A different ending in a different kind of future.
Beyond the Farthest Shore
- -by Drahliana
The party of Rangers had traveled for weeks seeking their quarry. They had pursued leagues, endured false trails but the end was finally in sight on a lonely beach at the southernmost edge of Tanaris. They were confident but wary as the area still held a degree of peril for the unprepared. But it had led them to a silver haired Kaldorei unpacking crates and transferring their contents to what looked like to be a modified canoe. They moved steathily closer, apparantly unnoticed until suddenly she whirled around to face them.
"You're a long way from your assignments Rangers. She said, facing their leader. And one of you stepped on some drift coral. I'd have hoped by now that I hadn't been so remiss in my training. Your great grandfather must be raging in the spirit realm, Thormok. He'd have tracked me at least a week sooner, and that was after he went blind." She finished with a smile that belied her criticism. Her smile faded as she continued. "Why are you here, Ranger Thormok."
A slight blush blossomed on the orc's features as he regarded his onetime instructor. Though she had tried mightly to encourage him otherwise, he still retained a bit of the hero-worship she often asked him to toss aside. But Thormok came from a society that taught him never to forget the history of his ancestors and she had her own unique place in the story of the one ancestor he had most striven to emulate.
Similarly the Kaldorei in the party found their own tongues pressed for a response. It fell to Strahna to take up their side. "We've been concerned, all of us High Ranger."
"Just Drahliana now. I passed leadership to Sylandras long ago. The title is hers and by now, you'd think she'd be using it right now, instead of leaving it to an old warhorse." She sighed the lines of age showing themselves a bit more of late. "And Vaniel Staghelm, you can come out now." she continued as a feline form became visible in the shadows and shifted it's shape to that of a male Kaldorei. Her gaze shifted back to Strahna as her eyes locked with those of huntress. "I'd think that the Rangers would have more important tasks for you than nursemaiding an old Night Elf. Not that I need any mind you. You forget perhaps that I've been taking care of myself just fine before your parents were even born." She relaxed for a moment. "Still I'm glad you made it here you old stomper. as she went forward and hugged the Tauren who was herself showing the signs of middle age. "Don't let them get too carried away but you've done well with these cadets." She straightened herself. "And as you all can see I'm rather busy now. And I'm sure the Kalimdor Confederation of Free Peoples has some pressing tasks that you all should be getting to. I'm on leave.... very extended leave you might say." Her memories flashed through the past. And not for the first time she regretted that some of the friends of her youth were not alive to see it now. She wondered what Silverdawn would have made of the new Theramore now joined in partnership with Brackenwall and what was formerly part of the Dustwallow Marsh now known as the PeaceSpring fields now a strong breadbasket of trade with the east. Or how Theramore, along with Darnassus, Ogrimmar and ThunderBluff now made up the Four Jewels of the Kalimdor Confederation. She was especially proud of Strahna who had made substantial progress in briding the gap between her people and her hereditary enemies the centaur tribes. And of the split with the Eastern segment of the Alliance and the later reconciliation when the Confederation lent it's aid against the former Horde forces of the Forsaken and the Blood Elves. The years had given her a sense of completeness and recently of release of her old bonds of obligation.
"I'm just doing something I've always wanted to do, a simple southern ocean cruise."
"To the Islands of Nowhere" Thormok finished. "No goes there and returns... You're still needed with us. And no matter what your title or lack of one you are still an Honored one. A lesson for us and our children."
"Hmmph. I told Amoondran that my membership with the Rangers was to be temporary,that I'd help found his group and get it going. I'd say by now, I've honored my promise. You've made your own honor Thormok. But that bit of curiosity has been upon me for .... a very long time. And I want to make that trip while I still have the strength to do so. And now I've nothing to keep me back. Let me just make this one last journey." She finished loading her last provisons and then took out a smoothly shaped stone. No sooner than the others had recognised it for her hearthstone than she whipped out her spear ans smashed it before the astonished onlookers could even react.
"It's total commitment. And you're right who knows what may be out there. But I'm going to face it and while these things are only supposed to work for the one they're bound to, I'm not leaving any possible enemy with an express ticket to Kalimdor. If all goes well, I'll be paddling back to Steamwheedle and catching a flight to Auberdine in time for the Lunar Festival. Until then there's no one I'd rather have see me off than you and these kids." With that said, she embraced them all one by one and set off with the evening tide.
For several years afterward, the Kalimdor Rangers would send a group once a moon to this spot. But Drahliana was never seen again by mortal ken.