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Chapter One: Desperate Times

September 17, 2008

Hellfire Ramparts, 2 years later

“The dragon is landing. Lanien, go to bear form. Kess, pick up heals now.” With ease born of experience Lanien shifted forms while Kess cast a Prayer of Healing on the group. Kneabiter taunted the doomed Wyrm off her, Papatank finished off Vazruden with a well timed execute, and the dragon succumbed a moment later to Deadsong’s curses.

Deadsong moved up to the group with a smile, “Well done, our friends in Honor Hold will breathe easier for the moment.”

Papatank looked grim, “For the moment. That’s all the time it will buy them. Each day the Legion grows stronger and our numbers are too few. If we are to survive we must have allies. We must join forces with the Horde.”

“Join forces!” Kess interjected, “How can you even consider it? I’ve seen first hand what they do. I will not fight beside them!”

“Kess, we know your history and what you have been through, but you must get past it. There are those on both sides who lost everything at the hands of the other. An alliance will not be easy, but we have no choice. This is not a battle we can win alone. This is a struggle the likes of which our world has never seen. Each day the Legion forces grow; while we fight amongst ourselves they watch and grow strong. Our only hope is an alliance. If we are to survive this invasion, we need the Horde.”

Avoiding their eyes, Kess activated her hearthstone. “I need to go, I’ll see you all later.”

Watching her disappear Lanien sighed, “You are right, Papa. We need each other, but there are many who feel the same as Kess. An alliance may not be possible.”

“It has to be, Lanien. It’s our only hope.”

***

Standing on Aldor Rise in Shattrath City Kess basked in the light that filled the place. It reminded her of the elven cities she had lived in as a child and the light that permeated the air soothed her troubled thoughts.

Memories of happier times came easier here and she found herself remembering the day of her first Winter Festival in Stormwind. Laniken had discovered the snowball vendor first and pelted poor Kneabiter mercilessly. He quickly found the vendor and retaliated. After all these years, the memory of the two gnomes knocking one another over with snowballs still brought a smile.

“I’ve been worried about you, Kess.” A gentle voice brought her back to the present. “I know you are troubled by talk of an alliance with the Horde. It is a sign of the desperate times we live in that such a subject would be raised, but it is something we must consider.”

Kess turned to face her friend, “I know, Teaka. I know you and the others are right. It is just that, for so many years they have been the enemy and now … I can’t just forget the past. I can’t forget the family they took from me.”

Teaka wrapped an arm around the young elf’s shoulders and they stood together in silence for a long moment. Finally Kess smiled up at her.

“You always find me when I need a friend, Teaka. I understand now why Aleathea loved you so much.” She looked away and tears pooled in her luminous eyes. “I miss her, Teaka, I miss her so much.”

The older elf blinked back tears of her own, “I do too, Kess. I always will.”

***Commentary on Chapter One***

This chapter opens with the final boss fight in Hellfire Ramparts. By this time Kneabiter and Kess had reached outlands where we spend most nights running instances with our friends. Lanien is Laniken’s main. Papatank and Deadsong are two of our best friends.

Teaka is my oldest and dearest friend from World of Warcraft. We met a couple of weeks after the guild was formed back in 2006 and have been friends both in and out of game ever since. My hunter, Deb, was named in honor of her.

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