Alliance: Chapter 5
She wiped the sweat of his brow as the light began to subside. The peasant’s breathing became more stabilized as the signs of the infected wound disappeared. The wife who held the peasant’s hand smiled as colour began to come back to her husband’s cheeks.
“Thank you, Prince Anduin.” She smiled at the man who healed her husband.” Thank you very much.”
“It is the least I can do.” The golden haired prince replied. He tried to get up but found his knees shaking when he tried to. Luckily Valeera was there and helped him on his feet as her green eyes already leered at him with annoyance. He gave her a quick nod, enough for today.
“Make sure he drinks plenty the next few days.” Anduin said to the peasant woman.” I will tell the Archbishop and his aides to make frequent sweeps to make sure your husband’s sickness does not resurface.” He reached for his purse and handed her five golden coins.” For your troubles.”
“Light bless you, your highness.” The woman clasped the coins to her chest as tears began to fall down from her eyes.” Light bless you…”
“And you.” Anduin placed his thumb on her forehead which briefly glowed a golden light before the prince was helped outside of the hall of the cathedral and into a chair in one of the secluded offices.
“You feel better now?” Valeera frowned as she folded her arms as she towered above him.
“Yes, I do actually.” Anduin smiled wearily.
“Well you won’t be in a moment when your father finds out. You know how he hates that you run off without telling him and worst of all, I get blamed for it!”
“You are my bodyguard Valeera, you make sure no harm comes to me.” He held up his hands and motioned to himself.” No harm as of yet.”
“You wouldn’t say that if you looked into the mirror. You are pale, sweaty and your eyes are sunken into your skull.”
“The people I helped today would have been a lot worse than sweaty if I decided to stay in the palace again. Like every day.” Anduin made himself comfortable.” I am a priest, Valeera. I help people in both body and soul. This plague from Westfall has every priest on edge and I just had to help the volunteers.”
“And you are the prince of Stormwind and heir to the throne. If you die and your father dies your entire kingdom will crumble. Unless you begot a bastard somewhere…”
The prince of Stormwind threw the rogue a glare as colour returned to his cheeks.” I am barely sixteen!”
“So, plenty of pups make stupid mistakes at that age.”
“Not me.” The priest-prince replied.” I have to lead par example. Why would the people of Stormwind, of the entire Alliance, obey the law if their leaders don’t?” he moved forward.” Because of me maybe more volunteers will arrive and help these poor people.”
“Sounds a bit presumptuous…” Valeera cocked her brow. “Divine right of kings, much?”
“The Light has chosen to bless me with these powers just as it has chosen to be bestowed upon a prince. It is my duty to help my people, maybe everyone on Azeroth if needed.”
The blood elf gave a cruel smile.” You really believe the vision Velen had? You at the head of a army of light? Leading the charge against the Burning Legion?”
Anduin took a moment to reply as he slowly got back on his feet. The blood elf, despite her harsh words, helped him get on his feet to which he silently nodded his thanks as to not disturb their banter.” Velen has seen many visions and most of them came true. If Azeroth would come together as one banner under ANYONE, I would like that.”
“Does it tire you, being this goody goody?”
“Sometimes, when it becomes to much I kick a murloc to balance things out.”
“No…” Anduin grinned.” I do mind control one to run into a tree instead.”
Valeera laughed and ruffled with her fingers through his hair.” Good, I was afraid I would have to corrupt you a little.”
“How so?” Anduin took his staff from his corner and put on a long brown cloak with a hood to cover his features before he followed Valeera toward the secret exit of the cathedral.
“The usual. Introduce you to ales in taverns, women in brothels, the pet battle rings or the Brawlpub to make some bets….”
“Again, Valeera. Sixteen.” The priest replied with a smile.
“Again, your holy highness, pups do stupid things at your age.” The blood elf held up her hand and opened the door. She peeked outside before she opened the door completely and escorted the prince out of the adjacent alleyway.
“Especially me.” The blood elf replied. “Sometimes making dumb choices are a part of life. If I never took up to thieving earlier on in my life, I may have never been caught and sold to Rehgar Earthfury. I would never have met your father or Broll.”
“In turn you would still be addicted to magic and be without a home.” Anduin replied.
“And there you go making a goody two shoes comment again. I swear when you are seventeen I am taking you to a brothel and have someone pull that stick out of your behind.” She rolled her eyes.
“Father wouldn’t approve…..” both walked through the busy streets of the cathedral square as none seemed to notice them.
“I’ll take him to. I swear with his attitude he should just…get it out of his system.”
The duo crossed the bridge into old town where they were greeted by the common sights. Crooked shops, food lines, men lollygagging, women trying to sell themselves and whispers gushing when guards come around patrolling.
Anduin stopped as two children, half naked and dirty, ran past as they were playing with a half deflated ball.
“It’s getting worse, isn’t it?” Anduin turned to Valeera.
“After the war against the Lich King, the cataclysm, the defies and then another war with the Horde…it surprises me that there isn’t another uprising.” The rogue replied.” The people are starving, Anduin. The plague and drought in Westfall alone has send a exodus to Stormwind. Our coffers are empty and we are living off the mercy of Lady Proudmoore and her brother, money and food wise. We have fighting men who were suddenly let go and they have nowhere else to go save to start up gangs or work for Goblin cartels. Added with our continuing steam of repairs to Gilneas…”
“I know.” Anduin replied.” And I have been paying attention at court as you said I should do.”
“And?” Valeera asked as both kept moving.
“You are right. Kul Tiras and Dalaran representatives are gaining more of a foothold at court. Even Queen Calia’s Lordearon-in-exile government is getting support but I don’t know why.”
“You haven’t heard?” she motioned to a mob that listend to a man in ragged clothing and a cane with a white rose on his chest.
“Queen Calia seeks to reclaim our beloved homeland of Lordearon from the evil usurper Sylvanas, who of you are willing to step up and bring that foul witch to justice and le the light smite on her?!” the man shouted which gained some support.” And with Lordearon freed all the riches the Forsaken stole from the Alliance will be ours again! The golden treasures of Lord Garithos and our scarlet brothers will be ours again!” this gained the man even more support.
The priest-prince was about to speak but he felt Valeera’s hand on his shoulder and dragged him off.
“That man is warmongering!” Anduin was pushed into a alley. Valeera held up her hand and looked around the corner to make sure they were not followed. She turned to Anduin with another disproving frown. “We should inform the guards and my father!”
“Don’t be such a idiot.” Valeera snapped.” Your father allows this!”
The prince’s jaw fell to the ground.” W-what?”
Valeera rubbed her eyes.” Damnit…fel blast it…come, lets get you home. Let HIM explain it for once.”
And that was she all she said of it.
A hour later, Anduin alone waited in his father’s office. He looked upon the portrait of his namesake, Anduin Lothar. The man who saved his father and many of their people from the Orcish horde in the First War. His portrait was one of his earlier days. Young face, brown short trimmed beard and a strong chin. The Stormwind Lion was emblazoned on his tabard, the Lion that would be the universal symbol of the Alliance. “I hope I do your name proud every day, Lord Lothar…” the prince whispered.
The door opened as the king came in.” Anduin?” he sounded surprised.” What are you doing here?”
The prince smiled.” I wished to see you father.”
“If this is about you coming clean about you sneaking off to the cathedral, I already know. And to be honest I have given up trying to hold you back.”
“The royal guards standing at my doorstep tell me a different tale, father.” Anduin replied.
“I said I had given up but I’m not going to make it that easy.” Varian patted his son on the shoulder and sat down in his chair. He took off his sword Shalamayne from his belt and placed it and it’s scabbard over his chair.” Tell me, why did you wish to see me?”Varian took a bottle of apple cider and poured himself in a glass. He offered one to Anduin who shook his head.
“Light give me strength…” Anduin thought to himself before he looked his father in the eye.” In Old Town I saw a man asking people to take up swords against Sylvanas.”
Varian took a sip from his glass before he replied.” What of it?”
“And no guards came in to intercede, I have been even been told that you allowed this to happen!”
“Well of course I did.” Varian replied.” He has a right to his opinion and many of our people agree to Lordearon should be back in Queen Calia’s hands.”
“But we had an agreement with the Horde, father.” The prince began to get angry.” Even now you have ambassador’s in Orgrimmar, dealing with Vol’jin!” he placed his hands on his father’s office.” Does our word mean that little? To break a promise like that?!”
Anduin’s father leaned back as he pondered. After a short moment he nodded and leaned forward again.
“You are almost a man grown, my son. I will not lie to you. Yes, I have been aiding Queen Calia in her war with the Forsaken and most of the reinforcements she has are from Stormwind.”
Anduin felt as if his father had struck him. His knees began to wobble again so he had to sit down.” But…why?”
“You know why.” Varian replied.” Sylvanas has had her way long enough. Calia was just the final straw that broke the kodo’s back.” He folded his hands together.” Our war against Garrosh has bankrupted our nation and I used one of my last favours to keep Vol’jin out of this war.”
Varian took another sip from his cider before he shook his head.” Doesn’t matter, what does matter is that I have bought us time. Four years of war has taken its toll on our people. I am facing the same issues I had when I became king again after the Second war. Criminal syndicates, unplowed fields with winter in front of us and empty coffers. I just spend three hours with the Council of Nobles bickering about taxes to be heightened for the nobility since the smallfolk have none to spare. We got the act through but chances are the next gala we organize will be very empty. I have to please Lord Tandred Proudmoore and Lady Jaina or else the money and food flow will stop. The last thing I need is another war with the Horde, especially since SI7 has been on edge about a possible Zandalari and True Horde alliance.”
“So why support Calia if we have no funds?” Anduin asked.” The funding for the church is very small and there are so many sick…”
“We support her because we have no choice, son.” Varian replied.”Sylvanas is weakend from the war and her actions during it are inexcusable. If we can bring her down or at the very least drive her back from Lordearon, that would be a victory.”
“And our treaty with the Horde?”
“I treated with Vol’jin, not Sylvanas.” Varian replied.” To me she is just the same monster as Garrosh was who needed to be put down. On that both me and Thrall agreed on.”
“I can’t believe I’m hearing this…our people starve and you play this game of…of politics?!”
“Anduin…” Varian sighed.” Being a king means making though choices. If I let Calia go off on her own, she would be dead by now and Lordearon would be forever lost and Sylvanas will be unopposed and go after us. Not even Vol’jin would be able to stop her. Thousands of our dwarven friends and Gilneas would die and even more of our kin would do so as well. This way we keep harassing Sylvanas and when she is at her weakest, we crush her.”
“You are planning for another war? After the damage that has already been done to us?” Anduin shook his head with disbelief.
Varian stood up.” Son, I long for peace as well. Light, I crave it at this point. But as long as our people, our Alliance is in danger we cannot risk. We are Lions, Anduin. We look after the Pride. Now stop being a pansy and gave a drink with your father. You look like you need one.”
Later after dinner, the priest-prince made his way to the palace chapel and took the knee in front of a statue dedicated to the light. There were benches to the sides of him, which were mostly unoccupied unless for a intimate royal wedding. That is why Anduin never really did look to see if anyone was there. That is why a certain dark coloured young man went unnoticed.
“A prayer before bedtime, Prince Anduin?” Wrathion smirked.
Anduin jumped and nearly threw a smite spell at the black dragon but stopped himself.” Holy light, Wrathion…you scared me.”
“My apologies, I couldn’t come through the front door. Last time a black dragon was here he kind of destroyed some of this city. And the dragon before that kind of incinerated the throne room…manipulated you and the such.”
The prince chuckled and took a seat next to his friend.” I thought we agreed on Pandaria you are no longer to blame for the sins of your family.”
“True but I enjoy the angst. Keeps me alive and such.” Wrathion smirked.” How has life been treating you, little prince?”
“I’ve been busy. Garrosh’s war has been devastating both on the front and at home.”
“Imagine we wasted more effort on a trial.” The black dragonling chuckled.” That would’ve been silly.”
“Why are you here, Wrathion?” Anduin asked.
“Well there is this new game I want to play. Called Hearthstone. Not the stone but a card game, I know the name is confusing but I really want to play it. I haven’t had the same…challenge with my opponents as I had with you.”
“I don’t have a deck, although one of the cards is named after me…which is slightly strange.”
“Playing with yourself is always strange.” A moment passed before both laughed.
“Alright…no, I mean really.” Anduin smiled.” Why are you here?”
Wrathions laugh faded, as if a short joy was immediately snuffed out. “ Alright, I could never fool you. I have bad news, Darnassus has been attacked by a fleet of goblin zeppelins, orc warriors and renegade watchers. A important Kaldorei leader has been killed. Already preparations in Ashenvale are made to attack Durotar.”
“What?” Anduin looked at his friend.” How do you-“
“I have my ways. All I wanted to do was warn you. The Horde was NOT responsible for the attack.”
“But how do you know that?! If I need to tell my father I need proof!”
Wrathion leaned back.” That is for you to find out.”
“What? Why me?” Anduin asked.
“Because you are the king that has been promised. The leader of the Army of Light and vanquisher of the Burning Legion.” The black dragon retorted.
Anduin stood up.” Wrathion, don’t pull my leg right now! Look at me, I’m just a priest. A boy!”
“ I am looking at you Anduin Wyrnn and what you are is potential that needs to be unleashed. When I look at you I see a Warrior of Light, Three warrior-women who love you and would give their lives for you, you standing back to back with an orcish warrior as the demons come, your name being on the lips of thousands if not millions as they cheer for their liberator. And above all, you willingly sacrifice your own hand to save a world that is not even yours. The Burning Crusade is coming again anduin and I want you to be ready for it. All I just want is to push you into the right direction.”
“And which one is that?” Anduin folded his arms.
The black dragon leaned in close and gave the prince a wicked grin. “Follow the money.”