From Drahliana's Journal: The Children's Week Odyssey
- - by Drahliana
From a journal entry 3 weeks prior to Children's WeekEdit
Against my better judgement, I have decided to acede to Moonwillow's suggestion that I take part in the Human celebration known as Children's Week. Unlike many that I know of, I have no animosity towards children, I simply could not see that I would be able to fit time amongst my responsibilities as High Ranger to a growing order. She had made the undeniably logical argument that it was past time that I delegate some responsibilities to the up and coming Initiates by promoting the more able. Although I am firm about not reopening our formal embassy to Stormwind, I have allowed her to remain in residence on a strictly unofficial basis.
By Elune, I have been infected with the Human's love for opportunistic fictions! There will be no real difference between such an unofficial presence and the offical one save in name only. Yet I will persist in such even though that all parties concerned are not fooled one bit the less. Enough! So let it be written, so let it be done. I will take ship from Auberdine on the morning tide.
Journal entry 3 weeks laterEdit
Randal has made suprising good company. He's taken well to the presence of Windrider and he hasn't complained once about the aches he certainly must have suffered during his first days of riding in front of me on Nightrunner. Given how life must be in that odd thing Humans call an Orphanage, I imagine that he's willing to endure this and more to actually have some time out of there. Do Humans actually breed so much or care so little that so many of their children are considered surplus? I can't think of anyway or anyone to pose this question that would yield any answer other than that of offense, so I keep this and other thoughts to myself as we travel. I have promised that I would care for this child as it were my own. And so far we have had a good trip with the only bad moments being an attack by Dark Iron dwarves during our visit to the Stonewrought Dam. I do hope that I did not frighten the boy too badly when I dispatched... no slaughtered the wouldbe bombers. I killed them without mercy or quarter, pushed by instincts fueled by my promise to the Matron. Apparantly the Beast shares in my promise as much as I do. Afterwards he told me that he wanted to see the Eternal Bough. I was impressed that he knew that much about Darnassus and so we took ship from Menethil Harbor once I could secure passage on the most trustworthy ship available.
His next request however is going to be considerably more difficult, even painful for me on a personal level. The fault however is not Randal's, but mine. His request will force me to address an issue I had been avoiding these past months. How do you tell a friend that you no longer have the faith in her you once had! I look at the child's face prepared to deny his request. I'll suggest soemthing else, perhaps the Mirage Raceway in the Shimmering Flats to watch the gnome goblin races. I could do that.. I could tell him....
"Okay, we'll go see Jaina Proudmoore."
"Oh wow, thank you Drahliana! I want to be a hero just like Jaina Proudmoore when I grow up! Well.... a boy hero that is."
Randal's declaration was interrupted as all ears turned to respond to Jaina's announcement that ArchMage Tervosh had prepared a special demonstration for the children, one that caught them all including Randal once Drahliana had given her nod permitting him to attend.
Drahliana had noticed certain signs though, particularly on Jaina herself after she had welcomed them to her tower. She couldn't help but notice Jaina's subtle glance to her right hand, the one where once her signet ring had once rested. The one she had given as a token of her trust following the investigation, Drahliana had done on her behalf the previous year.
There was also the known fact that Archmage Tervosh could barely stand the company of children, much less be moved to perform for them.
"How about some fresh air from the Eastern Terrace, I've always loved it's ocean view."
As opposed to the view of the swamp? was Drahliana's unspoken question. The West faces the home you have now and Brackenwall the closest settlement of the Horde and the East, the home you can never return to again.
"Lets get through this quickly, Jaina. Before Tervosh reaches the limits of his patience and fills your tower with minature sheep." Drahalina began with forced smile. Let's skip the small talk about the weather, my hair and as you can see I'm wearing my travel clothes and armor so we can skip fashion too."
"I've always like that about you night elves, Drahliana. Your speech blunt, and to the point. If we were both Human, we'd probably have taken most of the day to do what you did in one sentence. In return, I'll get to the point as well, Jaina replied, with a pointed look at Drahliana's hand.
Drahliana followed her gaze and cleared her throat to give her a moment to focus her thoughts.
"I still have it Jaina. Before I say anything else, I would affirm that I still hold your friendship valuable on a personal baisis. But I can no longer afford to be seen as an agent of yours or your policies. You've done much, braved much to get your people to where they are today. But all of that is yesterday's glory and the problems of today demand a new approach. I'd like to have an answer as to what that should be for you, but I don't. You know about what happened just a few weeks ago with the attack made on Cairne Bloodhoof. It is widely perceived that your authority beyond the walls of this city is limited and your influence rapidly becoming less. That will not stay the anger of the Horde should they wish to focus on a target for their anger. And while Thrall may not send out the assassins who killed your father, he may not choose to stand in the way of those who decide to act without his sanction. Above all he is an Orc, responsible for his own people and his alliance. If he goes against their popular wishes too much, he will lose his leadership and leave his people to a civil war to fill the gap in leadership. The Humans who still survive in Lordareon declare you a deserter and I'm sure the Forsaken who reside in the City Beneath may have even less love for you. And Stormwind at best sees you as an embarrassment. They're unwilling to move against you because of your father's name, but they won't support you because of the tales surrounding your father's death and your inactivity.
I have my own people that I must worry about them. If I am to preserve my own influence or have any weight the decisions of your Alliance, I must be seen as my own woman. I ..... truly am sorry." Drahliana's voice trailed off, as she found no further words to convey her feelings.
The Ruler of Theramore listened impassively, showing no emotion during Drahliana's speech. She held her pose all that time until the mage gave way to woman, the office shed momentarily. "Drahli.... I wish I could fault any and all of what you've said. But I can't.... and I understand... that you do what you must." With that the two women silently embraced each other for a short timeless moment and then withdrew each taking back the masks they had shed briefly. And at then it was Drahliana who spoke first.
"Yes, it's a bone of contention in the Horde's side. Technically a violation of the territory of Durotar. But at some point it might become a useful piece of leverage at winning some concessions when you are in a postion to bring something to the next meeting you have with Thrall. And if you think it prudent, send a token of your regards to Matthias Shaw. An unofficial token of course. And Lady Proudmoore..."
"I'll be here the day you need me."
Jaina Proudmoore straightened and composed herself, once more the Ruler of Theramore. "Let's go rescue an Archmage shall we?" And with that the terrace was once more empty, holding it's own watch to the East.
Children's Week is drawing to a close. I've decided to take Randal to the Mirage Raceway anyway, although it would wind up crowding close to the time that I was supposed to return him to the orphanage at Stormwind. I'm confident that I'll find a solution to that problem at Gadgetzan where we'll be flying to from Theramore.
"Look at those two guys fighting in there! One's all green and the other is huge!" Drahliana followed her ward's gaze inside the fight cage that dominated the central square in Gadgetzan. She cursed the ill luck that this visit would be one of the few times she'd ever see anyone go into the usually disused structure. She saw that both were wearing the same clan colors, so she let Randal continue to watch, confident that whatever those two were doing in there that it was not a blood match. In the meantime she scanned the surrounding traffic looking for a familliar face until she saw what she was looking for.
"Decrescent! Salmissra! She'd known the mage for quite some time, he'd been the Ranger's first non-Kaldorei member, their parting had been on good terms mainly because of the refusal to admit his warlock spouse. Despite that they had remained close friends and she'd hoped that he'd do her a favor.
"Dec.. I hope these days find you well." After the mage gave his replying nod. "What brings you to Goblin Desert Town?" "A side trip to Zul'Furrak. A private mission for some of the locals." Drahliana nodded, remembering some of the mercenary work she had done locally here. The Goblins knew no lasting loyalties, but they always honored thier contracts and as a result they had no problem finding willing mercenaries, Alliance or Horde, to brave the Troll city.
"Actually I was hoping that you might be willing to make a short side trip......"
Presently the four of them, mounted on two horses and one frostsaber arrived at the Mirage Raceway, the arctic-bred cat complaining about the heat. Seeing Nightrunner watered and cooled down before dismissing her, she found that they'd arrived just in time for the race. They'd spent some time buying overpriced souveniers, including a Stamp doll from the scorekeeper who apparantly ran a shop on the side. For a second watching Salmissra and Decrescent with the boy, Drahliana considered suggesting they adopt the child.
A warlock for a mother?, and neither of them look to be settling down from the adventuring life any time soon. Oh well, it was a thought.
"So which one do you want to root for, Randal?"
"The goblin car! With those two rockets, it's twice as cool as that dumb gnome cart!"
Hmmm...stay right here I'll get us something cool to drink"
Drahliana went quickly to the goblin encampment, having spotted the one particular she was looking for. "Razzeric!"
"No spectators here! No... oh it's you!"
"Yes it's me. And I have something you asked me to get awhile back." she replied digging into her backpack.
"That was months ago! What use am I going to have for..." His voice trailed momentarily "Seaforium! Just what I need to adjust the fuel mixture! Okay as we agreed! Give it here."
"Not so fast goblin! There's a little extra I want from you...."
"Here we go ice lemon juice for all!" Drahliana called out on her return to the bleachers, as she settled down on her seat while passing out the drinks. They watched as the goblin and gnome vehicles started off with a thunderous roar and quickly vanished out of sight. They continued to wait and watch as the cars did their laps and approached the finish line for the final approach. Drahlina watched as the goblin rocket sled with a bright flash put on an extra burst of speed nudged ahead to catch the black flag.
"The goblin car wins! The goblins win!" There were the usual cheers and dissappointed grunts depending on who had bet for whom and then something totally unexpected as the announcer came on again. Only his speech this time seem broken, especially towards the end.
"In honor of our victory and Children's Week, we invite the children of all races to a treat of ice cream..... *cough* *cough* *aaack* FREE OF CHARGE!" Those last words put every veteran racewatcher on pause as the announcement was repeated again in Orcish. Decrescent and Salmissra looked at each other than at Drahliana who alone seemed unfazed by the announcement. as they followed their charge to the ice cream stand, scarecely keeping pace with the children now swarming the vendor. Drahliana broke from the others comeing up to Razzeric who was looking rather pale for a goblin.
"Make sure the portions are generous."
"You! you! you know what you are doing to me! the impact on my buisness! my reputation! Stick a dagger in my heart why don't you! There's no cure for this!"
"Oh? I hear this has quite a bit of medicinal value." she replied giving him a small heap of gold coins. And you did win today."
The goblin's countennance brightened considerably along with shining coins poured into his hand. "Like I was saying all along... Pleasure doing buisness with you! Come again!"
Decrescent came up to her. "You know with what you paid him, you bought his all of the ice cream in his stand twice over."
"True. But it made the kids happy, and I wouldn't have missed those words and that goblin splutter for the world! After he's had his treat, make a portal to Stormwind for us, please. It's almost time for him to go home. Thanks for the help Dec."
A week of rapid travel and sightseeing had come to this. After thanking Decrescent for his timely portal, Drahliana ushered her charge out of the academy of mages, despite Randal's desire to linger, the overwhelming scent of arcane energy always drove her to exit the place as quickly as poossible on those few times she visited it.
She realised reluctantly that she would miss the company of the Human child. His curiosity and excitement had been infectious.
"Lady Drahliana this week has sure been swell! Hardly anyone is going to believe the stories I have to tell, meeting Jaina Proudmore and those races! Thanks a whole lot for taking me this week I'll never forget it!"
Embarrassed somewhat by his emotional outpouring, Drahliana replied only by scooping him up in an earnest hug, then settling him in front of her on top of Nightrunner for thier last ride together.
Presently they arrived at the orphanage in Stormwind, with the Matron outside to greet them and receive back her charge. After escorting Randal inside, she came back outside again.
"What you and others do for these children can not be valued at any price. Still the orphanage would give you some token of reward for your trouble.
"That won't be neccessary, Matron." I've already had more than enough returned to me during this last week. Elune keep you and your charges safe." she replied, remounting herself on Nightrunner and turning to leave.
"Light be with you Night Elf", the Matron replied, the last word said to a departing shadow as the target of her words rode into the day.