause a reaction. But he didn't react to any of her attempts. He remained like this for a while, really worrying Sylvanas.

But eventually, he managed to break out of this state of trance. He turned his head, looking at Sylvanas who was still having a worried expression on her face.

"Kelrian? Are you okay?" she asked worriedly.

"I'm not sure"

"The wounds of your mother will heal sooner or later. She will get better. She may not be able to fight anymore but she will be able to work as a priestess. She could use her other hand to heal the wounded. This might not be the same but it's better than nothing"

"You are right. At least she is still alive, that's better than nothing... You know she might regard me as a shame but that doesn't change the fact that she is my mother. I love her no matter how she treats me"

"I get your point, my love"

"So, you understand that I want to see her?"

Sylvanas nodded her head. "I do"

"Do you know where she is?"

"Not really but maybe your cousin knows more. I don't really know where the paladins are stationed. The order of the paladins knows about that. You can ask Liadrin if she knows anything. Meanwhile, I speak to the paladin with the highest rank in Quel'Thalas"

"That would be my grandmother. She is one of the few members of my family who doesn't regard me as a shame. On the contrary, she told me that she is proud of me the last time I saw her" explained Kelrian.

"Do you have any idea where I can find her?" Sylvanas asked.

Kelrian made a thoughtful face, rubbing his chin with his left hand. "I have no clue" he said eventually.

Sylvanas rubbed her forehead with her fingers, sighing out loudly. "I think it is easier if I order some of my rangers to find your mother. It's easier that way than looking out for some high ranked paladins who might know where she is right now. I will travel to the village where the skirmish has taken place and ask the inhabitants if they know anything. My rangers will also visit your former home and find out if she is there"

"Thank you, Sylvanas" said Kelrian, kissing her cheek softly.

"I would be a bad girlfriend if I wouldn't support you. I love you and I don't want you to be so sad. I don't think that visiting your family is a good idea but I understand that you want to see your mother. I was there for my mother as her disease was diagnosed and I even retired as a ranger to take care of her. I took care of my mother and spend as much as possible with her until I was sure she was getting better. Then I took her place as Ranger-General after she has decided to retire completely"

"You never told me what kind of disease your mother has"

"She has a weak form of paralysis. She is still able to move but she is not able to move very fast. She can't run for very long and fighting is also very problematic. Not to mention that even sparring really exhausts her. It's a riddle for our doctors. After nearly a century none of our best healers found a solution. They don't know how to treat it. So basically, there is nothing which could help her"

"I'm sorry to hear that" spoke Kelrian, lowering his head.

"My mother has needed her time to get used to that but nowadays she accepts how it is. She is doing the household, making sure we get enough to eat, to drink and stuff like that. She is also running a little shop where she sells goods, souvenirs and other more or less useful items. She is happy with her life and that's all that matters"

"Hopefully my mother will handle everything as well as your mother did"

"I hope that too" responded Sylvanas, caressing his cheeks.

"I will return to Liadrin's house and ask her as soon as she returns" announced Kelrian.

"I will take a shower, get some sleep and then I will visit the village which has been attacked. I don't believe she is still there but maybe the villagers know something. I will also order some of my rangers to look for her"

"Thank you, Dalah'surfal"

Sylvanas wrapped her arms around his neck, leaning in to put a quick kiss on his lips. "I'm your girlfriend, it's my duty to cheer you up and support you wherever I can"

He smiled at her, looking into her eyes. She did the same so they stared at each other for nearly half an hour. Kelrian kissed her one last time before he pulled away. "I really need to go now if I want to get some sleep"

"See you soon, my love" said Sylvanas and walked to one of her shelves. She looked for a certain book and pulled it, causing that a secret exit was opened next to the shelf. Kelrian could take the bordering corridor and leave the headquarters of the Farstriders without being seen by anyone. Sylvanas didn't want that he needed to lie if someone would ask him why he left the Ranger-General's office with wet hair. Not to mention people will wonder what he had done there the entire time. She didn't want to cause unnecessary trouble for him, so sneaking out was the best solution.

Kelrian looked at her for the last time before he walked through the secret exit. Sylvanas pushed the book back, waiting until the secret exit was closed. She regarded the wall for a few moments before she started to strip off her clothes as she walked to the bathroom, ready to take a shower.

Kelrian took a deep breath before he made the first step towards the entrance on his former home. He was standing in the front garden of his family's house, which was the largest house in Suncrown Village. He hadn't been there for a while so old memories came up as he regarded the house closely.

He noticed that it hadn't changed at all. The walls were made out of the same white material and decorated with the same blue and golden ornaments. It had three storeys and its roof was covered by blue tiles. There was a banner which hung beneath one of the windows on the highest storey. It showed the coat of arms of his family: A man who was looking at the sun while musical notes came out of his mouth. A singing man who was regarding the sun.

Kelrian regarded the house for the last moment before he did the next step, slowing walking to the front door. He stopped in front of it, taking a deep breath before he gathered all his courage and knocked at the door. He didn't need to wait for too long. The door was opened and his younger sister Cincia looked out. The young woman, who was at the age of sixty-two, regarded him with widened eyes, her mouth was widely opened. Kelrian chuckled when he saw his sister's reaction. She didn't expect him and he was pretty sure the rest of their family wasn't expecting him either.

Cincia stopped staring at him after a few moments, approaching and hugging him without hesitation. She wrapped her arms around his back, pressing herself against him. Kelrian put one hand on the smaller woman's head, the other caressed her back softly.

"I've missed you so much" she muttered, keeping her voice low to prevent that any other member of her family could hear her.

Kelrian did the same as he responded. "I've missed you too, my dear. It has been a long time since the last time we have seen each other"

"Fourteen years to be exact"

"Fourteen years already?"

She nodded. "You have been away too long"

"I know" he responded, pausing for a few moments as he considered what to say. "But I can't return as long as mother and father are not changing their minds. I hope you can understand this"

"I do" she said, playing with the hem of her blue shirt. "But I don't like that you are not living with us" she added.

"I don't like it either but I couldn't take it anymore. The way they behaved when I was around and the way they looked at me...It became unbearable, so I left"

Cincia put her hand on her brother's left shoulder, rubbing it softly. "I'm sorry"

Kelrian chucked. It's not your fault my dear"

"I know but I wish I could change things. I tried to talk to mother and father but they didn't listen. Father even forbid us to say your name"

Kelrian's eyes widened, he opened his mouth but no words came out. He was too shocked to say anything. He had expected that his parents wouldn't talk much about him with his siblings but he had never expected that they would forbid them to say his name. His parents were behaving as if he had died. It shocked him that they treated him like that just because he didn't become a priest or a paladin. His parents had expelled him just because he was not able to use the light.

They didn't care that he belonged to the best rangers of his generation. They didn't care that he was the youngest member of Sylvanas' elite team. He belonged to the best of the best. But his parents still regarded him as a shame even though he had a similar status as them.

His father was a priest and his mother was a paladin while he was a ranger. Priests, Paladins and Rangers helped and protected those who couldn't protect themselves. They deserved everyone's respect. His parents may have higher ranks but that didn't make them better than him. Nevertheless, the regarded themselves as better people and Kelrian as scum.

Kelrian had accepted how his parents behaved. He was just glad that he didn't live with them anymore. He would become insane if he would have to live together with his parents. Even a week would be too much for him. Lucky for him, he had been able to move out and live in Liadrin's house.

"I don't believe they will ever change" said Kelrian quietly.

"Sadly not. At least not father"

Kelrian raised an eyebrow, giving his sister a curious look. "What do you mean?"

"I don't think mother regards you as a shame. I believe she only behaves like this because she is too afraid of father"

"How can I understand that?"

Cincia came closer until her mouth was only a few inches away from his ear. Her voice was barely louder than a whisper. "Father is manipulating mother. He forces his will on her. He is telling her that you are a shame and he forbids her to see you. He has also convinced our older siblings to think the same way as he does"

"So, father is stirring up the entire family against me?"

"Not all of us share his opinion. Sindor and I don't share it. We never say something bad about you and we know what he says about you is not true. He is a liar"

Kelrian ran his fingers through her hair, smiling at her. "At least you and Sindor still regard me as your brother. That's better than nothing"

"Don't worry" responded Cincia. "We will never turn our backs on you, we will never betray you"

Kelrian caressed his sister's cheeks, placing a kiss on her forehead. "I wish I could talk to you more but I came here to visit mother. I hope she is alright"

"Her condition has become better over the past days but she still hasn't fully recovered from the shock. She hasn't talked with anyone within the first two days. At least she has started to speak again but she doesn't speak much" told Cincia.

Kelrian nodded to his sister. "I will see it myself but thanks for the update. Is father at home?"

"Yes, he is. So are Sydori and Seitor"

"Where are they?"

"They are in the backyard. They collect some herbs for a tea for mother"

"Then I have to make sure that I will leave this house without getting seen by one of them. I shouldn't stay for too long. I will only stay as long as necessary"

"Shall I accompany you?"

"I appreciate your offer but it's better if you look after father and our older siblings. It would be pretty helpful if you manage to distract them if they want to go to mother"

"I will try my best but I can't guarantee anything"

Kelrian gave her a thankful smile. "I don't expect anything. I only hope that I will manage to pay mother a visit without getting involved in another drama"

"I hope that as well. I will see what I can do for you. Hopefully, I can distract them long enough"

Kelrian caressed her head softly. "You are a very clever and imaginative person, I'm pretty sure you will find a way"

She smiled "Probably"

He returned her smile. He followed her through the corridor to the stairs which led them to the second level. They climbed the stairs and followed the bordering corridor until they came to their parents' room. Cincia knocked at the door, saying her name as their mother asked who was knocking. Their mother told her to come in so Cincia pushed the door opened, entering the room together with Kelrian.

Kelrian's eyes checked the inside of the room as soon as he had stepped in. He noticed that the room didn't change at all over the years. There were wardrobes in front of the left wall and shelves in front of the right wall. There was a king-sized bed on the other side of the room. Kelrian's eyes widened as spotted his mother.

She was lying in the bed, her body was covered by a blanket. Her right arm was uninjured and rested on the blanket, her other arm was hidden beneath the blanket. Her head rested on a pillow, her gaze hung on the ceiling.

Kelrian noticed that his sister had already left the room as his mother spoke her name. "I'm not Cincia" said Kelrian, his voice was lower than usual. His mother lifted her head, looking at Kelrian. Her expressionless look didn't change as she regarded him closely. At least she didn't seem to be angry that he had returned home. She was silent for the first five minutes but then her lips moved, whispering his name. Her lips, which were as pale as her face, formed a small smile as he became closer and kneeled next to her.

He took her hand in his, bringing it to his lips. He kissed the back of her hand softly, a worried look was visible on his face as he regarded her. She was not only pale, but she also looked very weak. Her blue eyes reflected sorrow. The glowing of her eyes was weaker, her once golden hair was lustreless and its colour had become pale blonde. Kelrian could only assume that she must have had a very traumatic experience. He was sure she must have witnessed worse than just losing her forearm.

He didn't want to imagine what had happened when the trolls had attacked her group. A lot of things could have happened. Sylvanas had told him that her entire group had been was the only survivor which meant that she might have witnessed the deaths of the others. Witnessing the deaths of her friends could have been the traumatic experience which had caused these changes. Kelrian didn't want to imagine how he would feel if his friends would have been killed in front of his eyes. He didn't want to imagine how much the deaths of his friends would have affected and changed him. His mother must have been through hell and it was a real wonder she had survived. Every other member of her unit fell but she survived.

Kelrian realized that he had held her hand for a while without saying anything. He found his mother regarding him curiously. "Kelrian" she said, her voice sounded husky and weak. Kelrian leaned forward until he could hear her quiet breaths. "Mother" he responded but didn't say anything else. He had no clue what to say to her.

Should he apologize to her? Tell her how sorry he was? Tell her that everything will become better? Should he comfort her? Give her hope? Tell her that she was still able to work as a priestess? Tell her that even with only one arm she could be useful?

He was still unsure of what to say. He didn't notice that he was frowning and making a thoughtful face. His body was tensed up and he was holding his mother's hand tighter than necessary. She didn't say anything even though he was hurting her a bit. She cleared her throat, causing that he was brought out of his thoughts. He let go of her hand, regarding her without saying anything. She put her hand on his left cheek, giving him a weak smile as she caressed his left cheek.

He managed to speak after a while "I'm so sorry"

"You don't need to be sorry. You are not responsible for what happened to me and my group. You did nothing wrong, my dear"

"If only I would have known that these bastards would ambush your group... I would have slaughtered them all before they would have even come near you" he responded, his voice reflected hatred and sorrow.

"They were too many, not even you wouldn't have been able to defeat them alone, no matter how good you are"

"But I would have made a difference. More people would have survived if I would have been there"

"That might be true but no one saw it coming. You had other tasks to do. I've heard that you have helped the Ranger-General to capture a gang of drug dealers. Not only trolls and orcs harm and kill our people. Illegal drugs do that too"

Kelrian was silent, not knowing what to say. He was grieving, even though his mother was still alive. He was angry. Angry at himself, because he was not there to protect his mother. He was also angry at the trolls who were invading Quel'Thalas over and over again. He would slaughter every single troll if he would have the chance to do that. Unfortunately, he was not strong enough to kill every single troll alone. But he was not alone. There were thousands of rangers and warriors who couldn't wait to avenge the fallen. The trolls will pay for their crimes. Sooner or later they will be defeated by the high elves and the Alliance of Lordaeron. Kelrian was pretty sure about that.

His mother was still caressing his cheek, smiling at him. "You need to know that I'm proud of you" she said. "I've always been" she added as she noticed that he raised an eyebrow.

"I thought you hated me. I thought you also regard me as a shame. I thought you share the same opinion as father, Seitor and Sydori"

"I never did. I've never said something bad to you or insulted you, right?"

"Now that you say it...You are right. You never did that but you didn't stop father from doing it, nor did you try to convince him that his way of looking at things is wrong. He repelled me but you didn't do anything to stop him" spoke Kelrian. He noticed the hurt look on his mother's face and the tears in the corners of her eyes. He realized that he had sounded stricter than he had wanted. He had accused her even though he hadn't wanted to do that. He regretted it immediately. He apologized to her but she responded that there was nothing he had to apologize for.

"I deserve getting insulted. I've been a terrible mother"

"You were not" interrupted Kelrian. "Not always at least. Cincia told me that father has forced you to behave the way he wanted you to. She told me that he left you no other choice than supporting him. Cincia also told me that he has forbidden you to see me. Is that true?"

His mother avoided eye contact, for the first few minutes at least. Then she looked at him, her eyes roamed over his shape. They returned to his face, staring into his eyes. "It's true" she said quietly. "I've been weak. I have been too afraid that he might freak out if I would contradict him... I was too afraid that..." but then she stopped, she didn't speak any further. Kelrian waited that she would finish her sentence after a short pause but she didn't.

"Were you afraid that he might hit you? He wouldn't do that, would he? Father may be strict but he doesn't hit women, does he?" Kelrian asked, his voice reflected confusion and shock. He was hoping that this wasn't true. His father might be an asshole but he had never considered him to be a violent asshole. He didn't want to imagine him threatening his mother. He would never forgive him if that would turn out to be true. He was already angry at his father because he had repelled him and thrown him out of the house. If his assumption would turn out to be true then...

His mother didn't say anything in response. She stared at the ceiling, pretending that she didn't hear it. This was enough for Kelrian to interpret that his assumption was true. He had no official statement from her but the way she behaved told him everything he needed to know. First what Cincia had said and now that. There was no way his father was not pressuring his mother to do whatever he wanted. Nevertheless, Kelrian had no clue what he will do with these pieces of information. He knew that a confrontation with his father would lead to nowhere except for a loud, hot-headed argument.

He came to the conclusion that it was the best to not say anything at first. He will talk with Liadrin, maybe he could try to convince his mother to come with him but first, she needed some rest and get stronger. He regarded his mother for a few moments, not saying anything. He put his hands on her cheeks, caressing them. She turned her head, giving him a small smile as she looked at him.

"How are you feeling?" he asked.

"It could be better but it could also be worse. I'm glad that I survived this massacre. I feel pretty weak and my arm... It's hard to get used to not be able to feel half of my left arm. I don't think I will ever be able to fight again" she responded, her voice sounded very sad.

"Can I see your arm?" he asked carefully, not sure how she would react.

She didn't say anything in response but she nodded to him. Kelrian pulled the blanket down, revealing the rest of her left arm. The entire forearm was missing, the rest was wrapped up in a bandage. The bandage wasn't bloody, meaning the wound had been treated properly.

"I wish I could change things" Kelrian muttered after a while.

"Sometimes we can't change the present or the past. Sometimes we have to accept how things are. I have lost my sword hand which means I will never be able to fight again, or at least, I will never be as good as I was before the ambush. But I can live with that. At least, I can still heal others with only one hand. You have to see things from the positive side. That's the most important thing you have to do when you want to come to terms with something. May it be the past or something else"

Kelrian nodded to her, signalizing her that he understood what she meant. He took her hand in his, gently caressing its back while regarding her curiously.

"Back to what I have wanted to say. I have never..." she started but the loud sound, which was produced when the door was slammed against the wall as it was opened forcefully, interrupted her. She turned her head, her eyes widened as she looked at the person who was standing in the door. Kelrian turned his head, wondering who was there. His eyes widened when he recognized the person.

It was no other than his father Xenarion who was having a very angry expression on his face. His eyes were narrowed and his face reflected anger. He gritted his teeth, his hands were clenched into fists. It was unmistakable that his whole body was tensed. Except for the anger which was reflected by his face, no other emotion was visible.

Kelrian stood up to his full height, regarding his father from head to toe. He was half a head taller than his father but it that didn't impress or intimidate the older man. Xenarion still stood on the same spot, regarding Kelrian and his mother closely.

"You just got yourself into serious trouble" he spoke, his voice sounded dangerous.

Chapter Text

Kelrian's father still stood in the door, preventing that Kelrian, who had gotten up in the meantime, could leave the room.

You have just gotten yourself into serious trouble he had said. Kelrian knew his father well enough so he knew he was serious about this. He had no clue what his father would do but he had a bad feeling about what could happen.

"I've told you what will happen if you dare to return to my house" he hissed, regarding his son with narrowed eyes.

Kelrian didn't say anything. He remained next to the bed where his mother was lying, regarding his father closely. He was prepared for the case his father would do a rash move. But he didn't. Instead, he crossed his arms in front of his chest as he regarded his son from head to toe.

"What are you doing here and why are you wearing that rag?" he hissed, pointing at Kelrian's ranger uniform. Kelrian didn't turn a hair as he listened to the insults. He didn't say anything in response, not even after his father had finally managed to stop talking.

"I would advise you to leave my house as fast as possible and never return"

Kelrian's response was short and simple. "No"

"No?" his father roared out, his face turned red with rage. "What do you mean with no?"

"I will only leave the house after I've spent some time with my mother" he responded. His voice sounded monotonous, his facial expression was impassive.

"Your mother doesn't want to see you"

Kelrian turned his head, looking at his mother who was staring at the blanket which covered her body. "I don't believe that for a second. She would have already sent me away or called for help if she didn't want me around"

"Bullshit" his father hissed as he made a step towards his son.

"Tell him the truth, mother" spoke Kelrian. His voice sounded soft and comforting. His mother took a deep breath, looking at Kelrian for a few moments before she looked at her husband. "Xenarion, my dear... You may not want to accept it but he is speaking the truth. I want him around and I can't expel him anymore. He is my son. OUR son. There is no reason to hate him and regard him as unworthy. He is our blood. He is..."

"SHUT UP, WOMAN. I HAVE NOT ASKED FOR YOUR BLOODY OPINION" shouted Xenarion, silencing his wife effectively. His furious look, his gritted teeth and his loud and strong voice were enough to intimidate her and cause her to crawl under her blanket. Kelrian noticed out of the corner of his eyes that her entire body trembled. She was afraid. Afraid of her own husband. Kelrian was right with his assumption.

This was the last piece of the puzzle which was missing. Xenarion intimidated his wife to get his will. Threating her with violence was his way of proceedingIt was the way of a bastard. Xenarion was nothing more than a bastard and a weakling who was taking advantage of his physical strength.

He may be a male but Kelrian was pretty sure that his mother would be physically stronger than him, at least with two arms. She was a paladin so she had been trained in combat. His father, on the other hand, was just a high ranked priest so he was not very good in close combat. His mother could have been able to defend herself if her husband would have become violent. But she had never resisted and never told him her opinion. Instead, she had endured his tyranny. She was too afraid of what he might do.

But that will end. Kelrian will make sure that his father will never speak to his mother like that. He won't leave until his father will treat her with the necessary respect and promise to never threaten her again.

"Don't you dare speak to her like that. She is your wife and my mother" Kelrian said, his voice was low and sounded dangerous. "You have no right to treat her like that. She is not your slave"

Xenarion tilted his head, raising an eyebrow. "What did you say?" he asked. Kelrian repeated what he had said. His voice was louder than before but not too loud and his eyes rested on his father.

"YOU DARE TO ENTER MY HOUSE AND SPEAK TO ME LIKE THAT? IT SEEMS THAT I FORGOT TO TEACH YOU RESPECT" Xenarion roared out. He came closer until he was only about twenty feet away from the ranger.

"You taught me a lot, father. You taught me respect towards others who deserve it. But you don't deserve my respect or my mother's, not if you intimidate her, hit her and treat her like your willing slave. You are nothing more than a violent asshole who uses brute force and intimidation to get what you want. You don't deserve anyone's respect" Kelrian responded as he stared into his father's furious blue eyes.

"Enough of this bullshit" he hissed as he stepped forward, raising his arm.

"Xenarion... Please, stop it... before you ruin everything"Liana begged, her voice was weak.

"I am ruining everything? You are the one who gave birth to this unworthy piece of shit. You have ruined everything"

"He is still your son. He is still OUR son"

"He is your son. I don't believe for a second that he is mine. Look at him. He is the only member of our family who is unable to use the light. He can't be a son of mine. I have only fathered children who became either priests or paladins. Even his younger siblings are able to use the light. There is only one logical explanation. He is not my son which means that you have cheated on me. He has to be the son of someone else"

Kelrian didn't say anything. He was not shocked or surprised. On the contrary, he was oddly calm. He didn't believe his father's lies. He didn't believe anything his father was saying. His words meant nothing to him. He ignored them.

But his mother couldn't ignore them. Kelrian looked at her, noticing that she had tears in her eyes. He assumed that it really hurt her that her husband believed that she hadn't been loyal to him.

Xenarion didn't deign to look at her. He didn't care that his false accusations had really hurt her. He didn't care what hearing such false accusation would do to the woman who was already traumatized because of the horrible events of the past days she had witnessed. He didn't stop insulting his son and his mother - his own wife. Rage had taken control over him so he was not able to stop himself. It was the rage who led him to charge at Kelrian, intending to hit him.

But Kelrian saw it coming. He knew that his father was intending to hit him, so he reacted quickly, ducking beneath his father's attack went into the air,surprising him. Xenarion tried to hit him again but the ranger had been taught by Sylvanas Windrunner, the best ranger of Quel'Thalas, so it was easy for him to dodge the next attack.

He moved behind his father but he didn't attack, even though he had the perfect opportunity to hit him in the back. "This is my last warning. Let me go and promise to never lay your dirty hands on my mother again, otherwise... Well, otherwise it will hurt you pretty badly if you try to hit me again"

Xenarion was too angry to keep a cool head. He didn't think over the whole situation, instead, he launched himself at Kelrian, intending to push him to the ground.

Kelrian intended to prove his father that rangers weren't just pathetic woodmen who lived in the forest and searched through the dirt for traces. Xenarion had always regarded the Farstriders as scum who are nothing more than hunters. He had despised them for all of his life and this despise had grown when Kelrian had joined them.

But this was the moment where Kelrian could prove him wrong. He could prove that rangers were very powerful fighters who were very important for society. They did their best to protect people from all dangers. In this case,his mother stood for the people and his father for the danger. And Kelrian would protect his mother by every means.

He countered his father's leap attack, grabbing his arm in the same moment where he made a step to the side. He turned his body, throwing his father over his shoulder in the same movement. A loud groan escaped Xenarion's lips as he landed on the hard floor. He was too shocked at this very moment to do anything, so Kelrian took advantage of this opportunity. He kneeled next to his father, tying his arms and legs together before he was able to do something. He used a piece of cloth, he had taken out of the sewing box of his mother, as a gag and put it in his father's mouth.

Xenarion tried to get free but he didn't manage it. It was impossible to get rid of these provisional ties without someone's help. He was shouting something but the gag muffled it and made it unintelligible. His furious eyes rested on Kelrian but the young man didn't care. He gave his father one last look before he turned around, walking to the bed. He pulled the blanket away, lifting his mother up. She was surprised at first but then she stood up, without asking her son what he was intending to do. She trusted him, so she allowed him to guide her out of the room.

But Kelrian didn't only guide her out of the room. He guided her through the corridor, climbed down the stairs with her and guided her through the house's exit. He told Cincia to look for Sindor and bring him to them as fast as possible. Cincia gave their mother a confused look, wondering what was going on. Their mother didn't say anything, she just nodded to her youngest daughter. Cincia hesitated for a few moments but then rushed upstairs.

She returned a few minutes later with Sindor who was holding her hand, a confused look was also visible on his young face. Kelrian waved at them, telling them to get closer. "What is going on?" asked the forty-seven years old teenager.

Kelrian kneeled next to him so that his face was on the same height as Sindor's face. "I will explain everything later but for now we need to go"

"But..." Cincia said but she didn't finish her sentence as she spotted the horse which was tied to a tree not far away from their house.

"You know how to ride, right?" Kelrian asked Cincia.

"I do but why do you ask?"

"You know where Liadrin's house is, right?"

Cincia nodded.

"You need to take mother and Sindor to her house. I will join you later and explain everything. Do you trust me?" Kelrian said, staring into her eyes.

"I do trust you"

"Good, let's go then"

Kelrian guided them to the horse, helping them to climb up. He made sure that they were steady in the saddle before he handed the reins to his younger sister. He gave her a key, telling her that she will need it to get in Liadrin's house. He looked at them for the last time before he hit the horse on its rear, causing that it started to move. He waited until the horse was out of his sight, then he followed the path they had taken.

Liadrin unlocked the door, opened it with one hand and turned around so she could keep the door open with her back while both of her hands were holding two bags, which were filled with food and other stuff. She pushed the door open, stepping into the entrance hall. The first things she saw were the strange pairs of shoes which were standing in front of her shoe cupboard. She frowned, regarding the pairs closely. She was sure that two of these pairs belonged to women while the last pair belonged to a man.

Her first assumption was that Kelrian had invited some guests and forgot to inform her on the previous day. She walked through the entrance hall, shouting her cousin's name. She met him as she entered the living room, his hair was as wet as hers, same counted for his clothes.

Like Liadrin, Kelrian hadn't managed to get home before the storm had started. The rain was falling heavily, the wind was blowing heavily, causing that the branches of the trees were getting could hear the raindrops drumming against the windows and the roof, and the whistle of the wind. She was even able to hear the quiet thundering in the far. A thunderstorm was approaching, she was pretty sure of that.

She regarded Kelrian for a few moments, giving him a questionable look. "You haven't warned me that you will bring visitors with you today"

Kelrian pursed his lips, considering what he should say. He was silent for a few moments but then he gave Liadrin an answer. "It happened spontaneously, to be honest. I haven't planned on bringing them to your house but I saw no other option"

"You mean because of the rain?" Liadrin asked.

Kelrian didn't say anything in response, he pointed behind him, telling Liadrin to follow him. She did that, putting the bags, she was still carrying, on the table in the middle of the room. Kelrian pointed at the couch on the right side of the room. Liadrin made a curious face as she turned around to look at the direction he had pointed at. Her face reflected surprise as she saw her aunt Liana and her other cousins sitting on her couch.

"Oh, hi..." she said, not knowing what else to say. "It has been a while since we last met"

Liana nodded, standing up immediately. Liadrin's eyes fell on her arm stump, her facial expression changed from surprise to compassion. Of course, she had heard about the massacre near the village where Liana had been stationed so she knew what had happened to her. Hearing what happened to her was one thing but seeing what happened to her was totally different.

Liadrin had been shocked when she had heard about what had happened to her aunt. Now that she was seeing her, she was even more shocked. She didn't say anything, she just stared at Liana. The older woman's comfortable smile was enough to cause Liadrin to relax eventually. She wasn't shocked anymore but she still felt bad about her.

Liadrin found her voice eventually, giving her aunt and her cousins a small smile. "It's good to see you. I'm really sorry about what happened to you. I..."

Liana lifted her hand, stopping Liadrin from speaking any further. "It's okay. I'm a soldier so I knew that this could happen. To be honest, I was pretty lucky. It could have been worse. I could have lost the entire arm. I also could have died"

"That's true. But I assume it's pretty hard to live with only one hand, not to mention that you wouldn't be able to fight without your sword hand"

"It is hard indeed but I will get used to it. I have to"

Liadrin gave her an understanding nod. "I hope you will manage it". She regarded her family for a few moments, still wondering why they were visiting Kelrian and her. "We haven't seen each other in ten maybe fifteen years if I remember correctly so it really makes me curious why you are visiting us now"

Once again, Liadrin scrutinized her aunt and cousins. It came in her mind that they weren't wet which meant that they had arrived earlier than Kelrian. They hadn't come with him so she interpreted that they must have come on their own to this place. At first, she had thought that Kelrian had guided them to her house. She had thought that he wanted to visit them somewhere his father and older siblings would never go. Now she was not sure what was going on. Nothing made sense for her.

Liadrin noticed that Liana wanted to say something but Kelrian was faster. "They are not here because they are visiting us for a day"

Liadrin frowned, signalizing him to explain what was going on. Kelrian tried his best to explain everything as simple and as quick as possible. In the end, he had needed half an hour to make Liadrin understood in which situation they were in. Liadrin made a thoughtful face, rubbing her chin as she considered what to say in return.

"You can stay here as long as you want"

Liana's eyes widened in surprise. "Are you sure?"

Liadrin smiled. "Of course I am. We may have had our differences in the past but we are still family, aren't we?"

"Of course we are" said Cincia, smiling happily.

Liadrin pointed at her. "See"

"Thank you so much, Liadrin"

"You are welcome, my dear. Come, I will show you your rooms while Kelrian will change clothes so he doesn't make my carpet wet"

Kelrian nodded to her, waiting until she had left the room with his mother and siblings, then he headed to his room.

A few days passed where nothing noteworthy happened. His mother and siblings slowly got used to living in their new home. They were glad that Liadrin allowed them to stay here because they wouldn't know where else to live. They couldn't live in their former home anymore. Kelrian would never leave his mother and his younger siblings in a household where violence and intimidation were tolerated. He had sworn to protect his family no matter what would happen.

His father and his older siblings may still belong to his family but only by law. He didn't regard them as members of his family anymore, not since he had found out that his older siblings tolerated their father's behaviour. Kelrian still couldn't believe that his father had hit his wife or threatened her whenever she had disagreed with something.

The worst thing was that his siblings had never said anything or did anything against it. In his opinion, they were the worst children a mother could imagine. Kelrian had never hated them before, not even after they had started to treat him like a piece of shit. But since his mother had told him everything, he detested them.

Same counted for his father. He was the worst. He didn't deserve his mother. He never had. Nevertheless, she had loved him. Loved him for a reason Kelrian couldn't understand. He could only assume that his father had been a different person back then when he had met his mother. He was really hoping that. Otherwise, he had no idea what his mother had seen in him. Maybe she had just been blinded by love.

It didn't matter for Kelrian what she had felt for him back then. He was just glad that she had realized who he truly was. He was an asshole. She had always ignored that in the past but now she wasn't ignoring it anymore. She had opened her eyes and unofficially left this asshole for the greater good.

Kelrian was sitting in the living room, eating a few grapes while thinking of Sylvanas. He hadn't seen her for a few days because she was too busy with paperwork and other necessary stuff. She was so busy that she hadn't left her office in five days. Verena had told him that she was busy considering how to improve the defence system in Quel'Thalas. She had told him that Sylvanas regarded it as her personal failure whenever a group of trolls or orcs manage to sneak past the patrols and get deeper than expected into the territory of the high elves.

Kelrian knew that it was impossible to cover every corner of Quel'Thalas because the Farstriders didn't have enough men for that. They could only cover up the most important places, so there were some areas which were only covered up by one or two patrols while the important areas were covered by five to six groups each.

He wished he could help Sylvanas. He wished he could see her and help her relax a bit. She must be really stressed. On the other hand, he would only distract Sylvanas with his presence so it was probably better that he wouldn't meet her until she had found a solution.

Verena had also told him that she visited Sylvanas from time to time to help her, not to mention she made sure Sylvanas ate enough and got enough sleep. Nobody wanted to meet a Sylvanas who was in a bad mood, was hungry and really tired. Kelrian was hoping Sylvanas would finish her work soon so he didn't need to wait too long to see her again.

He stood up after a while, walking to the door which led to the house's backyard. He opened it but he didn't walk out of it. He just stood there and regarded his siblings who were following their mother's instructions and healed an injured animal. They weren't ready yet to attend the examinations for becoming an apprentice of a priestnevertheless were they able to use the holy light to treat smaller wounds. Whenever Kelrian's parents and older siblings had had the time, they had trained him, Cincia and Sindor. Kelrian had never managed to do what his family had wanted him to do. He had never been able to heal a mouse or a cat. He had tried hard but he had always failed.

His younger siblings, on the other hand, were able to heal smaller animals. Kelrian had to admit he had been jealous at first when he had discovered that Cincia and Sindor were able to use the holy light while he was not. But the more time had passed, the less jealous he had become. He had accepted that his destiny was not to become a priest or a paladin. Unlike the rest of his family, it was not his destiny to serve the light. He was able to choose his own destiny and he had chosen to become a Farstrider. He had chosen this destiny even though it would mean that half of his family would hate him while the other half would side with him.

He had never wanted that his family would split because of him. He wished his family could live together in peace without needing to quarrel. It was not his fault that things were like thisHe had never asked for not being able to use the holy light nor had he ever asked for a father who would be so intolerant and manipulative. His father had incited his oldest son and daughter against his middle son. He was an arrogant, superficial, violent asshole and there was no hope that he will ever change.

Kelrian had accepted that so had his mother and younger siblings. Liadrin had allowed them to stay in her house as long as they wanted. Staying forever was also an option but Kelrian's mother was not sure if she wanted that. A lot of things had been going through her mind during the past days. She was pretty sure that leaving her husband had been the right decision but she was unsure what to do in the future.

She had no idea where to live, what to do about her husband and oldest children and she had no idea if she will ever be able to fight again. She had lost her sword hand so she would never be as good in fighting as she had been before. No matter how much she will practise fighting with her other hand, she will never reach her previous level. She will always have a disadvantage whenever she would fight.

Maybe it was the best if she would become a priestess and focus on helping the wounded. This way she could be useful and help others. It made more sense than dying against an opponent who didn't care about her disadvantage. She will find a quick death if she would keep fighting as a paladin. Becoming a priestess was the only real option she had.

Kelrian regarded his family for a few minutes before he returned to the living room. He was about to go to the fridge, to get something other than fruits to eat, as he heard knocks. He turned his head to the direction where the knocks came from, realizing that someone was knocking at the front door. He didn't hesitate to leave the living room, coming to the entrance hall. He opened the door, spotting two village guards. There was a woman with long black hair, whose nose and ears were pierced. Next to her stood a man with long brown hair who had a tattoo in the form of the sun on his neck. Both of them were wearing blue and golden coloured armours. The armours of the Silvermoon Guards.

Kelrian regarded them, wondering why they were knocking at Liadrin's door. "How can I help you?" he asked, giving them a curious look.

"I'm Captain Verosa and that is Soldier Jen" the woman said, pointing at herself and then at the man. "We are here to investigate something"

Kelrian raised an eyebrow, frowning at them. "What?"

"Are you Kelrian Sunsinger?"

"Yes, I am"

"And your father is Xenarion Sunsinger?"

"Unfortunately, yes"

"Your father has reported to us that you have kidnapped your mother and your younger siblings"

Chapter Text


Your father has reported to us that you have kidnapped your mother and your younger siblings.

These were the words Captain Verosa had said to him. Kelrian blinked, wondering if he was hallucinating this situation. Unfortunately, he wasn't. That meant this was real. His father had accused him of having kidnapped his mother and his younger siblings against their will.

If someone who knew Kelrian would have heard that, that person would have burst into laughter. Kelrian was a friendly person who was not the biggest fan of violence. He would never force anyone to do anything he didn't want to do. He wouldn't do that to anyone, especially not to his family. He loved his family, at least those who didn't treat him like rubbish.

He couldn't believe that his father had done that. His father was a lot of things but Kelrian had never thought he would give the guards false information. Kelrian didn't kidnap his family. His mother, Cincia and Sindor had followed him voluntarily. They could have left Liadrin's house at any time but they didn't because they didn't want to return to their father. But his father was seeing things differently. He didn't know the truth, so he thought Kelrian had kidnapped them. He had told the guards so they had come to Liadrin's house to find out what was going on.

A loud sigh escaped Kelrian's lips. "Of course, he did that" he muttered. He took a deep breath, regarding the guards for a moment before he spoke. "There must a mistake. I didn't kidnap anyone"

"We believe you" Verosa said, pausing for a few moments. "Nevertheless, your father sought us for a reason. We haven't accused you of anything, we just want to find out what is going on"

"I understand that" Kelrian responded.

"May we come in?" asked Jen.

"This is not my house, I'm only living in it but I don't think my cousin has anything against it" he stepped aside, signalizing them to come in. They didn't hesitate to enter the house, checking their surroundings as they followed Kelrian. He brought them to the living room where Liadrin was sitting on an armchair. She got up as she saw the guards entering the room, making a surprised face. She walked over to them, greeting them by their names.

"What is going on?" she asked.

Captain Verosa explained everything.

Liadrin shook her head, showing everyone that she didn't believe Kelrian could kidnap anyone. "That's a lie" she said. "Kelrian didn't kidnap them. The joined him voluntarily. They are in the backyard so you can ask them if they got kidnapped"

"We will do that" replied Verosa. "But first we want to know why they have been living in this place for a few days. They lived in their father's house until a few days ago, so it surprises us that they change places from one day to the other"

Kelrian explained to them what had happened in the house. He emphasized his father's negative behaviour, telling the guards what a kind of an asshole he was. The guards were silent at first, not knowing what to say. Then Verosa spoke after she had found the right words. "I can understand your decision and we approve it as long as your mother and siblings came with you voluntarily. We believe you, nevertheless we want to ask your family a few questions. We hope that is okay for you"

"It's fine for me, go ahead. As Liadrin said, they are in the backyard.

Kelrian followed them, watching them questioning his family. As expected, his mother, Cincia and Sindor told the guards that they weren't forced to live there and that they could to return to their original home whenever they wanted. They also told them that they didn't want to return there because of the way Xenarion was behaving. Liana also told the guards how he had intimidated her and forced her to do what he wanted. She mentioned that she had been always afraid he would have hit her if she wouldn't have agreed with him.

According to her, his misbehaviour had begun a few years before Kelrian had attended the first priest examination. He had changed over the years. He had become a different person. A person Liana didn't recognize anymore. He was not the man anymore she had fallen in love with over one hundred and fifty years ago. The smart, sensitive, funny and just man she had known was gone. Replaced by an arrogant, abusive, narcissistic and violent asshole. With tears in her eyes, she told the guards everything she knew.

The guards understood the sorrow she was feeling. They understood that she hated herself because she had allowed that her husband would treat one of their children like rubbish. She felt guilty. She was angry at herself that she hadn't stopped her husband, that she hadn't been brave enough to stand up to even called herself a terrible mother.

Kelrian approached her as she was done speaking. He hugged her and whispered soothing words in her ears. He embraced her until her insecurity, self-hatred, sorrow and all other negative emotions had vanished. He held her a few minutes longer than necessary, only letting her go when he was sure she was alright.

He turned to the guards, noticing that they were regarding them with weak smiles on their lips. They told Kelrian and his family they will report to their superiors that no one got kidnapped and everything was alrightKelrian gave them a thankful nod, smiling at them. Verosa returned the smile, looking at her subordinate who signalized her that he was ready for departure.

They excused themselves for troubling Kelrian and his family but he told them that everything was alright. They were only doing their work after all. There was no reason to be mad at them. The guards said goodbye and left the house eventually, leaving the family at peace.

It was almost midnight when Kelrian walked through the side streets of Suncrown Village. It was so dark that Kelrian barely recognized his surroundings. He had to narrow his eyes and stare longer at a spot to recognize what was there. That meant he needed more time to walk through the side streets.

He regretted that he had made a trip to the nearest lake. Everything would have been fine if he wouldn't have fallen asleep while sunbathing. He wouldn't need to wander around in the dark, hoping that he would find the right street which would lead him home if he would have returned home before the sunset.

But now it was too late to change anything. He could only give his best to get home without getting lost. Taking the wrong turning would only cost him lots of time so he had decided to find out first where he was before he would choose a path.

He walked for a while, noticing that he had gotten lost again. He was near the market square which he had crossed three times within the past hour. He wished he had a torch with him. A light source would really help him. He was also wishing that he had the abilities of a priest or a paladin so he could create a small sphere of light which could lighten up the area. Unfortunately, he was not able to do that.

Kelrian had never seen a night before which was darker than this night. He found it odd, wondering why the sky was so much darker. Unlike every other night, this night showed a sky without stars. For some reason not a single star was visible. Kelrian had never witnessed such a dark night before. Even though he was not superstitious,he was worried about the meaning of such a rare occurrence. The total dark sky was some sort of a phenomenon which wouldn't happen again so soon.

He muttered a few words to himself, then he averted his gaze from the sky and started walking. He returned to the main street, following its course. He knew that he would need longer to get home if he would take the main street. He would arrive earlier at home if he would take the side streets during day time. The side streets were not enlightened so it was easy to get lost which had already happened three times. He regretted having taken the side streets. He would have been already at Liadrin's house if he would have followed the main street but he had been too impatient so he had decided to follow the side streets instead. He shook his head about his own foolishness, increasing his tempo as he left the market square.

He walked for half an hour, coming to a crossroad. He followed the left path, ignoring the scary sounds which could be heard from time to time. He was a brave man so he didn't get intimidated by the weird sounds which echoed through the air. He arrived at the district where his father, older brother and older sister still lived. Three weeks had passed since Kelrian's mother and younger siblings had moved out. He hadn't heard anything so far from the rest of his family.

He was glad that he hadn't seen his father during the past weeks. He didn't want to meet his father. He was not afraid of him, no matter how loud and violent he could be. He was only afraid that his father might come with some of his friends and drag his mother and younger siblings back to his house. He couldn't even be sure if his father wouldn't be violent. He feared he might hit his mother if they would meet again one day.

Fortunately, more guards were stationed near Liadrin's house so they would notice when Kelrian's father would try something. Nevertheless, Kelrian felt a bit uneasy when thinking about what his father could do. At least, his family never left the house alone so the chance, that Kelrian's father would spot them and drag them to his house, was a lot smaller.

Kelrian rushed past his father's house, not deigning to look at it. He followed the bordering street, coming to a smaller, much thinner street. Normally the street was enlightened by street lamps but today, for some reason, the lamps which stood along the street were out. Not a single street lamp radiated light. A quiet sigh escaped Kelrian's lips as he realized that he had to walk carefully again. He slowed down his walking speed, his eyes rested on the ground to make sure he wouldn't stumble over something. He followed the street until he came to the district where Liadrin's house was.

Only a few houses stood in the district, all of them were a lot larger than most houses in the village. Liadrin's house was on the opposite side of the square which was directly in front of him. Kelrian noticed that even the large lamp in the middle of the square was not functioning. He also noticed that no guards were near the square which was very odd. Normally, about six guards were stationed in the near of the square but on this day, no one was there.

Kelrian walked to the square's middle, stopping as he heard footsteps. He turned around slowly, trying to recognize who had followed him. He needed a few moments to recognize the vague shapes of three persons.

It was too dark to see who they were. He wasn't even able to recognize what they were wearing. He only recognized their shapes so he interpreted that all of them were males and all of them carried long and thick objects. He didn't need to think twice to find out the purpose of these objects - Their purpose was to hurt someone very badly.

"Who are you guys?" asked Kelrian loudly. One of his hand wandered slowly to his belt, checking if his daggers still hung on it. For some reason, he could only find one of his two daggers. He must have lost the other somewhere... Maybe it was lying near the lake. Maybe he had lost it when he had stumbled over a root in the forest near the lake.

He didn't know where he had lost it but that didn't matter anymore. He had left his bow and his swords at home. He wasn't even wearing his uniform, instead, he wore casual clothes. A green vest and brown trousers. There was no armour which could protect him and he had no weapon which could keep up with the long objects.

Kelrian turned his head a bit, looking at Liadrin's house which was three hundred feet away from him. He looked back at the shapes, assuming they were about one hundred and fifty feet away. He didn't know what they wanted from him but he assumed the worst. He had two options. Talk to them or run. He was a pretty good sprinter so he assumed he would reach the house and unlock the door before the strangers would catch up to him.

He made a few steps backwards, asking them again who they were and what they wanted. They didn't answer but they started to move as they realized that he was moving away from them. Kelrian turned around, running as fast as he could. He turned his head from time to time to look at them. They were following him but they weren't as fast as him. He came closer and closer to the house, leaving half the distance behind him in short time.

He turned his head again after leaving behind a third of the remaining distance. He noticed that his pursuers were still after him but the distance between them and him had been increased. He was running faster than expected. He turned his head eventually and looked at the house which was not far away from him. He saw the stretched-out arm, which was one the same height as his chest, too late so he ran directly into it. He expected that his body weight would push the arm away but it didn't. Instead, he fell to the ground.

A pained scream escaped Kelrian's lips as his head hit the floor. But not only his head hurt, his entire back hurt as well. Kelrian writhed in pain for the first few moments. The pain didn't vanish but at least his body had gotten used to it quickly so Kelrian was able to move again. He tried to get up but the man who had thrown him to the ground pushed him back.

Again, Kelrian landed on the ground. This time he didn't hit his head but that didn't make his situation better. He was lying on the ground, a muscular elf, whose face was hidden behind by a white mask, stood right in front of him and regarded him curiously. Kelrian's pursuers arrived a few moments later, surrounding him.

Kelrian turned his head, scrutinizing them quickly. Half of their faces were covered by scarves but their blue glowing eyes and their long ears weren't covered. Even though their faces were half-covered, Kelrian was able to recognize one of them. One of these men had a scar above his left eyebrow. This scar had a unique form, which he had seen before. Kelrian knew who this man was. It was a friend of his father. He didn't know his name but he had seen him more than once before.

Kelrian came to the conclusion that his father must be responsible for this attack. maybe because he wanted him to suffer for taking his family. These men were armed with clubs and their eyes told him Kelrian they will hurt him.

He covered his head with his arms as they started to assault him with their fists, feet and clubs. They hit him and kicked him, their lips under their masks formed pleased smiles, as they heard his screams. Bones broke, blood flowed, screams echoed through the air. Lights in some rooms of the surrounding houses were turned on, shapes of persons looked out of the windows but no one dared to come out.

No one except for Liadrin and Liana. Liana was holding her sword in her right hand while Liadrin held Kelrian's swords in her hands. The light which was coming out of the house was bright enough to enlighten the area in front of it, in which Kelrian and the attackers were.

Liadrin's and Liana's eyes widened as they saw the scene. They held their weapons in front of their bodies but they hesitated to attack. They scrutinized their opponents, realizing that they were superior in number. Their opponents had stopped to injure Kelrian, expecting that he wouldn't dare to attack them.

But they were wrong about that. They may have injured him badly but he was not defeated. He was just waiting for the right moment to strike. And the right moment came when an arrow appeared out of nowhere and hit the man with the mask in the back of his knee, causing him to cry out in pain. Kelrian managed to get up quickly, even though his body hurt like hell, and bashed his elbow in the face of the man with the scar.

The man cried out loudly, covering his broken nose with his free hand. Kelrian took advantage of the fact that he was distracted, snatching his club away. He turned around and hit one of the attackers in the belly. The man staggered backwards, colliding with another man who had also been hit by an arrow. Another arrow swooshed through the air, hitting the last man who hadn't been injured yet. The arrow hit him in the foot, piercing through flesh and bones with ease. The arrow had even pierced through the ground so the man couldn't lift his foot.

Liana and Liadrin had rushed to the attackers in the meantime. Only a few exchanges of blows were enough to make them run but they didn't get very far because they got hit by more arrows. They were either hit in the knee, in the feet or in the back of their knees, causing that they were unable to move very fast.

Kelrian and his family managed to catch up to them, knocking them out. Kelrian regarded the defeated strangers for a few moments. He turned around, looking at his mother and cousin who were giving him worried looks. Everything was fine for the moment but suddenly his surroundings blurred out and everything became dark.

Sylvanas sat in her office, on her chair behind her desk on which a few very large stacks of documents laid. She put a small stack, she had worked off recently, in the highest drawer of her filing cabinet which stood next to her desk. A loud sigh escaped her lips as she realized that she would need at least half a day to work off these documents.

It was already late and she was pretty tired so it would be better if she would get some sleep and finish the rest tomorrow. But she wanted to finish more of them today so she could enjoy more of the sunny day tomorrow. She held her hand in front of her mouth as she yawned. She didn't hesitate for too long to embark on the next stack of documents.

She finished the next stack within an hour, putting it in the cabinet. She was about to take the next stack as she heard knocks at her door. "Come in" she shouted as she placed the next stack right in front of her. The door was opened a moment later and Verena came in, not hesitating to rush to her best friend. She lifted her out of her seat as she pulled her in a tight hug, placing a kiss on her forehead. She pulled back eventually and grinned at the amazed Sylvanas.

"What was that for?" she asked, regarding Verena curiously.

She smiled. "I have barely seen you over the past weeks. Am I not allowed to be happy to see you?"

"Of course you are but I didn't expect that you would fling me through the room when you visit me"

Verena rolled with her eyes. "Ah c'mon, don't exaggerate, Sylvie"

Soft laughter escaped Sylvanas' lips.

"How are you doing?"

Sylvanas tilted her head a little. "How do you think am I doing?"

Verena let her eyes wander through the room quickly, then they landed back on Sylvanas. "You look pretty tired and a little thinner than before. Are you doing some sort of a diet?"

"Not really, to be honest. I just forget to eat sometimes"

Verena raised an eyebrow, taking a closer look at Sylvanas' body "Sometimes?"

"Okay, maybe more than just sometimes. I have so much work to do that I barely have the time to eat and sleep"

"That's not good, my dear"

"I know, I know. I'm not a child anymore, you don't have to tell me to take care of myself. You are not my mother"

"Some things which happened in the past would have been really awkward if I would have been your mother"

"What do you mean?"

Verena smirked. "You know exactly what I mean" she said pointing at herself, then at Sylvanas. Sylvanas' eyes widened when she realized what Verena meant.

"Don't put unwanted images in my mind" scolded Sylvanas. Verena laughed. Sylvanas was so easy to tease, at least if you knew how to tease her. Verena knew Sylvanas since they were little girls. She knew everything about Sylvanas and Sylvanas knew everything about her. So, it was very easy for Verena to find something she could use to mock Sylvanas. Of course, Sylvanas knew that Verena meant nothing serious when she teased her so she didn't hold it against her.

"Should I rather put wanted images in your mind" teased Verena, wrapping her arms around Sylvanas' hips.

"Wanted images?" she asked, raising a brow.

Verena came closer until her mouth was only a few inches away from Sylvanas' right ear. "Images about us or about you and Kelrian"

"No thanks"

Verena raised an eyebrow, giving Sylvanas a confused look. "No thanks? Did Kelrian visit you recently"?

Sylvanas shook her head. "The last time I have seen him was a week ago"

"A week? Oh dear. Your body must be really tensed up then after working for an entire week without enough pauses. Let me help you out" said Verena, putting Sylvanas on her chair. She walked her and put her hands on her friend's shoulders, starting to messaging them carefully. "Your body is so tense... I don't think a simple massage will help there"

"Do it rougher and everything will be fine" responded Sylvanas as she leaned back, closing her eyes. Verena didn't need to be told twice. She started to massage Sylvanas' shoulders roughly, smiling as she saw the relaxed expression on Sylvanas' beautiful face. Verena knew that the other woman was enjoying what she was doing so she didn't stop. Sylvanas didn't know why Verena's hands worked wonders on her but she was glad about that.

She didn't know how much time had passed as she opened her eyes again. Verena was still standing behind her, massing her shoulders and parts of her back. Sylvanas leaned forward so Verena had access to her entire back. She closed her eyes again, allowing Verena to continue. Her best friend's skilled hands really helped her.

Sylvanas felt better within a short time. Verena was not sure if she had heard a quiet moan escaping Sylvanas' lips. She couldn't say it for sure, it could also be possible that she had just been imagination. She didn't really care if she had heard something or not because Sylvanas' facial expression was enough to convince her that her massage was really helping the overworked woman.

Sylvanas closed her eyes, letting her thoughts drift off. She forgot what was going on around her, what was troubling her and what she needed to do. She faded out everything unnecessary and thought about the really important things in her life. Her family, her friends and her lover.


She was wondering what he was doing at the moment. She assumed that he was already sleeping but it could also be possible that he was still awake. Maybe he was even thinking about her at the same moment.

He had had an early shift this day so he had the afternoon off. She was wondering what he had done for the rest of the day. Maybe he had met up with Zetai or other friends. Maybe he had spent time with Liadrin. Maybe he had trained. Maybe he had spent his time on the market or he had done something else. There were lots of things Kelrian could have done. Maybe he had gone for a walk.

She could only imagine him returning home in the evening, sweaty and exhausted from the hard training. She imagined him walking to the bathroom, removing his clothes which stuck to his skin. She imagined him entering the shower and turning on the water. She saw him clearly as if she was having some sort of a vision. The water drops came out of the showerhead, falling on his sweaty body. She could watch the water drops flowing down his body in slow motion. The scene was really enjoyable to watch.

Sylvanas was brought down out of her thoughts as she noticed that Verena's hand rested somewhere where it was not supposed to rest. She opened her eyes looking down at herself, only to find out that her ex-lover's hand was cupping her left breast. Her blouse was open and Verena's hand was beneath it. Sylvanas was still wearing her bra but that didn't seem to stop Verena from touching her. Sylvanas looked up, frowning at her best friend.

"What do you think you are doing?" Sylvanas asked, her voice was louder than intended.

"I help you to relax" spoke Verena, her face reflected confusion.

"I don't need this kind of relaxation" spoke Sylvanas, making an annoyed and slightly angry face. Verena removed her hand but she didn't apologize to her best friend. "Your body seems to share a different opinion about that, otherwise, it wouldn't have acted on its own"

"What do you mean?" asked Sylvanas, the confusion in her voice was unmistakable.

Verena didn't say anything. She just lowered her head, signalizing Sylvanas to look down at herself. Sylvanas did that, her eyes widened as she realised that her left hand rested between her legs. But it didn't only rest there. Her hand had managed to sneak in her panties without her noticing. She pulled it out quickly, noticing that sticky stuff stuck to it. She ignored Verena's laughter, cleaning her hand with a handkerchief.

"You know, I would always help you out if you need to relax. Kelrian is not always here when you need him, just like today"

Sylvanas turned her head, her narrowed eyes regarded her ex-girlfriend closely. "Be careful with what you say"

Verena frowned "What do you mean?"

"I will not cheat on him. I love him and you know that"

"You told me that you love me as well"

"I know but I don't love you the same way I love him. I thought you have accepted that I am not gay. I'm not bi either. I'm straight"

Verena laughed amused. "Do straight girls moan the names of their best friends when they made them come?"

Sylvanas blushed but she didn't break eye contact. "Fine, I might not be straight but I'm not interested in anyone else. I only have eyes for Kelrian. No other man or woman interests me"

"What he doesn't know won't hurt him" Verena tried to convince Sylvanas but she didn't succeed. The Ranger-General was too stubborn and too loyal to her lover to give in. A defeated sigh escaped Verena's lips as she sat down on the chair next to Sylvanas.

"It was worth a try"

"Don't you dare to try it again"

Verena lifted her hands, admitting her defeat. "Fine, I surrender. I won't try it again"


"What about a threesome?" Verena asked after a few minutes.

Sylvanas gave her a confused look. "A threesome? You are not even interested in men..."

"Well, as long as he doesn't touch me, I'm fine"

"How should it work then?" asked Sylvanas, giving her friend a confused look.

"You can't tell me Kelrian wouldn't enjoy watching you making out with another beautiful woman. Men are all the same"

"Kelrian is not like other men" responded Sylvanas, regarding her best friend with narrowed eyes.

"You may be right about that. Nevertheless, Kelrian is just a man. Men like it when two women make out in front of them" explained Verena.

"It seems you are speaking from experience"

"I have gotten so many free drinks from horny men. I only needed to make out with my girlfriends in front of them to make them buy us so many drinks for us"

"Strange, we never did that"

"We kept your relationship secret, silly" replied Verena, smacking Sylvanas' forehead playfully. "Don't you remember?"

"I do remember" grumbled Sylvanas, rubbing her forehead softly.

"So, what do you say?"


"Ah, c'mon, Sylvie. You don't know how much fun you are missing"

"Get yourself a girlfriend if you want to fuck someone but don't bother me whenever you are horny"

Verena groaned. "Fine, I'm leaving then"

"Where are you going?"

"Visiting someone who doesn't reject me"

"And who would that be?" Sylvanas asked interested.

Verena smirked "Elonis is always up to have some fun with me. She doesn't live far away from this place so I'll check if she is still up"

Sylvanas sighed, shaking her head. "Have fun"

Verena's smirk became wider. "I will. Trust me"

Sylvanas got up, hugging her friend before she said goodbye to her. Verena kissed her cheek, waving at her before she left her office and closed the door behind her. Sylvanas stared at the door for a few moments, a loud sigh escaped her lips as she sat down on her chair. She was about to continue working as she heard knocks at her door. She got up, wondering who was it this time.

She opened the door, greeting the familiar ranger who was waiting there. "Vara. I didn't expect you to be awake at this late hour"

"Normally, I would have been already home and sing my children to sleep but instead I returned to Silvermoon to report to you"

"You want to report to me? About what? What happened?"

"A ranger was attacked by a group of mercenaries in the near of his home. He was brought to the next hospital where he is currently treated by the best priests and doctors who live in the near of this area. His condition is critical but the healers are certain he will make it"

"Who is it?" Sylvanas asked, expecting the worst.

All the colour was drained from Sylvanas' face as she heard the name.

Ranger Kelrian Sunsinger.

Chapter Text

She opened the door and entered the room without hesitation. Her heartbeat was fast. Very fast. Her throat was dry and her skin tingled nervously. Her heart stopped beating for a moment as she saw him. Noticed his condition.

Kelrian was lying in a hospital bed, his eyes were closed, his skin was paler than usual. His head was dressed by bandages, same counted for half of his exposed upper body. She also saw lots of fresh stitches here and there. Not even his face was spared. He had a broken nose and a stitch right under his left eye.

Sylvanas heard his quiet breaths as she arrived at the bed. Her face reflected worry as she regarded her lover. Countless thoughts wandered through her mind. She couldn't believe that this had happened. She would have never expected that mercenaries would attack a Farstrider, especially not elven mercenaries. Kelrian would never harm a fly, it didn't make sense that someone would pay mercenaries to attack him. Sylvanas had always feared that Kelrian would get into troubles but she had expected that would only happen if the public would find out about their relationship. But no one had found out anything. The attack and its purpose were still a mystery for her.

Sylvanas wanted to know who had paid these mercenaries and for what reason. She promised to herself that she would find the responsible person and bring him to justice. Whoever was responsible for the attack will pay. Sylvanas regarded Kelrian for a few minutes, wondering if he was still unconscious or just sleeping. She turned her head, looking at the door as soon as she had recognized that someone had entered the room.

She saw two familiar persons. One of them was Liadrin and the other was a woman Sylvanas' didn't know. She regarded her closely, assuming it was Kelrian's mother. She looked very similar to him and her left forearm was missing so she could only be his mother. They made surprised faces as they spotted Sylvanas standing next to the bed. They walked over to her, lowering their heads in respect. "I didn't expect that you would visit him, Ranger-General" said Liana.

"I didn't expect you to visit him either" responded Sylvanas, regarding Kelrian's mother with narrowed eyes.

"What do you mean? He is my son. Of course I'm visiting him"

"As far as I know, you haven't given a shit about him since he failed the priest examination for the second time"

Sylvanas noticed the hurt look on Liana's face but she didn't feel bad nor did she intended to apologize. She had just said the truth, at least she was believing that it was the truth. She hadn't met Kelrian since he had rescued his mother, so she couldn't know what Liana had said to her son. She couldn't know that Liana was caring for her son like every normal mother. She couldn't know that Liana had only pretended to hate Kelrian because her husband had forced her to behave as he had wanted. She couldn't know that Liana was a completely different person, that she cared for all of her children and didn't hate or favour any of them.

It wasn't surprising that Sylvanas disliked her and she didn't even try to hide it. Liana was regarding her with a frown on her forehead, wondering what Kelrian had told his superior about her and the rest of their family. Liadrin was also making a surprised face, wondering why Sylvanas was saying these things.

"I'm afraid I have to tell you that you are wrong about this, Ranger-General. I've never hated him, on the opposite, I love him the same way as my other children. I have no favourite child because I love all of them equally"

"Kelrian told me something different" replied Sylvanas, staring at the other woman. She knew when someone was lying and when someone was telling the truth. She knew that the woman wasn't lying but she didn't accept it. Kelrian had told her how the older members of his family treated him. She believed that Kelrian's mother was a very bad person. She did that at first. The longer she listened to Liana's explanations, the more she got convinced that she was not as bad as Kelrian had told her.

Sylvanas looked over to Liadrin from time to time when she was unsure if what Liana said was right. Liadrin had nodded to her and helped Liana to explain everything. Sylvanas was silent after the former paladin was done with explaining. She had her eyes closed, taking a deep breath before she opened them again.

"To sum up everything, Kelrian helped you and his younger siblings to get away from your abusive husband and a few days later he was attacked by mercenaries who were probably hired by your ex-husband"

"He is not my ex yet but we are not together anymore. Anyways, I have no proofs that Xenarion hired them but it would make sense that it was him. First of all, one of his friends was among the attackers and he had disliked Kelrian since he had failed the first exam. He hated him so it's not a surprise that his hatred has grown after he has helped us to get out of this house. Kelrian is a good boy, he doesn't deserve to be treated like that" explained Liana, her voice and her face reflected sadness. Liadrin put a hand on her shoulder, comforting her by saying the right words to her.

Sylvanas was silent, regarding Kelrian with one eye while the other rested on his mother. "How is he doing?" she asked eventually, hoping that his wounds weren't that bad.

"It's difficult to say. He is stable and no important organs were damaged. That's a good thing. The bad thing that he hasn't woken up yet. He has three broken ribs, his nose is broken, his left upper arm is sprained and he has a weak form of a concussion. The healers did their best but they could only heal the worst wounds. His ribs are mostly healed, so is his forearm but the other wounds have to heal by themselves. He has to stay a few days up to a week in bed, hopefully, he will wake up soon" responded Liadrin.

"I hope that too. He belongs to my best rangers, so I hope he doesn't have to suffer long-lasting after-effects. I hope everything will turn out well" she responded, regarding Kelrian for a few minutes. "An attack against one of my rangers is an attack against me. I will make sure that Xenarion will pay for this as soon as I can prove that he hired these mercenaries"

"Good luck with that, Xenarion is not the type of man who reveals his secrets. It won't be easy to get the information you need" spoke Liana.

Sylvanas' lips formed a small smile. "Don't worry, my rangers and I will get the pieces of information we require. Thanks to you, we can interrogate those who attacked Kelrian"

"Well... To be honest, we didn't do it alone. Someone helped us"

"Who?" Sylvanas made a curious face.

"A human archer"

Sylvanas raised an eyebrow "A human archer?"

Liana nodded.

"A human appeared out of nowhere and helped you?"

Liana nodded again. "He slowed them down with precise hits, allowing us to defeat and capture them. Kelrian also did a good job at beating them after they had stopped hitting him. He managed to take down one or two before he collapsed"

"Did the human tell you anything about himself? For example, why he is visiting one of our towns at night"

"He said he is travelling from the east of Lordaeron to Silvermoon because he wants to meet the best archer in the world"

"He wants to meet me? Are you sure?" asked Sylvanas, rubbing her forehead with the tips of her fingers.

"He didn't say your name but there is no other person in Quel'Thalas who is as good as you. There was no need to ask him who he wants to meet because you are the best in everything so there is no way that he wants to meet someone else"

"I should meet up with that human. At least to thank him for saving one of my rangers" said Sylvanas more to herself than to the others.

"You should do that. He deserves to speak to you after he travelled the whole distance from Lordaeron to Quel'Thalas because he wants to meet you. Nobody asked him to help Kelrian but he did it anyway even though he had nothing to do with him or the mercenaries" said Liadrin.

Sylvanas nodded her head.

"I'm pretty sure he is travelling to Silvermoon at the moment. Maybe he will wait for you in the headquarters of the Farstriders if they allow him to stay. I'm pretty sure he will inform your subordinates that he wants to meet you"

"That could be possible" responded Sylvanas. "Did he tell you his name?"

"He said his name is Nathanos. Nathanos Marris"

"Nathanos Marris... I wonder why he wants to see me. Maybe he wants to learn from the best. Who knows? Let's say, I'm curious. But let's not forget that the most important thing is that we have to find evidence that Xenarion is responsible for Kelrian's condition. I will meet this human at the earliest when Kelrian has woken up" responded Sylvanas.

"I hope everything works. Xenarion deserves a just punishment for everything he has done to our family. Without him, our family would be united and could live happily together. But because of him, our family has split and is now living in different places. I'm still angry at myself that I didn't notice earlier that he has changed. I never tried to stop him and allowed him to treat Kelrian like rubbish. I wish I would have been braver back then. Maybe I could have convinced Xenarion that his point of view is wrong. Maybe..." sadness overcame Liana but Liadrin comforted her. She pulled her in a tight hug, whispering soothing words in her ear. They pulled away after a while, smiling weakly at the other.

They turned to Sylvanas, noticing that she had a tense expression on her face as she regarded Kelrian. They called her name but she didn't react. She was lost in thoughts so she didn't hear their attempts to get her attention. The two women could touch her to get her attention but they didn't. Instead, they regarded Kelrian with her.

Liana even came very close to the bed and caressed his cheeks with her hand. They stayed here for a few hours, looking at Kelrian without saying anything. Liana pressed a kiss on his forehead before she left the room with Liadrin, leaving Sylvanas alone in the room. Sylvanas snapped out of her thoughts after some time, wondering where the others were as she checked her surroundings.

Sylvanas pulled her pocket watch out, looking at the time. It was almost ten in the evening, which meant she had spent at least six hours in the room without realizing. She took one of the chairs in the room and moved it to the bed. She sat down, leaning forward to inspect him up close. She even held one of his hands as she watched him. She didn't leave his side nor did she stop holding his hand. Not even when she got tired and ended up falling asleep, her head rested on the mattress.

A few days had passed since Sylvanas' visit. If it was up to her, she wouldn't have left his side until he would have woken up. But there were two reasons why she had left him. First, she had a lot of work to do. Second, it would be pretty conspicuous if she would stay by his side for so long. She didn't want that rumours would be spread, rumours which would include him and her. There would be people who would interpret things right and start to believe that Sylvanas and Kelrian were an item which would only lead to more trouble for Kelrian. Kelrian didn't need more trouble than he already had.

It was the best to leave him alone and only visit him from time to time. It was not the best solution and Sylvanas didn't really like it but it was the only solution she had if she wanted to keep their relationship secret. Keeping it secret to leave Kelrian out of trouble was the number one on Sylvanas' priority list. Nothing else mattered than his safety.

Even though she was very busy with paperwork and other necessary tasks, she couldn't stop thinking about him. Sometimes, it was pretty hard for her to focus on her work because he didn't get out of her head. She was fearing that he might never wake up. The doctors and healers had assured her that he will wake up sooner or later. Nevertheless, she was afraid that the experts would be wrong in this case. It was not impossible that something opposite to their expectation would happen. Sylvanas could only hope that everything would be alright.

Another week had passed were lots of things had happened. The campaigns Sylvanas had planned against the trolls, who had become more aggressive over the past weeks, had turned out to be successful. Her rangers managed to defend the borders of Quel'Thalas and drove out all invading trolls. They haven't yet dared to invade the troll territory, but sooner or later they will.

High King Anasterian Sunstrider had ordered Sylvanas to not lead any aggressive campaigns, not until the negotiations with the humans and dwarves were over. Sylvanas had attended every single meeting with the other leaders of the Alliance of Lordaeron. Most of the times, they had tried to work out a strategy to deal with the threats together. The humans wanted to take care of the orcs first, who were threatening them, while High King Anasterian insisted on dealing with the trolls first. The factions have held many discussions but they hadn't found a strategy yet which was accepted by every faction. For now, the humans and dwarves dealt with the orcs while the high elves took care of the trolls.

High King Anasterian was hoping that the humans would agree on helping his people one day so he had told Sylvanas to not plan any campaign which included attacking the trolls in their territory. If it was up to Sylvanas, she would send half of the army to aid the humans and dwarves while the rest would defend Quel'Thalas' borders. She knew that the trolls wouldn't be able to get very far if they would concentrate their attack on one point. They might break through the outer defensive line but they wouldn't be able to pass the first and the second elfgate because they were protected by ancient spells. It was impossible that the trolls would conquer Silvermoon City or destroy it as the orcs had done with Stormwind City.

Sylvanas may be the highest-ranked member of the elven army but it was the High King who decided when to attack and when to hold back. He was in command. Sylvanas was only in command when he gave her permission.

At this very moment, Sylvanas was sitting in her office. As usual, she was busy doing paperwork. She read the reports of her captains and lieutenants, noting down the numbers of slain enemies and lost allies. She was also creating an overview of the resources which had been used. Food, raw materials like wood, iron and other materials which were used to forge weapons, armours and other items which were used for battle.

During the past week, Sylvanas had lost twelve rangers but no inhabitant had died. In return, they had managed to slay forty trolls and even managed to capture five of them. They were held as prisoners but they hadn't told them any useful information yet. Even torturing them was useless. Alleria had reported to Sylvanas that the interpreters, who had learned the troll language, had only been insulted by the trolls. Every single interrogation technique had failed. Not even Sylvanas herself had managed to lure out information about Zul'jin's plans.

Sylvanas finished another stack of documents as someone knocked at her door. She sighed as she got up and walked to the door, wondering who was it this time. It turned out that it was Liadrin whose facial expression, which had always shown worry over the past days, reflected delight and hope. Sylvanas didn't hesitate to let her in, giving her a curious look after she had closed the door behind her.

"What happened? I hope something good"

Liadrin gave her a happy smile. "Kelrian woke up yesterday"

"He did?" asked Sylvanas, raising an eyebrow. She noticed that her heartbeat became a lot faster and her skin tingled in excitement. She was hoping that Liadrin was saying the truth. She hoped that Kelrian was alright. Her stomach cramped up whenever she imagined what would happen if Kelrian would never wake up. She couldn't imagine her life without him. She didn't want to imagine how things will change if Kelrian would die. She was sure it would affect her negatively.

Liadrin put her hand on Sylvanas' shoulder, nodding to her. "He is awake and he wants to see you"

Sylvanas' heartbeat became faster once again. "At least he remembers who I am which means he hasn't lost his memory"

"Is that what you have feared the most? That he won't remember you and the relationship you two have"

"I have been afraid of lots of things over the past weeks. Thoughts about losing him entirely have plagued my mind. It was pretty hard to fulfil my duties as Ranger-General while being worried about the man I love"

"But you managed to do your tasks and now you don't need to worry anymore. He is awake and his condition has gotten a lot better over the past days. He needs some rest but he will be fine" explained Liadrin.

Sylvanas sighed out in relief. "These are some good news. You know, the skirmishes with the trolls which will soon lead to war are really worrying me.I can't allow myself to get distracted so I'm glad Kelrian is doing fine"

"Are there any news about the mercenaries who attacked him?"

A sad sigh escaped Sylvanas' lips. She shook her head. "Not really. None of them has told us anything so far. I can't accuse his father because I have no proofs at all"

"That's unfortunate. But we will find the necessary proofs one day. I'm pretty sure your rangers will manage to lure the necessary pieces of information out of the mercenaries"

"I hope so" responded Sylvanas. "We have already charged them with grievous body harm and attempted murder. They will talk if they don't want to be convicted for attempting murder"

"I'm pretty sure Xenarion didn't want to kill Kelrian, he only wanted to teach him a lesson. So, if the mercenaries are wise, they will make a statement and tell us who hired them" spoke Liadrin

"I hope it will work that way" replied Sylvanas.

"And hopefully they will tell us the truth" added Liadrin.

"Don't worry about that, our mages know a spell which tells us if they are saying the truth" explained Sylvanas.

"I almost forgot about that"

"Am I allowed to see Kelrian?" Sylvanas asked after she had been silent for a half a minute.

"Sure, you are. Are you travelling through a portal?"

"I'm riding on my horse. Taking a portal would be too conspicuous. I've always visited my subordinates when they were injured but I've never taken a portal until today. I have to do it like that, even though that would mean I would have to ride for two days. You also travelled by horse, didn't you?"

"I thought about it but then I decided to wait until the next morning and pay a dragonhawk trainer to bring me to Silvermoon. I need to do something else in Silvermoon so I'm killing two birds with one stone"

"Nevertheless, I will ride to this place. Flying still makes me feel uncomfortable" admitted Sylvanas.

"It's not everyone's cup of tea. Some people like it, others don't"

"I'm not the biggest fan of it. My stomach turns around whenever I'm flying on the back of a dragonhawk or a gryphon"

Liadrin laughed, smiling at her friend, "I didn't expect that you have a weakness"

"It's not a real weakness... But it's the proof that I'm not as perfect as others think I am. I have never claimed that I'm perfect but people regard me as the perfect high elf, the perfect woman in general"

Liadrin regarded the Ranger-General from head to toe "I can understand why they are thinking that"

Sylvanas smiled about the compliment. "Anyways, I should go. I can't wait to see him" she said as she walked to the door, waiting until Liadrin had left her office. She stepped out of the room, closed the door and locked it. She said goodbye to Liadrin as she hugged her, then she regarded her for a few moments. She waited until she was out of her sight before she walked in the opposite direction.

It took two whole days for Sylvanas to travel from Silvermoon to Suncrown Village. The hospital in which Kelrian was treated was not the largest but it was equipped with all necessary things so the healers could treat the patients as well as possible.

For Sylvanas, it would have been better if Kelrian would have been brought to a hospital in Silvermoon. But bringing him through a portal would have been bad for him, it would have only made his condition worse than it already was. Bringing him in a carriage to Silvermoon would have taken too long. It had been the right decision to bring him to the hospital in Suncrown Village, especially because the doctors and priests in the villages and towns were as good as the healers in the capital city. It made no difference who treated him. The only reason why Sylvanas wanted him in Silvermoon was that she could visit him more often without needing to travel two days or taking a portal. But she was fine with the current situation because she could still see Kelrian.

Sylvanas entered the hospital, knowing exactly where Kelrian's room was. She followed the corridor, stopping in front of the second last door. She didn't hesitate to knock at the door, waiting that a familiar voice would tell her to come in. Her heartbeat became faster as her ears recognized Kelrian's voice. She opened the door and entered the room. She closed the door and rushed to the bed Kelrian was still lying in.

She sighed out in relief as she noticed that he looked far better than the last time she had seen him. He was still pale but not as pale as he had been a few days ago. It seemed that the healing methods and medicine were working on him. His wounds weren't fully healed yet but his condition was by far better than it had been days ago.

The first thing Sylvanas did as she approached her lover, was to carefully wrap her arms around his upper body. She was too afraid she could hurt him so she didn't hug him tightly as she normally would. She remained careful, closing her eyes as she rested her head on his shoulder. She pulled away after a while, regarding Kelrian who was giving her a small smile. "How are you doing?"

"The left side of my upper body still hurts but, thanks to the medicine, the doctors gave me, I'm able to bear the pain. I'm lucky that no inner organs have been damaged" he responded, giving her a weak smile.

Sylvanas sat down on the edge of his bed, grabbing his left hand. She intertwined their fingers, caressing the back of his hand with her thumb. She was silent for a few minutes, doing nothing but staring at him. But then she broke the silence. "I have felt fear for the first time in my life. I didn't fear that something might happen to me, instead, I feared that you will never wake up. I was afraid of losing you. I don't want to imagine what would happen if you would have died. I can't imagine life without you". Sylvanas eyes rested on their hands, her voice was low and reflected sadness.

Kelrian lifted his upper body a bit so he could put his other hand on Sylvanas' cheek and caress it. "We are rangers. Our lives could end every day because of the many threats we have to deal with. It's not unlikely that a group of trolls or orcs could ambush us. We always have to consider that the current day might be our last day. The life of a ranger is a dangerous life"

"I know, you don't need to tell me that. The risks of this life are well known to me. I have seen friends and colleagues die by my side during battles. Children lose their parents and parents lose their children. War is what it is. It's cruel but we can't change that. We have to protect our people which means we have to eliminate every threat" She took a deep breath, pausing for a few moments. Her eyes narrowed and reflected anger. "But you didn't get injured by our enemies. Our own people did that to you. These elven mercenaries were probably hired by your father because he hates you"

"Not only probably"

"What you mean?" asked Sylvanas, raising an eyebrow.

"One of the men, who attacked me, told me that the attack is a punishment from my father because I kidnapped HIS family. These were his words, not mine. Basically, my father's friend confessed that my father is responsible for the attack. But I don't think they wanted to kill me. They only wanted to teach me a lesson, otherwise, they would have used daggers and knives instead of clubs" explained Kelrian.

Sylvanas frowned. "Are you sure about that?"

Kelrian nodded his head. "I am"

A quiet sigh escaped Sylvanas' lips. "At least we have the proof that it was your father who hired these mercenaries. I'm pretty sure your father's friend will confess if you tell the judge what he had said to you"

"I hope so"

"I hope they will receive their just punishments as soon as possible. Nobody knows that you are my lover. But they know that you are a ranger, a ranger of my regiment. You are also a member of my elite group which means that an attack on you is also an attack on me"

"I don't think my father attacked me to hurt you. Nobody knows about us except for Verena and Liadrin"

"I know but it still hurts me. Seeing you like this makes me feel sad"

"I'm getting better. The doctors even told me I can leave in two days if my condition becomes better and better. I think they will tell me to hold back for a few days or maybe even a week. But other than that, I'm able to train again soon and fulfil my duties as a ranger"

Sylvanas caressed his cheeks, staring into his eyes. "I hope so as well, I can't wait to work with you again and spend more time with you. But take your time, I don't want you to rush things. Just wait until you have fully recovered and then you can tell me if you feel ready or not"

"Okay, I will be careful" responded Kelrian, smiling at her.

Sylvanas returned the smile, leaning in to seal her lips to his. She smiled into the kiss as she noticed that Kelrian returned it, then she inserted her tongue in his mouth, allowing him to do the same. They held the kiss for a few minutes, only pulling away when they were out of air. They took deep breaths, staring into each other's eyes.

Kelrian put his hands on top of her head, pulling her hood down slowly. He admired her golden-blonde majestic mane, which was mostly hidden under the piece of fabric. But now it was free so Kelrian could run his fingers through it while he caressed her scalp softly. He toyed with her hair, with her ears and he even touched the tips of her ears.

Sylvanas smirked. "If you don't stop, I will get horny and ravage you, which will not improve your current condition. So, either you stop it or you keep doing it at your own risk"

"Normally I wouldn't shy back from taking a risk but in my current situation, it's better to not overdo it" spoke Kelrian, giving her a wide grin.

Sylvanas nodded. "You are absolutely right, my love"

They stared at each other for a while, holding hands while doing nothing except enjoying the presence of the other. From time to time, Kelrian brought her hands to his lips to kiss them gently, sometimes Sylvanas caressed his cheeks and planted kisses on them. They enjoyed the pleasant silence, sharing kisses from time to time.

"Can I ask you something?" Kelrian asked after a while.

Sylvanas noticed the curiosity which was written all over his face. "Sure, you can"

"Liadrin and my mother told me about a human who helped them to defend me. Is that right?"

"Yes, it is" replied Sylvanas.

"Do you know anything about this human?"

"His name is Nathanos Marris. He is a human archer from the kingdom of Lordaeron. He travelled from the east of Lordaeron to Quel'Thalas because he wants to meet me"

Kelrian frowned. "Why does he want to meet you?"

Sylvanas shrugged her shoulders. "I have no clue"

"Why don't you meet him? He saved me so it would be a nice gesture to allow him to meet you"

"I was very busy the whole week, not to mention that I was thinking of you all the time which didn't make working easier. It was not easy to concentrate on my work while being afraid that you will never wake up" she explained.

"I'm sorry then, I guess"

Sylvanas shook her head, caressing his cheeks with her hands. "You don't need to be sorry, you didn't choose to be attacked by mercenaries. You did nothing wrong"

"In my father's eyes, I did"

"Your father is an asshole and you know that. Don't listen to him"

Kelrian sighed. "You are right"

"Am I not always right?" she joked.

Soft laughter escaped his lips. "You are"

Sylvanas poked his shoulder playfully. "See"

Kelrian smiled at her, so did Sylvanas. "Fine, I will meet Nathanos and see what he wants from me. Do you want to thank him personally or shall I tell him you are grateful that he defended you?"

Kelrian made a thoughtful face for a moment. "You can tell him that I want to meet him one day and thank him personally. Maybe you can even ask him to come to the hospital"

"That would work as well"

Kelrian smiled, caressing her cheek. "Good"

They spend more time together, talking, kissing and even cuddling until Sylvanas decided it was time to go. She would love to spend more time with him but couldn't because she had lots of tasks to do. It was almost impossible for her to take a day off because she was so busy. The trolls and the orcs were still out there and planned something while she was sitting in Silvermoon and did paperwork. She knew she had to fulfil her duties and she knew it would take a while.

She was only hoping that the High King would manage to come to an agreement with the other leaders of the Alliance of Lordaeron. The sooner the war against the trolls and orcs will end, the sooner Sylvanas can have a normal life where she didn't need to work ten to fourteen hours every day. The less time she had to work, the more time she will have for her family, her friends and her lover.

She wanted to stay but unfortunately, she had to leave him already. She kissed Kelrian goodbye, regarding him for a few moments before she left the room and closed the door behind her.

Chapter Text

Sylvanas left her office and walked through the bordering corridor. She walked towards the dining hall to get something to eat because she was very hungry. She was near the dining hall as a familiar ranger crossed her way. But that ranger didn't pass her, instead, she stopped in front of her, giving Sylvanas the impression that she wanted something from her. Sylvanas also stopped, giving the ranger a curious look.

"How can I help you Ranger...?" Sylvanas tried to figure out the woman's name but she realized that she didn't know her name. Even regarding her from head to toe didn't help her to remember the name. For some reason, she was unable to remember the ranger's name. Normally, she could recognize every single ranger but not on this day. She assumed that it was the lack of sleep which messed up her thoughts and memories.

The woman was half a head taller than Sylvanas, had beautiful black hair and a gorgeous face. Like most rangers, her body was muscular.

"My name is Valerie Leafdancer."

"Valerie Leafdancer... Ah, now I remember. Aren't you one of Verena's friends?"

Valerie hesitated for a moment. "Actually, we were more than just friends."


Valerie looked uncomfortable. "It didn't work out. My parents found out about us and... well, they didn't accept our relationship... To conclude a long story, it was too much trouble for Verena so she dumped me."

"I'm sorry to hear that."

"It's fine, really. I think I have moved on."

Sylvanas frowned. "Do you just think that or are you sure about that?"

Valerie didn't respond at first and Sylvanas didn't want to wait any longer because her stomach was growling from time to time, telling her that she urgently needed to eat something. "Tell me how I can help you, Ranger Valerie."

"Well, I was just looking for you to tell you that the human you have been looking for has returned to Silvermoon City."

"That's great. Where is he.?"

"He is waiting in front of the building."

"Alright, tell him to come to my office in thirty minutes. If you are good, you can escort him there. Of course, only if you are not busy at the moment," told Sylvanas.

"I'm not busy at the moment. I'm only waiting for the next task I could fulfil before my shift ends in an hour," replied Valerie.

"Fine, why don't you show this human the area around the headquarters? Show him the many reasons why our capital city belongs to the most beautiful cities on Azeroth," suggested Sylvanas.

"As you wish, Ranger-General," responded Valerie. She lowered her head in respect before she turned around and walked away. Sylvanas watched her leaving, then she rushed to the dining hall, noticing that it was emptier than expected.

She looked at the clock, noticing that it was already late afternoon. She looked around, spotting a few familiar rangers. She saw Verena and Elonis sitting at a table. There were so close that Elena almost sat on Verena's lap, whose arm was wrapped around the smaller elf's waist.

Sylvanas had been so busy in the past few weeks that she had rarely seen anyone who was close to her. She hadn't seen her family for two weeks because she hadn't been able to get home. There was still enough work to do so she assumed she wouldn't be able to visit her family on the next weekend. She hadn't been able to see Verena very often either.

Her best friend had visited her from time to time but these visits had been rather short. They hadn't been able to spend much time together. Sylvanas knew already that Verena will come to her, as soon as she was done with the paperwork, and tell her everything she had done with her girlfriend Elonis. And with everything Sylvanas meant everything. Verena would give her detailed descriptions about their sex life, no matter how often Sylvanas would tell her she didn't want to hear that. Verena was a pervert and she didn't mind telling Sylvanas about her intimate moments. She knew no shame.

Sylvanas walked over to the counter, ordering one of the four choices of food everyone had. Even though she was the Ranger-General, the highest-ranked and most famous ranger in Quel'Thalas, she chose between food every other ranger could get. The cooks always offered her to give her different food which would be more expensive and taste she always refused because she didn't think she was better than the others.

She may have the highest rank a ranger could achieve but she wasn't better than everyone else. She was no divine being, even though most of the people in Quel'Thalas regarded her as such. She was still a mortal who could bleed, needed to eat, drink and sleep. Not to mention her lower desires. Her body was working like the bodies of every other elf. She was not immortal and not undefeatable. She was still a normal elf. She didn't want to be treated differently only because she was one of the most important persons of Quel'Thalas.

Not only did she eat the same food her subordinates ate, but she also queued up like everyone else and waited until it was her turn to receive her meal. On this day, she didn't need to wait for too long to receive her meal. She picked up her tray, walking over to her best friend and her girlfriend. She took a seat opposite to them, greeting them as soon as they had turned their heads to look at her. Verena leaned over to hug her best friend while Elonis only shook the Ranger-General's hand.

"Look who came out of her cave," joked Verena, giving Sylvanas a wide smirk.

"Quite funny, Verena. You seem to be in a very good mood today. What happened?"

"What happened?" Am I not allowed to be happy?" Verena asked teasingly.

"Of course you are but normally you don't show it to everyone. So, what happened?"

"My sister gave birth yesterday. I became an aunt," she announced happily.

Sylvanas gave her a happy smile. "Congratulations. Tell your sister how happy I am for her when you see her."

"I'll do that."

"Did she give birth to a boy or a girl?" asked Sylvanas, giving her friend a curious look.

"To both. She gave birth to twins."

"Twins?! That's fantastic. I'm sure she will be a good mother."

"I hope that for her, otherwise, I'll kick her ass," joked Verena.

Soft laughter escaped Sylvanas' lips. "I haven't met your sister very often so I don't really know her but I'm pretty sure she will be a good mother."

"I believe that as well" responded Verena, taking a bite from her chicken leg. She looked at her best friend's plate, noticing that only salad, vegetables and fruits were on it. "Have you become a vegan?" she asked curiously, tilting her head.

"No, why are you asking?"

"Because you haven't ordered meat or fish today."

"Unlike you, I don't eat fish or meat every day. I pay attention that my nutrition is healthy. I eat less meat and more fruits and vegetables."

" How long have you been doing this?"

"For a year or two. You know it will be pretty hard to live from fruits and vegetables during times of war. Surviving in the wilds won't be easy if you don't want to eat meat," said Verena.

"I didn't say that I'm not eating meat anymore. Currently, I just eat less than I eat normally. Of course, I will eat the animals I find if I'm somewhere outside on a mission. I'm not a vegan, don't worry about that."

"Even if you would become a vegan," replied Verena, pausing for a moment to find the right words. She gave Sylvanas a teasing grin before she continued. "Unlike me, you decided against being a lesbian so you have to deal with meat sooner or later if you want to have some fun. If you know what I mean."

Sylvanas rolled her eyes, hitting Verena's shoulder playfully. "You are impossible!"

"I know, that's why you love me."

"I do love you, that's true but not the way you wish," responded Sylvanas.

"I know, Sylvie. I know. I have already accepted that. Besides, I have found a beautiful woman who is causing less trouble than you and is also gorgeous at the same time" Verena put her hand under Elonis' chin, turning her head so she could kiss her. The woman with the bluish dyed hair didn't hesitate to return the kiss. Sylvanas observed them for a few moments, then she lowered her gaze and looked at her plate. She began to eat, looking up as soon when the two love-birds were done with making out.

"You have never told me how long you've been together," mentioned Sylvanas.

"We are together for two years," answered Elonis, smiling at Verena who was returning her smile.

"I hope the best for you two."

"Thank you, Ranger-General," replied Elonis.

"Yeah, thank you, Sylvie," commented Verena.

Sylvanas smirked at her friend, then she looked at the clock. "I would love to talk to you more but I have not much time left."

"Are you still busy?" asked her best friend.

"Yes, I have a meeting in fifteen minutes and there are more than just a few stacks of documents which are waiting for me."

"You know I would help you with these documents, right?"

"I do know that, Verena. Thanks for the offer but I would rather do them alone. It would take more time to explain to you what you have to keep in mind and what you have to pay attention to than I actually need to finish the work. No offence, but it would be easier for me if I do all the work alone."

Verena smiled. "It's okay, I wasn't really keen on it anyways. I would have only done it to help you out so we could spend more time together."

"It's okay, my dear. I will handle everything and I will promise you that I will have more time for you as soon as I'm done with the paperwork."

"I hope so."

Sylvanas gave her a teasing grin "You have a girlfriend who should keep you busy enough. I don't see how you can be bored."

"I didn't say I'm bored. I just wanted to say I miss spending time with you."

"I know. I miss spending time with you too."

"By the way, you mentioned you pay attention to your nutrition, right?"

"Yes, I did say that. Why are you asking?"

Verena regarded her from head to toe. One time, two times, even three times. Her eyes rested on her hips and her breasts longer than necessary. "Your body is perfect. I don't see a reason why you have to reduce your consumption of meat. You will never get fat if that's what you are afraid of. I've seen you consume boxes of ice-cream for days when your first boyfriend dumped you and you never got fat. Your figure never changes no matter how much you of people are jealous of you for that."

"Lots of people are jealous of me because of lots of reasons."

"I know but what I wanted to say is that you don't have to eat these fruits and vegetable. You don't need to be afraid that you might gain weight. No matter what you do or what you eat, you always remain slim. You are always perfect."

Sylvanas smiled at her. "Thank you."

"So, tell me the real reason why you refuse to eat meat."

"I don't refuse to eat meat. As I said, I eat less meat, fish and animal products than I used to eat."

"But why?"

"There is no real reason for it. I just want to eat more fruits and vegetables, that's all. Fruits are very delicious, same counts for vegetables."

Verena nodded to her, not saying anything in return.

Sylvanas ate her meal, standing up as soon as she was done. She hugged Verena and said goodbye to Elonis, then she rushed out of the dining hall. She went to her office, spotting Valerie and a human waiting there.

The human was very young, maybe eighteen or nineteen. He wore a brown leather vest and brown and green coloured trousers. He hadn't put his hood on so his short brown hair was revealed. It was unmistakable that he was admiring her beauty as he regarded her with his green eyes. He carried a bow and a quiver on his back, a sword hung on his belt.

"You must be Nathanos Marris," said Sylvanas as she approached them.

"Yes, I am, Ranger-General Windrunner."

Sylvanas gestured Valerie that she was dismissed. The elf lowered her head in respect before she hurried away, leaving Sylvanas alone with Nathanos. Sylvanas opened the door. "Why don't you come in first before we start talking"

A small smile appeared on Nathanos lips. "I wouldn't say no to this invitation."

Sylvanas allowed Nathanos to get in, closing the door behind him. She walked over to her desk, offering him to take a seat in front of it. He did that, leaning against the back of the chair. Sylvanas sat down as well, crossing one leg over the other. She leaned forward, regarding the human curiously. Nathanos did the same, scrutinizing her from head to toe. His gaze fell on her breasts even though he did his best to avoid looking at her rounds. He was a man after all so he was not immune against the effect of Sylvanas' gorgeous appearance. Sylvanas caught him staring at her, noticing that he was physically attracted by her. But that didn't matter for her.

She cleared her throat after a while, finally getting the human's attention. "So, how can I help you, Nathanos? You didn't travel from Lordaeron to Quel'Thalas without a reason"

"That's right...," his gaze fell on her breasts again but he managed to focus and shift his gaze back to her face. "I'm a very talented archer. I'm better than all the other archers I know. People think that I might belong to the best archers of Lordaeron. Even though I'm that good, I want to become better and there is no one better than the Ranger-General of Quel'Thalas. High elven rangers are far better than human rangers. There is nothing my people can teach me but you and your people can. That is the reason why I travelled to Silvermoon."

"So, I assume you want to get trained by my rangers and me? Is that right?"

Nathanos nodded. "That would be my greatest wish."

"You have rescued one of my rangers without killing his attackers. You hit them in the legs so they couldn't run away. I assume you must be really good at aiming."

"I am indeed" replied Nathanos.

"I believe your words but I still want to see if what you are telling me is true."

"It would be honoured to show you what I'm capable of."

"By the way, I want to thank you for saving the ranger. You did that even though you weren't asked to save him".

"Humans and elves are members of the Alliance of Lordaeron, so we are allies. It's only natural for me to save a person who is attacked by shady figures," he told.

"Not everybody would have done that. They were superior in number after all."

"Their numbers don't matter as long as I have my bow and enough arrows," replied Nathanos, sounding very self-confident.

Sylvanas smirked. "And what if you are out of arrows?"

Nathanos didn't hesitate to answer her question. "I'm pretty good in melee combat. I can handle a few brutes with clubs."

"You brag about a lot, let's find out if you are really that good as you claim," she said, standing up.

"I won't disappoint you, Ranger-General," replied Nathanos, standing up as well. He followed the Ranger-General to the door of her office, getting out as soon as she had opened it. Sylvanas closed it behind her, locking it. She signalized the young human to follow her which he did.

They walked through the corridors of the headquarters, ignoring the looks the other Farstriders were giving them. Some didn't hide that they were surprised by Nathanos' presence, others regarded him with narrowed eyes, wondering what he was doing in this place. Not everyone seemed to be happy that a human was hanging around in the headquarters of the Farstriders where only high elf rangers were allowed to be in. Sylvanas was accompanying him so they didn't say anything but they kept staring at him.

Sylvanas escorted Nathanos out of the headquarters to the training area on which dozens of rangers of all ranks were practising. She guided him to one of the targets which weren't used by anyone, signalizing him to show her what he was capable of. Nathanos nodded to her, taking his bow from his back. He ignored the stares of the rangers around him.

Sylvanas' eyes wandered around, regarding every ranger who was out there. Those who were staring at Nathanos turned around as soon as they noticed that the Ranger-General was looking at them. Some of them muttered something or whispered something to their comrades but other than that they didn't do anything.

Sylvanas turned back to Nathanos, noticing that he had already drawn his bow. An arrow was nocked as well, ready to be fired. Sylvanas sat down on the nearest bench, telling the human that she was ready. Nathanos didn't hesitate to fire his arrow but he wasn't looking at his target as he did so. Nevertheless, the arrow hit the middle of the target. He pulled another arrow out of his quiver, hitting the middle again without needing to look at it.

Nathanos turned his head back to the aim target, pulling another arrow out of his quiver. He increased the distance between him and the target, aiming at it. He hit it again and increased the distance for another time. He repeated this until he stood over six hundred feet away from the target. He pulled more arrows out of his quiver. Three shots. The hits.

He walked back to Sylvanas, bowing to her. The Ranger-General got up and applauded. "That's impressive."

The corner of Nathanos' lips formed a smile. "Thank you. There is nothing better than getting a compliment from the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, the best archer in the world."

"I only make compliments to those who deserve it. I have fought by the side of human archers a lot of times over the past decades. I have witnessed what they are capable of. None of those, I have seen, was as good as you and that has to mean something because I have fought with the best of the best back then. But keep a cool head, hitting a non-moving target is easy. But hitting a moving target is way more difficult."

"I have hunted wild beasts for years, I have no problem killing boars, deers or lynxes," he replied.

"What about trolls and orcs?"

Nathanos' smile became wider. "The bigger they are, the easier I can hit them."

"That's true. You'll go hunting with me later but first I want to see how good you are in close combat" she said.

"So, you want me to fight against one of your rangers?"

"Not exactly."

Nathanos' raised an eyebrow, giving her a curious look. "What do you mean?"

"You will fight against me," responded Sylvanas, walking towards the sparring grounds.

"That wouldn't be a fair duel, you will kick my ass."

"We are not duelling, we are sparring. That's something completely different. If you want to learn from the best, you have to deal with the best."

A quiet sigh escaped the human's lips. "I see. Fine. I will fight against you."

"I won't spare you," replied Sylvanas as she walked over to the nearest ring. "Give your best and prove yourself worthy."

Nathanos entered the ring as well, turning his head to regard his surroundings. He spotted dozens of rangers who were standing near the ring, regarding him and Sylvanas curiously. He looked back at Sylvanas noticing that she held her clenched fists in front of her head. The absence of any weapon told Nathanos that they could only use their hands, heads and feet. He pulled his sword from his belt and dropped it on the ground next to the border of the ring. He dropped his bow and his quiver as well, stretching his arms and legs before he walked to the middle of the ring.

Sylvanas' blue eyes scrutinized him "Are you ready?"

"Yes, I..." but before Nathanos was able to complete his sentence, he was hit by her fist which connected with his jaw. He made a step backwards, rubbing his jawline.

"I was not ready" he spoke, giving the Ranger-General an irritated look. He was wondering why she had attacked him before the fight had started.

"Lesson Number One. Always be prepared for everything. You can't expect that your opponent fights fair."

"I see," muttered Nathanos. He regarded Sylvanas for a moment, then he attacked her but the blonde blocked his attack. She didn't just block it, she even countered it, causing that he landed on the ground as she flung him over her hip. Nathanos got up in no time but he didn't attack. He held his hands in front of his head, watching every of Sylvanas' moves. The Ranger-General attacked him with her left hand but Nathanos managed to dodge it this time. She attacked him again, this time he managed to catch her arm but he didn't get any advantage of it because Sylvanas managed to free herself.

She kicked the human against his shin, smiling provocatively when he winched in pain. But Nathanos didn't stand for it. He aimed a punch at her, managing to hit her shoulder. He couldn't know if that had hurt the elf or not because her face didn't reflect any emotion. Nathanos attacked again but Sylvanas avoided the punch and scored a hit instead. Right in his back.

"Watch your back, human," she commented as her feet came in contact with his unprotected back.

Nathanos turned around, his narrowed eyes observed the Ranger-General. He was biting his bottom lip hard as he tried to predict her next move. Sylvanas turned her head, regarding her surroundings. She noticed that more rangers had come to the sparring grounds to watch the fight between their beloved Ranger-General and the strange human. They believed that Sylvanas would beat the outsider easily. She was Sylvanas Windrunner and he was just a random human in their eyes. They believed that he wouldn't have a chance against her. They believed that but Sylvanas didn't. She was sure Nathanos was capable of more but he held back. She was pretty sure that he would only use all portions of his strength when he would be in a dangerous situation.

"Come on, show me what you got. Don't hold back Nathanos or do you want to disgrace yourself in front of my rangers. You have to prove them your worth if you want to receive the same training they receive," she shouted, looking at him for a few moments before she looked back at the cheering crowd. She spotted her younger sister in the middle of the people. She raised her hand, waving at her. Vereesa didn't hesitate to wave back. The silver-haired woman was wondering why her sister was looking at the crowd. Normally, she didn't get distracted when she fought. She always had her eyes on her opponent, not matter if it was a real battle or just a sparring match. It was untypical for Sylvanas to let anyone out of her sight.

But that was Sylvanas' plan. She was doing that on purpose because she wanted to give Nathanos the false hope that he could catch her off guard. She expected him to attack her out of sudden because he would think he had an advantage. Indeed, he was doing that but he had no advantage over the blonde elf. Sylvanas turned around and countered his attack, causing him to fall to the ground. Nathanos growled in frustration as he got up. His fists were clenched, his narrowed eyes rested on his opponent.

"Always stay calm. Do not ever let your emotions speak and act for you. The biggest mistake you can make is to allow that anger overwhelms you," scolded Sylvanas.

Nathanos listened to her words, waiting patiently until he had calmed down enough. He began to walk circles around Sylvanas, waiting for the best moment to strike. But Sylvanas moved as well so he was unable to attack her from the side or from behind. He didn't attack her this time, instead, he waited until she attacked. He got hit several times but he also managed to hit the Ranger-General. Two times in total, in the ribs to be exact. His punches weren't painless but they weren't unbearable either. Sylvanas had endured worse pain so simple but forceful punches didn't affect her at all.

The crowd had become silent as they continued to spectate the sparring match. They had never seen anyone who had managed to hit Sylvanas three times in the same sparring match. It really surprised them that Nathanos was still standing even though he had hit their Ranger-General three times and had been hit so many times in return. Normally, Sylvanas defeated anyone, who had managed to hit her, within a short amount of time.

But this time, she needed more punches, blows and kicks to tire Nathanos. The human did his best to keep up with her, he endured longer than everyone had expected, but he wasn't winning the sparring match. He was losing slowly and he had realized that. The exchange of blows didn't end well for him. He hit her two more times, even one time in the face but nothing changed. His body got tired slowly, his movement became slower and his muscles started to hurt. Sylvanas, on the other hand, was not exhausted at all, not in the slightest.

She wiped the blood away, which had come out of her nose, and continued to let her fists rain down upon her opponent, forcing him to surrender after five minutes. Sylvanas was not sure how long the sparring had endured but she was pretty sure they had fought for at least half an hour. She walked over to her opponent, patting his right shoulder. "You did well," she complimented. "You managed to hit me more often than any of my rangers."

"It was not easy," replied Nathanos.

"I don't make it easy for anyone."

Nathanos rubbed his jaw which still hurt. "I expected that."

"You endured longer than everyone else I know. You are a great fighter," Sylvanas complimented.

"Thank you."

"Anyways, pick up your weapons and follow me. I want to see how good you are at following tracks and hunting animals."

Nathanos walked over to the edge of the ring, picking up his stuff. He looked at the spectators, noticing that half of them were still regarding him with narrowed eyes while the other half was impressed by his talent. He ignored those who didn't like him as best as he could, following Sylvanas back to the headquarters.

Chapter Text

"How are you feeling?" asked Sylvanas as she started to undo the buttons of his shirt.

"The left side of my upper body still hurts but the pain is not as strong as it has been weeks ago," Kelrian responded, looking at Sylvanas who was kneeling in front of him. "You know, you don't need to do this. I can undress alone."

"I know but I don't want to wait until the water cools down. You need too long because you talk all the time instead of taking your clothes off, my dear."

"I know. Sorry."

Sylvanas gave him a small smile. "You don't need to be sorry." She undid the last remaining button, taking his shirt off. She put it on the bed he was sitting at, helping him to remove his white singlet.

"Aren't you shivering?" he asked, scrutinizing her nude form.

"Not really but you are that's why we are taking a bath now."

"I don't understand why my body doesn't feel hot while a nude goddess is sitting between my legs."

Sylvanas chuckled. "You old sweet-talker."

"Old? You are older than me. One hundred and five years to be exactly."

Soft laughter escaped Sylvanas' lips. She put her hand on his cheek, caressing it softly. "You know how I mean it."

"I do" he responded. He leaned forward and lowered his head so he could place his lips on hers. She returned the kiss, running her fingers through his hair as she deepened the kiss. He put his hand on her back, caressing it carefully. They separated after a while, staring into each other's eyes.

"I might start shivering as well if my body remains uncovered. We really should get into the bathtub now because I don't want to catch a cold" spoke Sylvanas, getting up.

Kelrian's eyes roamed all over her body, resting on her breasts and her most sacred place longer than on all other body parts. He didn't say anything in return, he just admired her beautiful form. He unbuttoned his trousers, removing it with Sylvanas' help. He also took off his socks and his pants, looking at Sylvanas who licked her lips while she was taking a closer look at his nude form.

She turned around and walked to the bathroom, swaying her hips. Kelrian's eyes rested on her well-formed butt as he followed her. He entered the bathroom a moment later, finding out that Sylvanas wanted him to get in first.

He did as he was told, a quiet moan escaped his lips as his shivering body came in contact with the warm water. He stretched his legs out, resting his head on the rim of the tub. He closed his eyes and enjoyed the pleasant warmth of the water. The splashing sounds and the displacement of water let him know that Sylvanas had just entered the tub. She could lay down on the opposite side of the tub but she didn't. Instead, she laid herself on her lover, snuggling against him. She made sure that her body wasn't touching the left side of his upper body, meaning he didn't need to feel unnecessary pain. She closed her eyes as well, smiling as strong arms were wrapped around her upper body.

Kelrian placed a kiss on her right shoulder, rubbing her stomach with his hands. "I've missed that"

"A bath?"

"That too. I meant being able to hold you in my arms and press my body against yours," he responded, leaving kisses on her neck.

"I've missed it too," she admitted. "It's funny that I have managed to survive seventy years without having sex but since our first time, I can't think about anything else."

A provocative grin appeared on Kelrian's lips. "Well, what can I say. There is a reason for that. A big reason. I can understand why you can't have enough of me."

Sylvanas laughed. "Don't exaggerate, my love."

"I'm not exaggerating. I'm telling the truth."

"Alright, I believe you."

Kelrian kissed her left ear. "You better do so, otherwise, you don't get what you desire the most"

A teasing grin appeared on Sylvanas ' lips. "I wonder what that would be." Her hand moved downwards, stopping between his legs. "Hmm. I wonder why you are already so aroused."

"You have kneeled in front of me, wearing nothing but your birthday wonder why my body is ready for everything."

"Ready for everything you say. Let's test that" spoke Sylvanas, her voice sounded very erotic. She put her hands around his manhoodstarting to pleasure him. Low moans escaped his lips. These moans became louder and more frequent as she started to do it faster.

"Are you sure you are ready for this?" she asked after a few minutes.

"Two weeks have passed since I woke up. All of my wounds are healed, only the left side of my upper body hurts a bit if I overtax myself. I have started training three days ago so I'm pretty sure I can do that too," told Kelrian, letting one of his hand roam all over his lover's body while the other hand wandered to the spot between her legs.

"Remember that I've warned you."

A low moan escaped Sylvanas' lips as his fingers entered her. He licked the entire length of her ear, taking its tip in his mouth. "Remember that I've warned you what my mighty thing could do to you"

Sylvanas smirked. "Did you warn me?"

"Now I did," he whispered as he removed his hand and guided his manhood into her womanhood. He smiled as a loud moan escaped her lips.

This is only the beginning.

"You shouldn't have overexerted yourself, my love," said Sylvanas as she regarded her lover with worry.

"It's okay," Kelrian said quietly.

"Doesn't seem so," Sylvanas replied, pointing at the hand he pressed on his left ribcage. "I have warned you that it is too early to have sex. Your body hasn't fully recovered yet."

"It was fine until I decided to stand up too rashly. The sex was not the problem, I just shouldn't move too fast."

"I hope you are right," replied Sylvanas, staring into his eyes. His facial features weren't distorted by pain anymore, instead, they were quite relaxed. "I think you can still continue with your training but don't rush things. Don't overtax yourself and do every task or exercise slowly. Do that until you don't feel the pain anymore"

"I will. Promised."

"Good." Sylvanas gave him a smile, leaning forward to attach her lips to his, deepening the kiss as soon as Kelrian returned it. They melted into the kiss, wrapping their arms around the body of the other. Kelrian didn't need to pull Sylvanas closer because she already moved on her own, sitting down on her lover's lap. They held the kiss as long as possible, staring at each other while breathing heavily. They shared a few needy and passionate kisses, then Sylvanas turned around and laid down on Kelrian, her back came in contact with his body. The younger elf didn't hesitate to wrap his arms around her, snuggling against her.

"This is really enjoyable. I would love to stay in the tub with you forever," Kelrian said eventually.

"It is indeed. Unfortunately, our people need us. We have to fulfil our duties and protect our people against all dangers. I wish we could remain here forever but we can't."

"I know, I know. Our people need our help and I will not hesitate to help them. I just wish we could spend more time together."

Sylvanas caressed his cheek. "I understand you, my love. I wish the same but we are very busy in general. War is coming, so we'll be busier than ever in the next few months. High King Sunstrider and the prince managed to make an agreement with the other members of the Alliance of Lordaeron"

"An agreement? What is it about?"

"The orcs haven't done much during the past months. They have built bases and outposts but they didn't attack us or humans. The trolls, on the other hand, were more aggressive than ever. They are planning something, that's why the High King asked for aid and the Alliance agreed to support us against the trolls so we can help them later dealing with the orcs," explained Sylvanas.

"That's fantastic," responded an astonished Kelrian.

"It is indeed. With the support of the humans and dwarves, our chances of victory are much higher."

Kelrian put his head on her shoulder, kissing her right ear. "I think, we would have handled the trolls alone but it would have cost more lives, resources and much more time. With the help of the humans and dwarves, we should handle these ugly green bastards."

Sylvanas didn't say anything in return. She just snuggled against her lover, holding his hands. She closed her eyes, starting to relax. Kelrian also closed his eyes, listening to Sylvanas' quiet breaths. He intertwined their fingers, caressing the backs of her hands with his thumb.

They enjoyed the close body contact for a while, then they decided that it was time to wash their bodies. They decided to wash the other because it was more fun that way. Sylvanas soaped him thoroughly, using a sponge to clean his body and wash off all remains of dirt and sweat. After she was done with his muscular back, she dipped his head in the water so she could wash his hair. She used her favourite shampoo, knowing that his hair won't only look good, it will also smell after lavender later.

Then it was Kelrian's turn wash his lover. At first, he had thought it would go much faster because she was smaller than him. But he needed more time than expected because he couldn't keep his hands off her. He cleaned her more than just thoroughly, running the sponge at least three times over each part of her body. He also noticed that he was groping her from time to time, meaning that her breasts and her well-formed ass got more attention than the rest of her body. But Sylvanas didn't mind that because she enjoyed it as well. In the end, Kelrian managed to fulfil his task, receiving an amused grin from his lover and superior.

They cuddled for quite some time, getting out of the tub as soon as they noticed that the water was cooling down. Kelrian handed Sylvanas a towel before he grabbed one for himself, drying his body. He noticed that Sylvanas' eyes rested on him while he did that, causing him to shift his gaze on her.

He didn't feel ashamed that he was ogling her while she was drying her body. She didn't mind it because she loved when he was looking at her like that. Like a predator who was scrutinizing his prey. Kelrian had to admit that the scene in front of him looked pretty sexy. So sexy that he wasn't able to avert his gaze, no matter how hard he tried. He also regarded Sylvanas while she put on her underwear, realizing she was smiling at him. He returned her smile, getting dressed as well. He waited until she had dried her hair, then he followed her back to her office.

Kelrian took a seat on one of Sylvanas' armchairs. "Is there anything else I have to know?" he asked curiously.

"Well, there is nothing important I haven't told you yet."

"Okay. What about Nathanos?"

Sylvanas hesitated for a moment. "He is better than expected. I already told you about his skills in close combat, in shooting arrows and on the hunt. He is also pretty good when it comes to carrying out missions successfully."

"You sent him on a mission? What did he have to do?"

"I sent him to deliver a message to Lordaeron, then he joined a group of rangers and spied out the nearest base of the Amani trolls," she responded.

"What did they find out?"

"There is a large camp in the east of the Sanctum of the Sun. The group assumes that about sixty trolls are stationed in the base."

"Sixty? That's quite a number for a troll base. Normally only twenty up to twenty-five trolls are stationed in their camps and bases."

"There are a lot more trolls out there. We can be lucky that they keep splitting up in smaller groups and don't man their bases correctly. I don't want to imagine what would happen if an army of hundreds or thousands of trolls would march through our land. It's easier for us if we take them out in smaller groups instead of facing their whole army, so I'm glad that they keep splitting up"

Kelrian made a thoughtful face. "On the other hand, they are able to attack various areas at the same time if they keep sending smaller groups. We don't know how large their army is but we should have a much larger army than them"

"We have but that doesn't mean we wouldn't lose numerous soldiers if we fight them directly on the battlefield. We are no orcs or humans. A direct battle is not our style. We are better at letting them chase us so we can hail down volleys of arrows on them. We keep them at distance and shoot as many arrows as necessary on them until they all die. That's how we fight. You know how effective our strategy is."

"So, keeping the trolls split is the best we can do," concluded Kelrian.

"Exactly, my love."

"I'm wondering why Zul'jin doesn't realise he won't beat us if he doesn't change his strategy. We win most of the skirmishes and protect our citizens while he keeps losing more and more warriors. He won't have any soldiers left he can command if he doesn't change his plan," replied Kelrian.

Sylvanas shrugged her shoulders. "Who knows what is going on in the mind of this bastard. I'm glad that he is not smart enough to realize that his strategy is crap. I'm happy that we win the skirmishes without losing too many soldiers."

"I'm not complaining either. I just don't understand why Zul'jin is doing that."

"There is always something we cannot understand. May it be the universe itself or Zul'jin's plans. But don't forget, never underestimate your opponents. That's the stupidest mistake you could ever make. We don't know what he is planning. Maybe he is doing that on purpose to give us the feeling that we will win against his people with ease. And then he will strike when nobody expects it. Everything is possible. We have to be careful and we shouldn't rush things. Who knows what he is planning? Maybe he just wants to lure us into a trap."

"You are right. I want to see Zul'jin dead but I still respect him. He is not dumb and he is a strong warrior. He has lots of experience which means he knows what he is doing. We have to be careful, that's all we have to do."

Sylvanas agreed with him, walking towards the fridge on the right side of the room. "Are you hungry, my dear?"

"Yes, I am."

"What do you want to eat?"

Kelrian made a thoughtful face for a moment. "What can you offer?"

Sylvanas opened the fridge and looked inside. "What about slices of bread with cheese or meat?"

"Sounds fine to be."

"Good, then I will prepare some slices. Take a seat and relax."

"I will."

Sylvanas followed the corridor, greeting all the guards who were standing alongside it. They lowered their heads in respect, returning her greetings as she passed them. She didn't need long to arrive at her destination. The throne room.

She stopped in front of the door, greeting the two guards and their captain in front of it. They didn't hesitate to open the door, allowing Sylvanas to get in. She thanked them, entering the throne room without hesitation.

The first thing she caught sight off was the empty throne on which High King Anasterian Sunstrider used to sit when he was not busy with other tasks. Even his advisors, who normally stood next to the throne, were missing. Not far away from the throne stood four guards, all of them wore blue-golden coloured armours, their faces were hidden beneath helmets which were painted in the same colours.

Sylvanas was wondering where the king was so she turned her head to find out if he was somewhere else in the room. He was not so her gaze fell on the room's walls which were coloured in light blue and adorned by beautiful golden wall paintings which showed high elven people, the sun and magical artefacts. Her gaze wandered to the floor which was completely covered by a blue carpet. There were a few pot plants here and there and many guards were standing in the room.

Sylvanas was about to walk to the nearest guard and ask him where the king was as a familiar voice called her name. She turned around, spotting the prince. Kael'thas Sunstrider was wearing one of these blue robes the archmages in Dalaran usually wore. He was a member of the Council of the Six which ruled over Dalaran so he was in the mage city most of the times to study something.

But he was here and not in Dalaran so Sylvanas assumed that he had returned to Silvermoon to help his father with the upcoming war. Nevertheless, he was still wearing the fancy robe although he was not in Dalaran anymore. Sylvanas had to admit that he looked good in everything so it didn't matter if he was wearing this robe or one of his traditional robes. Nobody minded that he wasn't wearing the outfit he was normally wearing when he was in Silvermoon.

The prince was a lot older than Sylvanas but still looked young like all the other elves. His golden hair was so long that it even reached to the half of his upper body. His blue eyes scrutinized Sylvanas curiously. Like most citizens of Quel'Thalas, he had fallen for her so he was unable to avert his gaze from her which rested long on her torso, especially on her breasts. He managed to catch himself after a few moments, shifting his gaze to her beautiful face.

He took her hand, before she was able to do or say something, and kissed it as he bowed to her and lowered his head in respect. He held her hand longer than necessary but he let her go eventually. "It's a pleasure for me to meet you, Ranger-General. I haven't seen you in a while so I'm curious how you are doing"

Sylvanas lowered her head in respect, making a curtsey before she spoke. "I'm doing fine. Work is stressful but I have already gotten used to it."

The corner of Kael'thas' lips formed a small smile. "I can feel you. The upcoming war against the Amani trolls and the orcs are already tiring me and my father. I'm not a strategist but my father still wants me to help him to make a decision whenever he is planning something. I've important studies to do but my father doesn't care about it"

"I can understand him, to be honest. You will lead our people one day so it doesn't hurt if you know a thing or two about politics and war strategies."

"My father rules this kingdom for almost three thousand years. I don't believe he will ever step back or die any soon. To be honest, I rather spend my time in the library and study magic instead of leading my people. Of course, I would do it if I ever have to be king but unless I don't have to, I rather spend my time in Dalaran."

Sylvanas gave him an understanding nod. "I get what you mean but we don't know what the future holds, we always have to be prepared for everything. If we have learned something from the past, then it is that everything is possible."

Kael'thas' lips formed a smile. "You are right. You are pretty smart, Sylvanas. Smarter than everyone else I know," he complimented

Sylvanas raised an eyebrow. "Even smarter than your father?"

The prince shrugged his shoulders. "Who knows. My father hadn't considered the trolls as a threat until you and your sisters proved that the Amani and forest trolls are invading our lands. Who knows how many citizens would have been killed until my father would have realized that the threat is real," he scoffed.

"I still remember the shocked face he had made when your sister Alleria had thrown the separated troll head in front of his feet," he added.

"You can't hold that against him. I wouldn't have believed it either if I wouldn't have seen it with my own eyes. Your father is a very wise man, so are you. Your father rules this kingdom for almost three thousand years and it still exists. No enemy has ever managed to conquer it and not even the trolls or orcs will manage that if we work together with the Alliance"

Kael'thas nodded to her. "You are right," he admitted.

"So, how are your studies going?" Sylvanas asked, breaking the silence which had lasted for a few minutes.

"Well, I'm doing fine. I wish I could tell you what exactly I'm studying but you wouldn't understand it because you are not a mage. To make things easy, let's say I'm trying to learn a fire spell which is better than every other fire spell which is known. It's not easy to learn it and using it has its risk but as soon as I perfect it, it should be pretty powerful," he explained.

He looked at her, admiring her beauty. Like most male high elves, he had fallen for her. She was the most beautiful woman in Quel'Thalas and she belonged to the most popular people of Quel'Thalas as well. He would be very happy to have her as his wife but she had rejected his proposal like all the other proposals she had gotten. Every other woman would have accepted his proposal. Not only because he was very handsome and influential but also because he was pretty smart, funny and powerful. He had lots of admirers but Sylvanas didn't belong to them. She was immune to his charm.

Sylvanas had been the first woman who had ever turned him away. The first and only woman who had done that so far. Others wouldn't dare to do that but Sylvanas was not like other women. She was special. She was aware of herself and got everything she wanted, most of the time. She was not like other women who only took what they got. Most of the time, she got whatever she wanted, because she was very popular and influential.

Rejecting his proposal had hurt Kael'thas at first and he had needed some time to accept that she didn't want him. He had come to terms that Sylvanas wasn't interested in him so he had stopped trying to make her fall in love with him and had befriended her instead. He enjoyed talking to her about interesting topics, news or gossips. They were good friends and nothing could change that.

Not even Sylvanas' father who wanted her to marry him. Sylvanas was an adult woman so she could choose who she wanted to be with. She had the freedom to pick her partner. Not everyone could choose who they wanted to marry. Arranged marriages were not uncommon in the high elven society. Often men and women were promised to each other at a young age. Not everyone was allowed to marry for love.

The marriage of Kael'thas' parents had been arranged as well. They hadn't loved each other at first. Only with the time, they had grown close and had fallen in love with each other. In the case of Sylvanas' parents, it was a wedding of love. They hadn't been forced to marry the other but they had done it anyway because they loved each other so much. Sylvanas could only be grateful that her parents weren't strict and didn't force her to marry the prince. They would be delightful if Sylvanas would marry him but they understood that Sylvanas didn't want to marry someone she didn't love.

Sylvanas and Kael'thas talked for a while until the prince realized that Sylvanas must be here for a reason and not because she wanted to have small talk with him. "I almost forgot to ask you why you came here," he said.

"I want to see your father and talk with him about the campaign against the trolls. Do you know where he is?"

Kael'thas shook his head. "Not really but I could ask the guards or my mother. I mean you could also tell me what you want to say and I can give you advices but I don't really want to talk about strategies right now so I rather look for my father."

"That would be nice" responded Sylvanas, smiling at him. "I will wait here for you if you don't mind"

"It's okay. Stay here while I look for him" responded Kael'thas, slowly walking to room's exit.

"See you later, my prince"

Soft laughter escaped his lips. "See you later, Ranger-General" he left the room a few moments later, leaving Sylvanas and the guards alone in the throne room. He returned half an hour later with his father who walked to his right.

High King Anasterian Sunstrider was wearing a blue robe. His old age of over three thousand years could be recognized by his wrinkled face and his long grey hair. His blue eyes glowed weaker than the eyes of all the other elves. Most male elves detested beards so they shaved their faces whenever they could but High King Anasterian didn't care that beards didn't belong to ideals of beauty of his people. He wore his hair as he wanted and even had a goatee which was as grey as his hair.

Sylvanas bowed to the king, greeting him properly. The High King lowered his head in respect, greeting her as well. Sylvanas got up, looking at the king whose tired eyes rested on her face.

"How can I help you, Ranger-General?" he asked, signalizing Sylvanas to follow her. She did that, following him to his throne. He sat down, checking his surroundings before he looked back at Sylvanas.

"I wanted to report to you that the reinforcements of the humans and dwarves have arrived today."

"How many soldiers did they send?"

"Five thousand in total. Their commanders told me that they need the rest to secure their borders, trade routes, villages and their capital cities. They also need men for patrols," responded Sylvanas.

"Five thousand is better than nothing. You are the expert when it comes to war and skirmishes against the trolls. Do you think we have enough soldiers to defeat the trolls?"

Sylvanas didn't hesitate to answer. "I do. I don't know how many warriors the trolls have nor do I know how many orcs are still out there but I'm pretty sure we will defeat the trolls and the orcs"

"You are a very capable leader, you have always been victorious so I believe you will lead us to victory once again," spoke the High King.

Sylvanas lowered her head in respect, feeling flattered about such a compliment from him. The High King knew she was good and trustworthy so he had allowed her to plan everything without needing to consult with him.

"Thank you, your grace. I have already planned everything. If you agree, I would attack them in two weeks."

"I trust you, Ranger-General, so I believe your plan will work out. I give you permission to do everything necessary to win this war and drive these bastards out of our land."

Sylvanas bowed to him. "I won't disappoint you, your grace."

Anasterian nodded to her, making a gesture with his hand. "You can go now if you want, Ranger-General."

Sylvanas bowed to him again, saying goodbye to him and his son before she turned around and left the throne room.

Chapter Text

Sylvanas walked down the stairs and followed the corridor to the dining room where her family was gathered. They were sitting at the table which was set for a meal but they hadn't started eating yet because they were waiting for the last missing member of their family. Sylvanas walked over to her chair, taking a seat. Her gaze wandered from one member of her family to the other until it landed to her mother.

"You could have already started without me, you know," said Sylvanas. She took the jug in front of her and filled her glass with moonberry juice.

"This will be the last meal, we will have together, for quite some will be away for a while soI want to enjoy the delicious food with you together," responded Sylvanas' mother. "This is the last time where we can enjoy the meal together as a family before the war against the trolls and orcs will begin. You and your sisters will be very busy and we won't be able to see you at all so I want that we spend as much time as possible together before you have to go. Nobody knows what will happen in the future, you know."

Sylvanas put her hands on her mother's left hand. "I understand you. You are afraid of losing us but you don't need to. We have participated in so many battles, we will survive this war as well."

"I believe that too but I'm still afraid..."

Sylvanas gave her a comforting smile. "You shouldn't let the worry consume you, you need to think positively if you want tolive through the time where we are not are capable of taking care of ourselves and we will return to you, all three of us."

"I know, I know," replied Lireesa. "You are the best ranger I have ever met and Alleria is the second best. I believe that all three of you make it, just do me the favour and watch after your little sister. She is not as experienced as you are so I'm worried about her the most."

Sylvanas put her hands on her mother's cheeks, rubbing them. She looked at her younger sister, giving her a comforting smile before she looked back at her mother and gave her the same smile. "I will always keep her close and I promise that nothing will happen to her."

Lireesa was still worried a bit. "I hope so."

Sylvanas didn't respond to her. She just gave her a calming smile. She turned her head to look at her father. "Is there anything you want to say?"

"I believe you will lead us to victory Sylvanas and your sisters will support you as best as they can. Many of our people were killed by trolls and orcs, it's time to hunt these bastards down and get rid of them once and for all."

Sylvanas gave him a smile, then she looked at Lirath. "You will protect our family while we are away, okay?"

Her brother nodded his head. "I will"

Sylvanas smiled. "Good, then I don't have to be worried."

Her brother returned her smile, staring at her. Sylvanas picked up the cutlery next to her plate and cut a piece of meat from her steak. She put it in her mouth, watching her family do the same as she chewed on the meat. All members were silent for the first few minutes but then they started to talk about casual topics. Sylvanas was glad that neither her mother nor her father asked her if she had changed her mind about marrying Prince Kael'thas. They wanted to spend this last meal together without arguing about anything so they didn't dare to ask her. Sylvanas could see it in her mother's eyes that she was afraid of losing one of her children, so she held her mother's hand while eating, calming her down effectively.

Sylvanas had promised her mother to make sure that none of her siblings will be harmed. Alleria was able to take care of herself but Vereesa was not as experienced as her older siblings. Sylvanas was pretty sure she could also take care of herself because she was a skilled ranger after all. Nevertheless, Sylvanas had decided to always stay close to her and take care of her whenever Vereesa joined her on a mission. She intended to keep all of her promises, especially those she had given to her family.

The dessert was served after the main course. It was the most favourite dessert of the Windrunner siblings - Vanilla pudding with strawberries on top of it. They ate it with joy, getting more and more until nothing was left. They didn't stand up even though they had eaten up everything. They remained on their seats, enjoying the presence of the others while they kept talking. They knew they wouldn't be able to sit together at the same table for a while, so they spent hours talking and joking.

Even though they had really enjoyed the time they had spent, they stood up eventually. The rangers returned to their rooms to pack their things while their parents and Lirath walked to the living room. Sylvanas didn't need to pack much because everything she needed was already in a bag in her office in the headquarters.

She walked over to her bed table, opened the top drawer and pulled out a necklace which was made out of little gems which were coloured differently. It was a gift Verena had given her on the occasion of the ten-year anniversary of their relationship. It served as a lucky charm. Sylvanas always wore it when she went to battle with her rangers. She regarded the item for a few moments before she put it around her neck. That was all she needed. The rest was in her office.

Sylvanas almost bumped into Alleria when she left her room a few moments later. "That was close," said Sylvanas as she managed to avoid colliding with her older sister. She noticed that her sister was nervous and worried as she scrutinized her.

"What is going on?" asked Sylvanas, raising an eyebrow.

"What do you mean?"

"You have never been worried before a battle. You have never been afraid of risking your life for the greater good at least not until today. Something has changed," spoke Sylvanas, eying her sister curiously.

Alleria took a deep breath, looking ashamed at her fingers for a few moments before she looked back at her baby sister. "I'm not afraid of losing my life. I want to defend our people with my life. I'm afraid that my son would lose me, would lose his mother. I don't want to leave him alone. I..." she stopped speaking and lowered her gaze and looked at the floor.

Sylvanas put her hand under her sister's chin, lifting it up so she could stare into her eyes. "You are the best ranger I know. You won't die if you keep your head clear and focus on your surroundings and on your enemies. We will defeat the trolls and orcs and you will return to your son in one piece,"

"You can't know that. Everything is possible. What if we get ambushed like the mother of one of your rangers? What if they catch me or kill me? Who will take care of Arator?" Her sister's voice was louder than usual, her bottom lip was trembling and she was playing with her fingers nervously. Sylvanas soothing words hadn't comforted her at all.

Sylvanas put her hand on her sister's shoulder. "Even if that would happen, he still has his father, not to mention our family who would raise him. You have much more experience than me and you have fought in more battles than me, you have survived every battle you have attended and you have killed every enemy who dared to attack you. I know you will make it again. You just have to be confident enough and trust yourself, sis," she pulled Alleria in a tight hug, caressing her back with her hands. "Everything will be fine. Promised," she whispered in her ear, kissing her cheek softly.

Alleria pulled away after a while. "I hope so."

Sylvanas regarded her from head to toe, noticing the necklace around her neck. She grabbed the necklace, running her index finger over the three gems. An emerald, a ruby and a sapphire. "That's your lucky charm isn't it?"


"It's the necklace our parents gifted to you when you became the youngest Ranger-Captain in elven history, isn't it?" said Sylvanas.

"It is" responded Alleria, caressing her sister's cheek. Sylvanas stared at the necklace for a few moments before she looked back at her sister who regarded her with an amused grin on her lips.

"You are wearing yours as well, I see" spoke Alleria. "You still have feelings for her, don't you?"

"She is just a friend to me, my best friend to be exact," explained Sylvanas. "Why are you asking?"

"I just thought you still have feelings for her because you are wearing her necklace after all this time"

"It brings me luck. I mean, I don't really believe in luck because it's my skill and experience that makes me defeat my opponents and not luck. Nevertheless, I do feel safer when I wear it"

Alleria smiled at her little sister. "Anyways, let's pick up Vereesa before we return to our family to say goodbye."

Sylvanas nodded. "Go ahead"

Alleria did the first move and Sylvanas followed her. They came to Vereesa's room, knocking at her door. Vereesa opened the door without hesitation, letting her sisters in. Her room looked similar to the rooms of her older sisters. She had the same pieces of furniture. The only difference was that they were arranged differently. For example, her bed stood on the left side of the room while the beds of her sisters stood in the middle of their rooms.

Vereesa walked over to her wardrobe and picked up the backpack which stood in front of it. She turned back to her sisters. "I'm ready."

Sylvanas gave her a nod, signalizing her to follow. The three sisters walked out of the room, followed the corridor and climbed down the stairs so until they reached the first floor. They walked to the living room where their family was already waiting. But not only Lirath and their parents were present. Their uncles, aunts and cousins were also there to say goodbye to them.

It was not easy for them to say goodbye, especially because their mother got very emotional when she said goodbye to their children. She had attended lots of battles and skirmishes with her children but these battles had only endured for hours or days at maximum. None of them had attended a battle or a war which had lasted longer than a few days. Lireesa knew that her children were the best rangers Quel'Thalas had and that they could take care of themselves. Nevertheless, she was afraid that something might happen to them. She didn't want to lose any of her children.

She would be more relaxed if she could join them and fight by their sides. But she couldn't fight because of her disease. Going to war with her daughters would only lead to her death. She couldn't move very fast and her reactions had also suffered under her disease. She was not a fighter anymore. She was a mother, housekeeper and vendor. But she was not a ranger anymore and that plagued her and made her sad.

She had loved being a ranger, she had loved being responsible for the safety of her people and she had loved to fight for those who couldn't. She had loved to be the Ranger-General, the leader of the Farstriders. Everyone had looked up to her and admired her. She had been a very popular person. She was still popular, lots of people visited her store and spent time with her. She got lots of friends she had met during her days as a ranger. She was not forgotten. She never will no matter what will happen. Nevertheless, her greatest wish was to be a ranger once again.

Lireesa had hugged her daughters longer than necessary, tears had rolled down her cheeks when she had embraced her youngest daughter. Her daughters had comforted her, promised her that everything will be alright and she believed them. She knew her descendants will lead the high elves to victory and get rid of the troll and orc problem.

Lireesa regarded her daughters as long as possible, accompanying them to their horses after they had said goodbye to everyone. She stood at the door of their front garden, waving at them as long as they were in her sight. She remained there for a couple of minutes, even though she couldn't see them anymore, then she returned to the house.

Her husband approached her, rubbing her back as he hugged her tightly. She rested her head on his shoulder, enjoying the body contact with him.

"Don't worry, love. They can take care of themselves. I know they will return in one piece."

"I know, my love. I know, you are right," she whispered and put her head on his shoulder.

"I've brewed your favourite tea. I hope it helps you to calm down and relax," he said, giving her a small smile.

"Thank you, my dear," she responded, kissing his cheek softly.

A smile appeared on Zalien's lips. He wrapped his arm around his wife's waist, slowly guiding her to the living room.

"You are nervous" diagnosed Liadrin as she regarded her cousin.

Kelrian placed the cup, he was holding, in front of him, and looked at his hands which were shaking a bit. "We are going to war, of course I'm nervous. I have never been to war before. I may have killed a few trolls but that happened years ago. I haven't killed an enemy for a while. A real enemy at least. I don't count lynxes and bears as enemies. Killing orcs and trolls will be a lot harder than killing lynxes or bears, not to mention that they are a lot deadlier."

"I'm pretty sure you won't hesitate to kill them if they approach you. You have to kill them if you want to survive and defend our people," mentioned his cousin.

"I know, I know. I will give my best. I will have no mercy with these creatures and slay as many of them as I can. They crippled my mother and they will pay for that." announced Kelrian, sounding far more determined than he had sounded before.

Liadrin walked over to him, putting her hand on his shoulder. "You got this. I believe in you!"

A small smile appeared on his lips. "Thank you, Liadrin."

She returned his smile. "Don't worry, I will look after your family as long as you are away. I will make sure that your father won't kidnap them."

"So, I don't have to worry about them which means I can fully focus on the upcoming war."

"You have to remain focused during the war, otherwise...," she paused for a moment. "You can't allow yourself to be distracted, not even for a short moment. Every single moment can decide between life and death. You have to be careful."

"I know and I will" he responded, sounding self-confident.

Liadrin regarded him for a few moments. "You should go to your mother and siblings to say goodbye to them. You have to go soon if you want to reach Silvermoon City in time," she reminded.

"You are right. I don't have much time left. I should visit them for the last time before I will be away for a while," said Kelrian, getting up quickly. He hugged Liadrin, kissing her left cheek. He pulled away and walked out of the living room.

He took the stairs, arriving on the second floor. He moved to his siblings' room, knocking at the door. Sindor's high-pitched voice told Kelrian that he was allowed to get in. He entered the room, spotting his siblings on the floor. They were sitting there and played a game of chess. They got up as soon as they saw him, scrutinizing him from head to toe. They didn't need to ask what he wanted. They saw the clothes he was wearing so they knew that he was about to join the other Farstriders and go to war with them.

Cincia rushed to him, wrapped her arms around his upper body and hugged him tightly. Kelrian smiled as he regarded her from above, running his fingers through her hair. Cincia pulled away after a while, allowing Sindor to hug him as well, who didn't let him go for nearly five minutes. But he let him go eventually, knowing he had to leave soon.

"I wish you didn't have to go," said Cincia, making a sad face.

"I wish the same but the other rangers and I have to fight the trolls and orcs. We have to defeat them to make sure they never attack our people again."

"I wish there would be another solution to end this conflict. War always means the loss of good men and women. War only leaves death and destruction behind. Widowers and widows, orphans and broken people. There is nothing good about war" spoke Sindor, his voice was low and sounded sad.

"But it's still necessary for the survival of our race. The High King had tried to negotiate with the Horde but all of his suggestions have been rejected by Zul'jin and Orgrim Doomhammer. They don't want peace so war is all we can offer them if they don't let us and the other kingdoms of the Alliance in peace," explained Kelrian.

"I still wish there would be another solution. We don't want to lose you"

A sad smile appeared on Kelrian's lips. He was imagining what his family would do if he would die during the war. They would be shattered but they would accept his death sooner or later. They would mourn for him and they would curse all trolls and orcs but they would get used to his absence. They had to if this case would ever occur.

Kelrian didn't want them to be sad nor did he want to die. He would give his best and kill as many trolls and orcs as possible. He would even risk his life if necessary. He wouldn't hesitate to sacrifice his life for the greater good but only if it would be necessary. He knew that his family and Sylvanas would mourn for him so he would give his best to not die. One life was nothing compared to thousands. Winning the war had top priority, surviving was second. Nevertheless, he would give his best to survive.

"I don't want to lose you either. I can take care of myself and I will return alive in one piece."

"Promised?" asked Cincia, her voice trembled so did her hands.

Kelrian put his hand on her shoulder, giving her a comforting look. "Promised."

He stayed in their room for a few more minutes, talking to them until he decided that it was time to visit his mother. He told his siblings he will meet them again before his departure, then he walked to his mother's room, entering it as soon he got the permission.

Liana was sitting on her bed and put aside the book she was reading until this very moment. She got up and walked over to her son, hugging him immediately. She rested her head on his chest and started to sob. Tears ran down her cheeks but she ignored them. But Kelrian didn't ignore them. He wiped them away. He hugged her tightly, caressing her back softly. He whispered comforting words in her ears, managing to calm her down eventually. She didn't pull away, hugging him even tighter than before.

"I don't want you to go," she whispered.

The corner of his lips formed a sad smile. "I know but I have to."

"There are so many other rangers, they will win this war without you."

"We outnumber the trolls, that's right. Nevertheless, we need every skilled person we can get. The more soldiers we have, the larger our chance of victory is. The Ranger-General counts me to her best rangers so my presence will make a difference. At least I'm hoping that."

"You haven't killed a living intelligent creature for years. You are not used to killing others. How can you be sure you will be able to kill them before they kill you? What if you hesitate to end them and they take advantage of that?" Her face was full of worry, her skin was very pale and her hands were shaking.

Kelrian put her face in his hands, caressing her cheeks softly. "I will never spare any of these miserable creatures, not after what they have done to you. I will avenge your fallen comrades and the arm you have lost. They have ruined your carrier and crippled you. I will make sure they will pay for everything they have done to our people," he spoke, sounding very determined. Liana could have been mistaken but she assumed that she might have noticed a small amount of hatred which was reflected by his eyes. He had every reason to hate orcs and trolls. Nonetheless, she didn't approach him about what she had seen.

Liana was silent for a few moments. She was an emotional wreck but he managed to calm her down as he had done with his siblings. He was very good at comforting and calming down people. His mere presence was often enough to reassure others. Not even Kelrian himself knew how he was doing that. He just did it whenever someone needed comfort and it worked almost every time. That was his special talent.

His mother pulled away after a while, wiping tears from her cheeks with the back of her hand. "I understand that you have to go. You want to protect our people. You want to protect us as well. I understand that even though I don't like the thought that you might get in danger."

"I have chosen this life, I have chosen to become a ranger, knowing the risk this life entails. I'm a fighter, risking my life every day is normal for me. I managed to free you, Sindor and Cincia out of father's grasp. I survived his revenge and I will survive this war as well. I wouldn't belong to the Ranger-General's elite if I wouldn't be able to take care of myself. I also belonged to the best of the newest generation of rangers."

"But that doesn't make you immortal or invulnerable" interrupted his mother whose eyes still reflected worry.

"I know, I have never indicated that. I'm just a man after all but I know what I am doing. I may not have the same amount of experience others have but I will become more experienced with the time. I will always be careful. Promised," he gave her a small smile, patting her shoulder softly. Liana didn't say anything in return, she just looked at her son, silently praying for his safety. He returned her gaze, clearing his throat after a few minutes.

"I need to go now. Will you accompany me to the door so I could say goodbye to you and the others?"

"Of course I will" she responded, walking to the door. Kelrian followed her to the entrance hall. He picked up his backpack, which was lying there, and swung it over his shoulder. He hugged every single member of his family for the last time before he left the house, waving at them as he walked to his horse which was tied to the nearest tree. He mounted the horse, glancing back at his family who was standing in front of the house. His gaze rested on them for a few moments, he waved at them for the last time before he spurred his horse and rode off, staring straight ahead.

Kelrian arrived at the tent he had been ordered to, greeting the two rangers who were standing in front of it. They greeted him in return, signalizing him to enter the tent. Kelrian knew he was awaited so he didn't hesitate to enter the large blue tent. He walked to the table in the middle of the tent around which Sylvanas, Alleria and three other familiar persons were standing.

To Sylvanas' left was Verena, to her right was a man with the name Lor'themar Theron. He was one of Sylvanas' rangers, he didn't belong to her elite team but he was a member of her regiment which meant he had to be pretty good. Neither he or Verena let show that the presence of the last person was annoying them. They weren't annoyed because of the way the person behaved. They were annoyed by its mere presence because the person was different than them. That person was also a ranger like them but it was not a Farstrider. It was not an elven ranger. Not a high elf. That person was a human.

Nathanos Marris gave his best to ignore the unpleasant stares Verena and Lor'themar were giving him from time to time. Sylvanas, Alleria and Kelrian were the only ones who tolerated the young human. Sylvanas respected Nathanos because she knew that he was a very skilled ranger, better than most of her rangers. He was also better than Lor'themar who he had defeated in a training fight not long ago. That was the main reason why Lor'themar was not pleased about his presence, but also because he didn't understand why a human was accompanying them.

Verena didn't seem to like humans either, especially not those who come out of nowhere and spent too much time with her best friend. Alleria was the entire opposite of her. She liked humans, she had never hated them. Unlike most high elves, she didn't think that their race was superior to the human race. She was in a relationship with a human and she even had a half-breed son with him.

Kelrian didn't mind Nathanos' presence. It was Nathanos who had saved him that day when the mercenaries had attacked him. Without him, Kelrian's wounds would have been worse. In the worst case, he wouldn't have been able to attend the war if his wounds would have needed more time to heal.

Kelrian came to the table, greeting every present person. All of them returned the greeting, looking at him for a few seconds before they looked back at the table. There was a map of Quel'Thalas and its bordering territories on which many figures were standing. Some of these figures looked like troll warriors, some of them looked like humans, dwarves, high elves and even orcs. Kelrian knew that the purpose of these figures was to show everyone where allied and enemy troops were stationed.

Kelrian's eyes rested on Sylvanas as she explained her plan. She told them that she didn't want to attack the trolls with their entire army, instead, she wanted to send out groups which would clear smaller troll bases and camps before the army will take care of the capital city of the trolls. Zul'Aman - The city where the coward Zul'jin was hiding after he had been freed from his prison by the orcs.

A third of the rangers and a third of the reinforcements from the Alliance should strengthen the borders of Quel'Thalas while the second third of the Farstriders should patrol meanwhile and look out for invading groups who had managed to sneak in the elven territory. The last third should attack the troll bases and camps.

"Alleria's and my team will sneak into the nearest troll base during midnight and kill all sixty trolls there. Ranger-Captain Verena's and Ranger-Lieutenant Lor'themar's teams will wait outside the base in the nearest forest. They will give us backup if something goes wrong. Just watch out for a fiery arrow which I will shot in the air if we need help. Other groups will do the same with the other bases and camps near the border," she made a small pause to check if everybody understood what she had said.

"If everything works out, we can force the trolls to retreat from our borders and give up a quarter of their territory. We will continue until they can only hide in their capital city which will also fall, sooner or later. The second regiment will take care of the forest trolls in the east. Are there any questions or does someone else have a better idea?"

Sylvanas looked around, finding out that her companions agreed with her plan. A pleased smile appeared on her lips as she shifted her gaze to Kelrian, noticing that he was smiling as well. Her gaze rested longer than necessary on him but he didn't mind that. He loved to stare into her gorgeous blue eyes so did she.

Verena cleared her throat. She was the only one in the tent who knew about Sylvanas and Kelrian, so she did her best to prevent that someone would interpret something out of their behaviour. The others were wondering why these two individuals were looking at each other for so long. Verena had acted correctly and brought them back to reality before any other present person would have noticed something.

"Okay," said Sylvanas, not knowing what else to say.

Luckily for her, Alleria took over. "If there are no questions, I interpret that everyone understands what he or she has to do. If that's the case, we will meet in near the base two hours before midnight."

The others nodded to Alleria, so Sylvanas dismissed everyone. Even Kelrian who walked away with Verena.

Chapter Text

Kelrian's steps were noiseless as he followed Sylvanas through the grass. But he was not the only one who followed her. Nathanos, Zetai and six other rangers followed her through the forest. They didn't talk nor did they make any sound as they walked. It was half an hour before midnight, the air was cold and the night was quiet. The treetops didn't hinder the elves to look at the clear sky. The bright moon was the only source of light but it didn't reveal the position of the rangers. They were protected by the forest so no troll could see them, not even those who were standing on the highest wooden tower in the middle of the base.

The group was not far away from the base. Only a march of ten minutes at maximum. Sylvanas' spies had scouted the baseto the last detail. Sylvanas knew everything about the base. The exact number of trolls which maned the base, the locations of the trolls' traps and the routes their patrols were walking. Inside and outside. She knew how many weapons and supplies they had. She even knew what they were supposed to do. Mel'ron had found a letter which he had handed to one of the few elves who were able to read and speak the troll language.

Thanks to him, Sylvanas knew that Zul'jin wasn't prepared for a real offensive. He planned to let groups of trolls attack different areas in Quel'Thalas to keep the high elves busy. He was hoping they wouldn't lead an offensive against him because he wasn't ready yet. He needed more time to prepare his people for the war.

Of course, Sylvanas wouldn't give him the time he would need. She planned to take control of every single outpost which was occupied by the trolls. Her troops would get closer to Zul'Aman with every base they would conquer. She could siege those bases and demolish them but she didn't want to lose too many soldiers so she had chosen the sneaky way.

Groups of twenty or more rangers would infiltrate the bases at night and kill all trolls which were stationed in these bases. Sylvanas' and Alleria's groups were not the only groups which will sneak into a troll base. Other captains and lieutenants would invade bases with their best rangers and would kill all trolls there.

A group of twelve people would be enough to clear a base of forty trolls. They wouldn't lose a single ranger if they would be careful and kill one small group of trolls after the other. There were always two groups of at least ten people who remained outside the targeted base. They would assist the invading group if they would need help or if the trolls would notice their presence. They also would take care of any troll patrol who was walking outside the targeted base or camp.

The base Sylvanas and Alleria had selected was by far the largest base near the border of Quel'Thalas. There were by far larger bases and camps near the capital city of the trolls. Sylvanas was sure she would need at least five teams of twenty people to clear such a large camp. But this base was not as large as the ones which were awaiting them, so she only needed twenty rangers. She had cleared larger bases with fewer rangers so she was pretty sure everything would run smoothly.

The group merged with the surroundings, hiding in the shadows so they become invisible for the naked eye. The troll lookouts stared in their direction but they didn't see them nor did they hear them. They weren't aware that ten rangers were coming from the west while ten more rangers were coming from the east. Sylvanas' group would kill everyone in the left half of the base while Alleria's group would take care of the rest.

In the end, they had planned to surround the remaining trolls, then kill or capture them. It was not the first time they were doing that. They had used this tactic half a dozen of times and it had always worked. They had always been victorious and only lost one or two rangers at maximum while they had killed most of their enemies and captured the survivors. Sylvanas had a good feeling that this time wouldn't be different.

The group arrived at the wooden wall, which was very thick and tall. Sylvanas didn't need to do more than making a gesture to make everyone understand what they were supposed to do at this very moment. They opened their backpacks and pulled out long ropes with grappling hooks. They didn't wait long to throw the hooked ends over the wooden battlements. The hooks clung on the battlements, allowing the rangers to climb up slowly. They didn't make any sound so none of the trolls, who stood on top of the wall, noticed them.

The first thing Sylvanas' group did was to check their surroundings. They spotted five trolls in their near. Three of them stood on a small tower while two others were walking away from Sylvanas and her group. Half a dozen fire bowls stood on top of the wall, allowing the trolls to warm themselves and use the fire to ignite the tips of their arrows for the case that someone would attack them.

They could spot more bonfires, which were used as light sources, spread all over the base just like the dozens of small tents where the trolls were resting. On top of the large tower in the middle of the base stood seven trolls. Thanks to Sylvanas' good eyes, she could recognize six archers and a shaman who was carrying a wand made out of oakwood and decorated with engraved glowing runes. Sylvanas also recognized the shapes of ten people who had just arrived on top of the wall on the other side of the base. It was Alleria's group. Like her sister, she was also ready.

The trolls on the turret were not looking in their direction nor did the patrolling trolls. Sylvanas and her group weren't invisible anymore so they had to be careful. They couldn't allow anyone to see them. A single shout would be enough to warn the entire base and cause the stealth mission to fail. They had to be careful and avoid doing rash moves. Otherwise, they had to fight all trolls at the same time which would only lead to unnecessary deaths from their side.

Sylvanas' voice was low, she spoke quickly to lower the chance that someone might hear them. She gave her group commands, moving forward when she was sure that everyone had understood what to do. Zetai, Mel'ron and three of her rangers were taking care of the two patrolling trolls while Kelrian, Nathanos and the two remaining rangers will help Sylvanas to take care of the trolls on the small tower.

They didn't make any sound as they came closer to the trolls who didn't notice their presence. They were staring in the far as they talked about something none of the elves couldn't understand because they didn't know their language. Sylvanas knew a few words of the troll language but her vocabulary was not enough to allow her to understand what they were talking about. Women and fighting were the only words she had understood. But it didn't matter what they were talking about because all of them will be dead very soon.

Sylvanas made a gesture, signalizing everyone to attack. Sylvanas slit the throat of the first troll while one ranger pressed her hand on the troll's mouth, preventing that he could scream. The second troll couldn't scream because she was beheaded by Kelrian. Nathanos rammed his sword through the last troll's back. The blade pierced through his heart, killing him quickly. Unfortunately, screams came out of his mouth before he was finally dead but they were muffled by the strong hand of the third ranger.

The screams weren't that loud so no troll heard them. The group laid the dead bodies on the ground behind the battlement so they were hidden well enough.

They looked at the large tower, sighing out in relief as they noticed that none of these trolls had spotted them. But Sylvanas knew it was only a matter of time until they would spot them so her group had to take them out as fast as possible. She looked to the other side of the wall, noticing that Alleria's groups had killed all the guards there. Only the north and south walls were still manned by trolls. For the moment but not for long.

Sylvanas gave her group the next orders. The group split, Zetai and his little group of four rangers climbed down the staircase while Sylvanas rushed to the north wall with the rest. They spotted six trolls in total. Three of them carried large axes in their hands while the others carried smaller axes in each of their hands. Their heads were turned in their directions but the rangers weren't in their sights. Sylvanas noticed that so she told her followers to use their bows.

Five arrows swooshed through the air without getting noticed by the trolls. Four arrows hit their targets, the last one barely missed the large troll with the red mohawk. But he and the other survivor were dead before they could do anything. Sylvanas and Kelrian had shot two more arrows in the meantime where the other rangers had reloaded their bows. Sylvanas' arrow had hit the troll in the left eye and pierced his brain while Kelrian's arrow had hit the other in the neck.

Noises were hearable as the dead bodies fell over. The guards near the base's entrance looked up to the wall but they didn't see anything from their position so three of them walked up the stairs, checking their surroundings again and again with each step they made.

They spotted Sylvanas and her group near the dead trolls but it was already too late for them. The trolls were killed before they could warn their comrades. Sylvanas and her group hid in the shadows only for a few moments but these moments were enough for them to climb down the stairs unnoticed and kill every single troll near the front gate. They rushed over to one of the empty tents, hiding in it. Kelrian and Sylvanas checked their surroundings, noticing that the south wall was cleared as well.

They saw Zetai and his group near the largest base tower on which the seven trolls were still standing without having any idea what was going on. Kelrian was wondering how the trolls couldn't have noticed a thing until this moment. He couldn't believe that they didn't pay attention to their surroundings. They weren't doing their tasks properly, otherwise, they would have already spotted the numerous troll corpses. Of course, he didn't mind that because the inattentiveness of the trolls only benefitted them.

Everything was looking great, nevertheless, he was mistrustful. They had killed lots of trolls so far, nevertheless, he wasn't delighted yet. Something was suspicious about this whole situation. They trolls died too easily. Maybe they were just too dumb to notice the invaders or maybe there was another reason why they didn't pay attention to their surroundings. He was afraid that the trolls had set a trap. He couldn't believe that the trolls were that dumb. They weren't the smartest creatures, he knew about that, but they weren't that dumb either. There had to be a reason why the trolls let themselves be taken out so quickly.

Maybe there was something wrong about this entire base. Maybe Kelrian was just misinterpreting things. Maybe there was nothing wrong about this base but he just thought there was something wrong. Maybe his paranoia was justified. Maybe not. He only knew one thing. He had to be careful and be prepared for everything. Just like the other members of his group.

"Is everyone ready?" asked Sylvanas, her voice was not much louder than a whisper. Everyone nodded their heads.

"Follow me," she whispered then she rushed out of the tent. She grabbed a torch which stuck in the ground and ignited the nearest tents. Kelrian did the same while the three other rangers shot arrows at the trolls on top of the tower. Their shaman noticed them first, casting a spell. A female ranger not far away from Kelrian was struck by lightning. Her body was flung away, landing dozens of meters away from them. Kelrian rushed over to her, checking if she was alright.

Unfortunately, she was not. She was dead, her body was burned. The smell of burned flesh stung in his nose but he ignored it as best as he could. He nocked an arrow, firing at the troll shaman who was already casting the next spell. The arrow missed him, so did Sylvanas' arrow. Sylvanas and Kelrian never missed a non-moving target so it could only mean that magic was involved. They assumed that the flight paths of the arrows had been shifted so they had barely missed their target. There was only one form of magic which could do that. Elemental magic. It was the work of a second shaman who had manipulated the wind.

Kelrian checked his surroundings while nocking the next arrow, spotting a troll next to one of the tower's feet. It was a young female troll with short red hair and an ugly scar beneath her left eye. Her face distorted in anger, her eyes narrowed as she spotted Kelrian. She dodged his arrow at the last moment, preparing a spell. But she was not able to finish the spell because a familiar ranger beheaded her from behind.

Zetai came in Kelrian's sight, kicking the corpse away as he looked in Kelrian's direction. He gave his friend a short nod, climbing the staircase as fast as possible.

Kelrian didn't hesitate to fire arrows at the trolls. The shaman had been killed in the meantime by three of Sylvanas' arrows. The rangers on the ground killed three of the six troll archers, taking cover as the trolls started to fire back. But they weren't able to shot many arrows which could hit the rangers because Zetai and his group approached them and killed them before they even noticed their arrival. None of Sylvanas' rangers had been injured or killed by the trolls on the tower.

Kelrian recognized the warning sounds of horns but it was already too late for the troll garrison. Half of their defenders were already dead and the remaining trolls were spread out all over the base. Half of the elven invaders stood on top of the wall or on top of the base towers and shot at every troll which came out one of these tents while the rest remained on the ground and made sure no troll could escape through the main entrance. Troll after troll fell until only three badly injured individuals remained.

One of them was the leader of the base, a muscular troll with short green hair and a full beard. The two others were younger and slimmer. They were forced to their knees, their arms were tied behind their backs. Their eyes were narrowed and reflected hatred as they stared at the Ranger-General who was leaning against one of the supporting pillars of the large tower. Her sister was standing next to her, making a disgusted face as her eyes roamed over the survivors.

"How many rangers did we lose?" asked Sylvanas, her eyes didn't leave the leader's face.

"Three," responded Alleria.

A sad sigh escaped Sylvanas' lips. She was silent for a few moments but then she spoke. "Bring them back to our base so we can bury them in Silvermoon City. Collect the troll corpses and count them, check the surroundings for trolls who might hide somewhere. Make sure you are always in a group of three rangers when you walk around. I don't want to lose more rangers."

The rangers saluted to her and grouped up, walking away to fulfil their tasks. Kelrian grouped up with Zetai and Nathanos. Together they walked alongside the left wall of the base and looked for survivors. They found two trolls who were hiding in one of the few tents which weren't consumed by the flames.

These trolls hugged each other, their eyes were closed as they muttered a few sentences. It seems that they were pretty close, so Kelrian assumed that they were either relatives or lovers. The trolls turned their heads as soon as they recognized the presence of the rangers. The male got up and positioned himself in front of the female. He lifted his hands in surrender, his lips moved quickly and lots of words came out of his mouth. None of the rangers understood a word but they were pretty sure that the troll was begging them to spare the woman.

Kelrian regarded the female troll from head to toe, his eyes widened as she stood up. He realized why the male troll was begging for her life. She was in an advanced state of pregnancy.

Kelrian was wondering what a pregnant troll was doing in a military base. After taking a closer look at her, he realized what her purpose was. She was not very muscular and not very tall compared to other female trolls. She was not a warrior, a scout or a hunter. She had to be a cook or a healer. Basically, she was a civilian. Kelrian was about to say something to his comrades as Zetai pushed him to the side and pulled his sword from his belt.

The male troll didn't move an inch, his facial expression didn't reflect the amount of fear he was feeling. He was not afraid of losing his life, he was afraid for the troll woman and the child in her belly. The female's expression spoke volumes. She was afraid of dying, she was afraid of losing her mate and her child. Her entire body was shaking, her bottom lip trembled and tears ran down her cheeks.

They were unarmed and they had surrendered so there was no reason which justified that Zetai had drawn his sword and gave them a hateful look. Kelrian noticed that Zetai lifted the arm which held the sword, meaning he was about to strike. He reacted quickly and stepped in front of the troll, stretching his arms out.

"What are you doing?" shouted the irritated Kelrian. His eyes were narrowed and rested on the larger male who gave him a confused look.

"I could ask you the same," said Zetai in return. His voice reflected his lack of understanding pretty well.

"Preventing that you kill them."

Zetai's expression didn't change at all. "But why? They are our enemies. They are brutal murderers. Have you forgotten what they have done to our people? Have you forgotten what they have done to my village or to your mother?" His voice was much louder than before and reflected the hatred he was feeling for the trolls.

Kelrian shook his head. "I have not forgotten what the trolls have done to our people. But these two individuals didn't do anything."

"You can't know that," spat Zetai. "You don't know how many people they have killed so far. Maybe they have killed dozens or more. You can't tell me that they are innocent. Not a single troll is innocent. They are all the same. Inferior mass-murdering creatures who kill others for their own amusement. They deserve to die after everything they have done to our people since the foundation of Silvermoon City and Quel'Thalas. We didn't start the war with them. They started it thousands of years ago when they invaded our land for the first time. Now get out of my way!"

He put his hand on Kelrian's chest, intending to push him away but the smaller ranger remained on the spot, staring into his friend's eyes.

Zetai growled. "Why are you protecting them?"

"She is a pregnant woman. Have you forgotten that?"

"I don't care if she is pregnant or not. She is a troll that's reason enough to kill her. She is carrying her disgusting brood in her belly which means it will grow up eventually and attack us sooner or later. Trust me, I do us all a favour by ending her life before her brood endangers the life of someone else," roared Zetai. His face was distorted in anger, his eyes reflected pure hatred. His hand was clenched tightly around the hilt of his sword, his other hand grasped Kelrian's shoulder. He didn't realize that he was inflicting pain to his friend but the younger ranger didn't say a word. He just stared at his friend, hoping he could calm him down somehow.

"They are our prisoners, Zetai. We don't kill our prisoners, do we? We are not like them or like the orcs. We are better than them, right? You always preached that our race is superior to them. You are not better than them if you slaughter them like cattle."

A loud groan escaped Zetai's lips. "I don't care" he hissed and pushed Kelrian away. He fell onto the ground landing next to the troll pair who was still regarding them, not knowing what was going on. Zetai turned his head, looking at the trolls. "It's time to say goodbye, you bastards," he spat out, lifting his sword above his head. He smirked as he lowered the weapon which came closer and closer to the male troll's head.

He would have chopped his head off if Nathanos wouldn't have grabbed his arm and pulled it back. Zetai turned around, giving the human an irritated look. The irritation disappeared quickly and was replaced by anger. "How dare you? How dare you stop me human?" Zetai growled. The word human was stressed negatively, which told Kelrian and Nathanos that the large elf didn't like humans either. He was disgusted by them the same as he was by trolls. Kelrian had always known that Zetai didn't like trolls but he had never thought he didn't like humans either.

He didn't leap into hasty conclusions but he had gotten the impression that Zetai didn't like other races in general. He had always expressed that he believed the high elves were better than any other race. But that didn't make him to racist, did it? Kelrian was hoping that at least. He knew his friend pretty well and he had witnessed some of his rage outbursts of rage but he had never seen him behave like that before.

These two trolls hadn't done anything to him, nevertheless, he wanted to slaughter them for what the other members of their race had done. Kelrian didn't recognize his friend anymore. Zetai had always been friendly to everyone. Well to every high elf to be exact. He was a pretty smart guy who could control himself and didn't rush things.

But at this very moment, he was anything but that. He allowed his emotions to take control of him. His anger and hatred for trolls spoke and acted for him. He was not himself anymore so he needed to be stopped before he would do something he would regret later.

Nathanos kept holding his arm, trying to pull him away from the trolls but Zetai resisted. He bit his bottom lip hard and focused all of his strength to move the angry ranger away from the prisoners but he didn't manage that. Zetai lost his patience and pushed Nathanos back, causing that he landed on the ground. He turned around, a loud hiss escaped his lips as he noticed that Kelrian stood in front of the trolls and had drawn his swords from his belt. "You have to get past me if you want to kill them. I can't allow that you hurt our prisoners, especially because one of them is a pregnant woman."

A frustrated shout escaped Zetai's lips as he noticed Kelrian wasn't bluffing. He didn't know what to do. He couldn't hurt his friend but a voice in his head told him to kill every single troll he could find. Killing them meant he had to hurt Kelrian as well. He couldn't do that, could he?

But he wanted to kill these bastards so badly. He was thirsty for blood. Killing ten trolls during the attack hadn't been enough for him. He wanted more. He wanted to spill more troll blood, wanted to end more troll lives. He wanted to make them suffer for everything they had done to his family and to his village. He would love to cut the unborn baby out of the mother's belly and then kill her in front of the man's eyes before he would kill him.

But he couldn't because Kelrian and Nathanos, who had walked to Kelrian and had drawn his sword in the meantime, prevented that. Zetai looked at the scared trolls, then he looked at his comrades. He muttered something unintelligible before he turned around and walked away, leaving the elf and the human alone with the trolls.

Kelrian stared at Zetai as he left. He couldn't believe that he had behaved like that. Zetai had some serious anger problems and the events of the past were still plaguing him. He knew he needed to talk to him as soon as he had calmed down. Zetai needed help. He shouldn't go in a rampage whenever he would spot a troll. He would get himself in danger if he wouldn't manage to control his anger. Kelrian didn't want to imagine what could happen if Zetai would charge alone at a group of trolls even though someone had given the order to retreat. He didn't want to imagine what would happen if Zetai's rage would lead him to do stupid things...

Kelrian took a deep breath, looking at Nathanos who frowned. The human shrugged his shoulders, pointing at the troll couple. "What are we doing with them?"

Kelrian rubbed his chin as he looked at them. "We should take them to the Ranger-General," he said eventually. Nathanos nodded in agreement. Together, they brought the trolls back to the Ranger-General. It didn't really surprise them that the trolls didn't fight back or tried to escape. They knew they would only make things worse if they would resist. Their chances of survival were larger if they would behave well and wouldn't cause unnecessary trouble.

Sylvanas walked towards them as she saw them. She stopped in front of them, scrutinizing the red-haired troll and his pregnant partner. She looked at two groups of three rangers each, signalizing them to come closer. "Bring these prisoners back to our base but make sure they are alright. They might be trolls but they are still living creatures. We don't hurt pregnant women, no matter to which race they belong.

"As you wish, Ranger-General" one of Alleria's rangers said.

"You go with them Nathanos."

The human lowered his head in respect. "As you wish."

Sylvanas waited until they were out of her sight so she and Kelrian were alone while the other rangers were still busy. "You did well today," she complimented.

"Thank you" he responded. His face was supposed to reflect pride but instead, his eyes reflected grief.

Sylvanas frowned. "What's wrong?"

Kelrian said the name of the female elf who had been killed by the lightning strike. His voice reflected sadness. "She was right next to me but I couldn't save her..."

Sylvanas exhaled loudly, putting a hand on his shoulder. "We can't save everyone, my dear. This is war. People die. People we know die and we can't always prevent that. I know it sucks but that is what life is. Life is cruel. We can only make the best out of it". She put her hand on his cheek, making sure that no one was watching them before she caressed it. She pressed a soft kiss on his cheek, giving him a comforting smile.

"You are right. Like us, she chose this life. She knew about all the dangers and risks but she still chose it because she wanted to help others. We are not doing this for our amusement. We are not going to war against the trolls because we want more territories. We are only protecting our people, that's why we fight against the trolls and orcs.

And to protect them we have to defeat the trolls and orcs once and for all. This war will cost lots of lives but every single lost life will not be forgotten. We will make sure that they didn't die in vain. We will defeat the trolls and the orcs so our people can live in peace without having to fear that they might get attacked by trolls or orcs one day," spoke Kelrian, staring into her eyes.

"You are right about that, my love. This war will be hard but I believe we will succeed. We have the support of the dwarves and humans. The humans have defeated the orcs once so they can do it again and we will help them as soon as we have defeated the trolls."

"I'm aware of the dangerous life of a ranger, so I don't mind risking my life. I'm glad that I'm one of your rangers. I have always dreamed of defending our people together with you. I'm glad this dream came true."

Sylvanas returned his smile, caressing his left cheek once again. She stared into his eyes, so did he. They did that for a few minutes, pulling away as they heard footsteps. Alleria approached them and congratulated her sister for the successful attack. She wrapped her arm around Sylvanas' shoulders, placing a soft kiss on her forehead. Sylvanas smiled at her, caressing her cheek.

"You did well too, sis."

Alleria's smile became wider. "Thank you." She regarded Kelrian for a few moments before she looked back at her baby sister. "Do you have any idea how many men will stay in this base and hold it?"

"I don't have the exact number in mind but we should station at least two hundred people here. The base is so large that it's impossible to cover every corner with only sixty men. You have seen how easy it has been to get in the base and take out the trolls one by one because they had stationed too few warriors there. I don't want that to happen with to our people so I want to cover every single corner with patrols and rangers who always remain on the same spot.

We also have to upgrade the base in general. We should make the wall better and higher, build more towers and let more scouts patrol around this base and the other bases we have captured today. I want to be informed quickly when a group of trolls are seen somewhere so we have enough time to get prepared for an attack. The humans and dwarves sent us five thousand men so I'm pretty sure we will have enough men we can station somewhere or send on patrols."

"You are right, sister," responded Alleria. "Before I forget, we have collected all the dead trolls and pilled them up. Shall we burn them or bury them?"

"Burn them," responded Sylvanas without thinking twice.

Alleria nodded her head. "As you wish, my dear sister." She walked away quickly, leaving Kelrian and Sylvanas alone.

"Come, we should follow her," said Sylvanas.

Kelrian nodded his head. "After you, my love."

Chapter Text

Sylvanas rubbed her chin as she regarded the map on the table in front of her. A frown on her forehead and a thoughtful expression on her face were visible as she overthought the current situation. A few weeks had passed since the high elves had become active and had started to drive the trolls back. They had invaded their bases, camps and fortresses near the eastern border of Quel'Thalas. They had killed most of the trolls which had been stationed there. They had lost about two dozen rangers within the past three weeks but they had slain over two hundred trolls in return.

They had even repelled the trolls who had tried to reconquer their former bases and territories. Zul'jin had wasted the lives of additional fifty trolls who had tried to get through the defence line in the south while the elves had expanded their territory in the south-east. These raiders managed to slay ten elves, seven humans and eight dwarves but all of Zul'jin's raiders had been killed in return.

Sylvanas hadn't expected that this war would be easy. She knew that this war will cost lots of lives, too many lives for her liking. But it was necessary, otherwise, the orcs and the trolls would continue terrorizing the populations of the humans, dwarves and high elves. The orcs had been very active over the past had attacked smaller villages in the remains of Stormwind and even in Lordaeron. Stormwind City had been spared because it was still a ruin. The orcs had burned it down years ago. It was impossible to rebuild it while the orcs remained in its near and attacking everyone who wasn't one of them.

Sylvanas wished she could help the humans but she had to defeat the trolls first. She had to capture Zul'jin to defeat the trolls, then the high elves could help the Alliance with the orcs.

Sylvanas still wasn't sure how to proceed. Together with the dwarven and human reinforcements, the high elves had conquered half of the territory of the Amani trolls. Only a small portion of Zul'jin's army had been stationed there and tried to defend their bases. Sylvanas' scouts had reported to her that thousands of troll warriors were still out there, almost one thousand warriors were in Zul'Aman and in the area around it.

Sylvanas knew they would siege it one day and the siege will be bloody. She assumed it will endure for days, weeks or even months and lots of people will die. Lots of trolls, dwarves, humans and even high elves. But there was no going back. The trolls and the orcs had started everything and the Alliance of Lordaeron will end it once and for all.

Sylvanas turned her head as she noticed that a person had just entered the tent. It was her older sister who was carrying something in her hand. It was a letter. Sylvanas raised a brow, giving her sister a curious look. "Hello, Lady Sun. How are you doing?"

Alleria chuckled as she heard the nickname which she hadn't heard for a while. Vereesa had given Alleria and Sylvanas nicknames which she always used, even these days. Alleria didn't mind that Sylvanas used the nickname too because she also called Sylvanas by her nickname from time to time. She did that to tease her. "I'm fine. What about you, Lady Moon?"

"Well, I'm fine, I guess. I'm still busy figuring out a strategy. There are so many big fortresses between us and Zul'Aman, it will take us a while to conquer all of them."

Alleria stepped to her little sister, wrapping her arm around her shoulders. "Our people have defeated the trolls thousands of years ago. Their territory had been much larger back then and they had hundreds of thousands of warriors at that time. The current troll empire is nothing more than a shadow of its former self. They might have the support of the orcs these days but they are still not as strong as they have once been. I'm pretty sure we will defeat them."

"I hope so. I'm not sure about the war's outcome. I only know that numerous people from both sides are going to die," responded Sylvanas, her gaze rested on the map.

"Don't be sad, my dear," spoke Alleria as she wrapped her arms around Sylvanas' torso and rubbed her back.

"I'm not sad, I'm just... overtaxed and tired of fighting against these trolls. We are fighting them for two dozen years and haven't won yet. It's just... exhausting."

Alleria caressed Sylvanas' chin, giving her a comforting smile. "Everything will be alright. I promise."

Sylvanas ran her fingertips over her eyelids, taking a deep breath. She opened her eyes, looking at her older sister. "I have to be careful or I might get a mental breakdown."

Alleria assumed that this was meant as a joke but she was not one hundred percent sure about that. She knew her sister was under a lot of pressure. She was the Ranger-General of Silvermoon, the highest position a Farstrider could ever reach. She had lots of power but also a lot of responsibility. It was her task to coordinate the defence and offence at the same time. It was her task to lead their people to victory. If she would miscalculate or plan something wrong it could mean the death of lots of people or worse.

One wrong move could lead to a catastrophe. She had to make sure that nothing goes wrong so she had to overthink her plans over and over again until she was one hundred percent sure that everything would work out. A single mistake could have fatal repercussions.

Alleria didn't want to know how long Sylvanas had regarded the map that dayand tried to figure out the perfect battle plan. She took a closer look at her sister, knowing immediately that she was pretty tired. She could only assume that Sylvanas had gotten up very early and had thought about a plan until this moment. Until the late evening. Sylvanas wouldn't be able to come to a result that day so Alleria thought it was the best to distract her and allow her to get some rest.

"You have been thinking about it all day, haven't you?"

Sylvanas didn't respond verbally, she just nodded her head, staring at the map and the figures on top of it.

"Don't you think you should get some rest? Eat something, relax and get some sleep. I'm not the only one who has noticed that you have become a lot thinner during the past weeks," spoke Alleria in Sylvanas' ear. She wrapped her arms around her from behind, putting her hands on her hips. "Yep, you are definitely thinner."

A loud sigh escaped Sylvanas' lips. "I know, I know. Verena already told me that."

"First your lover and now your sister. You should really change something when two close persons tell you that you have lost too much weight."

Sylvanas raised a brow. "Lover? Verena is not my lover."

Alleria made a surprised face. "She is not?"

Sylvanas nodded her head.

"Who is it then?"

Sylvanas frowned. "What do you mean?"

Alleria frowned as well, rubbing her forehead. "I'm not dumb, Sylvanas. I know you are dating someone and I also know that you keep it secret. Don't pretend there is no one. I have seen you weeks ago with someone. It was too dark so I couldn't recognize who it was but I know that there is someone."

The Ranger-General exhaled loudly. "Fine, you got me. I will tell you but only if you promise to not tell anyone."

"My lips are sealed. You don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I'm not forcing you."

Sylvanas chewed on her bottom lip as she considered if she should tell her sister or not. "I will tell you about him but not now and not here. Who knows who is listening to us. I want to be on the safe side."

Alleria gave her an understanding nod. "Alright, we will do it elsewhere. Maybe in your room," she suggested.

"Sounds fine but first tell me what you are holding in your hand," Sylvanas demanded.

"It's a letter from our brother."

Sylvanas gave her a surprised look. "A letter from Lirath? He has never written a letter to us when we were on a mission... It wonders me why he is doing it now."

"I have already read the letter. Let's say he wrote to me because he wants to hear my opinion about something."

"Should we discuss that in my room too?"

Alleria gave her a nod. "We better do."

"Alright, let's go.I will continue racking my brain over the strategy tomorrow then."

"I will help you. Don't worry, we will figure out a good plan," spoke Alleria, caressing her sister's back before she stepped away from her and walked to the tent's exit. Sylvanas followed her, her eyes widened as she realized that it was already dark. She had been so busy that she hadn't noticed how fast the time had passed. She saw rangers and guards walking through the lines of tents, making sure everything was alright.

Sylvanas lifted her head and turned it to regard the wooden towers which stood in every corner. On top of each tower stood six rangers. The form of the base was a square which meant that there were four towers in total.

The sisters walked through the base to the hut, which was only used for special guests like the high king or the prince if they visited the camps and wanted to stay over the night. No king or prince was present so Sylvanas was sleeping there while the rangers, lieutenants and even captains were sleeping in tents. Sylvanas unlocked the door, allowing her sister to get inside before she entered the hut and locked the door behind her.

Alleria glimpsed at the hut's inside. "It looks better than I've expected."

"I just sleep here. I spend the rest of the day in the tent where I plan everything with my advisors. I don't really care if the furniture looks good or if it's nicely decorated. I'm happy as long as I have a warm bed where I can relax after a long and stressful day."

Alleria walked over to the bed, tilting her head as she noticed that someone was lying in it. "It seems you have to look for another bed because yours is already taken."

Sylvanas' voice reflected pure surprise, so did her face. "What?" She walked over to the bed, noticing that someone was lying beneath her blanket.

"It seems you forgot to let your lover out when you got up very early in the morning," joked Alleria, an amused smile appeared on her lips. Sylvanas ignored her comment as she pulled the blanket away. Her eyes widened when she revealed the sleeping Verena, who wore nothing but her underwear.

"What is she doing here?" asked Sylvanas loudly.

Alleria's lips formed an amused smile. "I should ask you that."

Sylvanas turned her head, looking at her sister who had a taunting expression on her face. "She is not my lover."

Alleria grinned. "So, why is she in your bed then?"

Sylvanas caressed her forehead. "I've no clue how she got in there. There is only one spare key but I didn't give it to her. I gave it to Kelrian."

"Kelrian? Kelrian Sunsinger?"

Sylvanas didn't reply to her.

Soft laughter escaped Alleria's lips as she realized who her sister's lover was.

"My sister, the best ranger on Azeroth, and the guy no one thought would become a ranger. Sometimes fate is really funny and creative."

"Kelrian is no longer the guy nobody wants to work with. He has proven himself worthy. I didn't choose him to join my team because I'm attracted to him. I chose him because he is very good," replied Sylvanas, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

Alleria raised her hands as a kind of apology even though she had done nothing wrong. "I know that he is a good ranger."

"One of the best of the current generation," corrected Sylvanas.

Alleria smiled. "Alright, he is one of the best"

Sylvanas gave her a thankful nod.

"I'm happy for you. You know that, right?" asked the blonde elf with the tattoo on her face.

"I do"

"Nevertheless, I'm asking myself why your best friend is sleeping in your bed and wears nothing but her underwear."

"Believe me, I'm asking myself the same question," Sylvanas responded as she sat down on the bed, leaning forward so she could reach her best friend. She put her hand on her right shoulder, shaking her carefully at first. Verena muttered something but she didn't wake up, instead, she shifted around so that her back was turned to the two irritated rangers.

Sylvanas shook her again, harder this time. Still, Verena didn't wake up. Not even as Sylvanas threw her out of her bed. Sylvanas turned her head, looking at her sister who gave her an understanding nod. She walked to the bathroom and returned with a bucket full of cold water.

She stepped next to the bed, giving Sylvanas one last questioning look. Sylvanas nodded her head, telling her to go ahead. The bucket was emptied over Verena who startled from her sleep, shrieking loudly. She shook her head quickly, trying to recognize her surroundings to find out what was going on. She needed a few minutes to calm down and relax.

She was wondering why she was dripping wet but she found the answer when she looked at Alleria who was still holding the bucket. She turned her head, looking at the younger Windrunner sister who gave her an amused smile.

"Look who's finally awake," commented Sylvanas.

"And sleeping in the wrong bed," added Alleria.

Verena wanted to say something but her throat was too dry so not a single word escaped her lips.

"What are you doing here?" asked Sylvanas after she had waited patiently for a few moments.

"I..." she started but didn't speak any further.

Sylvanas raised an eyebrow. "Yeah? I'm listening."

"I thought you would work the entire night so I allowed myself to sleep in your warm comfortable bed instead of the uncomfortable sleeping bags. I mean your bed is large enough for at least two persons," told Verena.

"You could have asked me and I would have probably allowed it. But now..."

"I'm sorry, Sylvie" responded her best friend. She got up, intending to apologize to her by hugging her but Sylvanas stretched her arms out to keep her at distance. Verena was hurt for a short moment because she thought Sylvanas was really mad at her but then she realized that Sylvanas didn't want to hug her because her entire body and her clothes were dripping wet.

"Apology accepted," spoke Sylvanas eventually. Verena's insecure facial expression changed to a happy and confident expression.

"I will change my clothes and return to my tent."

"You don't need to return to your tent. You can spend the night with me once you are here. Your undergarments are wet so is your hair. I can't let you out right now because you might catch a cold. And I don't want that one of my best rangers gets sick." spoke Sylvanas, smiling at her.

Verena returned the smile, expressing her thankfulness by lowering her head. Sylvanas pointed at the wardrobe, telling her that she should take out a pair of undergarments and a pyjama. Verena did as she was told, disappearing in the bathroom to change. She returned later, the blue pyjama fitted her perfectly and hugged all of her curves. She repressed to say how good Sylvanas' underwear felt on her body.

She walked over to the two other females, giving Sylvanas a curious look as she saw the letter in her hand. "What's that?"

"A letter from Lirath," responded Sylvanas. She ignored Alleria's irritated look as she handed it over to Verena who read it carefully. She turned her head, returning her sister's staring. "I would have told her anyway. She is my best friend. We don't keep secrets from each other. I mean I wouldn't have told her if it would have been a strictly confidential secret. But Lirath asks for our honest opinion because he is afraid what our parents might say. He is afraid that he can't convince them to get known to his girlfriend. And who knows it better how to convince your parents to accept your partner than Verena who had troubles to make her parents accept her partner."

Alleria frowned. "Well, homosexuality is not uncommon in our society, choosing a human as a partner is something completely different. I know what I'm talking about. It took me months to convince our parents to get known to Turalyon and I'm pretty sure they still hope that I'm just in a rebellious phase and that I would choose an elf instead of him one day."

"But they accepted you, so I don't see a reason why they shouldn't accept Lirath's human girlfriend. I don't think my help is needed," replied Verena.

"Lirath is the only son of our parents so I think they will see things differently. Alleria may be the oldest daughter but there are still two other daughters who could come together with a high elf. Maybe they see things differently when it comes to Lirath," Sylvanas said to Verena, making a thoughtful face.

Alleria tilted her head a little. "I don't think they will react differently. I think they will be tolerant and assure Lirath that they will accept whoever he will choose," she made a small pause, taking the letter back from Verena. She skimmed through it and handed it to Sylvanas. "I don't think he needs to be afraid. If he loves her then he should tell our parents about her. I'm pretty sure they will accept her."

"Two out of four Windrunners chose humans over their own kind," commented Verena. "That's interesting."

"I don't really care if my partner is a human or an elf. I have to admit that human males also look good. The girls are pretty too. But I prefer high elves as you know," spoke Sylvanas.

"Yep, Kelrian is a very lucky guy. I wish I would be in his place and be together with the most beautiful woman on Azeroth," flattered Verena.

Sylvanas' lips formed a provocative grin. "You had your chance to convert me to a full lesbian. But you didn't succeed, so I remain straight or bi at least. Anyways, back to the main topic. We should write Lirath he should tell our parents about his girlfriend if he is sure she is the right one."

"I agree with you," spoke Alleria.

"So do I," added Verena.

"Perfect. We all share the same opinion," said Alleria.

"I wanted to ask you a question earlier but I forgot to do it. The same question just came back in my mind so I want to hear an answer from you," said Sylvanas.

"Go ahead, Sylvie. Ask me anything you want"

"How did you managed to get in here?"

"Kelrian gave me the spare key."

Sylvanas' eyes widened in surprise. "He did what?"

"You have heard me correctly. He gave me the key."

"Why did he do that?"

"Because I asked for it."

"And he handed you the key without asking why you need it and how you know about it?"

"He knows I'm your best friend and he knows that you tell me almost everything so he didn't need to ask how I knew about it. I told him that I forgot something in your room and that I didn't want to distract you from planning so I needed him to lend me the key," explained Verena.

Sylvanas sighed. "It was not his fault, he got tricked by you. He knows I trust you so I assume he trusts you blindly. Nevertheless, I will tell him to not give you the spare key next time, as long as it is not urgent."

"Do that but don't be so strict with him. It was not his fault," responded Verena.

"Don't worry about that. I won't scold him."

A naughty smirk appeared on Verena's lips. "I assume you will scold and punish him later in a different way."

Sylvanas rolled her eyes, shaking her head and giving her a feigned uncomprehending look. Alleria cleared her throat. "It would be nice if you would only talk about such things when I'm not around."

"Ah c'mon, Alleria don't be such a spoilsport. You can't tell me you don't talk about men and sex with your friends."

Alleria shook her head slightly. "I do but I don't talk about such topics when my sister is around."

Sylvanas patted her sister's shoulder. "Excuse my best friend, she is a pervert who has only one thing in her mind."

Verena's lips formed a mischievous grin. "And that's your thick and firm ass" she spoke as she gave Sylvanas a rough spank, making the woman yell in surprise and jump up a little.

Sylvanas rubbed her forehead, regarding her best friend with narrowed eyes. "That was too much."

Verena's lips said sorry but her eyes said the opposite. Verena was not really sorry, on the opposite, she had enjoyed it and she would love to do it again. For Verena, touching Sylvanas' ass was one of the best feelings in the world. She was jealous of Kelrian because he could touch her whenever they were alone. She couldn't do that without being scolded or getting hit in return. Kelrian didn't need to be afraid that Sylvanas would hit him.

There had been a time where Verena could have done the same without getting scolded or punished but these times were over. She missed those times. The times where she and Sylvanas had been a thing. Their relationship had lasted for ten years before Sylvanas had ended the relationship out of nowhere. She had explained to Verena that she couldn't do that anymore. That she couldn't lie to her and to herself anymore. That she had realized she preferred men.

Verena had been heartbroken at first and had needed a lot of time to accept everything. Sylvanas thought her best friend was over her but the truth was that she wasn't. Verena still loved Sylvanas and she had told her that over and over again but Sylvanas had found someone else. She had found true love. Verena was happy for Sylvanas but at the same time, she was sad that she couldn't have her.

Verena knew she couldn't have her so she touched her without her noticing whenever she could. Sometimes, she gave her a massage, sometimes she helped her getting dressed for important meetings or events. Sometimes, she went with her to the beach and put sun cream on her soft and sensitive skin. There were lots of situation where she could be near Sylvanas. Also, she hugged her whenever they greeted each other or said goodbye. She was still able to be physically close to Sylvanas. But not as close as she wanted.

Spanking Sylvanas' butt had been too much. She had crossed a border and she knew that. She was glad that Sylvanas didn't make a drama out of it. The Ranger-General just ignored it, turning to her sister to talk with her. Verena listened to them, regarding Sylvanas most of the time. Her gaze shifted to Alleria from time to time but it only rested on her beautiful face or her well-formed curves.

She was so lost in thoughts that she didn't realize that Sylvanas was speaking to her. Only the small pillow which hit her head managed to bring her out of her thoughts. Verena scratched her head, checking her surroundings.

"You are back in the presence, sweetheart. You are not in your dream world anymore," said Sylvanas, tapping her shoulder playfully.

"I don't want to know what she was thinking about," commented Alleria, crossing her arms in front of her chest.

"She has stared at you for quite some time so she has probably thought about you in your underwear," joked Sylvanas, patting her older sister's back. Alleria's cheeks turned slightly red but her blush was not as clearly visible as the blush on Verena's face.

"I think I should go now before Verena imagines me wearing nothing at all," spoke Alleria, chuckling when she noticed that Verena's cheeks became redder. She shook her head amused, looking at Verena and then at her sister. "I can't believe that you dress up while she is watching you. Doesn't it bother you that you turn her on when you change in front of her?"

"Not really," replied Sylvanas honestly. "Verena knows her limit. She knows what she is not allowed to do and she knows what will happen if she crosses a line."

Alleria turned her head, looking at Verena. She gave her a curious look, raising an eyebrow. "What does my sister do when you cross a line?"

"The last time I crossed a line, she didn't talk to me for a week. She also threatened me that she would pinch my nipples and twist them if I dare to take advantage of her again" Verena spoke quietly, avoiding eye contact by looking at the floor.

Alleria frowned "You took advantage of her?"

A sad sigh escaped Verena's lips. Her voice reflected guilt as she started to explain. "I did and I'm not proud of it. It happened when she broke up with her last boyfriend, more than seventy years ago. She was fragile and an emotional mess and... Well, I tried to comfort her but then everything got out of hand and I started to kiss her... Well, you can imagine the rest. Sylvanas prevented that I would only make it worse..."

"My sister forgave you, so everything is alright, I guess. But as her older sister, I have to tell you one thing. You better never take advantage of her again or I will find you and punish you. But not in the pleasant way you hope Sylvanas would do to you." Alleria stood right in front of Verena, staring into the eyes of the slightly smaller woman.

Verena swallowed, nodding her head quickly. She did her best to not show Alleria that she was intimidated by her but she failed horribly. Alleria smirked as she noticed that the perverted elf respected her more than anyone else. She knew that Verena would never mess with her because she was too afraid of what she might do to her.

None of the three women said anything. Alleria kept staring into Verena's eyes, the smaller elf returned her stare. Sylvanas regarded them with a curious look on her face. Alleria cleared her throat after a while, telling Sylvanas and her best friend that she needed to go now if she wanted to catch enough sleep.

Sylvanas stepped to her, hugged her and kissed her forehead softly. Alleria kissed her left cheek, caressing her back softly. She pulled away eventually, pointing two fingers at her eyes and then at Verena's, signalizing her she would keep an eye on her. Verena nodded silently, her eyes rested on Alleria as she walked to the door and left the hut. She still regarded the entrance even though Alleria had walked through it five minutes ago.

Sylvanas cleared her throat, bringing Verena out of her thoughts. The other woman blushed as she turned around and walked to the bed on which Sylvanas was sitting. She wore a light blue pyjama and her hair was loose. She slipped under the blanket, lying down next to her best friend. The corners of her lips formed a small smile as she noticed that Sylvanas wasn't mad at her.

On the opposite, she gave Verena a small smile, comforting her. She even leaned over to kiss her left cheek, looking at her for a few moments before she put her head on the pillow, closed her eyes and started to relax. Verena didn't close her eyes yet. She regarded Sylvanas until she fell asleep, which happened faster than expected. She caressed her cheek for a few times before she closed her eyes and relaxed, falling asleep eventually.

He opened his eyes as soon as he noticed that he was awake. He looked around, trying to find out where he was. There was nothing but darkness around him. He remained calm, trying to figure out what was going on. He noticed that his hands were shackled but his feet weren't. Whoever had captured him didn't expect him to run away. He couldn't run anyway because he was sitting in a small closed room. A room which was moving and shaking.

He looked up, spotting the wide slit near the ceiling. He stood up, looking through it. He didn't recognize much but he spotted the outlines of a tree which became smaller with each passing second. He assumed he was in some sort of a wagon which transported him somewhere at night. He was wondering how he had landed there but then he started to remember what had happened. Sylvanas Windrunner and the local guards had arrested him and thrown him into that wagon.

"Are you Xenarion Sunsinger?"

"Yes, I am. Why are you asking?"

"You are under arrest because you have hired a group of mercenaries to injure your own son. Your guilt has been proved by the testimonies of the victim, the culprits and three witnesses. We will take you to Silvermoon City and locked you in one of the dungeons cells."

Xenarion had resisted at first but the guards had overwhelmed him and put him into the wagon which would take him to Silvermoon City. They will lock him in one of the dirty cells there. He had no clue for how long they will keep him there but he knew for sure they wouldn't let him out for quite some time. He would have to serve his entire sentence to get free.

Anger rose up in him as he realized he wouldn't be able to see his family for a long time. Only because of his stupid son. If he wouldn't be there, he wouldn't be transported to a prison. He was wishing that Kelrian would have never been born. He was a failure. He was not able to use the light even though his family, which members were known as the best priests and paladins in Quel'Thalas, had trained him. Xenarion felt deep hatred for his middle son. His pulse was racing and anger built up in him whenever he thought about Kelrian.

Xenarion didn't regret ordering mercenaries to teach Kelrian a lesson. He only regretted hiring the wrong mercenaries. He had trusted his friend but he had failed him. He should have listened to his instincts and should have hired the more expensive mercenaries instead of the guild of his friend. But it was too late to change things. He couldn't change the past and he had no influence on the future. His hands were tied. Literally.

He sat down on the small bench, closing his eyes to get some rest. He was about to fall asleep as he heard loud shouts coming from outside. He heard shouts from high elves but also shouts in a foreign language. He could only assume that the strange shouts came from trolls or orcs. His heartbeat became very fast, his skin tingled nervously and cold shivers ran down his spine as he listened to the sounds of battle.

People shouted commands, cried out in anger or in pain. Steel clashed against steel, limbs were cut off, voices became silent. People died around him and there was nothing Xenarion could do to help his people. He tried to free himself but the handcuffs were too tight around his wrists so he couldn't slip out of them.

Panic started to overwhelm him, the fear of death started to consume him, causing that his whole body began to tremble. His heartbeat became a lot faster as the last elven voice became silent. The door of the metal cage, in which he was locked in, was taken out of its hinges. Muscular green creatures looked at him, their ugly green lips formed mischievous smiles.

One of these creatures, which was larger than the wagon, stretched his arm out and destroyed the chain, which connected Xenarion's handcuffs and with the bottom of the cage, with his bare hand. He grabbed him by his legs and flung him out of the cage.

Xenarion groaned as landed on the muddy ground. He needed a few moments to regain control over his body, getting up eventually. He ignored the massive amount of pain he was feeling as he checked his surroundings. He spotted three dead trolls and five dead Silvermoon guards around the wagon. The neck of three of these elves had been broken as if a large creature had grabbed them and snapped their necks with its bare hands.

Xenarion's eyes widened, the amount of fear he was feeling was massively increased as he took a closer look at the creature which was responsible for the deaths of these three guards. It was a large dire troll which was three times larger than his companions which were ordinary forest trolls. They were eight in total. All of them were armed to their teeth. Their yellow eyes rested on him, their ugly lips formed triumphant grins.

One of them, a troll with short blue hair stepped forward, walking towards the scared priest while his companions remained in front of the wagon. Xenarion fixed his eyes on the troll whose armour looked firmer and better produced than the armours of the other trolls. He was wearing something around his neck which looked like a necklace made out of human and elven ears. The priest was pretty sure that this guy was the leader of this group.

He could only assume that they came from Tor'Watha which was the only remaining fortress of the forest trolls in the east of Quel'Thalas. Their presence could only mean that they had either managed to broke through the defensive line or they had managed to sneak past it without getting seen. Both options were bad for the elves. There was a deadly group of trolls behind the outmost defensive line and nobody knew about it. Nobody except for Xenarion.

He must escape somehow and warn the others. That was his duty as a member of the high elven society. But he didn't care about his duty, he just wanted to survive no matter what it would cost.

"Look who we have here. A tremblin' elf," the troll spoke. It really surprised Xenarion that the troll was able to speak thalassian. His accent may be very strong but he was able to express himself without making too many mistakes. Xenarion had not the time to wonder why the troll knew the language of the high elves. He was wondering why he hadn't already killed him and approached him instead. He was wondering why the troll didn't capture him and was talking to him instead.

"An elf imprisoned by his own kind, how odd. If I wouldn't know it any better, I would say ya are a traitor or a criminal. Otherwise, ya wouldn't have been in dere," he said, pointing at the wagon. "Ya must know, the enemy of my enemy can be ma friend."

Xenarion's fear disappeared suddenly and was replaced by confusion. He tilted his head, giving the troll a confused look.

"You've lost me there. What do you want to imply?" he asked.

The troll laughed, looking at his comrades who laughed as well. "Stupid elf," he commented. "Ya will give me some information and I will spare ya life."

Xenarion's eyes narrowed. "How do I know I can trust you? Who guarantees me that you don't kill me after you received the information you want from me?"

The troll laughed again. "Ya can't, mon. But ya have no otha choice if ya want ta live. I tell you dis, unlike ya people, ma people fight with honour. We stand ta our words. Not ta mention, ya have no otha choice than trustin' me."

"I see" muttered Xenarion, making a thoughtful face as he considered his options.

"Let's say you are speaking the truth, what else do I get if I give you the information you want?"

The troll's lips formed a triumphant smile. He knew he got the fish on the hook, now he only needed to pull it out. "I will spare ya and ya family and regard dem as our guests of honour. I know ya don't know me but I promise ya dat I will stand by ma word. By da loa of my people."

"My people say that you can never trust a troll but what do my people know anyways? They always want my help and never give me something in return. I have no other choice anyway but I want you to do me a favour. My son kidnapped half of my family, I want you to bring them to me but in one piece and without harming them," said Xenarion.

"Dat should be no problem. But we do that lata. First, ya will tell us de information we want."

"So, what do you want to know? How many rangers and guards we have? Where our patrols are walking their rounds? How many people are stationed in the villages, camps, bases and fortresses?" Xenarion's lips formed a mischievous smile. "Or do you want to know how you can hurt the famous Ranger-General the most?"

The troll raised an eyebrow, giving the elf a curious look. "Ya know dat?"

"I know where her family lives. If you want to break the famous Troll Slayer then you have to attack Windrunner Spire and Windrunner Village."

"Ya tell us a way to hurt da Ranger-General? Why? I just expected to get military information from ya. Why are you offerin' us dis instead?"

An evil smirk appeared on Xenarion's face. "Let's say the Ranger-General and I have a score to settle. Not to mention that my son seems to be very important to her and I think she is important to him too."

"So, ya do dis to hurt ya own son? Ya own flesh and blood? Wat a sick bastard are ya?

Soft laughter escaped Xenarion's lips. "Trust me, my son deserves it and this whore of a Ranger-General Windrunner deserves it too. She is responsible that I would have gotten locked in a dirty cell for quite some time."

"Wateva you say, mon. Tell me where the Troll Slayer's home is" the troll said.

"Give a second," Xenarion said, looking up at the troll who gave him a nod.

Xenarion walked over to one of the dead guards, ignoring the amount of blood which was spread all over the ground. He looked through the guard's bag, smiling as he found a map. He walked over to the leader and unfolded the map, handing it over to him. "There is Windrunner Spire, where the Ranger-General's family lives," he said, pointing at a spot in the south-west of the map. "And above it is Windrunner Village. The rest of her family, which includes her uncles, aunts and cousins, lives there."

"I see. So, our pact is sealed, right'?" the troll asked, stretching his hand out. "Ya give us all the information ya know and I will promise ya that ma people and da orcs will spare ya and ya family."

Xenarion shook his hand, smiling mischievously. "May I know who you are?"

"I am Leth'al, da brother of da right hand of Zul'jin."

"I'm Xenarion Sunsinger, it's nice to meet you."

"Da pleasure is ma, mon" responded Leth'al, a satisfied grin appeared on his green lips.

Chapter Text

"What a wonderful place" he spoke as he regarded his surroundings happily. He was standing in the middle of a small clearing so not a single tree could prevent the sunlight from shining down on him. He took a deep breath, extending his arms as he enjoyed the warm embrace of the sun. The sun was smiling at him but not only at him. There was another person who received the pleasant embrace of the sun. She stepped next to the young elf who was still standing in the middle of the clearing and enjoyed the sight of the beautiful nature around them.

His long ears allowed him to hear the twittering of the birds clearly, even from a distance. The birds were not the only animals which were around them. He could hear all of them, even the small ants which were pickingsmall pieces out of blackberries which were lying on the ground near their anthill. He could hear insects, mice and other smaller creatures as they rustled through the foliage. He could hear deers and even boars in the far. That was only possible because he had the absolute pitch and a very close connection to nature, like every other high elf. His companion didn't have such a connection so she couldn't hear or feel what he was feeling and hearing.

The woman smiled as the young man started to spin around until he couldn't take it anymore and needed a break. She shook her head, giving him an amused smile. She chuckled about his innocence and childishness. He may be thirty-seven years old, which meant he was seventeen years older than her, but he still behaved like a child. Sometimes at least. He was still a child, according to the laws of his people.

The woman couldn't understand why high elven men and women only reached adulthood at the age of one hundred. High elves at the age of twenty looked similar to humans at the same age. They still looked young but not too young. Most of them were fully grown and behaved like mature young individuals. The only difference between high elves and humans was that high elves lived a lot longer than humans. They could become older than three thousand years which was the only reason why they only reached adulthood on their hundredth birthday.

There were no other reasons why high elves were considered as children, adolescents or teenagers for so long. They didn't behave differently than adult humans so it would only make sense to change the laws and stipulate that they would reach adulthood on their twentieth birthday. But only the elven king could change the laws. There was nothing the woman could do.

It only annoyed her that other humans asked her how she could be together with a child or a teenager. Lirath was anything but a child or a teenager. He looked like a mature young man and he behaved like one, most of the times at least. At this very moment, he was not behaving like a thirty-seven years old man. More like a sixteen years old human teenager. But she loved it whenever he behaved like this. She loved his silly and his playful side. The funny thing was that she had been a teenager when they had met four years ago. It was love at first sight.

She didn't like men who were totally serious all the time, even in their free time, and didn't understand fun. Life was hard and too short, at least for humans like her. Lirath's life will probably last much longer than hers because of his high elf genes. Her lifetime was limited, Lirath's too but he could live up to thirty times longer than her.

She loved to fool around with him when nobody watching. She could talk to him about everything, there was no topic he didn't want to talk about. He was the opposite of a spoilsport. He was a very funny and sometimes silly guy. But he could also be serious when the situation required it. He was very smart and he knew when he could behave like himself and when he had to behave differently to not make a fool of himself.

In her eyes, Lirath was not a child, not even a teenager. He was an adult and she was not the only person who shared her opinion. Lirath had told her that all the other high elves couldn't understand why the High King hadn't changed the laws yet. His people still had to wait until they were a hundred years old to be regarded as adults. There were many arguments for a law change and no real arguments against it.

The high elves could attend the examinations for rangers, warriors, rogues, mages, paladins and other professions when if they were fifty years old. They could go to war when they would have completed their apprenticeship, which only lasted three to five years. This meant that High King Anasterian Sunstrider was sending teenagers to war. Teenagers by law. There was no reason to not consider them as adults. Also, people wouldn't need to ask their parents if they could become an apprentice in a profession. Parents still had to sign important contracts for their ninety-nine years old children. She found that absurd so did every high elf.

But she could understand that the High King was busy with other things these days. He was at war with the orcs and trolls,he didn't have the time to think about changing the laws which were about adulthood.

The woman only knew that the elven king would think about it at the earliest when the war against the orcs and trolls would be over. Well, to be honest, she had only heard rumours about that. She didn't know if he would ever consider changing anything.

Soft laughter escaped her lips as Lirath let himself fall dramatically to the ground. He was a big fan of theatres, role plays and acting in general. Sometimes she thought it was better for him if he would become an actor instead of a ranger. She knew it was his dream to become a famous ranger like his older sisters and his mother. He trained very hard every day because he wanted to pass the examination in thirteen years. He would be a lot better if he would spend more time on improving his archery skills than rehearsing and performing stage plays with other actors.

He could already be a very successful actor but he wanted to become a ranger so badly. That was the reason why he had denied all offerings he had gotten from all the theatres and playhouses in the territories of the Alliance of Lordaeron. She thought it was wasted talent because he was very good at playing different roles. But it was his decision, in the end. If he wanted to become a ranger then he should be allowed to become one. It was enough for him to take part in stage plays in his free time. He was happy with that and she was happy as long as he was.

She gave him a smile, spreading out the picnic blanket she had carried all the time. She put the basket down, which she had held in her other hand the entire time, and sat down next to her boyfriend who returned her smile. The blond elf wrapped his left arm around her waist while he pulled the basket closer. He opened it and took out all the items which were in there.

He frowned as he looked over all the items he had taken out and placed on the blanket. "Did we forget something, Camillia?" he asked, giving her a questioning look. She rubbed her forehead, counting the items. "I don't think so. We have bread, butter, sausages, cheese, glasses and milk. We also have moonberry juice, cutlery, cupcakes and fruits. I think we have everything, my dear."

"You forgot the most important thing," he said, smiling at her.

She returned his smile, giving him a curious look. "And what would that be?"

"Love of course," sang Lirath, leaning over to kiss her cheek. She giggled, pushing his head away playfully. She put her hands on his cheeks, turning his head so she could press her lips on his. He didn't hesitate to return the kiss, running his fingers through her soft coffee coloured hair. She did the same and messed up his hair a bit, which didn't bother him.

He was not like his sister Alleria who needed an entire hour to make herself look perfect. But he wasn't like Sylvanas either who only needed a few strokes with her comb to make her hair look perfect. She would also look perfect if she wouldn't comb her hair. He was pretty sure she would even look perfect with short hair.

Lirath pulled away eventually, his lips formed a smile. His smile was as perfect as Sylvanas' smile, he had the same eyes and his nose was also similar to hers. He was a very handsome young man and he had lots of love interests. Elves, humans and even dwarves but his heart already belonged to Camillia.

He had no desire to meet other women. He knew his parents would prefer a high elf woman but he also knew they would accept any woman from any race as long as it was not a troll or an orc. Alleria's lover was a famous human and their child was a combination of both races, a so-called half-breed. He was pretty sure his parents would accept Camillia and his siblings thought the same.

He had written a letter to Alleria weeks ago in which he had told her about Camillia. He had told her how he had met her, how she behaved and how she had managed to steal his heart. He had told Alleria that he loved her but was too afraid to make things official. He had told her that he was too afraid to tell their parents about her.

He had had his doubts when he had written the letter. But these doubts had vanished into thin air when he had received Alleria's response. She had comforted him, encouraged him to introduce Camillia to their parents. She had also told him that Sylvanas shared her opinion so did Verena who hadn't had it easy at first when Sylvanas had introduced her to their parents.

Lirath was pretty sure that everything would be alright and he would be able to be together with the love of his life without having to quarrel with his parents about their relationship.

Lirath kissed Camillia's lips for the last time before he pulled away and took the bottle which was filled with moonberry juice. He opened it and poured the liquid in the two glasses, handing one to the woman and taking a sip from the other. He put his free hand on her cheek and gently stroked over her chocolate brown skin.

She smiled, turning her head a little so she could kiss his hand. He couldn't avoid eye contact, feeling that he could get lost into those emerald green eyes forever. They stared into each other's eyes for a while and only managed to avert gazes when Lirath's stomach started to growl loudly.

Soft laughter escaped the human's full lips. "We should eat something, otherwise, you will starve to death."

"Oh, no please not that," spoke the elf, grinning at his lover. "Alright, let's eat something."

Camillia cut a few slices from the loaf of bread, handing three to Lirath who gave her a thankful smile. He didn't hesitate to spread butter on his bread and put slices of cold cuts and hard cheese on them. The topping of Camillia's slices was smoked sausage spread. She was not a big fan of cheese and she didn't like other kinds of meat or sausages. She always ate her bread with smoked sausage spread.

Lirath, on the other hand, loved all spreads and cold cuts. He chose whatever he wanted at the moment so sometimes he chose only one topping and sometimes he took a bit of everything. It depended on his mood. He mostly chose cheese when he was stressed and cold cuts when he was happy. He was happy at this very moment but also a bit worried about what his parents would say when he would introduce Camillia to them on this day, so he had chosen cheese and cold cuts.

The two lovebirds didn't say anything while they ate. They stared at each other, holding hands while their other hands held the slices of bread or other things they were eating. They ate fruits like bananas, apples and pears. They also ate grapes, green ones and blue ones. To be accurate, Lirath ate them. Camillia also took some but she only wanted to give them to her lover. His head rested on her lap while she was feeding him and toyed with his hair. His eyes didn't stop looking into hers nor did she avert her gaze.

They were silent for quite some time, enjoying the pleasant silence and the presence of the other. They didn't need to talk to have fun and enjoy themselves. They only needed to be near the other to be happy and make the other happy. They were glad that they had each other. She loved him and he loved her.

They had said that at least one thousand times to each other whenever they met. They heard these three words way too often but they didn't get tired of hearing them. They knew that other couples weren't saying these special words that often but they didn't mind that. They used these words as if they were essential words which were needed to form a grammatically correct sentence. Just like verbs.

They decided it was time to talk after they had enjoyed the pleasant silence for a while. They got up and started to talk about casual topics. Lirath had wrapped his legs around the brown-skinned woman who was more than a head smaller than him. She was only five feet and five inches tall while Lirath was six feet and three inches tall.

He wrapped his arms around her waist, hugging her tightly from behind. He rested his head on her shoulder, closing his eyes as he relaxed and inhaled the lovely scent of her perfume with each breath he made.

"I told my mother about you a week ago," Camillia said after they were done talking about acting and stage plays.

Lirath opened his eyes, taking one of her hands in one of his. "What did she say?" he asked curiously.

"She was surprised at first but she is okay with it. I assume it has surprised her the most that we came together when I was only sixteen. I don't think she minds that you are a high elf. I haven't told my sister and brother yet but I will tell them one day."

Lirath smiled. "I can't wait to introduce you to my parents. I'm not afraid anymore because I'm convinced that they will accept you."

"I may not know your parents yet but I assume they will accept me. According to what you have told me, they are pretty nice and tolerant people. Also, isn't your sister together with a human paladin?"

"She is. His name is Turalyon and they met during a mission. He is a pretty cool guy. Also, he is a strong and very talented swordsman. He doesn't look bad and he is charming. In my opinion, he fits perfectly to Alleria."

"What about Sylvanas and Vereesa?"

Lirath snuggled closer to her. "I don't really know about Vereesa. She doesn't tell me about her relationships. I saw her once kissing Magister Dar'Khan Drathir but that was years ago. I also saw her hanging out with the daughter of Magistrix Lana'thel, Thal'ena was her name if I remember correctly. But I think they are just friends because I don't believe Vereesa swings that way."

"You mean she doesn't swing in both ways like the Ranger-General?" Camillia asked, kissing the back of his hand.

Lirath raised a brow. "I don't even believe Sylvanas swings in both ways. I believe she is straight and her relationship with Verena was only a phase. But who knows what Sylvanas prefers. I don't really mind if she would prefer women over men. I can only understand her. Women are the best."

"Nobody knows they have been together, right?"

"Nobody except for my family."

"And me," added Camillia.

"And you, indeed," he laughed. "Well, Sylvanas is single at the moment and as far as I know, she has been single for quite some time. I don't talk with my sisters about their relationships and I don't want to, to be honest. They have enough close friends with who they can talk about their sex lives."

"Do you talk to your friends about your previous relationships or about us?"

"There are no previous relationships I can talk about. And no, I didn't tell them about our sex life"

"Because there is nothing to talk about, right?" joked Camillia, giving him a teasing grin. He ran his fingers through her soft hair, smiling at her.

"There is nothing I can complain about, nevertheless, I don't want to share the details of our intimate moments with anyone else. What about you?"

Camillia blushed. "I may have given some details to my best friend but only because I know she won't tell anyone. She's mute."

"That's why you are friends with her because she can't interrupt you when you talk," he teased, giving her a provocative grin. She hit his shoulder playfully. "You dick."

He grinned at her, running the tip of his index finger over her bottom lip. "It's the truth. You really talk a lot."

"I know," she admitted. "That's a bad habit."

"It's not a bad habit. I love to hear you talk, but sometimes you talk a bit too much, you know."

He returned her smile and leaned in to kiss her. She returned the kiss, inserting her tongue in his mouth. He did the same, putting his hand on the back of her head as he deepened the kiss. He ran his fingers through her hair while she did the same, caressing his back with her other hand.

They held the kiss until they needed to pull away to get some air. They stared at each other for a few moments before they leaned in once again to connect their lips. Lirath put his hands on her hips as he deepened the kiss. He closed his eyes to enjoy the kiss better, caressing her cheeks softly.

Suddenly, he heard a quiet noise from afar. He didn't recognize the noise nor its origin. He decided to ignore it and continued to kiss his lover. He heard the strange noise again after a few minutes but he ignored it again, letting his hands wander. He touched her cheeks, her chin, her beautiful lips, her shoulders, her medium-sized breasts, her slim waist and her wide hips. His hands wandered to her thick ass, over her thick thighs to her feet.

He enjoyed touching her soft body, enjoyed the warmth which was radiated by it. She enjoyed getting touched by him, not minding that his hands wandered to a place beneath her waist no other man was allowed to touch. The two lovers got rid of their clothing quickly, not minding if someone would watch them while they made love.

They were done after a while, getting dressed again. Lirath frowned as he heard the strange noise again, he had heard an hour ago, but this time it was clearer. Not only was he able to hear it louder, but he also was able to recognize it. It was a scream. The scream of a woman. A pained scream, to be exact.

"Something is wrong," muttered Lirath, looking around after he had gotten up. He saw nothing but his lover who regarded him with a frown on her forehead. "What do you mean?"

"I'm hearing the same noise over and over again. It has started an hour ago but the noise has been too quiet to recognize it. But now I'm hearing it clearly. Someone is screaming," he pointed at the west. "It's coming from there."

A worried expression appeared on Camillia's face. "Are you sure you didn't mishear?"

"I rarely mishear. My ears are not only for show, you know," responded Lirath. Worry was reflected by his voice.

Camillia remained silent, not knowing what to say in response.

"We should find out where the scream came from and what is going on there."

Camillia nodded in agreement.

"Too bad that I don't have my bow with me," said Lirath as he started to put the goods and other items in the basket. "Or my knives and swords."

"I hope you won't need them."

"I hope the same."

"I only have my favourite dagger with me," said the woman with the coffee coloured hair.

Lirath put his arm around her shoulders, pressing a kiss on her temples. "First we find out what is going on, then we will decide what to do."

"Isn't your village in the direction you have pointed at?" she asked, becoming more worried.

He nodded silently. "Windrunner Spire is there as well," he said eventually. "We should go now. I fear the worst."

Camillia didn't say anything in response, she just nodded to him, signalizing him to go ahead. Lirath folded the blanket, threw it over his shoulder, then he picked up the basket and started to run. Camillia didn't hesitate to follow him, giving her best to keep up with him. It was not easy because her legs were shorter than his. She fell behind but only by a bit. Lirath didn't look back to check if she was still behind him so he wouldn't notice if she would stop running. But she was following him, keeping the distance between them as small as possible.

They ran and ran, getting out of the forest eventually. They came to green grassland, moving through it quickly. Then they came to a small hill. Lirath stood on the hill and stared straight ahead. Camillia stepped next to him, looking in the same direction to find out what he was looking at. She noticed the tensed expression on his face. His eyes widened as he realized what was going on.

Camillia had needed a few more moments to understand what was going on. From the top of the hill, she had a good view of a village in the east and a building in the west. Both places were very far away from them, so were the clouds of smokes which rose in the sky. That could only mean one thing. Windrunner Village and Windrunner Spire were burning.

Camillia turned her head, looking at Lirath whose face was a mask of shock. He couldn't believe what he was seeing. This can't be possible...

Windrunner Village and Windrunner Spire were the most well-protected places after Silvermoon City and the places where the three mooncrystals were hidden. It was impossible that the trolls had managed to defeat all the guards and rangers which were protecting then, not to mention that there was no way that they had managed to get through the defensive line in the south of Quel'Thalas.

It didn't make sense either that the trolls were attacking the south. They had always tried to break through the defensive line in the south-east in which near the Amani tribe lived. The forest trolls had always attacked the east of Quel'Thalas but never succeeded. He didn't believe that the trolls abandoned their fortresses and bases in the east and south-east. He knew that his sisters were keeping them busy by attacking them every day and every night. They conquered base after base so there was no way the trolls were attacking them if they didn't want to give up their territories.

That could only mean that the orcs had stopped fighting against the humans and dwarves and had moved northwards to the south of Quel'Thalas. That was the only explanation which made sense.

But why have the orcs changed their strategy and attack Windrunner Spire and Village now?

What prompted them to change their plans and assist the trolls?

Do they know that the humans could follow them at any time and surround them with the help of my people?

Why are they attacking Windrunner Village and our house?

There are so many military bases in Quel'Thalas which they could have attacked instead. Why did the choose a well-protected place where only civilians live?

They won't get any strategic advantage if they would raid these two places, right?

There so many questions in Lirath's head. Many questions to which he had no answers. He was too shocked to move. He could only stare at the two places and the clouds of black smoke above them. His heart was beating rapidly in his chest, his body felt pretty cold and he had a lump in his throat. He had troubles to breathe in enough air, his entire body was trembling. He had a panic attack.

Camillia put her hands on his cheeks as she stepped in front of him. She lowered his head, forcing him to look at her. He didn't avert eye contact nor did he say something. He just stared into her green orbs, noticing that he got calmer the longer he looked at her. His panic attack disappeared, the lump in his throat vanished as well. His heart was still beating rapidly in his chest but his body didn't feel cold anymore and he had gotten his breathing under control.

"We have to do something," spoke Camillia as she noticed she had his attention.

"My bow and my other weapons are in my room. Nevertheless, I have to go to Windrunner Spire."

"I will go with you," Camillia said insistently.

His reply came like a bullet out of a gun. "No!"

"No?" asked his lover. One of her brows was raised, irritation and confusion were reflected by her facial expression and her voice.

"You have to warn the nearest villages and ask for assistance. The Sanctum of the Moon is the nearest place where you can get help," he replied, pointing at a spot on the horizonCamillia's eyes narrowed, focusing on the spot. She needed a few moments to recognize the small outlines of a building. She turned her head, the expression she made showed insecurity and worry.

"Are you sure that splitting up is the right decision?"

"I have to go home to protect my family and my people."

"It's too dangerous to go to your home or Windrunner Village without a weapon."

"You could lend me your dagger."

"That's not enough to kill a single troll or an orc, not to mention a large number of them" spoke Camillia. Her face was a mask of worry, her voice sounded insecure and weak. She was afraid. Afraid of losing him. She didn't want him to go there alone but there was nothing she could do to help him. She was not a warrior or a fighter. She didn't know how to handle weapons. She didn't have much experience in combat. She was an actress and not a warrior.

"I have to get my bow. I can't just run away. I have to protect my family. My sisters are in the south-east of Quel'Thalas, they can't defend our family. My mother hasn't fought for decades and my father is not a fighter. My uncles, aunts and cousins aren't the best fighters either. I need to help them. I hope you can understand that."

Camillia was silent for a few moments but then she nodded. "I do but I'm still afraid."

"We don't have the time to think twice about what to do now. Every second matters, literally. I want you to run to the Sanctum of the Moon and warn the priests there. Would you do that for me?" he stared into her eyes, his lips were pressed together to a thin line. She couldn't deny him anything, not when he was looking at her like that. It was impossible for her to say no to these eyes or to this handsome face. She was not able to say no to him in general. He needed her. She had an important task to do while he had to defend his home, his family and his people.

"Alright, I will do it but take this," she said and gave him a dagger in whose handle her name was engraved.

"Thanks, my love," he said, pulling her in for one last kiss. The kiss was quick but still passionate. She wished she could deepen the kiss and forget everything that was going on around them but she knew she couldn't do that. The lives of numerous inhabitants of Quel'Thalas were at stake. The couple needed to hurry. Lirath caressed her cheeks one last time, kissing her forehead. "I love you."

"I love you too," she responded as she regarded him with widened eyes.

"I will see you later, my love," he whispered before he dropped the basket and the blanket and rushed down the hill. Camillia didn't hesitate to run in the direction Lirath had pointed at, running as fast as her legs allowed.

Chapter Text

This can't happen.

This is not real.

There is no way the orcs managed to break through the defensive line in the south.

This has to be some sort of a nightmare.

Unfortunately, what Lirath was seeing was not a nightmare. It was as real as the cut on his left cheek. The cut the orc's axe had caused as its blade had grazed his face. The cut was neither deep or large so not much blood flowed out of it. It hurt a little but he ignored the pain as best as he could. His narrowed eyes rested on the orc who was not far away from him.

From the corners of his eyes, he saw a second orc who was lying not far away from him. He had slain the female orc a few moments before the orc, he was facing currently, had come out of nowhere.

This orc was a lot larger than the female archer Lirath had just killed. It was a male who was seven feet tall while Lirath was only six feet and three inches tall. The orc was very muscular but slow while Lirath was smaller but faster. Nevertheless, he knew he shouldn't underestimate the orc. One hit would be enough for the orc to knock the elf out and kill him then.

The elf's dagger was nothing compared to the axe the green-skinned creature was holding. The orc wore armour while Lirath only wore a red tunic and blue trousers. He regretted that he hadn't put on the chain mail beneath his tunic before he had left the house. But it wouldn't have protected him anyway. At least not against such a huge and sharp battle axe.

Lirath would only have a chance to kill the orc if he would manage to pick up the bow which was lying next to the corpse. But the orc was standing in front of it, not daring to move away. Lirath was not sure if the orc was aware of the bow which was lying there. If he was not, there was still the chance that he could lure him away and pick up the bow.

If he wouldn't manage to do that... Well, he would die. There was no other person in his near who could help him. Windrunner Spire was only about two hundred feet away from him, thick black smoke surrounded it. It was not the building which was burning. The trees around it were.

There was no ranger or guard in his near which was very odd, considering how many troops were stationed there. He hadn't spotted many orcs either. Maybe they had already left the spire which could only mean that they had already raided the house of Lirath's family. He was only hoping that his family was alright. He was hoping that they were hiding in the basement, in the wardrobes or somewhere where these ugly creatures couldn't find them.

He had to get to his house and look for his family. But first, he had to deal with the orc who was still hesitating to attack him for some reason. The young elf checked his surroundings without letting the green monster out of his sight. Nothing had changed. No other elves, humans, orcs or trolls were around them. They were alone.

Lirath had never killed a humanoid creature until this day. He had killed wolves, deers and boars before but he had never killed an orc or a troll before. He still didn't know how he had managed to kill the female orc with the bow. It had been more luck than skill but the orc was dead while he was alive. But now he was facing a male orc who was more muscular and a lot larger than his female counterpart.

The young high elf started to walk circles around the orc who was regarding him with narrowed eyes. Lirath assumed that the orc didn't charge at him without thinking twice because he believed that he had killed the orc because of pure skill. Lirath was glad that the orc didn't know that he wasn't as good as he assumed, otherwise, he would be already dead.

Lirath was not a bad fighter but didn't have a weapon which could keep up with the battle axe. He needed that bow so badly. Fortunately, the orc was dumb enough to walk in the opposite direction as Lirath continued to walk circles around him. His plan, to lure the orc away from the spot where the bow was lying, worked perfectly.

He reached the bow, throwing Camillia's dagger at the orc who blocked it with his axe. The dagger repelled and shattered in little pieces, its remains landed on the ground. That smart move had bought the elf enough time to pick up the bow and nock an arrow. The orc roared out loudly as he realized that he had been tricked by the blond man.

He charged at him but he was not very fast compared to the elf. Lirath was light and slim, meaning he was a lot faster than the bulky orc. He increased the distance between them, shooting arrows while running. He was a decent archer when he was standing on the same spot while aiming but he was not as good in aiming while running. It was a real challenge for him to hit the orc while he was running away from him.

He missed a few arrows, a few were blocked by the battle axe but then two arrows hit. One in the orc's unprotected left upper thigh and the other in the right upper arm which was only protected by a leather bracer. The orc cried out in pain but he didn't stop moving. His movements became slower so Lirath was able to increase the distance between them.

Sylvanas had always told him that it was no shame to run away from a stronger opponent as long as he would continue to shot arrows at him. And he did that. And it was very effective. He hit the orc's legs and feet more often, slowing him down until he was barely able to move without crying out in pain. The orc roared out in anger and did something unexpected.

He threw his axe at the astonished elf who was not able to react fast enough to completely dodge it. The axe grazed his left hip and left a deep and large cut behind. Blood was flowing out, waves of pain rushed through Lirath's body.

He gritted his teeth, preventing that a pained cry would escape his trembling lips. He was hurt but the adrenaline was giving him enough strength to keep moving and fighting. He pulled another arrow out of his quiver, aiming and firing it within two seconds. The orc had no other weapon or shield he could use to block the arrow. He was too slow to dodge the arrow which pierced through his bald green head and his brain. The orc was dead immediately, his body fell backwards and landed on the ground which was covered by the blood of the female orc.

Lirath knew he didn't have the time to pick up the arrows which hadn't hit the orc nor did he have the time to pull them out of the orc's body. He checked his quiver, counting five arrows. He had to press one of his hands on the wound on his hip to slow down the bleeding process as best as possible, so he was not able to pick up the battle axe because it was too large for him to hold it with only one hand.

He had nothing to stop the bleeding, he could only hope that a healer would be out there somewhere. Maybe he would find some bandages in the house of his family so he could to stop the bleeding for the moment. He had to do something if he didn't want to bleed to death.

Lirath started to move. He was running as fast as he could, his left hip hurt with every step he made but he ignored the pain as best as he could. He even gritted his teeth and bit his bottom lip hard from time to time to prevent that loud pained screams would escape his lips. He didn't want to tell his enemies that he was there. The consequences would be fatal. He was just hoping that no orc would approach him while he was running to his house, which was still eighty feet away from him.

He arrived at the large house eventually and stopped for a moment to check his surroundings. His eyes widened as he saw the numerous corpses which lied in a large puddle of blood. He saw lots of orcs and high elven guards and rangers. He saw dead wolves of enormous size, horses and even dragonhawks.

It was difficult to define the number of corpses which were spread all over the ground. There were lots of separated limbs and bodies which had been split into two halves. There could be twenty bodies but there could also be twenty-five or thirty. Maybe even more. It was impossible to define the exact number.

Lirath needed a few moments to avert his gaze from the horrible scene in front of him. He overgrew his fear, took all his courage together and left the dead bodies behind him as he rushed to the entrance of Windrunner Spire. He didn't need to open the door because it had been thrown out of its hinges, lying in the middle of the entrance hall.

A quiet shocked noise escaped his lips as he noticed that the entrance hall was devastated. It had been raided like all the other rooms where he was searching for survivors. He didn't find anyone at the first level, at least no person who was still alive. He had spotted more dead orcs but also more dead elves. Unfortunately, one of them was his cousin. He didn't have the time to grieve for her, not yet at least. He will have enough time later to mourn the fallen. He needed to find something with which he could treat his wound, then he needed to look out for survivors.

He picked up a sword from the floor, holding it in his right hand while he was still pressing his left hand on the wound. He was losing more blood the longer the wound remained untreated. He noticed that his body was shaking a bit. "That's not a good sign," he muttered, walking to the kitchen were the first aid-box was hanging on the wall.

He opened it. His eyes widened when he noticed that it was empty. Someone had plundered it already. He looked around, spotting bandages in a corner. Unfortunately, the bandages were soaked with blood which covered the kitchen floor.

He cursed silently, trying to remember if there was a second first-aid box or kit somewhere in the house. He came to the conclusion that there could be one in the cellar. But the entrance to the cellar was on the other side of the house, meaning he had to walk through the numerous rooms on the first floor.

He moved as fast as possible, making sure he didn't make any sound. He didn't know if there were still raiders in the house. It was not unlikely. Orcs could still be in the second or third floor, maybe even in the cellar. He had to be careful, otherwise, he wouldn't die because of bleeding. One wrong step could catch the attention of the orcs who could still remain in the house.

Lirath made careful but quick steps, reaching the staircase which led down to the cellar. He took a deep breath, walking down the stairs. He came to a door which creaked loudly when he opened it. He slipped in the room quickly, hoping no one had heard that. The room was totally dark. Even though his eyes got used to the dark quickly, he was not able to recognize much. He searched for the light switch, finding it eventually. He was about to switch on the light as he felt a sharp blade being pressed against his throat.

"Don't you dare to move," a low voice said. He breathed out in relief when realized to who the voice belonged. "Zendarin, it's me," Lirath whispered, dropping his sword. "You don't have to kill me, I'm on your side."

"Lirath? Is that you?" the familiar voice asked.

Lirath turned on the light, turning around as soon as his cousin had removed the blade from his throat. He didn't hesitate to regard him from head to toe. The robes of the red-haired mage were covered by blood but not by his blood. His robe was partly ripped but there were no wounds on his torso. The only wound he got was a stab wound in his left upper arm. He looked frightened, his face was very pale and his hand, which was holding the knife, was shaking. Lirath assumed that he was shocked and, traumatised by what he must have witnessed.

Lirath put his hands on his cousin's shoulders, staring into his widened eyes. It was not easy to calm down the frightened mage but he managed to do that eventually. Lirath wanted to ask him what had happened but then he remembered that he needed to treat his wounds first. He searched through the room, finding a first-aid kit. He opened it, asking his cousin for help. Together, they managed to stop the bleeding for the moment and dress the wound.

"What happened?" Lirath asked.

Zendarin was telling him everything he knew, He stuttered sometimes but he managed to explain to his cousin what had happened. He told him about the orcs who had come out of nowhere and attacked Windrunner Spire first before most of them had moved to the north to attack Windrunner Village. He told him about the battle in front of the spire and about the orcs who had entered the spire and devastated it.

"I saw your sister...She is dead... I'm sorry..." spoke Lirath, his voice reflected sorrow.

"I know that already... I fought by her side before the orcs pushed us back in the house. These bastards killed her and they will pay for that. Unfortunately, I don't know how many orcs died nor do I know how many of our people survived. I don't even know how many orcs are left.

"A lot of people died from both sides," said Lirath, regarding his cousin from head to toe once again. "What are you doing in the cellar anyway? I have expected you would defend our home and our family."

"I fought for a while but then I got poisoned."

"Poisoned?" asked Lirath. The worry he was feeling was clearly reflected by his voice and facial expression.

"It's not a lethal poison. It just prevents that I can use my magic, that's why I'm waiting here until I can cast spells again."

Lirath's look didn't reflect the mistrust he was feeling at the moment. His cousin's statement sounded plausible. He knew about poisons which could have such an effect on its victims so it was not unlikely that Zendarin was speaking the truth. He was wounded so it could be possible that the weapon, which had wounded him, had been poisoned.

On the other hand, Zendarin had never been a brave person. He was known for chickening out whenever something became too serious or too dangerous. He was not a hero, not even a survivor. He was more like a scared man who wanted to survive by any means. Lirath could also be wrong with his assumption that Zendarin was too cowardly to get out of the cellar where he was temporarily safe.

Nonetheless, he didn't say anything about his assumption. "We should check the other floors first. We have to look out for survivors."

"We don't know how many orcs are out there. It's too dangerous, we better stay here and wait for assistance," spoke Zendarin. It was conspicuous that he was avoiding eye contact. Once again, Lirath didn't say anything.

"We don't know if we get any assistance. We have to look out for survivors, that's our duty."

"I'm nothing without my magic. I won't be very useful."

A quite groan escaped Lirath's lips as he realized that his cousin was looking for an excuse to not leave the cellar. "You are better than nothing. You can help me looking through the rooms and guide the survivors out of the spire. We need to evacuate them. Come, Zendarin. It's our family we are talking about, we have to help them."

The redhead responded after hesitating for a few moments. "Fine, I follow you."

The blond elf didn't need to be told twice. He climbed the stairs to the first level, making sure Zendarin was following him. They climbed the stairs to the second floor, looking through the rooms one after one.

They noticed that all the other rooms had been raided and devastated as well. The furniture was either destroyed or had been thrown around, common items were spread all over the floor while valuable objects like jewellery or gold had been stolen. Some of the paintings, which had hung on the walls and showed landscapes in Quel'Thalas or high elves, had been stolen as well or destroyed. Nothing was standing on the spot it was supposed to be. There were also five orc corpses and three elf corpses on the second floor.

They also checked Lirath's room and the rooms of his sisters. They were a mess as well. At least he found six arrows in the highest drawer of one of Vereesa's cupboards and six arrows in his room so he had seventeen in total. He gave Zendarin the bow of the orc so he could take his bow out of his wardrobe. Fortunately for him, it was not damaged.

They were about to go to the library as they heard a loud scream coming from his parent's room. The elves didn't hesitate to rush through the corridor until its very end where the room of his parents was. Lirath had his bow drawn, an arrow was already nocked as his cousin opened the door. They entered the room. Their eyes widened as they saw the scene in front of them.

Two orcs were holding Lireesa Windrunner tightly, whose clothes were torn apart, while a third orc was unbuttoning his trousers at this very moment. It was obvious what they wanted to do to her. Lirath would do everything in his power to prevent that his mother would get violated by these sick creatures.

Raged filled him, leading him to let loose the arrow without aiming first. The arrow swooshed through the air and hit the orc right between his legs, causing that he cried out in pain. His comrades turned their heads, looking at the one responsible for their comrade's pain. They needed a few moments to realize what was going on so Lirath could fire another arrow which hit the orc in the left eye. The green creature was not dead yet but that changed when a sharp ice lance drilled through his chest and heart.

The orcs let Lireesa go, picking up their weapons quickly. One had a large sword and the other had two axes. Lirath ran to the left side of the very large room, shooting an arrow at the orc with the sword. He hit his left upper thigh but the next arrow was blocked by the sword's massive blade.

The orc charged at Lirath while his comrade moved towards Zendarin who was, contrary to his statement, able to use magic. A fireball hit the orc, setting him on fire. But before the flames were able to jump over on the nearest piece of furniture and cause that a fire would break out, Zendarin managed to hit his foe with an arcane blast, causing him to stagger backwards. The green creature stumbled over Lireesa's outstretched leg, falling through the hole in the wall right behind him.

The loud screams became quieter and quieter the more seconds passed. The sound of breaking bones was audible after a few moments. The orc's body had hit the ground and everyone was sure he didn't survive the fall. The last remaining orc cried out in anger as he tried to hit his opponent.

Lirath dodged the first swing, then the second but he was hit by the third which left a not so little gaping wound on his torso. A pained scream escaped his lips. He cried out in pain again as the orc's foot hit him and pushed him against the wall behind him. He bounced off the wall and landed on the ground.

Lirath tried to get up but his entire body hurt. He felt weak and his body felt colder than usual, probably because of the amount of blood he had lost so far. The orc raised his sword above his head, intending to kill the elf but ice wrapped around his hands and the sword, forming an ice block. He was no longer able to cut Lirath in half.

The orc brute had a bewildered expression of his face. He could beat Lirath to death with the ice block if he wanted to but he didn't. Instead, he turned around and charged at the mage who was already preparing the next spell. Unfortunately, the orc reached him before he could finish his spell, knocking him away which caused that his spell was interrupted.

The orc lifted the ice block above his head, ready to smash Zendarin's head. Both male elves were lying on the floor, unable to get up and react in time. But Lireesa was able to do something. She had picked up her son's sword in the meantime, throwing it at the orc whose froze hands were not far away from the mage's head. The orc froze in his movement as the sword pierced through his neck.

He turned around, spitting a massive amount of blood out. Shock and fear were written all over his face as he ran towards the half-naked woman. It was a miracle that he was still able to stand, walk and try to attack her. Even though Lireesa's disease didn't allow her to move very fast, she was still able to avoid getting crushed by the ice block. She jumped behind the orc, beheading him as she drew the sword out of his neck. The orc's head landed on the floor first, quickly followed by the massive body.

Lireesa rushed to her son, turning him around to see if he was alright. He was very pale, blood flowed out of two wounds. Her face was a mask of shock, her heart was beating rapidly in her chest. She fought off the panic which threatened to overwhelm her, pressing her hands on the wounds. Her voice was weak and trembled as she called after Zendarin who had gotten up in the meantime.

"This looks bad, I don't think the first-aid kit will fix his wounds. He needs a healer," spoke Lireesa.

"All of the priests and paladins who were stationed in the near of the house are dead. There must be healers in the village but I don't believe he will make it to the village," responded Zendarin hesitantly. He was afraid how she might react so he turned around and avoided looking at her.

"We must do something," she cried out. Her face was pale, her eyes were widened in shock and tears ran down her cheeks. She was afraid of losing Lirath. Afraid of losing her only son. She had already lost two nieces, one of her brothers and her brother-in-law on this day. She didn't want to lose him too. "You need to do something."

"But what... There is nothing I can do for him"

"Create a portal to Silvermoon City," she demanded.

Zendarin frowned, shaking his head slightly. "Creating a portal alone would take too much time, especially in my condition. My left arm is injured so I can only use one hand to cast which make things much more difficult. Not to mention that taking him through a portal would only make his condition worse."

"He will die if we don't try it. You said there is no healer out there, what else are we supposed to do?"

Lirath's weak voice was hearable. "He is right, mother. The wounds are deep and he would take too long alone. You can only bring me to the village and hope that you meet a healer on the way. Otherwise..."

"Hundreds of orcs could attack us while we travel to the village. Not to mention that the village is also under attack. You are not safe there."

"I'm not safe here either," he responded weakly, putting his hand on her cheek.

"We need to go," said Zendarin, handing his aunt a fresh robe he had taken out of her wardrobe. She put it on quickly, not caring that he was still in the same room. Together with Zendarin, she helped Lirath up who was still able to walk but only slowly. They dressed his wounds, hoping that will buy him some time. They got out of the room, leaving the house as fast as possible.

They saw a person on the forecourt. It was a priest with blond hair and a light-blue robe. He rushed to him as soon as he saw them. "Praised be the sun, a healer is here," Lireesa shouted, her voice and her eyes reflected hope. They placed Lirath on the nearest bench, stepping away so the priest had enough space to treat Lirath. The priest started to examine the wound on the left hip. "I will take care of him. You need to get out of here."

"I won't leave my son," said Lireesa.

"You have to," the priest responded with an insisting tone in his voice. "It's not safe for you here."

"I..." Lireesa started but the priest interrupted her. "The orcs can come every moment. You need to get out of here before it's too late."

"What about you?" she asked. "What happens when they come before you have healed all of his wounds. I can't leave you and Lirath here without knowing if you are safe or not."

"We will hide somewhere if the orcs come."

Lireesa frowned. "I can't do this. I can't leave my son."

"You can't do anything to help him," argued the priest.

"I can fight, so does he," she responded, pointing at Zendarin.

The priest stood up abruptly, turning to Lireesa and her nephew. His facial expression was twisted by anger. "Why do all women have to contradict me whenever I try to do something good for them?" he hissed loudly. He made a step forward, stopping right in front of Lireesa who was giving him a confused look. His fists were clenched, his bottom lip trembled and his eyes were was very upset for a reason none of the other elves knew.

Lireesa made a few steps backwards, looking at Zendarin who scrutinized the priest closely. He looked familiar to him. He knew this man but his name didn't come in his mind. He thought hard about the man's name, his eyes widened when remembered his name eventually.

"Aren't you Xenarion Sunsinger? Aren't you the famous priest who got arrested for hiring mercenaries to attack his own son? Aren't you supposed to be locked in a cell?"

Xenarion didn't reply to him, instead, he walked towards the smaller elf who backed away, keeping the distance between them constant.

"What are you doing? You are supposed to help my son. You have to do that," shouted Lireesa. Tears formed in her eyes. She couldn't understand what the priest was doing and why he wasn't helping her son.

She couldn't know that Xenarion had never intended to heal her son nor could she know that he was responsible that the orcs were attacking Windrunner Village and Windrunner Spire. He had told the Horde how they could weaken the army of the high elves by emotionally hurting the Ranger-General. The attack will leave marks on Sylvanas and weaken the morale of the high elves. Not to mention how huge the impact of Lirath's death would be on Sylvanas. He wanted to break her emotionally.

Nobody will ever understand why he was doing that. He had betrayed his people to save his family but mainly himself. But he also did that to hurt Sylvanas because she had arrested him, hit him in the face years ago and because she had something with his son. By hurting her, he indirectly hurt Kelrian as well. That meant he could punish him for taking away his family.

"I HAVE TO DO NOTHING!" he roared out. The colour of his eyes turned dark purple and his hands started to glow in the same colour.

"He is a shadow priest," warned Zendarin before he was hit by a shadow bolt. He collided with the wall, losing consciousness as he landed on the ground. Lireesa looked at her nephew, then she looked at her son whose eyes were widened as well. He tried to get up but the shadow priest lifted him up without touching him and flung him against the wall. Lireesa whined and screamed as she rushed to her son, who became weaker quicker than expected.

"HAVE YOU LOST YOUR MIND?" she screamed as she reached her son and lifted his upper body up.

"No, I know exactly what I'm doing. I've never planned on helping him," he responded, a mischievous grin appeared on his face.

"How can you do this? He did nothing wrong to you. He is an innocent child. How can you do this to him?" she screamed. More tears ran down her cheeks which fell on her robe and on the ground. She pressed her hands on his wounds, staring into Lirath's eyes. The more blood he lost, the weaker their glow became.

Lireesa was churned up, shocked, angry and full of hate. She couldn't believe that this criminal was on free foot and refused to heal her son. He was killing him by doing nothing. He had knocked out Zendarin for no reason and he watched her son die slowly for no reason.

She didn't want to lose Lirath. She didn't want to lose the youngest of her children. She didn't want to lose any of her children. She wished she could help him, heal him, save him somehow. But there was nothing she could do for him. The only one who could save Lirath was Xenarion who regarded mother and son with a satisfied grin on his lips.

"This is nothing personal," he said as he came closer. "It's right that he has done nothing wrong. He is innocent but I'm not doing this to hurt you or him. I do this to hurt your whore of a daughter. Sylvanas Windrunner interfered in my business and now she pays for that. That will teach her a lesson to never interfere in my family matters," he responded, looking at the sobbing woman who was kneeling next to her son, witnessing how he was becoming weaker and weaker. She wasn't able to prevent that more blood was flowing out nor could she prevent that his strength left him slowly.

He was dying and there was nothing she could do to prevent that. She looked into Lirath's eyes, whispering soothing words to him. She knew it was time to say goodbye but she didn't want to say goodbye. She didn't want to lose him, didn't want him to be gone. But there was nothing she could do to change his fate.

Lirath whispered her name before his eyes stopped to glow and his body became limp. Lireesa pressed her head on the chest of her dead son, sobbing loudly.

Xenarion walked away, the corners of his lips formed a mischievous grin. The cries and shouts of Lireesa Windrunner were music to his ears. "That happens when someone messes around with me," he muttered as he left Windrunner Spire behind him.

Chapter Text

He is dead.

Gone forever.

He will never return.

Never ever.

How could this happen?

How could the orcs push so far and break through our defences?

Why did they attack Windrunner Village and Spire?

Did they do it to hurt me? Did they want to let me suffer for the countless lives of orcs and trolls I have taken? Did they do it because they want to break me?

Countless thoughts were going through Sylvanas' head. She was grieving. Grieving about her dear brother who hadn't even reached adulthood when he was killed. He was only thirty-seventh years old which was nothing for a high elf. High elves could become over three thousand years old but not everyone reached this age. The main reason for that was war. The trolls and orcs had killed too many people over the past years. Rangers, guards but also civilians like Lirath.

But Lirath had not only been murdered by the orcs but also had been betrayed. All high elves had been betrayed. Betrayed by a certain priest. Xenarion Sunsinger was the bastard's name. He could have saved Lirath but he didn't. He sealed Lirath's fate when he refused to heal him. He was not better than the trolls and orcs and he will pay for his crimes one day.

Sylvanas felt not only grief but also rage. She was furious. She wanted to find Xenarion and kill him but he had disappeared. He was out of her reach and there was nothing she could do to catch him. There was nothing she could do to calm herself down. She was shattered. Her whole world had turned upside down with Lirath's death. She didn't regard things the same anymore and she didn't enjoy what she had enjoyed before. She had left her favourite meal almost untouched like all the meals of the past few days. She had barely eaten anything.

She felt weak.








She hadn't been there when Lirath died. She hadn't been there when her village and her home had been attacked by these ugly green creatures. She hadn't been there to defend her family. She hadn't been there to defend her mother who had almost been raped by orcs. She hadn't been there to prevent that Lirath would get mortally injured by his opponents. She hadn't been there to force this sick bastard to heal him. She would have beaten him up until he would have healed her brother.

But she hadn't been there to help anyone. She had failed them, disappointed them. She was a disappointment. She was not the mighty Ranger-General, the best of all rangers. She was a weakling who couldn't even protect her own family. She had failed Lirath, failed her mother, failed even Zendarin. She failed her family and she will never forgive herself for that. What kind of a leader was she when she couldn't even protect her own brother?

She was not fit to lead the Farstriders. She was not fit to lead the high elven army. She was a disgrace. She was nothing. She had never expected that the orcs would break through the southern defence line. Over three hundred high elves died that day. Two-hundred and fifty rangers and guards and eighty civilians. She couldn't protect them. Her plan had failed. She had failed her people. Failed herself. Failed everyone.

While the orcs had devasted her home, shehadbeen victorious with the next step of her had conquered the last remaining outposts of the Amani trolls, meaning that only Zul'Aman was left where the bastard Zul'jin hid like a coward. Sylvanas had lost hundreds of elves, dozens of humans and dwarves but they had killed more than one thousand trolls in return. The Amani trolls were almost defeated but that didn't mean the war was won because the forest trolls and the orcs were still out there. The orcs had not only weakened the defence of Quel'Thalas, but they had also dealt a heavy blow to the morale of the elves.

Sylvanas couldn't overcome her grief. She couldn't stop herself from crying all day and all night. She was shattered. She hadn't left her room for an entire week. She had barely seen her mother, her sisters and her father who were grieving as well. But unlike her, they were grieving together and comforted each other as best as possible. They had offered Sylvanas to join them but she had declined their offerings.

Seeing the sad faces of her family would only make things worse because she would remember that she had failed them as well whenever she would see them. It was her responsibility to protect the citizens of Quel'Thalas so she was also responsible to protect her family. She had failed in both cases and she was not sure if she would ever be able to forgive herself for her failure and weakness.

She stayed in her room. Either she hid beneath her blankets or she stood on the balcony, looking into the distance. Three weeks had passed since Lirath's death. The orcs had been pushed back and driven out of Quel'Thalas but they will return one day. She was sure about that.

The Alliance had reclaimed the occupied villages and started to rebuild them. More bases had been built near Windrunner Village and Windrunner Spire. More soldiers were stationed there and more groups were patrolling through the area around these two places. The builders were in the process of rebuilding the defensive line in the south and strengthened it so the orcs won't be able to break through it that easily next time. All of their siege engines had been destroyed so they won't return within the next week.

The orcs may have been driven out of Quel'Thalas but it was still possible that a few of them remained somewhere. Any orc with a bow or anything they could throw very far could completely destroy the morale of the high elves if he would manage to kill the Ranger-General while she stood on her balcony. Sylvanas didn't care about her own safety because she felt too shattered to care about herself.

She had been unprotected for the first few days and she hadn't cared about that. Fortunately, a few mages had noticed that she spent a lot of time on her balcony so they had created an invisible barrier which protected her from anything that could be thrown at her. No arrows, axes, spears or other missiles could harm her as long as the barrier was intact.

Grief had overwhelmed her so she was unaware of what her death would cause. Not only would her death affect her family which was still coping with Lirath's death but also would the morale of her people sink drastically. They would seek vengeance and make stupid decisions which could lead to their defeat. She was essential for victory, without her the chances were much lower. An entire nation would mourn if she would die.

It was already hard for her rangers to fight while she was absent. The difference between fighting with Sylvanas and without Sylvanas was huge. Her rangers were better and more motivated when she was around. The positive effect of her mere presence on others was a phenomenon. Without this positive effect, the high elves had a hard time dealing with the trolls in the east and south-east. They won battle after battle but their losses were larger than under Sylvanas' command.

Normally, Alleria would have taken over the army and lead them but she was busy following Xenarion who was fleeing south. She had set in her head to chase him until she would get him one day. And her team was helping her.

In the absence of the two most famous members of the Windrunner family, Verena had taken over and had managed to push the trolls back. She had sent several groups of scouts and spies to the south which had the task to find out what the orcs were doing and planning. She did a great job at driving out the trolls of their lands. She was not such a good archer, leader and strategist as Sylvanas but she did her best. The high elves were still winning the battles against the trolls even though their Ranger-General hadn't left her room for two weeks since the reconquest of Windrunner Spire and Village.

Sylvanas stood in front of her window, looking out of it. She was not in the mood to go on the balcony and feel the warmth of the sun so she remained in her room and regarded the house's surroundings from this angle.

She still mourned for her brother.

There was nothing which could comfort her and satisfy her thirst for vengeance. She would love to hit the face of the guilty man until it would be nothing more than a bloody mess. She would love to hit him over and over again until the grief and the emotional pain she felt would disappear. She wouldn't mind killing him in the process because he deserved it in her opinion.

And she was not the only one who shared her opinion. The inhabitants of Quel'Thalas wanted Xenarion dead. He had betrayed their people and did nothing while an innocent young man bled to death just because he had had a few differences with the Ranger-General. Basically, he killed a young man because he had had problems with his sister.

These problems had become larger because the older sister of the person he had problems with chased him until she would get him. She wouldn't mind chasing him until the end of the earth. He had a lead but it became smaller with each passing day. Alleria will find him one day and put him to justice. Sylvanas was hoping that at least. She would never be able to overcome her grief if this bastard would still be out there, being allowed to breathe and live while her brother was dead.

She didn't turn her head nor did she say anything as she heard knocks at her door. She didn't say anything because she knew the person who was knocking would enter anyways.

Kelrian entered the room, carrying a tray in his hands which he put on her desk next to the barely touched trays of the past days. He knew she wouldn't eat much but he was still hoping that she would stop her hunger strike or whatever she was doing, so he had put only half of the daily ration on her tray.

He regarded her. Her body looked thinner than he remembered and that worried him. She didn't turn her head to him as he greeted her nor did she do or say anything as he came closer until he stood directly behind her.

He regarded her face, at least the half he was able to see. Her eyes were red from crying while her face was pale. Her otherwise perfect blonde hair was messy and greasy, which meant she hadn't showered for days or maybe even weeks. Her bottom lip was burst and it was unmistakable that she had chewed on her nails.

Kelrian knew Sylvanas since quite some time, so it had been a shock at first to see her like that when he had visited her a few days after he had received the bad news. He had visited her every day, spoken to her and even hugged her. She had barely reacted to him whenever he had come to her. She hadn't spoken to him nor had she looked at him. Instead, she had stared out of the window or had been standing on the balcony.

At least she had allowed him to hug her. Sometimes she had even put her head on his shoulder or had pressed her face against his chest when she had burst into tears. Kelrian had held her in his arms, ran his fingers through her messy hair and had whispered soothing words in her ears whenever she had done that.

He didn't get feedback from her if that helped her but he noticed that her body relaxed whenever he had held her for a while. She wasn't saying or showing it but his presence really helped her. She felt safer when he was around. His pure presence comforted her but it was not enough to fill the hole inside her. He wasn't able to fix her shattered heart but at least he was able to help her control her rage and prevented that she would do anything stupid caused by the grief she couldn't overcome.

At this very moment, he was hugging her from behind as he normally did. His strong arms were wrapped around her waist, one hand laid on her belly while the other held her hand. His head rested on her shoulder so he was able to kiss her cheek, her neck and her ear from time to time. These kisses had a positive effect on Sylvanas.

The kisses helped her relax but she was still grieving and Kelrian had no clue how he could help her overcome her grief. He had tried to talk to her but she didn't respond to him. He had tried to look into her eyes but she had turned her head away whenever he had tried that. Even putting his hands on her cheeks and force her to look at him hadn't worked out. In the end, she had elbowed him in the stomach until he had let her go. Even massaging her shoulders or combing her messy hair didn't help her.

Even Verena hadn't been able to comfort Sylvanas. She had tried it alone when she had visited her for two days, then she had tried it together with Kelrian. Both attempts had failed. Verena had returned to the front a week ago so it was up to Kelrian to stand by her and try to comfort her somehow. He spent his entire free time with her, he even stayed every second night. Either he slept on her couch or in her bed, holding her and speaking to her while she cried herself to sleep. Basically, he was with her whenever he wasn't working.

Verena had withdrawn him from the front to the area around Windrunner Village and Windrunner Spire where he went to patrol every day with five other rangers. She had done that so he could visit her every day and try to help her. He was there for Sylvanas while she couldn't. She wished she could help her best friend but she had to lead the elven army in Sylvanas' absence. Victory was the most important thing.

They stood there for a while, looking out of the window without saying anything. Sylvanas wasn't showing it but she was glad that Kelrian visited her whenever he could. He had to work overtime every day becausewar had come to their land and wouldn't leave for a while. Every single ranger, guard and person who was able to fight worked longer than usual. Half of the rangers were fighting the Horde and conquered the troll's territories while the other half made sure that the borders were secured and no invader would overcome their defence.

Kelrian had to work for ten to twelve hours a day. He only slept for five to six hours every day and he spent his entire free time with Sylvanas. Kelrian's mere presence really helped her to get used to Lirath's death. She still hadn't accepted it. She still couldn't believe that he was gone forever. She still blamed herself and mourned for him but she was doing better and better with each passing day.

It was just a matter of time until Sylvanas' phase of grief would end and she would be herself again. Sooner or later, she would come out of her room and return to the front. She wouldn't stop until the trolls and orcs would be defeated. That was very likely to happen. She had sworn to call Zul'jin and the Warchief of the Horde, Orgrim Doomhammer to account for their war crimes. And she wouldn't stop until her vow would be fulfilled.

But for now, she remained in her room and grieved for her little brother who had been taken away from her too soon. Kelrian stood by her, watching over her whenever he had the time. He did his best to calm her down and comfort her, he didn't know if it worked because she barely responded to him. She didn't look at him nor did she speak to him but she didn't send him away. She knew he was doing his best to support her whenever he could and it was not his fault that her mood was only slowly getting better from day to day. But even Sylvanas realized her mood was getting better and better.

She still didn't feel in the mood to do anything, nor did she respond to her lover who didn't know what else he could do. It bothered him that he couldn't help Sylvanas, no matter what he was doing for her. He felt useless, blamed himself and even called himself a bad boyfriend. He didn't realize that he was the only person who could help Sylvanas to overcome her grief. He was the only one who could help Sylvanas out of her valley of grief. He didn't have to do much to make Sylvanas feel better from day to day. He only had to be there for her, which he was.

A few hours had passed in which Sylvanas and Kelrian had only stared out of the window. He had held her in his arms and she had enjoyed that. So had he. He had expected that she would go to the balcony after she had wriggled out of his embrace. But instead, she had walked to her bed. She sat there cross-legged, regarding him curiously.

Yes, she looked at him for the first time, after two weeks in which she had avoided to look at him. The face she made looked different from those she had made during the past two weeks. She didn't look that sad anymore but she didn't look happy either.

It was unmistakable that she was still grieving and hadn't managed to cope with her brother's death. Her heart was still shattered into millions of pieces but these pieces were slowly reassembled. She just needed time. Time she didn't have because her people were counting on her. They were hoping she would return to the front soon. Of course, they understood that she needed time to assimilate everything.

Nevertheless, the morale of the rangers and guards had suffered under Sylvanas' absence. They still believed in victory and in their leaders but the longer the Ranger-General was absent, the more insecure they became.

Kelrian knew that so he was hoping he could comfort Sylvanas so she could return to the front soon. But in the first place, he wanted to comfort her because he loved her and it pained him to see her suffer. To manage to bring her back to the front was only the second place on his priority a ranger, he should always think of the interests of his people first and then he could think of his personal interests.

But the reality was that he cared for Sylvanas the most. His people came second to him. He loved her. And she loved him. She had barely shown it over the past weeks but she loved him more than everything else. Their love was strongIt gave them the strength to go through everything together, overcome every problem and get rid of all threats. There were only a few bonds in the world which were stronger than the bond these two individuals had together. They will get through these hard times. Together.

Kelrian's face reflected surprise as he looked at Sylvanas who stared at him without saying anything. Her lips formed a thin line, her blue eyes stared into his. He returned her gaze, tilting his head a little. She continued to stare at him, only breaking eye contact when her stomach growled loudly and she automatically looked at the trays which were standing on her desk.A small smile appeared on Kelrian's lips as he noticed that the food had aroused her interest. He was worried about her because she hadn't eaten much within the past weeks so he would be very happy if she would take a few bites at least.

He pointed at the newest tray as he looked at her. "Do you want to eat something, honey?"

She didn't respond verbally but the nod she gave him was enough to bring a smile on his lips. His gaze didn't leave her as he walked over to her desk, picking up the newest tray on which a bowl filled with salad and a bottle of moonberry juice stood. He walked back to her, placing the tray in front of her.

Sylvanas took the bowl and placed it on her lap. At first, she poked around in the bowl with a fork but after a few minutes, she started to eat. She ate the salad slowly at first. Then she ate faster and emptied the entire bowl. She took the bottle, emptying half of it before she handed it over to her lover who almost emptied it.

He handed it back to Sylvanas who signalized him through a gesture that she wanted to eat more. Kelrian walked to the desk, picked up the tray from the previous day and returned to Sylvanas, handing it over to her with pleasure. He smiled at her while she emptied the plate of fruits within half an hour. Sylvanas even emptied the tray from two days ago but then she was satisfied and signalized Kelrian that she wasn't hungry anymore. He sat next to her, regarding her curiously.

"Are you alright?" he asked eventually.

"I think so...," she spoke slowly and quietly. "I think I'm not over Lirath's death yet. But... I feel better than I felt weeks ago. Thanks to you. You showed patience and stayed by my side even though I haven't looked at you for two weeks."

Kelrian gave her a small smile. "Well, I'm doing what a good boyfriend has to do. I'm just glad I managed to help you."

"I don't deserve you," she replied, her blue eyes rested on his handsome face. She didn't avert her gaze, noticing that he wasn't able to avert his gaze either.

Soft laughter escaped his lips. "That's not right. I am the one who doesn't deserve you," he responded. "I never will."

"I look like crap. You deserve someone better."

Kelrian moved closer to her, putting his hands on her cheeks. "There is nothing which can't be fixed with a bath. Besides, you are perfect to me no matter how you look. I would love you if you would look like this for the rest of your life. I don't mind if you look good or bad. I'm not like your numerous admirers who love you only because of your look and your reputation. I love your character, your behaviour, your strength, your charm, your quirks... Basically, I love everything about you and not just your look. But I can't deny that you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen. You are the most beautiful woman in the entire universe. There is no one who can compete with your beauty."

Sylvanas smiled at him, putting her left hand on one of his, caressing it carefully. His words meant a lot for her. They built her up, gave her strength and confidence and acceleratedthe process of assembling her shattered heart. She was glad that she had him. Without him, she would have fallen into a deep depression. Without him, she wouldn't have managed to complete the first step of getting over Lirath's death.

He hadn't done much. He had just been there for her and had helped her with his mere presence. He had helped her more than any other person could have. Not even Sylvanas' family or her best friend could have comforted her by just spending time with her. They would have given up after two days if Sylvanas would have also refused to speak to them.

"I miss him so much," she spoke eventually, her voice sounded sad and reflected grief. So did her face. She was sad whenever she thought about him. She wanted to cry, wanted to hide in her room where she wanted to stay until the end of the time. She wanted to be alone forever whenever she thought about her little brother. But then came Kelrian in her mind whenever she noticed that the grief was about to overwhelm her. She imagined him smiling at her. That gave her enough strength to fight back the grief and start thinking positively again.

The memories of him were not enough to make her forget about Lirath but that was okay because she didn't want to forget him. She always wanted to remember her little brother. She just wished that she didn't have to feel emotional pain whenever she thought about him. To achieve that, she had to accept his death and the fact that she would never see him again. That wouldn't be easy but with Kelrian's help, she should manage that. She had to cope with his death. It was necessary for her sanity and for her people.

They needed her. They needed her by their sides. They needed her in the war against these green bastards who were responsible for the deaths of thousands of elves. And for Lirath's death. Kelrian needed her as well and she needed him. They needed each other. Her family needed her. Basically, everyone needed her.

She only needed her family and Kelrian. And a bath as well. She got up, walking to the other side of the room. "Where are you going?" her lover asked curiously.

"I'm taking a bath," she replied, glancing at him shortly before she looked at the enclosed her hand around thedoorknob, signalizing Kelrian that she wanted to open the door and leave the room.

"Shall I join you or do you think it would be too early?" he asked, eying her curiously.

"Normally, I wouldn't say no to a bath with you but I guess I need some time alone to think about everything," she told.

"Shall I go then or shall I wait in your room?"

"Wait here for me" she responded, returning his smile. She regarded him for a few moments, then she opened the door and walked through it, leaving the curious and relieved Kelrian alone in her room.

Chapter Text

Numerous thoughts came in her mind while she lied in the bathtub and relaxed. Thoughts about the events of the past weeks. The conquests of the troll camps and bases, which had involved heavy losses from the side of the trolls but also from the side of the Alliance. The news about the devastation of Windrunner Village and the attack on Windrunner Spire.

The news about Lirath's death which had hit her harder than anyone would have expected. No one had expected that it would have hit her so hard that she wouldn't leave her room for two weeks. She still wasn't over his death, thinking about him depressed her but at least she was able to bear the emotional pain. She was able to think clearly and focus on the important things.

Her people needed her aid against the trolls and orcs. They didn't only need her because she was the best ranger in Quel'Thalas but also because her mere presence was enough to increase their morale and give them courage and hope. The other rangers fought better while she was around them. It was a phenomenon even Sylvanas herself couldn't explain.

Her plan was to return to the front soon and then push her troops forward in the south-east. Her goal was to conquer Zul'Aman and put Zul'jin in chains. He had to pay for the crimes he had done and Sylvanas will not stop until he had been put to justice.

Sylvanas also thought about her family. About Alleria who had told her that she will hunt down Kelrian's father before she had stormed out of her room. She still couldn't believe that the father of her lover left Lirath to die. She assumed that he was the one who gave the enemy the tip to attack Windrunner Village and Windrunner Spire. There was no other reason why the trolls had spared him after they had killed the guards who should have transported him to the prison in Silvermoon City.

At first, Sylvanas had assumed that the trolls had taken him captive because his corpse couldn't have been found anywhere. But his emergence in Windrunner Spire confirmed that he had not been kidnapped. Instead, he worked together with the enemy. Sylvanas had no proof that he was really working with them but there was no other explanation why the trolls had let him go.

She had no clue what he was going to do next. She assumed that he would try to bring his family back to his house. At least he couldn't do that in the near future because he was away from Alleria and her best rangers. He didn't have the time to kidnap anyone but that didn't mean that Kelrian's family was safe. It was not unlikely that Xenarion had told the enemy to attack Suncrown Village next and kidnap his family. Kelrian was worried about them so was Sylvanas.

At least, Verena had stationed more troops in and near Suncrown Village. More groups were patrolling the area around it. In general, more scouts were moving through Quel'Thalas, looking out for trolls and orcs who tried to reach Suncrown Village or any other village or place in Quel'Thalas.

She was sure that Alleria will find him soon and bring him back. But Xenarion was not the only problem her people had. The trolls were still making trouble and the orcs were also a threat. The orcs might have retreated but that was only a temporarily retreat. They will return sooner or later. There was no way they wouldn't. She assumed they would return as soon as they had built enough siege engines. Sylvanas could only hope that the humans will take care of them.

The orcs had slipped through their fingers one time which had led to the attack on Quel'Thalas and to Lirath's death. She could only hope that the orcs wouldn't be able to get away from the humans a second time. She had faith in Anduin Lothar, the leader of the human army and his second in command, Turalyon.

She had only met Alleria's lover a few times but the time they had spent together had been enough to give her the impression that he was a strong and fearless warrior. The human kingdoms were powerful allies whose help the high elves needed. Sylvanas was only hoping that they wouldn't get defeated by the orcs. Not like the kingdom of Stormwind whose capital city had been left in ruins when the orcs had attacked it during the first war.

Nonetheless, the orcs and trolls had suffered heavy losses over the past months which meant they were slowly losing if they don't have another ace card in their sleeves. Sylvanas was only hoping that the orcs and trolls would be defeated soon. She was tired of fighting against these green creatures. She just wanted to live in peace with the man she loved. With the man who had been there for her during the past weeks, had supported her and tried to calm her down as best as he could.

She was asking herself what she would do without him. She would be less motivated to survive every single day. Being able to see him at the end of the day was enough to motivate her no matter how hard her day would be or how many foes she would have to kill. She loved him with all of her heart and there was nothing which could change that.

Sylvanas came back to reality eventually as she stopped thinking about everything which came up in her mind. She leaned back and relaxed, enjoying the pleasantly warm water. It felt so good to take a hot bath, especially after she had avoided it for more than two weeks. She relaxed for a while then she finally started to wash herself. She cleaned her skin carefully and thoroughly with a sponge and washed her hair. She managed to make her greasy hair perfect again by using only a bit of her favourite hair shampoo. Her hair was not a mess anymore, instead, it was loose and fluffy. It would dry quickly and shine if she would go outside and step in the sun.

Sylvanas got out of the tub eventually, wrapping a towel around her body and another one around her head after she had dried herself. She left the bathroom, her eyes widened in surprise as she saw her mother who just came out of the room next to the bathroom.

She looked paler and thinner than she remembered. Her hair once had a golden colour, now it was just pale blonde. Sylvanas could only assume that Lirath's death had been responsible for the drastic changes in her appearance. The grief and emotional pain must have overwhelmed her. Sylvanas was glad that her appearance hadn't changed at all while she had mourned for her brother. She felt so sorry for her mother.

Unlike her, her mother had been there when Lirath had died slowly. She had been there when Xenarion had refused to heal him. She had seen Lirath die. She had seen everything, witnessed how the life had left him slowly. There had been nothing she could have done for him. He had died in her arms and she hadn't been able to save him.

Sylvanas didn't want to imagine how her mother must have felt before and after his could only assume that she must have felt shattered.A whole world must have collapsed for her when the last sign of life had left him. Sylvanas was not sure if her mother had blamed herself for Lirath's dead. It was not unlikely that her mother had blamed herself for not having been able to protect Lirath. Lirath would have never died if she would have handled these three orcs alone.

But it was not her fault. She was not a fighter, not anymore to be exact. She had been the best ranger once but that had been a hundred years ago. She was not as good anymore as she had once been, not even close. Her disease didn't allow her to fight as well as she used to. Without her disease, she would have dealt with these orcs so Lirath wouldn't have been injured by the third orc. She also could have helped to defend her home and helped to drive out all orcs so Lirath wouldn't have been hurt in the first place. But she hadn't been able to do that so she felt guilty, even though it was not her fault.

It was Xenarion's fault that the orcs and trolls changed their plans suddenly and attacked Windrunner Spire and Windrunner Village. It was not unlikely that he had told them how to break through the southern defence line. Otherwise, Sylvanas couldn't explain how the orcs had managed to break through the thick wall without knowing its weak points. It didn't matter for the moment but Sylvanas was still curious. She wanted to find out what went wrong so she could do something about it to prevent that the orcs would manage to break through the defence line again in the same way.

Nevertheless, it was not Lireesa's fault. There was nothing she could have done to save Lirath. Even attacking Xenarion wouldn't have changed anything. She would have never been able to force him to heal her son. Intimidation and threats might have worked on other priests but not on Xenarion. Lirath would have died no matter what Lireesa would have tried. Lireesa could only accept that it was not her fault. That was everything she could do.

But she didn't. She still felt guilty, broken, shattered and angry. Lirath's death had hit her pretty hard. It was visible in her eyes, in her face and in the way she was behaving. The once lively mother of four children had become a sad, broken woman with only three children. Sylvanas was not sure if her mother's condition would become better, same counted for her mindset.

She was hoping for the best, knowing she had to support her mother as best as she could. She had to be there for her until she would feel better. She knew she didn't really have the time for that. She was needed at the front. Her people needed her but her family needed her as well and she needed her family the same way.

She had to choose between returning to the front tomorrow or staying home for a few more days. She was debating inwardly, making a thoughtful face while she did that. It was her duty as the Ranger-General to act in the interests of her people. It was her duty to prefer her people's interest over her family's interests and her own interests. That meant she should go to the front.

But something told her she should stay at home and support her mother who needed her, so did her father and the rest of her family which was left. Several uncles, aunts, cousins and other relatives had perished in the orc attack but many members of the Windrunner family had survived. The Windrunner family was an extended family. Sylvanas couldn't take care of everyone but she could spend time with her father and mother and comfort them as best as she could.

She didn't feel ready to go to the front tomorrow and risk her life. She needed a few more days until she would be fit. Physically and mentally. She had to eat more, sleep enough and train until she would be in form again. Returning to the front the following day was a bad idea. She needed time to recover, otherwise, she wouldn't do her people a favour if she would get killed because her mind and her body were still weakened.

It would be the best if she would stay a few days at home. Not to mention her mother wouldn't let her go if she would tell her that she wanted to return to the front so soon. If it was up to her, she would lock her children in their rooms and never let them out. But it was not in her power to decide what her children should or should not do. They were members of the Farstriders so they had to return to the front and fight. They had to do that sooner or later. Vereesa had already returned to her group.

Together with Verena, she planned and led assaults on the freshly erected troll bases. Vereesa overcame her griefby killing as many trolls she could. She would rather kill orcs but these creatures had retreated after they had been driven out of Quel'Thalas. They were hiding in a place which wasn't in the range of the couldn't make them pay for what they have done so the trolls were the ones who had to suffer instead.

Sylvanas had heard rumours that Verena had allowed the other captains and lieutenants to attack non-military targets. Such as villages where innocent trolls were living. Old trolls, women and children who had nothing to do with the war. Sylvanas had always preached to her people that they should never sink on the same low level as the trolls'.Killing civilians was a war crime. The trolls and orcs didn't care about such unofficial rules. Wars should always be fought by warriors and not by innocents who couldn't defend themselves.

She could only hope that these rumours were just rumours and that they wouldn't be true. Otherwise... She didn't know what she would do if it would turn out that her subordinates weren't better than their enemies. She could understand that her people were angry about the attack on two non-military targets. But taking an eye for an eye was never a good had to ask Verena about these rumours. No matter if these rumours would turn out to be true, she had to talk to her subordinates and let them remember that they were better than these green beasts who saw themselves as humanoid beings.

Sylvanas noticed that she had been standing on the same spot since her gaze had fallen onto her mother who had returned her gaze without saying or doing anything. Mother and daughter had stared at each other while they had been lost in thoughts and reflected about so many things. Sylvanas noticed that her mother really needed a comforting hug so she approached her. She didn't care that her towels slipped a little as she threw her arms around her mother's neck and hugged her tightly.

Lireesa didn't hesitate to return the hug, closing her eyes. She took a deep breath, noticing the aroma of the shampoo Sylvanas had used to wash her hair. It smelled after peaches, Lireesa's favourite fruit. Lireesa couldn't stop herself from running her left hand through Sylvanas wet hair while the other hand rested on her back. The hug lasted longer than Sylvanas had intended. They pulled away after a while, looking at each other. Sylvanas didn't blush as she fixed her towel which had slipped enough to reveal her ample bosom.

"So...," her mother started but stopped as she realized she didn't know what to say.

"So...," replied Sylvanas but she didn't speak any further because she was at a loss of words like her mother. They were silent for a few minutes, doing nothing but staring into the other's eyes. But then Sylvanas broke the silence by asking if her mother was alright.

"I think so."

"Are you sure?" asked Sylvanas, giving her a questioning look.

"Yes, I am."

Sylvanas' face reflected doubt. "You don't seem to be alright."

"Well... To be honest... I don't manage to get over Lirath's death no matter how hard I try. I can't stop thinking about him. Whenever I try to distract myself, his face comes back in my mind. I start to remember his last few moments and then I..." she stopped speaking abruptly, tears ran down her cheeks.

Sylvanas didn't hesitate to pull her into another tight and comforting hug, whispering soothing words in her ears. She needed a few more minutes but with the right words, she managed to calm her mother down eventually. Nevertheless, she didn't pull away nor did her mother. They remained close, Sylvanas rubbed her mother's back while Lireesa ran her fingers through Sylvanas' wet golden mane. Toying with Sylvanas hair proved to be very reassuring for the insecure woman.

"I don't think I will get over his death soon. I only hope I will one day," whispered Lireesa.

"I will stay a few days before I return to the front. I know you don't want to let me go but you have to. Our people need me."

"I need you as well but I understand that you have to go. Our people need their best ranger in the war. Do me a favour and kill as many of these green bastards as you can. Do not spare anyone."

Sylvanas stroked the back of her head. "Don't worry, I will not spare a single troll or orc."

"You are a good girl," complimented her mother.

A small smile appeared on Sylvanas' lips. "How's father doing?"

The smile on Lireesa's lips vanished, her eyes reflected sadness and a look of worry appeared on her face. "He comes to terms with Lirath's day in a different way..."

Sylvanas frowned. "What do you mean?"

"He... drinks much more than usual... I'm afraid he gets addicted to alcohol if he isn't already..."

Worry was also reflected by Sylvanas' face. "Should I talk to him? Maybe I can help him accepting what happened."

"I tried to talk to him but it didn't work. Maybe you are able to help him," responded her mother, making a thoughtful face.

"Where is he?"

"I don't know. Probably in the local pub. I assume he had already emptied a bottle or two. Maybe more."

Sylvanas gave her mother a questioning look. "Should I meet him tomorrow and speak to him as soon as he is sober?"

"You better do that if you really want to help him."

Sylvanas nodded. "Alright, I will meet him tomorrow then."

Lireesa caressed her daughter's cheeks, giving her a small smile. "Do that, Lady Moon." Lireesa giggled, pressing a kiss on her daughter's forehead. They were equally tall so she didn't need step on her tiptoes to reach her forehead with her lips.

"Lady Moon," repeated Sylvanas, chuckling. "I already miss my sisters but I'm glad that I will see them soon. I will stay near Vereesa as I have promised and assist her. Alleria will return with this bastard Xenarion sooner or later. I will make sure he will receive what he deserves." Sylvanas facial expression had changed from relaxed to tense while she had spoken. But the tension disappeared as she stared into her mother's eyes who was still caressing her cheeks and toyed with strands of her hair.

"I will make dinner soon. Are you hungry?"

"I am actually. Can I ask you something?"

Lireesa nodded.

"My uncles, aunts and cousins aren't visiting us today and Alleria and Vereesa are not at home which means only the two of us would eat together. I thought about inviting someone to dinner. Someone I want to introduce to you," said Sylvanas.

Lireesa's eyes widened, a surprised expression appeared on her face as she realized what Sylvanas was hinting at. A long stressed "Oh" was the only sound which escaped her lips. But her surprised expression changed quickly. The corners of her lips formed a smile. "A new lover, so so..."

Sylvanas nodded her head, not knowing why she was blushing a little.

"I'm curious to meet her."


"Well, it's not a woman," replied Sylvanas.

Lireesa gave her daughter a surprised look. "Really? I thought you swing that way."

"How did you come to that conclusion?" Sylvanas asked, her facial expression was a mix of confusion and curiosity.

"You don't want to marry Prince Kael'thas, the most popular and most handsome man in Quel'Thalas. The only lover you ever introduced to us was Verena. Not to mention the other woman I caught you with ten years ago. That's why I thought you are only interested in women."

"I'm not really into women, to be honest. Verena was the only exception. And the other woman... It was an accident. I was... Well, I don't really need to justify myself. She was just a one-night stand, let's say it that way. I'm only interested in men. And don't worry, it's a high elf and not a human. I'm not Alleria who fell for that good looking human," explained Sylvanas.

"So, you mean that there is a chance that one day I get grandchildren who are not half-elves?"

Sylvanas laughed nervously. "Probably. We are not that long together to think about getting children, marrying and such stuff. But yeah, I think he is the right one."

A happy smile appeared on Lireesa's lips. Sylvanas hadn't seen her so happy for weeks. "Normally, I would ask you to tell me more about him but you don't need to do that because I will meet him later."

"I'm sure you will like him," responded Sylvanas, returning the smile.

"Does he live in the near?"

"He lives in Suncrown Village. Why are you asking?"

"I just wanted to know when I should make the dinner because you need some time to reach Suncrown Village and return with him"

"He is already here, in my room to be exact. You can start with the preparations now if you want."

Lireesa raised her eyebrows, giving her daughter an amused look. "He is already here?"

"He helped me come to terms with the events of the past weeks. He visited me every day and spent his already limited free time with me. He is a good guy and I'm pretty sure you will like him," explained Sylvanas.

Lireesa stroked Sylvanas' cheeks. "I'm happy as long as you are."

Sylvanas didn't respond verbally but she smiled at her mother who returned it.

"Anyways, I will go to the kitchen now and make dinner. I will tell you when it's ready."

"Fine," responded Sylvanas. She looked at her mother one more time before she turned around and walked back to her room. She opened the door and stepped in it without hesitation. She found Kelrian sitting on her bed, reading one of her favourite books. Love to the end of the world.

He was so absorbed in the book that he didn't notice his lover who had just entered the room. Sylvanas didn't make any sound as she walked over to him and took a seat next to him. She knew the book inside out so she only needed to read a few lines to know exactly where he was. She kept reading with him, wondering when he will notice her. She read a few pages with him, deciding at it was time to get his attention. She got behind him and wrapped her legs around his waist and her arms around his neck. She kissed his neck softly, smiling when he startled. She put her chin on his right shoulder and took the book out of his hands, putting it next to him.

"Ah, Sylvanas. I didn't expect you to be back so soon" he said, turning his head a little so he could see her out of the corners of his eyes.

"So soon?" she asked, giving him an irritated look. "I was gone for two hours."

His face reflected pure surprise. "Two hours? It felt more like fifteen minutes."

"That's what reading is like. You dive in a strange new world and get known to it and its characters. You can spend hours exploring it without realising how much time passed. It's perfect to turn your thoughts off and relax after a hard and stressful day," she explained.

"I have to say I really enjoy this book. I have always enjoyed reading books but I have only read adventure or fantasy books. I never read romance novels before."

"You missed a lot." Her sentence sounded more like a fact than her opinion.

Soft laughter escaped Kelrian's lips. "I believe that."

"I can lend you the book if you want," said Sylvanas, kissing his right cheek.

"That would be cool," he responded. He smiled as he felt Sylvanas snuggling closer to him, practically pressing her body into his. He could feel her breasts, which weren't covered by a bra, against his back. He was only wearing a thin white t-shirt so he could feel the pleasant warmth which was radiated by her body. He closed his eyes, taking her hands in his as he enjoyed the close body contact. He rubbed the backs of her hands with his thumbs, listening to her quiet and rhythmical breaths.

They were enjoying each other's presence, doing nothing but sitting there. The pleasant silence was disturbed by loud knocks at Sylvanas' door.

Kelrian opened his eyes, looking at Sylvanas who kissed him quickly.

"Dinner is ready, honey," shouted Lireesa.

"I guess I have to go now," said Kelrian quietly.

"No, you can eat with us. I told my mother that I want to introduce you to her."

"Really?" asked the surprised young man.

Sylvanas nodded her head. "Alleria already knows of our relationship and I know her pretty well. It's just a matter of time until she would tell our parents. So, I want to tell my family first before they find it out that way."

"Okay, we are together for almost four yearsso I don't mind telling your family. I'm just a bit nervous, to be honest," he admitted.

"You don't need to. It's only my mother, you and I. My father is not at home."

A questioning look appeared on his face. "Are you sure it's the right time to introduce me to your mother. I mean... My father didn't help your brother, so it's only understandable that your mother must hate this bastard. But I'm the bastard's son, unfortunately, which could mean that she wouldn't like me as well. You know what I mean?"

"I do but you don't need to be worried about that. I told my mother a lot about my rangers, especially about my best ones. She knows much about you. She knows who your father is and she also knows that you hate him as well," responded Sylvanas, giving him a comforting look.

"Are you sure she wouldn't hold a grudge against me?" he asked, sounding a bit worried.

"I think so. I know my mother pretty well, so I believe she will handle it. We can't choose our parents so she won't hate you from the beginning. Besides, I have to introduce you to my family sooner or later. As I've already said, Alleria knows about you so my parents will find out about you sooner or later. I prefer introducing you to them than them finding out about you. In the end, it doesn't really matter which way they find out about you. But I want to do it this way."

"Okay...I hope your assumption about your mother is right," responded Kelrian. He sounded less convinced than Sylvanas has hoped for but a smile from her was enough to let all his worry disappear.

"I hope so as well. Everything will be alright. Trust me."

Kelrian nodded his head. "I always do."

"So, you will join us?" she asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I will."

"Alright, just let me put on a comfortable dress, then we can go downstairs."

"I won't stop you," said Kelrian and looked away as Sylvanas walked over to her wardrobe.

"You can watch me getting dressed if you want. You don't have to look away," spoke Sylvanas. She waited until Kelrian had turned his head to look at her, then she gave him a wide grin. She dropped the towel, revealing her nude form, which he had seen so often, to him. He returned her smile, watching her as she put fresh red undergarments on. Then she took a purple coloured dress out of her wardrobe and put it on. She made sure that it fit perfectly, then she turned around on her own axis once. She looked at her lover who was scrutinizing her with widened eyes.

The dress was absolutely beautiful. Sylvanas was stunningly beautiful even without the dress, so there were not enough words to describe how good she looked in that dress. She was gorgeous. She knew that and he knew that as well. She didn't need to look in a mirror to confirm that she looked good. Kelrian's widened eyes and his wide open mouth proved that. Nevertheless, she glanced in the mirror quickly, combing her hair so that it sat perfectly.

"I'm ready," said Sylvanas but she got no reaction from her still stunned lover. He didn't say anything nor did he blink while he looked at her. He stared at her, admiring her beauty. She stepped to him, coming very close. She waved her hand in front of his eyes then she shook him slightly. Kelrian was brought out of his thoughts, his cheeks reddened when he realized that he had been lost in thoughts and stared at her like a horny teen.

"Good, you are back on this planet. Let's go to the dining room," said Sylvanas as she walked to the door. Kelrian nodded his head, picked up his blue jacket and put it on. Then he followed Sylvanas out of the room.

Chapter Text

Sylvanas and Kelrian arrived in the dining room. There was a large table in the middle of the room on which at least twenty people could sit. Sylvanas' aunts, uncles, cousins and other relatives were visiting them from time to time so such a large table was necessary. Often, not all guest could sit at the same table which meant that a second, much smaller table was needed. That table stood not far away from the large table, near the right corner of the room.

The table was set already, the dinner stood at its head. There were three plates. One at the table's head, one to its left and one to its right. But the table and the chairs around it were not the only pieces of furniture which stood in the room. There was a cupboard which contained the plates and the cutlery. There was a blue carpet which was made out of the best fabrics of Quel'Thalas and covered the entire floor.

A few paintings hung on the walls. One painting showed Windrunner Village from afar, one showed Windrunner Spire and another one showed Sylvanas, her siblings and her parents. It was a family portrait. There were three more paintings and all of them looked better than any other painting Kelrian had ever seen. Whoever had drawn these must be a very good artist.

Kelrian regarded the paintings for a few moments. He turned his head as he felt that his hands were placed in the hands of someone else. Sylvanas gave him a smile, guiding him over to the table. She signalized him to sit down on the left seat while she sat down on the opposite seat. The first thing Kelrian did was to take a closer look at the meal which had already been served.

There was a plate on which a turkey was lying, a bowl with lots of peeled potatoes and there was a small can with a brown sauce. Lireesa came in the room at this very moment, carrying a bowl full of cooked vegetables. She placed the bowl next to the turkey, turning her head to look at Kelrian.

Kelrian stood up so did Sylvanas. He approached Lireesa first, lowering his head in respect as he shook her hand and greeted her. "It's a pleasure to meet you, Lady Windrunner. I'm Kelrian." He regarded her from head to toe, noticing that her dress was made out of the same material as Sylvanas'. The only difference was that it was coloured in blue instead of purple.

Lireesa smiled at him. "It's a pleasure for me too, you can call me Lireesa if you want."

Kelrian kissed her hand, looking at her for a few moments before he sat down on his chair. Lireesa did the same, glancing at Sylvanas who gave her a small smile. She looked back at the man Sylvanas wanted to introduce to her.

"I'm sorry for your loss," said Kelrian. His voice was quieter but sounded very emotional. He was really sorry for what happened to Lirath, even though it was not his fault. His voice expressed his feelings perfectly.

Lireesa's eyelids flickered, her eyes reflected grief and sadness but only for a short moment. She nodded her head, not saying anything. Sylvanas put her hand on her mother's, giving her a comforting smile. "Kelrian wants to put Xenarion to justice, just like us. He is on our side."

"I know," responded Lireesa. "You told me a couple of times that he doesn't like his father."

"That's an understatement. I hate him. I hate him more than anything else. He is an inferior abusive asshole who doesn't care about others. He only cares about his own interests. He forced my mother to do whatever he wanted and he threatened her whenever she disagreed with him. I can't wait for your oldest daughter to catch him and bring him to the prison of Silvermoon, where he belongs for the rest of his pathetic life."

Lireesa gave him a sympathetic smile. "I agree with you. But we shouldn't talk about him, we only ruin the mood if we do that. He won't escape his fate forever. We should rather speak about you. Sylvanas told me a lot about you but she never told me that you are her lover. Nor did she tell me how you met."

Sylvanas answered for him. "We met fourteen years ago. He came to the entrance examination and showed great potential even though he failed. I knew from that day that he will become an excellent ranger one day. He failed the second examination but he passed the third and trained hard under my lead since then. He became one of the best rangers of the current generation and I'm pretty sure he will become better than everyone else."

"And then did you two become a thing?" Lireesa asked curiously, smiling at the couple.

"I've developed feelings for him since the first day we met but I haven't realized them until the third examination. I needed a few years to admit to myself that I love him and then I told him about my feelings. And then... we came together. That's our story."

Her mother smiled as she looked at Kelrian. "You must know that Sylvanas always talked about you whenever she visited us. There was not a single day where she hasn't mentioned your name."

Kelrian didn't know why he was blushing. He didn't say anything, he just looked at Sylvanas' mother and gave her a smile.

"Sylvanas always told me how good you are but that was all she said about you. Is it okay if I ask you a few questions? I want to know more about the man who is making my middle daughter happy. I'm not the only one in our family who noticed that Sylvanas has become much happier over the past years. Not to mention that she doesn't visit us that often than she used to do. I expected that she found someone but I've never dared to ask her," said Lireesa.

She stood up and picked up a large fork and a large knife, cutting off parts of the turkey. She placed a wing on Sylvanas' plate and a leg on Kelrian's. She put a wing on her own plate, then she spread the potatoes, the vegetables and the sauce equally. She sat back on her seat and looked at Kelrian, signalizing him that she expected an answer.

"Sure you can. I'll try to answer everything I can," he said, smiling shyly.

"Tell me about your hobbies."

"Well, I love hunting and doing ranger things. I practise my shooting and close combat skills, follow traces in the woods and stuff like that."

"I was Ranger-General before my lovely daughter. I know exactly what you are talking about. Keep going."

Kelrian rubbed the back of his head. "Well, I love reading. That's everything you have to know about my hobbies. What about you?"

"I love reading as well," she responded.

"Really? Which genre?"

"Romance and adventure."

"Romance, that's interesting. Now I know from who Sylvanas got her love for books and her beauty," he complimented.

Lireesa chuckled and blushed a little. "Thank you. What do you read?"

"Mostly, adventure and fantasy novels but I have started to read one of Sylvanas' favourite books. I have to say it's better than I have expected."

"Which one?" she asked curiously.

"Love to the end of the world," he responded, taking the cutlery in his hands as he noticed that Sylvanas had started to mash her potatoes with her fork. He did the same, shoving a fork of mashed potatoes in his mouth.

"That's a very good book. The author is an old friend of mine. I rarely see her these days because she is very busy but I meet her two or three times a month."

"That's cool," replied Kelrian as soon as his mouth wasn't full anymore.

"I've heard that you are living with your mother and your younger siblings in your cousin's house."

"Yeah, I live in her house since my father has thrown me out because I didn't pass the priest entrance examination twice. My mother and my younger siblings live there too since I freed them out of my father's claws. They are a lot happier since they don't have to live in my father's house anymore. Unfortunately, my older siblings haven't noticed yet what a monster my father really is. They stand by his side, for whatever reason."

"I hope you can open their eyes one day," spoke Lireesa.

"I hope that too," replied Kelrian.

"I think we should eat first before the meal gets cold," Sylvanas threw in. "We can continue to talk as soon as we are done with the meal."

Lireesa smiled at her daughter. You are right, my dear. I wish you both a good appetite."

"Same," Kelrian and Sylvanas said in unison. The three started to eat, not saying anything while they enjoyed their meals. Sylvanas and Kelrian stared in each other's eyes all the time, they didn't even avert their gazes to look at their plates. Lireesa observed them with a happy smile on her lips.

She was glad that her daughter was happy and she didn't mind at all that she was in love with the son of the bastard who let her son die. It was not his fault that his father was an absolute bastard. No child should be blamed or punished for the crimes and faults of their parents. She thought that way so she didn't hold a grudge against Kelrian.

She knew Kelrian hated him the same way she did. Like him, she couldn't wait that this bastard would receive his just punishment as soon as Alleria would catch him. It was only a matter of time until Xenarion would be locked in the cell he should have been locked in the first place.

She had only met one of Sylvanas' former lovers so she could only compare Kelrian to her. Kelrian was a very nice guy. And good looking as well. She couldn't deny that Verena was also very beautiful. She had needed some time to accept her but then she had really liked her. It had been a shock for her when she had found out that Sylvanas had broken up with her after they had been together for ten years. On the other hand, it had also been a relief to her because she had hoped Sylvanas would marry the prince one day.

She was still hoping her daughter would marry him. Nevertheless, she had accepted Sylvanas' decision that she would never marry Kael'thas. She was happy as long as Sylvanas was happy so she accepted Kelrian. He made her happy and he was also very popular among the Farstriders. Lots of people knew his name and had heard of his believed it was just a matter of time until he would do a heroic move which will make everyone remember him.

A glorious future awaited him. Sylvanas knew that so did her mother. Like her daughter, Lireesa knew when someone had the potential to become one of the best. She had never seen Kelrian in action before but she knew her daughter never overstated when she told her about her rangers and their skills. She trusted Sylvanas' judgement so she suggested that Kelrian will become one of the best.

The meal was very delicious. They were silent for a few minutes after they were done eating but then they started to talk again. Lireesa asked Kelrian about his life as a ranger, the experiences he had collected so far and where he would see himself in ten years.

He answered honestly and told her that he enjoyed the life of a ranger, helping those who couldn't defend themselves and that he enjoyed killing those who tried to harm his people. He also told her that he had no clue what the future would hold for him but he would be happy if he could still work with Sylvanas and be her lover.

Kelrian also asked Lireesa a few personal questions which she answered honestly. He found out that Lireesa had met Sylvanas' father on a Lunar festival hundreds of years ago. It had been love at first sight. They had talked a lot, started to meet oftener and then started to date. He also found out that Sylvanas' grandparents were not the biggest fan of Alleria's decision to mate with a human. They regarded Alleria's son Arator as a pollution of their bloodline and that was the reason why they didn't visit Alleria. They only visited Sylvanas' parents during the week because they knew Alleria would only visit her parents on the weekends.

That reminded Kelrian how his own family treated certain members. He drew parallels between Sylvanas' grandparents and his father and older siblings. The only difference was that half of his family hated him because he wasn't able to become a priest while Sylvanas' grandparents didn't like Alleria and because of her mate and her half-breed son. Nevertheless, both parties were intolerant and that was unacceptable. He knew he wouldn't be able to change their minds no matter how hard he would try. His father would never listen to him and his older siblings had been manipulated by him which meant they wouldn't listen either.

Family was the most important thing in the world. Sylvanas' family had lost a few members which could mean that Sylvanas' grandparents might have noticed that there were worse things to be upset about than the choice of a human mate. He was only hoping they would realize that they were wrong.

Lireesa served the dessert eventually, which was homemade vanilla pudding. All three elves ate the delicious pudding with joy, getting another portion eventually. Kelrian and Sylvanas thanked Lireesa for the meal, telling her that they had enjoyed eating and talking to her. Lireesa smiled at them, thanking them after they had helped her clearing the table and washing the dishes.

"We spent more time talking than I have expected. It is already dark outside," said Sylvanas as she looked out of the window. Lireesa stepped next to her, putting a hand on her shoulder as she looked out of the same window. "Why don't you offer our guest to stay the night in our lovely home?"

"That's a good idea," said Sylvanas and turned around to look at Kelrian who stood next to the table. He nodded to her, signalizing her that he would love to spend the night with her. "We would go to my room then."

Lireesa nodded to her, giving her a small smile.

"Good night, mother."

"Good night, honey," responded Lireesa. She ran her fingers through Sylvanas' hair, kissing her left cheek and her forehead. "I see you tomorrow then."

Kelrian wished Lireesa a good night too, then he followed Sylvanas through the corridor. They climbed the stairs, arriving on the second floor. Kelrian expected that they would go back to her room but instead, they stopped after they had put half of the distance behind them.

Kelrian frowned as Sylvanas turned around and looked at the door right next to them. She grabbed the doorknob but she didn't open the door. Kelrian regarded her curiously, wondering what she was doing. He didn't know in front of which room they were standing. Sylvanas opened the door eventually, tears formed in the corners of her eyes as she looked into the room.

The room had been tidied up since the last time Sylvanas had entered it. There were no rubbles, no pieces of destroyed furniture, no blood and no orc corpses. Lirath's room looked exactly as it had looked before the orcs had raided the house. She could only assume it had taken a lot of willpower and strength for her parents to refurnish his room.

Even though it looked exactly as it had looked before, it appeared more like a shrine than an actual room. It was treated like a shrine at least. Sylvanas' mother didn't allow anyone to enter Lirath's room. Not even her daughters. Sylvanas would love to go in his room and remember the good old times. She had hoped it would help her to cope with his death. But the truth was it didn't help at all. On the opposite, it made it only worse.

She remembered that she would never be able to see Lirath again. Never be able to see his smile again, watch him perform on a stage or practise for a performance. She would never be able to help him practise aiming again, train him in close combat or teach him how to hunt animals.

She would never be able to listen to his sweet voice again when he would talk to her or sing for her and she would never be able to hear him playing on his panpipe again. There were a lot more things she was already missing and will always miss. She had believed she had accepted his death. She had believed that from the middle of the day until the moment before she had opened the door to his room. The truth was that she hadn't accepted his death yet and she was not sure if she ever will.

It hurt so much to remember him. She wanted to have him back but it was not possible. The orcs had taken her brother away from her. They had taken his life and Xenarion had helped them and let Lirath die. She was sure he would pay for his crimes but catching him wouldn't bring Lirath back. Nothing could bring him back and she knew that. She could only hope Alleria will catch the traitor soon and put him to justice.

She was unable to avert her gaze from Lirath's room, noticing that tears ran down her cheeks. She was unable to move, so she couldn't wipe the tears away. Fortunately, there was someone who did it for her. Kelrian hugged her from behind, whispering comforting words in her ear. He managed to calm her down and walk away with her after he had closed the door against her protest. They arrived at her room, silently entering it. Sylvanas walked over to the bed, falling onto it. She buried her face in her palms and started to sob quietly. Kelrian sat down next to her, rubbing her back as she cuddled up to her.

He managed to pull her onto his lap, so she could press herself against him, resting her head on his chest as she kept sobbing. He ran her fingers through her hair and kissed her cheek and her neck from time to time. He didn't say anything but he didn't need to do that. His mere presence caused her to calm down.

"I'm sorry," she muttered after a while. Her head didn't rest on his chest anymore and she had the opportunity to stare into his eyes but she didn't because she was too ashamed.

A small smile appeared on his lips. "You don't have to be sorry."

"The day was perfect but I've ruined it because I cried once again like a little girl... I'm such a disgusting person."

Kelrian frowned. "You are not. It's okay to cry, especially when you lose someone who means a lot to you. There is nothing wrong about showing emotions."

"I know but I have to stay strong for our people, otherwise, they won't believe in me anymore. They think that I'm the perfect ranger who deals with every situation no matter what happens. That's a lie. I'm not perfect, I'm an emotional wreck. How can I help my people when I can't even help myself? How can I stop the enemy when I can't even stop myself from crying? How can I lead my people to victory if I am not able to cope with my brother's death and refuse to leave my room for two weeks? Tell me how can I be a good leader if I'm not even able to fight after losing only one person. What happens if I lose dozens of persons during a battle? Tell me how I can do this."

Kelrian was silent as he thought about what Sylvanas had just said. What she had said about herself was not true but he had no clue how he could convince her of the opposite. At first at least.

He spoke to her, telling her whatever came in his mind which could cheer her up. After an entire hour of a one-sided dialogue, Sylvanas silenced him by sealing her lips on his. The kiss was short but it was enough to make Kelrian understand that she was fine.

He looked at his lover whose eyes were still wet from crying but other than that she seemed to be fine. She smiled at him as she rubbed his cheeks. "Thank you, my dear. I don't know what I would do without you."

He didn't respond to her, he just smiled at her, pulling her in for another kiss which lasted longer and was more passionate. "Remember that I will always be there for you. I will never leave your side."


"Promised," he replied, pulling her in another tight hug.

"We should get some sleep," he said after a while. Sylvanas agreed with him, getting up to walk to her wardrobe. She removed the purple dress, which had been crumpled while they had hugged for so long, and put on green undergarment and a green pyjama. Kelrian removed everything but his shorts, smiling at Sylvanas as she crawled over to him. They laid down, wrapping their arms around the other. Sylvanas put her head on his shoulder, intertwining their fingers as they held hands.

"I really enjoyed the dinner with your mother," he whispered.

"Me too and I'm pretty sure my mother enjoyed it as well. I think she likes you."

Kelrian gave her a curious look. "Are you sure?"

Sylvanas nodded as she stared into his eyes. "I am."

"Good. I've expected that she wouldn't like me because... I'm Xenarion's son, you know."

"She hates your father but that doesn't mean she hates you automatically. We can't choose our parents and she hasn't chosen hers either. She quarrelled often with them and disagreed with them about numerous things. She knows that children are not always in harmony with the older generations."

"Are you sure she sees it that way?" he asked quietly.

"She knows your father is an asshole and you are not. She knows you are not like him so she has no prejudices and doesn't bear a grudge against you," Sylvanas explained, kissing his cheek.

"Will you introduce me to your father and tell your sister that we are in a relationship?" he asked after he had been silent for a few minutes.

"I will but first I will see if my father is alright. I will probably invite you for dinner again when the rest of my family is gathered. I mean Vereesa, Alleria and my father. I don't want to invite my uncles, aunts and cousins too. I assume that it would only be possible after we have defeated the trolls and orcs. We will return to the front in a few days which mean we won't be home for a while."

"I'm fine with that, responded Kelrian.

"Anyways, we should really get some sleep right now. Good night, my love," she said, pecking him on the lips.

"Good night," he whispered. He regarded her for a few moments before he closed his eyes and relaxed, falling asleep eventually.

Xenarion spurred his horse, commanding it to move faster. The animal was moving as fast as it could, which was not very fast compared to others. He hadn't allowed his horse to get enough rest while he had ridden for days. His horse was very exhausted but it gave its best to leave as much distance as possible behind in a short time. Xenarion ignored the heavy breathings of his mount and spurred it again. He didn't care that he hurt the horse whenever the heels of his boots came in contact with its ribs.

As he could have expected, the horse became slower with each passing hour. He spurred it over and over again but he didn't manage to make it move faster. It was too exhausted to do that and the pain it was feeling didn't make it better.

He came to a forest in which the distances between the trees were not very large so the horse couldn't move as fast as he wanted. He had to slow down the tempo otherwise, the horse might have run against one of these thick trees. He cursed silently as he realized that he had to guide the horse through the forest slowly. There was no other way to get to the other side of the forest. There was no way around it, which meant that crossing the forest was inevitable.

The forest seemed to never end. He was about to lose his patience. He wanted to leave this damned forest as fast as possible but he wasn't able to leave much distance behind him within one hour. He had no clue how large the forest was, he was only hoping that he could leave it as soon as possible.

Suddenly, his horse stopped and looked forward. He regarded his horse with a frown on his forehead, wondering what it was doing. He spurred it, not caring that he was causing more pain to it. His horse had sensed something and he knew that but he didn't care. He didn't care that his horse refused to move because it seemed to be afraid of buried the heels of his boots in the sides of the mount but it didn't start to move. Xenarion became very angry, continuing to mistreat his mount. Despite the pain he caused, he didn't manage to make it move.

He cursed loudly, checking his surroundings. He was afraid that his pursuers were in his nears. But they weren't. There was no one near him. He was alone in the forest, alone with the horse which didn't want to move. He pulled hard on the horse's reins, kicking it again and again with the intention to make it move. An angry snort escaped the horse's snout as it reared up and threw its rider out of his saddle.

Waves of pain rushed through his body as he landed on the ground. He got up after a while but everything around him was blurred out as he opened his eyes. He was pretty sure he had hit his head when he fell. His vision became clearer until he was able to recognize everything around him. His head was hurting but at least he wasn't seriously injured.

He looked around, noticing that his horse was gone. He assumed that he must have passed out for some time, otherwise, his horse would have never managed to get out of his sight in a short time. He checked his surroundings again, noticing that he had no clue out of which direction he had come from. He stayed on the same spot for nearly a minute, consideringin which direction he should move. He chose a direction eventually, hoping it was the right direction.

He walked for a while, not knowing how much time had passed as he spotted a small camp. He hid behind a large tree as he spied it out. There were five tents and a campfire around which three trolls and two orcs were sitting. He pulled the small totem, Leth'al had given him, out of his pocket as he approached the camp. The orcs and trolls turned their heads to him as soon as they heard his footsteps. They drew their weapons, one of them was about to throw a spear at him as the big troll noticed the totem in his hands and called his men back.

The muscular troll, who had called his comrades back, walked towards Xenarion and regarded the totem curiously. He took it out of the elf's hands, showing it to his comrades who lowered their weapons. He handed it back to the priest who nodded to them. Xenarion tried to tell the orcs and trolls that someone was pursuing him but none of his allies understood a word. He cursed silently as he realized that none of them was able to speak thalassian. He tried to communicate with them with the help of sign language but none of them found out what he was trying to tell them.

He pulled the scroll out of his bag, which Leth'al had given him, and unfolded it. He regarded it and was about to say something as he heard a quiet noise. He looked around but didn't see anything nor did he recognize where the noise came from and what or who had produced it. He looked back at the trolls and orcs, realizing that they hadn't heard anything.

He heard the same noise again but he realized too late what it was. He couldn't have warned the trolls and orcs anyway because they couldn't understand him. The first troll fell and landed on the wet ground. He was dead. An arrow stuck right between his eyes. Blood flowed out of his forehead and was spread all over the ground. A moment passed. Another creature died. A bald orc.

Panic started to overwhelm Xenarion. He knew exactly who was killing these orcs and trolls. That person was not here for them. She was here because she wanted to catch him. He didn't see the person but he knew it was Alleria Windrunner. He had seen her several times in the far distance during the past weeks. He had always managed to escape her because he had had a large lead. He assumed Alleria had managed catch up to him while he had been unconscious and now, she wanted to capture him. He turned around and started to run away but the muscular troll followed him and tackled him, pushing him onto the ground.

Xenarion got up quickly, his widened eyes rested on the green-skinned creature which facial features were distorted in anger. The troll pulled two large knives from his belt, walking slowly towards the priest. Xenarion assumed that the troll thought that he had betrayed them. He couldn't know that it hadn't been Xenarion's intention to bring Alleria to the camp. He'd been on the run from her for weeks. His intention had not been to lead her to his allies but the troll couldn't know that because there was no way Xenarion could tell him the truth.

The troll sprinted forwards, trying to cut the priest in halves. But Xenarion managed to avoid his attack at the last moment. He dodged another attack, slipping through the troll's legs, who was at least three heads taller than him. He got up and focused his power, allowing the shadows to empower him before the troll was able to turn around.

The large troll with the bluish dyed hair and the pierced nose turned around, his eyes narrowed as he recognized the change of his former ally's appearance. The changing of the priest's eye colour didn't worry the warrior nor did the black glowing tattoos that had appeared on his skin from nowhere. The troll remained calm, watching every movement the shadow priest made.

Xenarion muttered a few words creating a void bolt which he threw a moment later at the troll. The troll tried to dodge it but he was too slow. The bolt hit his left hip, causing that a painful cry escaped his lips. But the pain didn't stop the troll from charging forward and ramming the shadow priest who had tried to cast a spell before the troll would have reached him. Xenarion was flung to the ground but he got up and leapt backwards before the troll could have rammed his large knives in his chest.

Xenarion created two more void bolts, only one hit the troll but it was enough to injure him and make him really angry. Xenarion realized that making the troll angry had not been a good idea. He was enraged. He was faster than before and appeared more terrifying than before.

Nevertheless, Xenarion managed to avoid all of his attacks with more luck than skill. He managed to hit the troll over and over again, slowing him down whenever he managed to hit his legs. He even managed to lay a curse on him which caused pain to him. The pain got stronger the more time passed.

The troll was still able to stand, he focused the last remains of his strength for a large leap. He landed next to the surprised shadow priest, ramming his elbow in his face. Xenarion cried out in pain as the troll's elbow was rammed in his stomach, his cries became louder when the troll's foot came in contact with his upper body and pushed him away. He landed on the wet ground, his upper body hurt like hell so did his head. He tried to get up but the troll threw him back onto the ground.

The angry troll dropped one of his knives, grabbing the shadow priest by the neck. He lifted him up until their heads were at the same height. His narrowed green eyes stared into the elf's blue ones. He started to throttle the priest and smiled at the poor attempts of his opponent to get free.

But his grip was too strong so Xenarion had no chance to get free. The troll lifted his knife up, pressing its tip against his cheek. A scream escaped Xenarion's lips as the troll left a deep cut on his handsome face.

The troll was about to ram his knife through the elf's upper body as three arrows pierced through his head. The troll was not able to scream because he was dead immediately. His grip loosened so Xenarion managed to free himself. He landed onto the ground and was unable to prevent that troll's massive body fell forward and landed on him.

The pain he was feeling was too strong so he was unable to gather enough strength to push the dead troll off him. He tried hard but the troll was too heavy and he was too weak to get free. He turned his head as he heard footsteps which became louder and louder. A person he knew suddenly appeared next to him. The person was no other than Alleria Windrunner whose arms were crossed in front of her chest. Her eyes reflected hatred, her facial features were distorted in anger.

Three rangers stepped next to her, regarding him with the same expressions on their faces. Together, they lifted the troll up and pushed him away, freeing Xenarion. Xenarion's body still hurt so he didn't manage to get up. Alleria looked at her rangers, receiving nods from them. She sat on Xenarion's upper body and didn't hesitate to connect her clenched fist with his jaw. A pained scream escaped his lips followed by another as she hit him again.

The lips of the rangers formed pleased smiles as Alleria hit him over and over again, breaking his nose and jaw in the process. But she didn't stop hitting him. She screamed at him as she let out all anger and grief which had built up over the past weeks. His vision turned red and blurred out eventually but he didn't pass out. The amount of pain he was feeling increased whenever he got hit. The pain was unbearable.

He wished he would pass out soon so he wouldn't have to feel the pain anymore but he stayed conscious. He couldn't stop Alleria from beating him up, nor did any of her rangers stop her. He was hit by her bare fists, over and over again.

He didn't know how many times Alleria had hit him already nor did she. It made a lot of fun for her to punch this asshole and it also helped her coping with Lirath's death. He had let her brother die, so he deserved everything she did to him. It made her really happy to punch him, to connect her fists with his head. She didn't care that her knuckles became bloody because she knew her wounds would heal sooner or later. His pained cries were music to her ears and the sight of his blood on her clothes made her even happier.

Alleria was not satisfied yet but she stopped eventually after she had realized that his face was nothing more than a bloody mess. She got up and allowed her rangers to kick him until he passed out.

Alleria regarded him for the moment, then she turned her head and looked at her best friend.

"Are you okay?" asked Lindara.

"I am. Beating him bloody is not enough to make him pay for what he has done to my family but it is a good start."

The raven-haired woman gave her a small smile. "This asshole deserves it."

"He hasn't suffered enough yet. But for the moment he has. We will bring him to Silvermoon and lock him in a cell where he belongs for the rest of his pathetic life. I will make sure he never comes out."

"I can't wait to lock him up," said Lindara.

"Burn the corpses of trolls and orcs before we depart in ten minutes," ordered Alleria.

"As you wish," replied her friend.

Chapter Text

"Are you busy?" asked a deep but pleasant voice.

Alleria folded the letter and put it in the envelope. "Give me a moment." She sealed the letter with wax and put it aside, turning to the familiar man who was standing in the door of the guest room they were sharing. Her smile faded as she noticed the worry which was reflected by his handsome facial features.

"What is wrong?" she asked, remaining on the same spot.

"Nothing," he replied quietly.

"Don't lie to me, Turalyon. I know that you want to say something, so tell me what is bothering you."

The human paladin sighed. "To be honest, I'm worried about you."

Alleria tilted her head, raising an eyebrow. "Worried about me? Why?"

He approached her slowly. "Well, I'm worried because...," he stopped speaking, frowning as he considered what to say. "I've noticed that you have changed."

"Changed? What do you mean?"

The blonde man took a deep breath. "You are not yourself, you become a different person since your brother's death. You are acting recklessly whenever you hunt our enemies. Normally, you would have preferred safer ways to prevail against our enemies. But now, you don't mind losing a few more people as long as you achieve whatever goal you have put in your mind. You risk the lives of your rangers. Instead of showing patience and wait for the right moment, you storm through the enemy lines and slaughter everyone who crosses you. You didn't spare any orc or troll during the last few skirmishes. You took no prisoners and killed even those who had dropped their weapons and surrendered."

"What's wrong with that?" Alleria asked and gave him an irritated look. "We are at war and this swine would have escaped and reached the next base of the orcs if we wouldn't have caught him at the last moment. I did what was necessary to catch him."

"You lost nearly fifty rangers because of your impatience. You would have only lost half of them if you would have planned everything better," Turalyon said, stopping right in front of his lover. Irritation was reflected by her eyes as she stared at him. Her usual soft facial features were distorted in anger and annoyance.

"He would have escaped. How many times do I have to tell you this? We killed far more men than they did. I don't understand why you are complaining about my strategy. I'm much older than you and have fought in far more battles than you. I know what I'm doing. My advisors have agreed with every step of my plan."

Turalyon exhaled loudly. "Your advisors agreed because they were afraid of you. They were afraid you would chase Xenarion alone."

Alleria's eye lid's fluttered as she heard the name of the man who left her brother to die. "Do not ever say that name again. This bastard doesn't deserve to have a name. He only deserves to die a slow and painful death after Sylvanas, Vereesa and I riddled him with arrows."

The young paladin touched his forehead, shaking his head as she closed his eyes. He opened them again, looking back at his lover whose facial expression hadn't changed at all. She had her arms crossed in front of her chest, her blue eyes scrutinized him closely.

"You beat him to a bloody mess. His face... It won't be easy for anyone to recognize him for a while..."

"He deserved it. What do you expect from me? That I feel pity for him? He murdered my brother!" she hissed.

"Well, the orcs were the ones who mortally wounded him. He only left him to die."

"There is no difference. He murdered him. Stop discussing with me, Turalyon. You won't win against me," she hissed.

"Nevertheless, it is no reason to disfigure his face. You have no right to punish him. Your king and the judges of your kingdom are allowed to administer punishments. It's not your job to punish him. I thought you were a better person and knew better than taking the law in your own hands. But it seems I have been mistaken," he replied, his voice reflected disappointment.

"Sylvanas would have done the same with him. My mother wouldn't have reacted differently if she would have caught him."

"That doesn't excuse your behaviour. Only because others do the same doesn't mean it's right. Others murder people as well and that doesn't mean that murder is allowed."

Alleria's expression didn't change. "I understand your point, my love. Nevertheless, he deserved everything I did to him and my rangers share my opinion."

"Your rangers are loyal to you, that means nothing. They would follow you to the end of the world and agreed with everything you would say."

"Now you are exaggerating."

"Okay, maybe they won't follow you blindly but they would support you no matter what you have put in your head."

Alleria didn't say anything in return, she just stared at Turalyon who did his best to convince her that what she had done was not right. But Alleria didn't change her mind. She still believed she did nothing wrong.

"Hurting him won't bring your brother back," he said eventually.

Alleria's eyelids fluttered. "You are right, I can't bring him back. I can only accept his death and hurting that swine is a good start to leave everything behind me," she replied and started to move. She walked towards the exit of the room but the paladin stepped in her way. He signalized her that he won't move away but she didn't care. She walked around him and reached the exit within a few seconds.

He turned around, looking at her. "What are you going to do?"

Alleria shrugged her shoulders. "I don't know yet. Maybe I interrogate him. Maybe I punch him over and over again or maybe I cut his balls off. His wife left him so he won't need them anyway. Who knows."

"You can't be serious," exclaimed Turalyon but Alleria had already left the room and slammed the door behind her so she couldn't hear him.

Dear Sylvanas,

I want to make this quick because I don't want to keep you in suspense. I managed to catch the swine who betrayed our family. I already made him pay for what he has done. Of course, it's not enough. That bastard deserves to suffer. I'll bring him to you so you can take your anger out on him before you send him to Silvermoon City where he will be thrown in a dirty cell. Hopefully, in the darkest and most disgusting cell of the prison.

Anyways, I will assist you as soon as you return to the front.

Your dear sister Alleria.

Sylvanas glanced at the letter once again, handing it over to her father who was sitting opposite to her. He hadn't said a word yet nor had he looked up from the plate he had barely touched. Her father barely looked at her as he took the letter out of her hands. He put it next to his plate and started to read it silently. Then he handed it back to Sylvanas without even commenting on it.

Sylvanas regarded him curiously, a frown was visible on her forehead. "Father?" she asked eventually, hoping she could get his attention. Her father slowly lifted his head, his gaze fell on his worried daughter. He didn't say anything, he just gave her a questioning look.

Sylvanas regarded him closely. His face was paler than usual, he had dark circles under his eyes and his hair was messy and looked greasy. He hadn't paid attention to his looks since Lirath's death. Normally, he shaved his beard but he hadn't done that for weeks so a neglected beard covered his chin and cheeks. But his appearance was not the only thing on him which had changed, and disturbed Sylvanas at this very disgusting smell of strong alcohol stung in her nose. She didn't want to know how many bottles and glasses he had emptied on the previous day.

"Are you okay?"

"Do I look okay?" he asked in return, lowering his gaze.

"Not really that's why I am here. I want to comfort you and help you as best as I can." Sylvanas put a hand on her father's hand, caressing its back softly. Her comforting smile didn't reach his eyes.

"I don't think that there is anything you can do for me."

Sylvanas frowned and sighed. "Are you sure?"

"I don't think your words can fill the hole in me. I feel empty, weak and guilty since... you know since when..."

"Guilty?" asked Sylvanas, raising an eyebrow. "You are not responsible for what happened. Xenarion Sunsinger betrayed us and the orcs attacked the village and our house. There is nothing you did wrong."

"I was not there when the attack happened," he muttered. "I was on a business trip to Silvermoon City... If only I would have been there to defend our family... Maybe he wouldn't have died.

Sylvanas noticed that he refused to say her brother's name for a reason. She had many assumptions. The most logical explanation was that was too hard for him to say his because he would start thinking about him and feeling guilty whenever he would say his name.

"You don't have to feel guilty, father. You wouldn't have changed anything. You wouldn't have been able to save him."

"You can't know that!" he interrupted, sounding much louder than he had intended to.

Sylvanas put her hand on his shoulder, giving him a warm smile as he looked at her face. "You are not a fighter, father. You have no clue how to use weapons. You would have been killed as well if you would have been there. We already lost seven members of our family so I'm glad that you weren't there when it happened. Mother barely survived because Lirath and Zendarin rescued her, otherwise... You know what the orcs would have done to her."

Zalien's voice reflected hatred. "They would have violated her and defiled her...," his voice broke didn't want to imagine what unspeakable things these green creatures would have done to his wife.

"They didn't harm her because of Lirath and Zendarin. They are heroes. Lirath sacrificed his life for our mother and for our people. He will always be remembered as a hero. The orcs and trolls will be forgotten. Nobody will remember them as soon as we are done with them."

"I hope you are right," her father muttered. "But that doesn't make it better...," he said so quietly that even Sylvanas couldn't understand it.

"I will return to the front tomorrow. Can you do me a favour?" asked Sylvanas, staring into his eyes.

"Sure," he replied shortly.

"Can you look after mother while I'm away? I thought she was getting better, but it seems she's not quite over Lirath's death yet. I wish I could be there for her until she would come to terms with his death, but sadly I can't do that. I have to return to the front and assist our people."

"I can't promise you anything but I give my best," he replied.

Sylvanas gave him a small smile. "You only have to be near her, especially during the night. She has nightmares. Two days ago, she came to my room, wearing nothing but her birthday suit, and crawled under my blanket. She wrapped her arms around me and hugged me. It was impossible to get out of her embrace without waking her up or making her sad. I showed patience and didn't move until she let me go. No one else would be at home when I depart tomorrow. I don't mind you drinking, I just want that you stay home while you drink so she has someone where she can find comfortNot to mention that she needs someone she can cuddle with and on which shoulder she can sob her heart out whenever she has a nightmare."

Zalien nodded his head. "I will be there for her. She is my wife. I have to help her."

"I think it's a good opportunity for you two to get over Lirath's death. Mourning together is better than mourning alone. I wish I could help you but I don't have the time for that. My presence is required at the front."

"I will be there for your mother. Promised."

Sylvanas smiled at him. "Thank you, father."

"Take care of yourself," he said as he got up and stretched out his arms, intending to hug her. Sylvanas got up as well and walked around the table, letting herself be drawn in his embrace. She wrapped her arms around his upper body, so did he. They caressed each other's backs as they hugged longer than necessary. They pulled away eventually, smiling at each other.

"I will look after mother for the rest of the day if you don't mind," Sylvanas said.

"Do that, I will join you later."

Sylvanas nodded to him. She looked at him for a short moment before she turned around and walked out of the room.

"Patrolling is so boring," someone complained. Kelrian turned his head, looking at the person who had said that. The woman with the turquoise coloured hair came closer to him and sat down next to him, giving him a bowl filled with soup. Kelrian thanked her, looking into the bowl to find out what the soup consisted spotted small pieces of potatoes and meat. He also saw beans, peas and other vegetables which were often used for soups.

"Be careful, the soup is still pretty hot," said Elena.

Kelrian gave her a thankful nod and started blowing in the hope the soup would cool down quickly. Elena did the same but unlike her companion, her eyes rested on him while his eyes rested on the soup. He didn't notice that she was staring at him because he was too busy with his soup. He was so hungry that all he could think about was cooling the soup so that he could eat it as soon as , he didn't notice that Elena's hand rested on his upper thigh. She caressed it tenderly, snuggling up to him.

She removed her hand as soon as Kelrian started eating and became aware of his surroundings again. He noticed that she was sitting right next to him, their bodies touching slightly. Elena couldn't know that he was already taken so she tried to get closer to him because she was in love with him for a few years.

Normally, he would have told her to keep a little distance to him but it was very cold and the blankets around their bodies and the fire in front of them weren't helping at all, so he allowed her to cuddle up to him to warm herself. He was fine with that as long as she wouldn't put her head on his shoulder. She did that at this very moment. Nevertheless, he didn't say anything for a reason he couldn't explain to himself. He just looked into his bowl as he slurped the soup.

"I can't believe that this human is allowed to fight at the front with our best rangers while I stay behind the lines and walk the entire day," complained Elena. "I would rather kill our enemies and conquer their villages and bases. I want to make the trolls pay for what they have done to our people."

"The Ranger-Generals think he has great talent that's why he is allowed to fight at the front," Kelrian explained.

"I've seen him, he is not that great as the Ranger-General think. At least not when it comes to fighting. Maybe he is good at something else that's useful for the Ranger-General," replied Elena, putting her empty bowl on the ground.

The young man turned his head, raising an eyebrow as he looked at his friend. "What do you mean?"

Elena hesitated, giving him an irritated look.

"What?" he asked, raising the other brow as well.

Her voice reflected irritation. "You're not trying to tell me you haven't heard the rumours, are you?

Kelrian tilted his head. "Which rumours?"

Elena scratched her forehead with her fingernails. "The rumours about the Ranger-General and that human."

Kelrian didn't respond to her.

"I've heard that they are pretty close and get along very well. She allowed him to join her regiment and even her elite team. No human has ever joined us before. That's strange, isn't it?"

Kelrian made a thoughtful face. "He is good at what he is doing. I've seen him fight. To be honest, he is better than most of the rangers I've seen so it doesn't surprise me that he joined the team where I'm also in."

Elena frowned. "What about them being close?"

"I don't see a reason why the Ranger-General is not allowed to have friends. I get along with Nathanos too. Some say we are close friends. Does that mean he and I are in a relationship?"

"I hope not. But you and Nathanos are not as close as he and our general," mentioned Elena.

Kelrian muttered something unintelligible, putting his empty bowl aside.

"They're just rumours after all but rumours never come out of nowhere," Elena said.

Kelrian didn't respond to her, he just stared into the flames. He had never thought about the possibility that Sylvanas would look for another man. He knew her pretty well, so he knew she was not the person who would cheat on her partner. She was a loyal person and she wasn't interested in humans. He hoped that at least. He had never asked Sylvanas if she found humans or other races attractive. He knew that Alleria liked humans and Lirath had liked them too but that didn't mean that Sylvanas also liked them.

It may be true that Sylvanas and Nathanos get along very well but that didn't mean anything. He trusted her and he knew he didn't need to be afraid that Sylvanas would replace him with another man or with a woman. She loved him so did he. Nevertheless, he was jealous, but just a little. He couldn't explain to himself why he felt that way. He decided to ignore the feeling as best as he could.

"I don't really mind if she would have something with him," he lied. "It's her love life and not mine. We can't forbid her to meet whoever she wants. If she wants to be together with a human than she can do that. Her sister is also in love with a human. It's not forbidden to love a human," he explained quietly.

"You don't seem to be happy about these rumours," she mentioned.

"You are imagining this. I don't really mind," he replied. Elena frowned but she didn't say anything in return. She just stared at him and didn't show him that she didn't believe him. She rubbed his right upper thigh softly, regarding him curiously. He was so lost in thoughts so he didn't notice that she was doing that nor did he notice that she put her head on his shoulder. He just stared into the flames and thought about everything Elena had said.

"Have you met Zetai recently?" asked Elena eventually.

Kelrian turned his head to look at her. "No, I haven't. Why do you ask?"

"I'm not asking for any particular reason. I'm just curious, you know. You told me how he had behaved that night when you and the Ranger-General's team attacked the first troll base."

"To answer your question, I didn't speak to him since that night. I saw him every day because we are in the same team but he kept distance to me and the others. And then the attacks on Windrunner Village and Windrunner Spire happened. We reconquered the spire and the village and drove out all invaders. The Ranger-General remained in her home and I was ordered to join your team and do these patrols every day while Zetai and the rest of our team followed Verena. I didn't have the chance to speak to him but I will do that as soon as I can," he told.

Elena patted his shoulder, giving him a comforting smile. "Everything will be alright, Kel. The Ranger-General returns to the front tomorrow and we will go with her. That means we don't have to go on these boring patrols for a while. We have to walk for twelve hours every day. We do the same routes every day. Every single day. There's nothing more boring than patrolling."

"It's boring but it's necessary. We wouldn't have managed to catch the last remaining groups of orcs if we and the other groups wouldn't have walked through the area every single what would happen if these two groups of ten orcs would have reached a village before we would have caught them. Innocent civilians would have died. We are responsible for the safety of our people. Do not forget that."

"I don't forget our duties, Kel. I know how important our work is. But I don't want to go on patrols. Someone else shall do it while we join our forces on the front. I want to kill more of these green bastards."

An amused smile appeared on Kelrian's lips. "Haven't you killed thirty-nine trolls within the first weeks? Only Zetai and the Ranger-General had a few more than you."

"I did but thirty-nine are not enough. How many did you kill?"

"I only managed to kill twenty-five trolls," he responded. He was not ashamed and he signalized her that.

Elena raised an eyebrow, giving him a mocking grin. "Only twenty-five? That means even Nathanos killed more than you. He killed thirty if I remember correctly."

"Hey, it's not a contest. You dealt with their raiders and berserkers while I faced lots of their shamans which were a lot harder to kill than the non-magic users."

"You always have an excuse, don't you?" she mocked.

"Quite funny," he muttered, ignoring the provocative look on her face.

"Jokes aside, I think you did a very good job at slaying these bastards," she complimented. Kelrian was not sure if he was just imagining this but he had the impression that there was a flirty tone in her voice. He knew that Elena was interested in him but he had told her years ago that he was in a relationship. Maybe Elena had forgotten that. Maybe she didn't believe that anymore because no one had ever seen his girlfriend.

His friends knew that he was in a relationship but none of them knew with who. Kelrian hadn't told any of his friends that he was in a relationship with the most beautiful woman of Quel'Thalas. He would only get unwanted attention if he would do that, not to mention that lots of Sylvanas ' admirers would be after him and cause unnecessary trouble.

"Thank you," he responded, giving her a small smile.

"Have you heard the recent rumours?"

"I don't want to hear them if they are about Nathanos and the Ranger-General," he said.

"Don't worry, they are not about them."

"Good, then you can tell me what you have heard."

"It's not confirmed yet but I have heard that Ranger-Captain Alleria Windrunner has captured your father and almost beat him to death."

Kelrian's lips formed a small smile. "I hope these rumours are true. My father deserves it, not only because he is a violent and manipulative asshole but also because he didn't help the Ranger-General's brother. He left him to die. I can't believe that I've looked up to that bastard when I was younger. I hope he will receive his just punishment."

"Have you met your older siblings yet?" she asked.

He shook his head. "I don't want to, to be honest. I don't know if they have changed their minds in the meantime, if they still stand by him or if they have recognized him as the monster he really is. I don't really care about them anymore, to be honest."

"You have never told me about them," Elena mentioned.

"There is nothing noteworthy about them. Sydori is a bitch who changes her partners more often than her underwear. She screws everything that moves. Males, females, humans, elven... Basically, anyone she finds attractive. And Seitor... Well, he is a typical bully who makes fun of everyone who is weaker than him. He is a homophobic asshole and a racist as well, so it really surprises me that he gets along with Sydori. The two are like best friends,"he explained. "Despite his homophobia, he doesn't care that she also shares her bed with women and humans. That's a contradiction but I don't really care."

Elena didn't respond to him. She made a thoughtful face as she stared at him.

"You never told me about your family," he said eventually, giving her an interested look, signalizing her that he wanted to hear more.

Elena exhaled. "My father died when I was young. My mother married someone else years later... Her new husband and I didn't get along very well. That's why I moved out as soon as I could. I left my village and moved into a communal residence where I met Elonis. She and I were together for a few years but I noticed that I'm not really into women so we broke up but we remained friends just like the Ranger-General and Captain Verena. The only difference is that Elonis doesn't hope I will change my mind one day and want her back. Anyways, we became best friends and attended the examination together."

"I'm sorry to hear that about your father," Kelrian said quietly, expressing his sympathy for her.

"I don't remember him at all. At least, I still have my mother. I visit her from time to time and spend time with her and my older brother. I came to his wedding half a year ago. His husband is a very smart and funny guy. We get along very well," she told.

"What did your mother say as you told her that you want to become a ranger? Is she worried about you? Is she worried that something might happen to you during the current war?"

Soft laughter escaped Elena's lips. She put a strand of her turquoise hair behind her left ear. "I think all parents are worried about their children, especially if they serve the military. My mother is no exception. She loves me and she wants nothing more than my safety and my welfare. But she understands that I have to do this. She understands that I have to help to defend our people and our kingdom."

"Sounds like my mother, except that it was not easy to convince her that I have to join the other rangers at the front."

"Have you seen her since the start of the war?"

"Only two or three times when Verena withdrew me from the front and assigned me to your is still worried about me, of course. But my visits help her. She will endure the time without me. My little siblings are there for her and spent time most of their free time with her.

Elena was about to say something when the leader of her group called her name.

"It seems that our break is over. Let's return to the others and get the last three hours over with," said Kelrian as he got up. Elena got up as well, smiling at him as she stared into his eyes. He returned her stare for a few moments, then he intended to turn around and walk away but Elena was faster and did something he didn't expect. She leaned in and pecked on his lips, pulling away immediately.

Kelrian's face reflected surprise. "What was that?" he asked and frowned.

"Nothing," she responded as she turned around and walked to her group. "I've wanted to kiss you for a long time," she whispered when she got out of his hearing range.

Kelrian sighed, extinguishing the flames before he followed her.

Chapter Text

Verena looked at the map in front of her, her eyes glanced at the figures which stood on certain spots on the map. There was a figure which resembled Zul'jin and stood on the spot where Zul'Aman was. The city was surrounded by three figures. A high elf, a human and a dwarf. Verena rubbed her chin thoughtfully, regarding the map once again before she looked at the person opposite to her.

"What do you think? Shall we wait for a few days or attack tomorrow?" she asked Alleria who also had a thoughtful look on her face. Alleria walked around the table and stopped next to Verena.

"Sylvanas is on the way to our base. Maybe she has already arrived, maybe she needs a day or two. Depends on whether she travels by horse or has asked a mage to create a portal for her. It's not unlikely that she asked Zendarin to create a portal. I think it's better that we wait for her and discuss the plan with her. Maybe she has a better idea or we might have failed to notice something. It's better that we wait for her, especially because her presence boosts the morale of our soldiers," explained Alleria.

"You are right. I'm pretty confident about my battle plan. Nevertheless, it doesn't hurt to ask Sylvanas what she thinks about it."

"Glad we cleared that up."

"What are we doing in the meantime? Besides preparing our army for the upcoming siege on Zul'Aman."

The corners of Alleria's lips formed a smile. "I may know something we could do."

Verena gave her a curious look. "What would that be?"

Alleria didn't respond to her verbally. Her smile became wider as she made a step forward, stopping right in front of the slightly smaller woman. She put her hand under her chin, lifted it up and pressed her thumb against Verena's bottom lip. She stared into the widened eyes of the other woman, leaning in slowly. She stopped at the last moment as she heard someone clearing her throat.

Alleria drew her hand back, turning around to look at the person who had interrupted them.

"Am I interrupting something?" Sylvanas asked as she walked over to the table. Kelrian accompanied her and stopped next to her. Verena also glanced at the newcomers, hiding the jealousy, she felt when she saw Sylvanas and Kelrian standing close to another, as best as she could. Neither Sylvanas or Kelrian noticed anything.

"Does Turalyon know about that?" Sylvanas asked, raising an eyebrow.

"I don't know what you are talking about," responded Alleria, stepping away from Verena. She walked over to her sister and pulled her into a tight hug. She kissed her forehead as she pulled away, then she greeted Kelrian with a handshake.

"I missed you, dear sister."

"I missed you too," replied Sylvanas. She regarded her older sister for a few moments then she walked over to hugged and put friendly kisses on each other's stepped to Kelrian and gave him her hand which he shook without hesitation.

"I'm glad you are feeling well again, my dear," said Verena, smiling at Sylvanas.

"Kelrian really helped me coping with Lirath's death. His loss still affects me but I can handle it now. I have stayed at home for way too long. I need to do something useful. Like leading our people to victory."

"Then you'll be pleased to know I've already worked out a battle plan. I just want to know if it's okay for you or if you have a different tactic. I hope you don't mind that I ask for your advice," said Verena.

Sylvanas smiled at her. "I don't mind. Tell me what you have planned."

"Zul'Aman is surrounded by mountains which means we can only enter the fortress by breaking through the gate. We will use catapults and battering rams to break through the wall or the gate. Dragonhawk riders, gryphon riders and our archers will attack the trolls on the wall so they can't attack our siege engines. Once we are in, we will fight our way through the fortress until we come to Zul'jin and end his miserable life. Well, taking him captive is also an option. Just saying."

"Sounds like a good plan to me. You are better at making plans than you think," praised Sylvanas.


The Ranger-General nodded her head. "Really."

"So, we can execute it like that?"

Sylvanas smiled. "We can and we will in two days."

Verena's lips formed a happy smile, her face reflected excitement.

"Is there anything else we have to talk about?" asked Sylvanas.

"Not really," responded Alleria.

Sylvanas looked at her sister. "Good, can I talk to you in private then?"

Alleria raised an eyebrow and gave her sister a curious look. "Sure."

Verena walked over to Kelrian. "Come, Kel. We will wait outside then." Kelrian nodded to her and followed her out of the room. Sylvanas looked after him until he left the room, then she turned around to look at her sister who still looked at her curiously. "So, what do you want to talk about?" asked Alleria.

"Did Verena tried to kiss you? Or did you try to kiss her?"

"Why do you want to know that?"

"I'm just curious because she must know that you and Turalyon are a thing."

Soft laughter escaped the older woman's lips. "A relationship never stopped Verena from flirting with the person who interests her. She has always tried to lure me into her bed but she never succeeded."

"I hope that it stays that way."

Alleria raised an eyebrow, a mocking grin appeared on her lips. "Why? You are not jealous, aren't you?"

Amused laughter escaped Sylvanas' lips. "Jealous? Why should I? Do you think that I'm jealous that Verena flirts with you instead of me? I don't really mind. Shall she grope you instead of me! I'm fine with that."

"So, you give me your blessing?" joked Alleria.

"Blessing? What do you mean? You are not planning on cheating on Turalyon, aren't you?"

"If so, why do you care?"

Sylvanas' face reflected irritation. "Why shouldn't I? I am your sister and I care about you. Your happiness is very important to me."

"So why are you against Verena and me if you care about my happiness?"

"Because you won't be happy with Verena. At least not in the long run."

"How can you know?"

"You are not interested in girls and you love Turalyon. What is wrong with you? You are acting strangely."

Alleria crossed her arms in front of her chest. "How do you know that I'm not bisexual as you are?"

"I'm not bisexual."

Alleria laughed.

"What?" asked Sylvanas. She was irritated by her sister's behaviour.

"You slept with two women and you had a relationship with one of them which lasted over ten years. If you are not bi, then the sky is red and the sun shines at night."

"Verena was just a phase."

"A phase? Over ten years? Are you even listening to yourself?"

Sylvanas frowned, confusion was reflected by her face. "I didn't want to talk to you privately to discuss my sexuality. I'm pretty sure in which way I swing but I'm not sure about yours."

Sylvanas took a deep breath. "Honey, it's not that I wouldn't want you to come together with Verena. It's just... I think you do a terrible mistake if you cheat on Turalyon. He will never forgive you. He might break up with you and then what? What would you tell your son? Or our parents?" Sylvanas made a short pause, considering what to say next.

"I just want to prevent that you do something you will regret later. You know better than letting your emotions speak and act for you. You and I know you will come to me weeks or months later and cry on my shoulder while you insult yourself for how stupid you have been. I don't want you to make a mistake. Verena has a girlfriend but that wouldn't stop her. She would only use you to make me jealous because she still hopes she can get me one day. She loves me. I am her goal, not you," Sylvanas paused again.

"You would be nothing more than a good fuck, maybe an affair but nothing more. She will drop you as soon as she has a chance to get me. I'm not begrudging you. I just want the best for you. You won't be happy with Verena, at least not in the long run. But Turalyon makes you happy."

Alleria was silent as she thought about what her sister had said. She covered her face with her hands as soon as she realized that she could have ruined everything if Sylvanas wouldn't have prevented the kiss with Verena and everything which would have followed. Who knows what would have happened if her little sister wouldn't have stopped her. She started to sob as she realized how stupid she had been.

Sylvanas' face reflected worry as she stepped to her sister and wrapped her arms around her body, hugging her tightly. She pulled down her sister's hood and ran her fingers through her hair, speaking comforting words to her.

"I don't know what is wrong with me," Alleria cried. "I'm acting strangely since the past weeks but I can't do anything about it. Something is wrong with me but I don't know what it is and how to fix it. I was about to ruin my relationship because I was mad at Turalyon for no reason. He just tried to help me and I pushed him away. What is wrong with me?"

"It's okay, sister. The world also turned upside down for me when Lirath died. It's okay to be confused. You just have to be careful that you don't do anything you will regret later. But I'm here for you. I will support you wherever I can and you can come to me whenever you want to talk to me about something," whispered Sylvanas in her sister's ear.

Alleria didn't say anything in return. She sobbed for a while but Sylvanas managed to comfort her. The older elf pulled away and dried her eyes with the handkerchief Sylvanas had given her. She looked at her sister who gave her a comforting look, the corners of her lips formed a small smile.

Sylvanas wrapped her arm around Alleria's waist. "Let's get to my room and drink something. I think you need it. Don't worry, I will make sure you won't drink too much, so you won't make the mistake of visiting Verena and doing things with her. We will talk about everything once we are in my room."

Alleria nodded to her and silently took her hand. She intertwined their fingers and gave Sylvanas the signal to lead the way. The younger woman gave her a small smile, regarding her for a few moments before she guided her to the exit and left the room with her.

"Do you really think she does that on purpose?" Kelrian asked as he turned his head to look at her. Sylvanas picked up the two glasses from the tray and brought them to the small table her lover was sitting at.

She handed one to him while she put the other in front of her as she sat down. "I have no proofs at all but I know my best friend very well. It's not unlikely that she put you in Elena's group when she heard that I'm doing better. Just like I do, you know that she still longs after me. She wants me. Maybe she hopes that you and Elena...," Sylvanas paused. Her heart hurt at the mere thought of Kelrian choosing someone else over her. She banished those thoughts and continued to tell what she was thinking. "Maybe she hopes that you and Elena come together somehow... Her goal is to come together with me. So..."

"Do you really think she would sabotage us to get what she wants? That's Verena, your best friend, we are talking about. Didn't you tell me that she just wants your happiness and that she would accept anyone as long as you are happy? I also thought she had a girlfriend."

"That wouldn't stop her, to be honest. She would dump any woman if she could get me."

Kelrian frowned, taking a sip of wine from his glass. He enjoyed the delicious taste of the red liquid in his mouth before he swallowed it. "Have you tried to talk to her about that?"

Sylvanas shook her head. "Not really and I don't want to quarrel with her about that. At least not before the siege. I have to rely on her when we go to battle together tomorrow. I don't want that there is bad blood between us, not before an important battle."

"I understand you," he replied, taking another sip. "But you will talk to her one day, right?"

"I will but not until we get Zul'jin dead or alive," she told. "Lirath's funeral will be held as soon as the trolls are defeated. Then we will help the human against the orcs."

"Shall I join you then? I didn't know your brother at all but I want to be there for you and support you," he offered, giving her a comforting look.

A thankful smile appeared on Sylvanas' lips. "I will think about it. You must know that not only my family will be there. Others will join us too. Friends of Lirath and many of my captains and lieutenants. You won't be able to hold me and I won't be able to cry on your shoulder because people will find out about us if we do so."

"What if we wait until everyone else has left? Then we can go to your family's crypt where I can hold and comfort you while no one watches."

"Sounds like a plan."

They were silent for a few moments, staring at each other while they emptied their glasses. Sylvanas refilled their glasses, emptying half of hers within a minute.

Kelrian broke the pleasant silence after a while. "I have to admit that I'm nervous about the upcoming siege on Zul'Aman."

Sylvanas leaned forward, giving him a comforting look. "It's okay to be nervous. I was nervous as well when I joined my first real battle. The battles you attended so far are only skirmishes compared to what is awaiting us. Zul'Aman accommodates more than one thousand trolls. Most of them are fighters. The battle will be bloody and we will lose a lot of soldiers. But we have to conquer Zul'Aman and capture Zul'jin if we want to defeat the trolls once and forever. I can't promise that everything will be alright, I can only hope for the best outcome. Normally it would suggest that you stay close to me but I think it's best if you stay as far away from me as possible. First, because we might distract each other and also because lots of trolls will try to kill me so it's better if you go with Verena and her group."

Kelrian raised his eyebrow. "Are you sure about that?"

"I'm not sure about anything, to be honest. I don't want to you to be in danger, on the other hand, I need my best rangers at my side... I will think about it and tell you tomorrow if you will go with my group or with Verena's. Maybe I even put you in Alleria's or Vereesa's group. In the end, we will meet in front of Zul'jin's keep and storm it together. It's not that we won't see each other."

Kelrian leaned over and put a hand on her face. He caressed her cheek, smiling at her. "I can understand why you are afraid but you don't have to. I can take care of myself."

"My brother could take care of himself too. He may have been very young but he was a very good fighter even though he was not even a recruit. My sisters and I have trained him. Nevertheless, he died. Even the best can fall. The group of your mother belonged to one of the best groups we had but all of them except your mother died because they were ambushed. Everyone can die. Even I can die. Our people may regard me as a goddess but I'm not a goddess. I'm mortal. I can bleed and I can die just like everyone else. That's why I'm so worried about you. I'm afraid of losing you. I already lost my brother. I don't want to lose you too." Her voice was low and sounded very sad. Her gaze rested on her feet.

She felt a hand under her chin which lifted it up with ease. She had no other choice than to look at the handsome face of her lover whose lips formed a comforting smile. She stared into his sky-blue eyes, feeling her mood brighten up as she held his gaze. "We have to think positively. We won't win if we only imagine all the bad things which could happen. We have to believe in ourselves and hope for the best. Everything will be alright. I promise."

He leaned in and kissed her. She returned the kiss, putting her hand on the back of his head. She ran her fingers through his soft blond hair, biting his bottom lip softly. He parted his lips, allowing her to sneak her tongue in. Her tongue brushed past his and explored every corner of his mouth. Kelrian's tongue entered her mouth eventually, mimicking her actions.

Feeling his tongue in her mouth and his lips on hers made her forget everything that worried her. All the bad thoughts were banished out of her head. The only thing she could think of was Kelrian. The man she loved with all her heart. He was the one who gave her the strength to get through everything. He had helped her out of her deep depression phase. He had comforted her, convinced her that Lirath's death was not her fault and reminded her that her people needed her. Without him, she would still be in her room and do nothing every day except for looking into the distance.

The two love-birds pulled away eventually, breathing heavily as they stared in each other's eyes. Kelrian noticed the lust in her eyes and Sylvanas didn't miss that he wanted her as badly as she wanted him.

"We don't know what will happen tomorrow. The next day could be our last day on this world so we should make the best out of the moment," she said, licking her lips.

"You are right, my love," he responded. Sylvanas got up and pushed the table aside. She signalized him to get up which he did without hesitation. She unbuttoned his trousers while she kissed him a couple of times. She sneaked her hand in his pants, smiling as she felt his big thing becoming stiffer and stiffer under her touch. She didn't stop kissing him, pressing her breasts against his chest as she pulled his manhood out of his pants. She started to stroke it with one hand, the other hand toyed with his hair.

He ran his fingers through her gorgeous hair, moaning into the kiss. Sylvanas smiled into the kiss, letting her tongue brush against his for a couple more times before she broke the kiss. She stared into his eyes, a cheeky smile appeared on her lips. Before he could do anything, she bent down until her head was on the same height as his large manhood.

"I missed that big thing," she admitted without blushing or showing any sign of shame. She rubbed her face against it before she took it in her mouth, letting her tongue lick over its tip. She took as much as possible of his manhood in her mouth. It was so large that not every inch fitted in her mouth.

She was very good at pleasuring him orally. She was so good with her tongue that she made him cum within a few minutes. She swallowed it, gave his dick a few strokes before she got up and kissed him, making him taste himself. It tasted weird for him but he didn't complain.

He didn't complain either as she pushed him back on his chair. She stripped for him, getting rid of all of her clothes. She undressed him as well, then her hands started to caress his toned stomach muscles. She sat down on his lap and kissed him, allowing him to put his hands on her breasts and knead them. She moaned into the kiss and didn't stop him from kneading them roughly, pinching her nipples and twisting them a little. She ran her fingers through his hair as he sucked on her boobs. She stroked his manhood with her other hand, causing that quiet moans escaped his lips.

After a while, she decided she had enough foreplay so she took his manhood and inserted it in her sex. It stretched her inner walls and made her feel really good. The effect increased when he started to push his hips up and down, hitting a certain spot over and over again. Her walls were penetrated, her g-spot go hit over and over again. He made her feel better than everyone else before him and she was a better lover than all the girlfriends Kelrian ever had.

Their lovemaking was passionate and steamy, their sweaty bodies were pressed against each other all the time. His hands rested on her butt, hers stroked his back and even scratched it from time to time. She left love bites on his neck, not caring that someone would see them in the next few days. She allowed him to do the same.

Cries of pleasure, moans and other noises, which expressed that they were enjoying their lovemaking, were hearable. They were having a good time but it didn't end when Kelrian reached his climax and came inside her.

Sylvanas had once admitted to him that she had never done anal before. At this moment, she told him that she didn't want to end as an anal virgin if she would die the next day so she offered him to make love to her butt hole. She had never offered it to anyone else because she had been insecure if they were the right ones. But she was not insecure about Kelrian. She knew he was the right one.

He didn't say no to her offering, preparing her butt hole with his fingers until it was wide enough for his massive thing. The first few minutes were painful but the longer his dick remained in her tight ass, the more she got used to it. The pain vanished and was replaced by pleasure. Their lovemaking lasted for another hour until Kelrian climaxed and filled up her ass.

They wrapped their arms around the other, breathing heavily as they cuddled. They didn't say anything but they stared into each other's eyes as they relaxed and enjoyed the presence of the other.

An hour later, Kelrian laid in the bed. He was so exhausted from their love-making that he had fallen asleep faster than Sylvanas had expected. She, on the other hand, was awake and sat on the edge of the bed. She was still naked as she searched through her bag for a certain tin. She pulled the tin out, her eyes widened when she realized it was empty.

She couldn't remember that she had used the last birth control pill. She looked for another tin of pink pills but she didn't find it. She found it strange. She always had two tins in her bag. But one was missing and one was empty for some reason. Did Alleria take them? Or Vereesa? Or her mother?

She had no clue who had taken them without telling her. She could only hope that this day was one of her safe didn't want to get pregnant in the middle of a war. She knew she had to get a pill from someone. She had to seek out her sisters. Luckily for her, the guest rooms they were resting in were on the same level as her room. She stood up from the bed and got dressed quickly. She made sure her hair was perfect before she left the room and closed the door behind her.

Chapter Text

"So, this is Zul'Aman, the largest fortress of the Amani trolls?" asked Nathanos as his green eyes scrutinized it.

Sylvanas regarded it with suspicion but also with respect. "Yes, it is. We will defeat the trolls if we conquer it and capture Zul'jin."

"It's larger than I