(Part 44)  For the entire listing of this series, please go here.

Aerissa wasn't entirely sure why she felt so nervous as she got ready.  She felt a bit off, but figured it had more to do with not being able to see the morning sun.  That, and her stomach would revolt occasionally from the smells of The Undercity.

Guess I haven't gotten completely used to the stench, she thought as she rinsed out her mouth again.

Quietly she hummed, trying to calm her nerves, as she slipped into the elegant green dress.  She stared back at herself in the scummy mirror.  The dress fit her very well, although it was a little tight across her hips.  Aerissa frowned as she rubbed her hands over her belly.

Have I gained weight?


She shook her head, returning her gaze to the mirror.  The dress made the color of her eyes pop.  Aerissa hoped she wasn't overdressed, but she wanted to look presentable, not like she just crawled out of the woods.  She finished brushing her hair and slipped on the matching shoes she purchased, eying herself over in the mirror one last time.  Aerissa barely recognized herself.  She could scarcely remember the last time she had done herself up in this way, but it made her smile.

She made her way out of her room and into the common area of the inn.  She was surprised to see how busy this place was; although, it seemed many travelers would pause at the inn to rest and socialize without renting any rooms.  She had noticed a bat handler not far away and presumed many came here to wait until they could take flight.

Carefully she walked, as her new shoes pinched her feet.  After stopping to ask several guards for directions, she finally came to the entrance of the Royal Quarter.  Clutching the locket tightly in her hand, she nodded politely to the guards at the entrance…and along the hallway.  The arches and the guards along the hall all looked the same to her and she started to wonder if the royal chambers were a myth.

“Wait a moment, miss,” rasped a guard, holding up his hand.  She had finally reached the entrance to Lady Sylvanas's chambers.  There were several other people ahead of her, waiting to speak with the banshee queen herself.  Aerissa looked over her shoulder and noticed even more people approaching.

Aerissa waited as patiently as she could, shifting her weight from side to side as her feet began to ache.  She clasped the locket tightly in the palm of her right hand, peeking at it periodically as though to reassure herself it was still there.

“Alright, you may move forward.  Wait by Ambassador Sunsorrow until the Lady calls you forward,” said the guard, pointing at a pale elven man wearing vibrant red robes.

Aerissa nodded in understanding and moved forward.  Her palms began to feel sweaty, making her afraid she would drop the locket.  When Lady Sylvanas beckoned her to approach, Aerissa's mouth went dry.  She didn't know why she was so nervous.

Even in undeath, she is…radiant, she thought as she eyed Sylvanas.  It struck Aerissa as odd that she didn't look as grotesque as her Forsaken brethren.  Her elven form appeared to have been spared the mutiliation Aerissa had assumed from the stories.  She noted a few lines of stitching along Sylvanas's arms and face.  However, aside from the purplish-blue hue of her skin, she was quite recognizable as an elven woman.

“What do you seek of me, young Sin'dorei?”  Sylvanas asked coolly, her face and tone devoid of emotion.

“I..uh,” Aerissa swallowed, her voice shaky, “I found this…in the Ghostlands.  And I…wanted to, uh, return it,” Aerissa looked down into her hand, then held it out as an offering, “to you.”

Sylvanas cocked an eyebrow and strode forward.  She plucked the locket from Aerissa's hand, narrowing her eyes at it.  She turned it over, reading the inscription.  Sylvanas's face contorted as she threw the locket on the ground, a wretched scream erupting from her throat.  The locket clanged as it hit the stone floor, skidding to a stop a few feet away.

Aerissa stood stock still, uncertain of what just happened.  The scream still rang in her ears as it echoed throughout the Royal Quarter.  Sylvanas clenched her eyes shut, lowering her head as she raised her hands, palms up.  Silently she moved her lips, wiggling her fingers.  White wisps appeared, darting around her.  Sylvanas's eyes flashed open as she started to sing.

Aerissa couldn't be sure, but she thought she could see the pain in her eyes.  It wasn't long before Aerissa realized the singing had become fuller, several other voices joined with Sylvanas's.  She looked away from the Lady's face in search of the choir.  Aerissa stumbled backwards at the appearance of several banshees behind Sylvanas.  It took a moment for her to realize it was they that sung as well.

She stood there, feeling awkward and uncomfortable.  She wasn't sure if she was meant to listen or leave.  Aerissa eyed the locket laying on the floor.  I thought she'd be happy…

The song began to stir a multitude of emotions deep within her.  Aerissa fought to blink back tears.  The song – and their voices – were hauntingly beautiful.  Aerissa realized they were singing in Thalassian, her native tongue, although she could not recall ever hearing this particular song before.

She began to turn and walk away when she noticed everyone else was kneeling.  Kneeling with their heads bowed in respect.  At that moment she felt a hand gently grasp her upper arm.  Turning back, she saw Ambassador Sunsorrow was at her side.

“Well, that could have gone better,” he whispered into her ear.  He held a book out, pressing it to Aerissa's midsection.  “Here, I have something for you.  And when the Lady is finished singing, I suggest that your audience end.  Silently.”

Aerissa fumbled to keep the book from falling as he released it and her, returning to his post.  The cover read “Lament of the Highborne.”  Flipping it open, she saw that it was a song book.  She scanned the lyrics, recognizing the very words that were being sung before her:

By the light, by the light of the sun
Children of the blood
Our enemies are breaking through
Children of the blood
By the light
Failing children of the blood
They are breaking through
O' children of the blood
By the light of the sun
Failing children of the blood
They are breaking through
O' children of the blood
By the light of the sun
The sun

Carefully, she closed the book and held it cradled in her arm.  Aerissa slowly walked away as Sylvanas finished the song.  Glancing over her shoulder, she saw Sylvanas bend down and pick up the locket.

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7 comments

  • That was beautiful, thanks for bringing to life one of my favorite quests Horde side. 🙂 I always make a point to pick that up on my Horde toons.

    You pay attention to the simplest things, down to the new shoes that are pinching Aerissa’s poor feet. 🙂 I’m curious to see what happens next.

  • @Nashiira – Thanks! I admit, I was a bit nervous on doing it proper justice…

    @Moondancer – Thank you 🙂 It is one of my favorite quests and the song was beautifully done. Regarding the simple things – sometimes I feel that is what draws me in the most to stories… especially with identifying with a character. I just hope I don’t put in *too* many small details!

  • I think you will find that if you added more detail a few things would happen…

    more people would point out that they loved that you remembered this or that, down to the smallest details…

    others might say, “That’s not EXACTLY how that particular detail should be described! ZOMG!”

    >_<

    Either way, the story continues to enthrall it's readers 🙂

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