Chapter 1: The Beginning
"Tell me what it will take, Wrynn."
The current Lion of Azeroth sat across from her, looking years older than the last time Sylvanas faced him so closely. Fine lines had formed around the edges of his eyes and across his forehead; the slightest tremor shook his left hand. The Banshee Queen doubted if the man was even aware of it himself, but her sister certainly was. Sylvanas watched Alleria stare at the human king's trembling hand, saw the play of concern and calculation slide through her eyes.
"Your Majesty, with all due respect, you owe her nothing."
Sylvanas felt a retort boil up from her throat, but the human beat her to it. "Alleria, I appreciate the effort you undertook to make this meeting occur, but Sylvanas requested to speak with me, and I will hear what she has to say."
Two months worth of correspondence had brought them to this point. The first handful of letters Sylvanas had written to her sister had been returned unopened, but she persisted. When Alleria first responded, it had been with a disdainful refusal, but Sylvanas also knew that it was only a matter of time before her sister fulfilled her request, if for no other reason than finding out why Sylvanas wanted to privately meet with the High King.
That had been her request: to set a meeting up between the two, Warchief to King, with no other rulers, advisors, or cronies present. When Alleria had finally replied that she would approach Wrynn on the condition that she also be permitted to attend their meeting 'in the interests of security' Sylvanas had almost smiled. One trait the Windrunner sisters all still shared was their nearly insatiable curiosity.
She allowed her sister to set the time and the place, which was how they came to be in a small abandoned cottage on the edges of the Broken Shore; with the majority of the world's attention now on the island nations of Kul Tiras and Zandalar, there was little chance they'd be disturbed there, and neither Sylvanas nor the cub would have undue advantage over the other. It seemed she was learning well from the Void. The cottage was disgusting, bits of ichor coating the walls and with more broken furniture than whole, but it had a table and they were able to pull together three chairs from the rubble. It was more than enough to suit their purposes.
Her attention was pulled from her sister by Wrynn clearing his throat. "In the interest of clarity, inform me, Lady Windrunner; what will it take for what?"
"I've no patience for any more games, little lion. You have something in your possession which can return a sundered soul to body. I want it."
"I don't know what you mean." He looked genuinely confused, she'd give him that. He was either a good actor or dimmer than she'd previously judged.
"Calia Menethil," Sylvanas spit, "still walks Azeroth despite the fact that I personally killed her." Sylvanas leaned forward, the tips of her hair brushing the table between them as she said, "In fact, she walks as a Light forged undead, an anomaly I would previously have said was impossible. However, the fact that this occurred after the...unfortunate incident in the Arathi Highlands during your little family reunion plot paints a very clear picture of whom is responsible." She paused. "Do you deny it, Wrynn?"
"I would like to know who told you she's alive."
"I'm sure you would," Sylvanas nodded. "And as it costs me nothing to tell you and you would certainly figure out on your own, the Shattered Hand sees many things."
"You could have fooled me." The boy had the nerve to smirk at her. "Being as Calia was alive for many years without your Shattered Hand informing you, hmm?"
Even though he was right, Sylvanas refused to acknowledge it, instead saying, "You assume that I didn't know she was alive? How do you know I simply didn't care?"
"You cared enough that you killed her on sight when she revealed herself. She's a Menethil. You'd care for that reason alone."
Sylvanas stood, slamming one gauntleted fist against the table. "She was trying to steal my people!"
"Your people are not a commodity to be stolen!" Though the boy king remained seated, he spoke no less passionately than Sylvanas. "They have their own hearts and minds, and they deserve to be allowed to follow them."
"What do you think I'm fighting for?" Sylvanas yelled. "I say again, Wrynn. Tell me what it will take. I will pry it from your corpse if I have to. My people deserve this. The Alliance owes them!"
"You will do no such thing, sister," Alleria was standing now as well, holding her bow taut, the arrow pointed straight at Sylvanas's heart. "Make one more move of aggression and I will cut you down."
"Both of you, sit down." The High King spoke as though he was chastising two rowdy children. "This is getting us nowhere." Blue eyes bore into Sylvanas as she slowly, reluctantly took a seat. Alleria waited a few seconds, then lowered her bow and sat back down as well.
"The Alliance," Wrynn said, "owes you nothing, Sylvanas."
Later she'd say it was the use of her first name, but at that moment the Banshee Queen didn't know why her blood settled at the words. "Me personally? Perhaps. But like your father before you, you seem to conveniently forget that the Forsaken were once part of your Alliance. They came to you and begged admittance when they were their most broken and lost, and they were denied. Denied by those sworn to protect them. Killing them once by failing to recognize a threat before it blossomed wasn't enough for you humans? And now that they are strong, you wish to supplant your own ruler onto their throne?" She scoffed.
"Do not play the part of the benevolent Queen to me, Sylvanas. I watched you slaughter your own people without pity. I buried them."
Alleria shifted in her seat at Wrynn's words but said nothing. Sylvanas wished her sister would sit outside at least; her presence was irritating and distracting.
"I cull those who are a threat to the greater whole, yes. I do not apologize for it." The man across from her sighed.
"Lady Windrunner, I can't believe I have to say this, but...if you loved your people as you say you do, you wouldn't kill them. And you'd allow them to follow Calia if they so wished."
"Follow a woman who hides when she should fight? Who abandons her people in the greatest hour of need? Hmm. I would do anything for my people, little lion, except that. I will not see a Menethil hurt them ever again. Ever. It's a greater mercy for me to kill them before allowing them to be betrayed and disappointed by that family again."
Her words seemed to penetrate through his thick skull because the boy sat back, contemplating her for several long quiet moments. He really wasn't a boy anymore, Sylvanas noted absently. While nowhere near the bulk of his father, Wrynn's shoulders had grown broad, and the almost elfin charm to his features was settling into the stronger planes of a man fully grown. Golden hints of a beard sat on his jawline, a flattering glow of stubble on the otherwise smooth skin. He looked so much like Arthas it made her nauseous.
"You'll do anything to save your people except let Calia Menethil lead them. Which is why you're here today, isn't it? Because you believe me to be in possession of something that could save you from...a threat, something related to the way she was raised."
"We don't deserve damnation, Wrynn," she said quietly. "No one does."
"You truly believe the Forsaken to be damned?"
Her only answer was to cock her head to one side, her red eyes staring into him.
"You also believe the method of Calia Menethil's resurrection could save them from that fate, Warchief? I'm sorry to tell you that it's no guarantee. I'm not even certain the process could be replicated."
"I believe that is for me to decide, Wrynn."
"We've been at war for months now, Sylvanas. Why do you think I'd help you? For what you did at Teldrassil alone..."
"Because I believe that your armies are barely holding together and that despite it all, our motivations are not so very different."
"You're offering what, exactly? And for what? Speak clearly, or this meeting is done."
"Tell me how Calia Menethil was raised, little lion, and then provide me with the devices and spells used for me to study. In return, I offer a cease-fire of six months, during which time an accord may be negotiated."
Alleria drew in a quick breath, but both rulers were intent on the other. The king broke eye contact first, an almost imperceptible sigh escaping his lips. "The other rulers of the Alliance should be here for this."
"My offer isn't to them, and they have nothing which interests me. Their petty internal squabbles would only make this already unendurable conversation longer. Decide. Now."
There wasn't really a decision to be made, and they both knew it. Garona and her Shattered Hand forces had been supplying Sylvanas with a nearly unending parade of successful mission reports and their forays into enemy territory for intelligence all concluded that the Alliance was losing enough soldiers that the armies were starting to press farmers and tradesmen into service.
"I accept your terms, Sylvanas."
"Anduin, no!" The Void shifted under Alleria's skin. Sylvanas saw the play of shadows and wondered if all Windrunners were cursed to darkness.
"Alleria, this isn't your decision to make."
"You can't trust her, Anduin. She'll betray you. The cease-fire will never happen, there will be no peace accord!"
"Outside, Alleria. Now."
Smirking, Sylvanas watched as her sister stiffened, her back bow-string tight. "If she kills you, it's your own damn fault," she muttered, before getting up and stomping outside. She slammed the door behind her, the already weak hinges squealing in protest at the abuse.
"Just like when we were children," the Dark Lady murmured. "She never was one for being told what to do." Refocusing, she said to Wrynn, "Now tell me, little lion. What did you use to return Calia to her body? Did Greymane somehow keep a soul lantern? A val'kyr?"
He was quiet for so long that Sylvanas thought he was reconsidering their agreement. She was about to stand up and walk out when he said, "It was me. Myself, Faol, and the naaru Saa'ra. They assisted me but I directed the Light into her."
The Dark Lady could feel her body recoil, knew that her face likely reflected her internal terror, but was powerless to stop it. "You're just like him. You're just like him!"
Wrynn was standing and reaching for her. She drew back further, and he stopped his advance, one hand outstretched. "Who, Sylvanas?"
"You took her soul and twisted it--you took her and--" She stopped, took a deep breath, reining in the emotions that threatened to overtake her. "You took her soul and twisted it into something it wasn't, and forced it back into her body. When I do that I'm called an abomination and likened to the Lich King. What makes you different, hmm? What's the difference between you and the Lich King, Anduin Wrynn?"
Softly, he said, "Isn't it obvious, Sylvanas? I serve the Light."
She blinked, and then found herself laughing. It was a short burst of sound, over as quickly as it came upon her. She hadn't truly laughed in years, and now it was like glass being removed from broken skin. Then she said, "Well, Wrynn, this certainly isn't the outcome I was hoping for. I'd planned on a trinket, a spell, a convenient pet I could throw over my shoulder. You are none of those things."
"That's true. It might be a bit conspicuous if you shoved me in a sack and hauled me back to Orgrimmar like an overly enthusiastic adventurer." Smile sobering, he said, "What does this mean for your offer? I told you what you wanted in good faith."
"You say that I can't haul you back to Orgrimmar," Sylvanas said slowly, as a truly insane idea took hold. "But I have no intention of letting you escape from me, either. Not knowing now what you can do. I have a proposal." She internally snickered at her own words, even as another part of her screamed for her to shut up and demanded to know what on Azeroth she was thinking. "You will not like it. I do not like it. But it would be a way for us to ensure both our terms are met, at least in the short term, and afford us plenty of opportunities to negotiate for the future."
Standing once more, she extended her hand and tried to smile.
Chapter 2: Reasoning
Anduin vowed the Dark Lady would pay for her crimes. Why would he entertain her at all?
Mostly a flashback to show some of the background behind Anduin even agreeing to meet with Sylvanas at all. (Though not all, heh.) The troll warrior OC is based on my first toon. There's at least two vague song lyric and/or movie quotes, too. What's fanfic but self-indulgence anyways?
THREE DAYS EARLIER
Had he his choice, Anduin would have arrived to Silithus on gryphon back. The point of the excursion was to view the damage to Azeroth at the source. There was only so much information that could be conveyed with a status report, no matter how detailed. Anduin needed to feel for himself what was happening, as more than a ruler; as a priest.
He did have other responsibilities, though, including a full out war with the Horde. Genn had told him they would need to start conscripting farmers soon as they were running out of soldiers. Damn Sylvanas Windrunner! Hopefully, Saurfang would make his move soon and release the Horde from her hold. Anduin was under no illusions he was in a position to do so himself; he only hoped that the orc he’d set on her trail would take care of their mutual problem before realizing just how much the Alliance would benefit from a Horde civil war. His honor was as strong as Varian had said it was, and that had the potential to slice Anduin as much as Sylvanas. Still, it was a risk he felt necessary to take. Without risk, there would be no reward, not against an enemy like the Banshee Queen. Her relentless war machine necessitated the use of portals for nearly all of his travel now, so he could cut his time away from Stormwind and his war council as much as possible. Even something as important as protecting the future of Azeroth took a back burner in times like the ones they found themselves in.
He’d been told by the former King that he was welcome to visit the site at any time, and while Anduin was concerned about Azeroth’s condition, he also desperately needed some time away from war reports and casualty lists and writing out letters of condolence to families who would never see their loved ones again. A short note the day previously had confirmed the invitation still stood and arranged for Anduin’s visit.
The mage portal dropped him just outside of Magni’s encampment. Members of the Centurian Circle were gathered nearby, talking with muted sorrow. Things weren’t improving at the rate they needed to, then. Taking a deep breath, he began the trek towards Magni’s tent. Red dirt swirled and settled across the toes of his boots, mixing with the leftover morning dew from his morning stroll through Stormwind. Together, they looked like drying blood.
“Magni? Are you in here?”
There was no door so he didn’t knock. He pushed the flap open and stepped inside. The diamond form of the Speaker of Azeroth wasn’t waiting for him. Instead a troll woman sat cross legged atop a floor cushion in front of a low table full of parchment, ink, and scrolls. Her long blue hair was neatly braided away from her face; a high quality shield and sword were propped beside her, bearing the obvious insignia of the Horde. A steaming bowl of soup was cradled in her hands, raised halfway to her mouth. She lowered the bowl slowly. Small amber eyes flicked from his hair to his travel clothes before resting on the lion pin fastening his cloak closed.
“Hey there,” she said cautiously.
“Greetings,” Anduin returned. The troll set her bowl aside. Her relaxed posture belied the air of action about her person. The sense of resting potential hanging about her reminded Anduin strongly of his father; she was a warrior, he’d wager gold on it.
“I mean you no harm,” the king said, taking a step closer. “I’m looking for Magni.”
“Here lad!” Magni announced his arrival with a cheerful brogue. He pushed into the tent and nearly walked into Anduin’s back. The diamond dwarf was holding a tankard of ale in one hand and a loaf of bread in the other. “Ah, I see you’ve met my other guest! His Royal Highness Anduin Wrynn, meet Jurzabel, the Champion of Azeroth.”
“His Majesty and I be acquainted a long time ago, though I don’t know if he be rememberin’ that.”
It took Anduin many long moments, thrown as he was by both the unexpected person and the title Magni gave her. He looked at the woman again, really looked at her. The scar bisecting her lower lip was new, but Anduin thought he did vaguely recognize her. “Pandaria?” he asked.
“Yeah mon. You be smaller than now, but I suppose time fixes that sort o’ ting, hmm?”
“Jurzabel stopped by to let me know how the quests I’d sent her out on went. She travels the world, destroying those who would hurt Azeroth or take her power for their own.”
“In between fighting for the Horde,” Anduin couldn’t help noting.
“I am loyal to my people,” Jurzabel said. Magni walked towards her and handed both ale and bread over. She accepted both with a small nod and took a long draught of the beer, sighing in satisfaction when done. “Excellent as always, Speaker.”
“May be diamond now, but I still know a good ale,” Magni waved away the compliment. “Have a seat, Anduin, relax. Can I get ye some food? A drink?”
His nose twitched; whatever the soup was made of, it smelled good, but Anduin was nervous it was locally sourced and he wasn’t especially eager to eat wasp at the moment. “Maybe later. Thank you, Magni.”
Jurzabel grunted, obviously understanding his hesitation. “It’s only bear,” she said. “That I hunted on my way here.”
“In that case, yes please,” Anduin said sheepishly. With a good-hearted chuckle, Magni said he’d be right back, leaving the king and troll to stare at one another. Jurzabel ripped the loaf of bread she’d been given in half and handed it to Anduin. He took it was a nod and a small smile.
“You said you’re loyal to your people,” Anduin noted. “If you're the same warrior I remember from Pandaria, that’s certainly true. If you don’t mind my asking, how do you reconcile yourself to your Warchief’s lack of honor? Isn’t that what the Horde stands for?”
“Ooch, ya haven’t changed much in your questioning mind, that’s for sure,” Jurzabel said. “No small talk from his Majesty; direct and to the point. Though your words be a touch more bitter.”
“That’s not an answer to the question.”
Magni returned, handing Anduin a bowl of soup and a mug of ale. He went to the corner and began shuffling parchment around, though he was very obviously keeping an eye on both of them. After a moment both king and troll decided it was a permission enough to continue their conversation.
Jurzabel spoke first, and slowly. “Hmm. Well I tink it be curious how you and everyone else be tinking an undead high elf supposed to be havin’ the same idea of honor as an orc. She’s not one, why would she tink o’ honor the same as one? Or as a troll, or a tauren? The Alliance may like to stand as one, but the Horde’s strength is in our individuality. We are one but we’re not the same, hmm?”
“It sounds as though you’re defending your Warchief, which is admirable, but I wonder why. She killed scores of you at Lordaeron with her blight.”
Jurzabel set down the bowl again, and stared at the human king across from her. “And what,” she asked, “be givin’ ya any indication they didn’t be knowing she may do so? She’s the Banshee Queen after all. Not expecting her to use all of her talents is expecting her to cripple herself in battle, which she wouldn’t be doing.” The troll snorted. “I was in there, your Majesty. I was in the middle of the battle and fought on even after she be droppin’ the blight.”
There were many things Anduin wanted to say about calling the blight a ‘talent’, but for the moment he held his tongue. He wasn’t likely to find a member of the Horde willing to speak so candidly to him again, not while they were at war. He was going to take advantage of the situation. Anduin set his bowl of soup aside and leaned forward. “But how?”
“Gas masks,” she half-smiled. It was not a happy expression. “For many it be either die on the end of an Alliance sword and be ended, or die from the blight and be raised as undead. One way or de other, you be dead. But wit the blight, they be havin’ a chance of it not being the end, hmm? Plus she be addin’ to her ranks of Forsaken by raisin’ the Alliance dead.” Jurzabel shrugged. “I not be agreein’ completely wit it, but I see her logic. Not all o’ the Horde able to regenerate like the Darkspear.” The troll picked up her food again and resumed eating.
In the ensuing silence, Magni’s fingers clinking as he shuffled through papers seemed very loud. Anduin took up his own food again, mulling over the troll’s words. Magni picked up a lantern and moved it from one side of the table he stood at to the other. The moving light caught on an amulet hanging from Jurzabel’s neck, swirling blue-gold that seemed very familiar. “Is that Azerite?” he asked. “It doesn’t look like anything the Alliance has recovered so far, it’s moving. But it clearly resembles Azerite.”
Jurzabel shrunk back, the first defensive move Anduin had seen her take all evening. Magni shuffled over to her and placed one shining hand on her shoulder. “It’s okay, lass. We can trust Anduin with this,” he murmured. “He’s a priest, he’ll understand healing.”
The king blinked. “What?”
“If ya be tinkin’ so, Magni, I trust ya,” Jurzabel said. Straightening back up, she pulled the pendant out from under her shirt and held it up fully to the light. It was Azerite, that much was certain, but it wasn’t the liquid Azerite found in abundance in pools around Kul Tiras and Zandalar, and it wasn’t the solid Azerite being mined in places throughout the world. It appeared to be a mist, swirling and twirling about itself, blue and gold mixing in a hypnotizing fashion.
“Anduin, this is the Heart of Azeroth. We’re using it to try to heal Azeroth of her wounds.”
“That’s what I be doin’ here,” Jurzabel said. “I go about and stop others from abusing Azeroth’s power for their own gain, and I absorb it back into her heart, here. The more Azerite I recover, the stronger her heart becomes,” Jurzabel explained.
There was only one question Anduin could form in response to that. “Why you?”
“Azeroth chose her as her champion,” Magni said. “And gave Jurzabel her heart to try to save her.” He reached down to the low table between them and pulled one of the seemingly identical scrolls off of it and handed it to Anduin. “I’ve been conversing with Khadgar, trying to come up with a solution to save Azeroth, as you know. After she chose Jurzabel to be her Champion and gave her the heart, it gave him an area to focus on. He’s been drawing some similarities between events in our histories and what’s currently happening to her. Studying similar circumstances.”
“Magni, I can think of no circumstance that has ever occurred on Azeroth which resulted in a Titan’s sword being stuck in the middle of the earth.”
“But there be at least one in which a sword stole the souls of those it killed, eh?” Jurzabel said. “Which Sargeras’s sword was trying to do to Azeroth, and was only stopped by the Order Halls funneling the artifact power o’ their weapons into stopping it.”
Blinking, Anduin replied, “You’re referring to Frostmourne.”
Both Magni and Jurazbel nodded. “Got it in one,” the dwarf replied.
“And what conclusion has Khadgar come to? With this…parallel, he’s drawn?”
“Nothing concrete yet, lad.” Magni sighed. “Which is why I’d not written you straight off to talk about it. We’re still working on it. But I figured if you were here and asking questions, it could give you something to think about, when you’re not busy with your war.”
Magni spoke of the struggle between the Horde and Alliance as though it was an annoyance, which Anduin supposed from his perspective it must be.
“I be sayin’ to Magni that the solution be obvious,” Jurzabel said.
If he could, Anduin swears his old mentor would be rolling his eyes. “And I’m not saying I disagree with you, Jurzabel, just that an abstract idea is hard to apply towards a practical solution!”
“I’d be interested to hear it, warrior,” Anduin said. “Especially if it’s as you say, obvious.”
“She be grievous wounded, hurt down to her very soul.” Jurzabel paused. “There be only one ting I know that heals that kind of pain.” She smiled around her small tusks, the scar on her lip pulling tight. “Love.”
“Well, what say you, Wrynn?” Sylvanas stepped forward, chin tilted in challenge. “Become my betrothed, allow me unrestricted access to your…person, and I will arrange for a cease-fire while we negotiate Azeroth’s future.”
Drawing a deep breath, Anduin stared into her red gleaming eyes searchingly. “What guarantee do I have that you’ll keep your word? That you’ll stay your hand and not attack the Alliance? Why not simply kidnap me and have done with it?”
The Banshee Queen seemed taken aback, almost as though she’d expected him to refuse outright. Collecting herself, she said, “You don’t have a guarantee. My honor has been called into question more than once. Many would say trusting me is idiotic and ill-advised.” She unclasped a necklace from around her neck and stepped even closer, so they were nearly nose to nose. As she lowered the necklace into Anduin’s hand, Sylvanas said, “As to your other question…I believe in giving others the choice that I never had.”
Looking down, the pendant she had given him seemed simple. It was a large, oval blue stone, set in silver. Flipping it over, however, revealed an inscription. It read, To Sylvanas. Love Always, Alleria. He looked back up at her unblinking gaze. Swallowing around a suddenly dry mouth, Anduin unclasped the necklace and put it on. With shaking hands, he removed the glove from his left hand. Twisting off the lion’s head ring that rested on his pinky, he extended it to the banshee in front of him.
“Your answer, Sylvanas, is yes.”
Chapter 3: Ultraviolet
Back to Sylvanas. A date is set. Sorta.
I'm not happy with this chapter; it's introspection filled and talky again. I'm eager to have things actually start to happen -- which they do, NEXT chapter. >.>
"We are agreed, then?" She removed the glove from her right hand and slipped the ring on her center finger. A flash of warmth and it had resized itself to fit her. It was still gauche and ridiculous, but at least there would be no worry over losing the symbol of Wrynn's word.
"We are, Warchief."
Sometimes, like in that moment, Sylvanas wondered just how much damage occurred to her mind during her first death and subsequent resurrection. The longer she existed in undeath, the more frequent outbursts of impulsivity became. Usually, they were minor; deciding to indulge in a second bottle of wine, for example, or commissioning a new set of armor despite her current pieces still being perfectly serviceable.
As the incidents increased, however, she'd sought out one of her abominationists and had a rather fascinating discussion with him about brain rot and how many parts a Forsaken could replace and still maintain the same fundamental personality. She had wondered if the disparate pieces of flesh would harbor different memories and ultimately change them. One of her best soldiers who'd had a torso replaced after an unfortunate incident with friendly fire from goblins began to constantly crave brie, for example. An apothecary who'd received a new hand from a smithy reported that they found themselves reaching for a hammer at times, hungering for the weight of steel bending steel. Her main concern was her own increasingly compromised capacity, but she crouched that in worries that it would compromise her best people. She'd asked if they needed to be more selective in whose parts were going to whom, and of changes in mood and behavior from inhabiting different bodies. He'd suggested that Forsaken that had multiple replacement parts tended to suffer from brain rot at a faster rate, and his tentative suggestion had been those different aspects of personality struggled against one another and caused the backslide into insanity.
Her own body felt similar to a comfortable and familiar vehicle. An extension of her will, but not bound. Others raised by Arthas had confided similar feelings, mostly Death Knights. The higher their ranking in the Lich King's service, the more disconnected they felt from their corporeal forms.
"You are mine," Arthas said to her often. "Mine to command, mine to use as I see fit." He'd made her spirit watch as he destroyed Quel'thalas, her home and safety, and her body he'd kept locked away for himself. Her body --
Her body was a vehicle, nothing more. She was lucky in that she'd never needed to replace any major parts, but she still worried about the possibility. As she would worry about getting an incompatible part for a motorbike. It was best to be prepared, after all. Sometimes, though, she wondered if she was suffering from brain rot, and feared how much of herself she'd lose if she was forced to swap bodies or parts.
Teldrassil was the first major public break in surety she'd had. All those weeks of planning, gone in an instance. She'd been forced to recalculate rapidly due to Saurfang's cowardly failure. With Malfurion and Tyrande both still alive, she knew the Horde's chances of holding the city were slim. Their combined will along with that of their people's would free them, and the Horde would suffer massive casualties trying to hold onto the land. Showing such weakness in front of the enemy was unacceptable. How ridiculous, how absurd would the Horde appear, to conquer an entire city and then not be able to hold it long enough to enjoy the spoils. The entire point of capture was to cut off Alliance routes through Kalimdor. When (and with Malfurion and Tyrande both alive, it was surely a when and not if) they reclaimed their precious tree, the Alliance would still have their route into Kalimdor, and the Horde would be so weakened their failure that it would be relatively easy for the Alliance to trample them. They couldn't hold the city, but it would damn them all to let the Alliance to regain control. Really, she should thank that night elf for the spark of inspiration she'd given her, to raze the entire city to the ground, but found that she was more shaken by the impulsivity of the decision than grateful for the outcome.
Would she do it again, with time to think on the situation? Certainly. That didn't mean it wasn't rash or impulsive. Just as her actions now with Wrynn were. What possessed her to propose to the boy? Why on Azeroth couldn't she just bonk him on the head and kidnap him like a rational being? She doubted Alleria would notice they were gone in time to intervene.
She hadn't realized she'd spoken the last bit aloud until Anduin stood, head tilted to the side, staring at her. The blue of his eyes matched the pendant now hanging around his neck. "Having second thoughts already, Dark Lady?"
"No," Sylvanas asserted. "Merely thinking out loud."
"Yes, I heard. About questioning why you're not just kidnapping me. I'll admit, I'm not in favor of that plan. I'm not thrilled with this one either, but I am willing to concede to your whims in the name of my people."
"Your self-effacing drivel is neither asked for nor wanted," Sylvanas snapped. "I will say though, at least with you as a husband, I'll never have any cause to worry about you betraying me."
Golden eyebrows raised high. "You have that much faith in my word of honor? You surprise me."
"Hardly," she snorted. "We're enemies, Wrynn. I hate you and you hate me. But as much as it pains me to admit it, we're presently useful to one another. I don't have to worry about your betrayal because I will never have cause to trust you. I know as soon as you feel you're able you'll rid yourself of me."
"Is that what you plan to do? Rid yourself of me as soon as I'm no longer useful?"
She tapped the side of her nose once, pointed at him, and smirked. "I'm so glad we understand one another."
The door creaked open and Alleria stepped back inside. Perhaps the lack of yelling concerned her; Sylvanas didn't really care. Wrynn didn't appear to notice her re-entry either. He fixed his damnable blue eyes onto Sylvanas and said, "You'd take an enemy to your bed?"
Alleria coughed, likely surprised at the boy's bluntness. Her sister always had been a bit delicate about discussing such matters. Sylvanas knew enough of men to not be surprised that sex was at the forefront of his mind, especially with the nature of their current negotiation. She appreciated that he seemed to be avoiding playing games. "Better an enemy than a fairweather friend," Sylvanas shrugged. "We know where the other stands."
She'd respected the boy's father, Varian, as only mutual enemies can. Even though he'd been bigoted and brash, he'd struggled with a duality that reminded her much of herself. Even as this situation spiraled out in front of her and Sylvanas mentally scrabbled to regain control, she found herself hoping that his death brought the human some peace. If not, she had a feeling he would come back and haunt her for what she was thinking of his son. Anduin had been his anchor, his tether to sanity. She was sure Varian would resent her using him as her sudden inspiration to use the boy in the same way. If he could be a bulwark, if he could help her people and Sylvanas herself hold back the inevitable dark for even a handful of years longer, she'd do what she had to in order to facilitate that happening. Even if it meant marrying the fool.
What on Azeroth possessed him to say yes?
"Shall we meet in Dalaran? In say, three days time?"
Sylvanas laughed. "No."
"No? What do you suggest, then?" Alleria fairly sneered. "Don't think I didn't hear your threat to his Highness earlier. I will not allow you to cart him away to places unknown."
Ignoring her sister, Sylvanas said, "We will both travel to Dalaran. Together. Right now."
"And what then?" Wrynn said, sounding every bit the insolent child. "We both have kingdoms to run and people to answer to, Sylvanas. There are treaties to sign, arrangements to be made. We need time to prepare."
"You are mine!"
"If I am yours, then you are mine as well!" The little lion snarled. "Neither of us is an object or subject to be ordered about. In this bargain you've suggested, Lady Windrunner, we are equal. You don't get to make all the demands here!"
"Yet I have no intention of letting you out of my sight, Wrynn. Not now that I know what you can do."
Throwing up his hands in disgust, the High King said, "What are you going to do, hmm? Port us over, drag an archmage out of the Violet Citadel, and demand they marry us on the front steps?"
"That," Sylvanas said, a purely feline grin curling up the corners of her mouth, "is an excellent idea."