A New Home?
The next morning a letter from Alonsus Faol informed me that I was to report to the Southshore Cathedral and continue my studies there, so within a week's time we had settled at our new home in the very rural town of the Southern part of my kingdom. We spent a year of blissful happiness, which was only enhanced by the birth of our daughter Taelia. Life couldn't get more perfect.
However, all the bliss was tainted by the disappearance of my brother, he never returned from Northrend, and all the expeditions there found no trace of him and his troops. My letters to my father were never returned and the only contact I had with the Capital was through Alonsus Faol who informed me that my father was in the throes of deep depression over the disappearance of Arthas and my unsanctioned marriage. He didn't want to speak to me at present. And then news stopped coming from the Capital. Weeks passed, and rumors began to spread.
"The Prince has returned!"
"The Prince slew Malganis."
"The Prince slew his father and destroyed the capital and everything in his path towards the North…"
'No, it can't be! Arthas would never!', But we received confirmation by the Arie Peak Dwarven gryphon riders. Half of the Kingdom lay in ruins and the undead roamed free in those lands.
It only became worse. Jaina was finally ready for her big journey to the West. She had just returned from Dalaran where she reconciled with Kael and brought him news from Quel'thalas where she had journeyed to recruit more people, get more supplies, and visit Thalia, who gave birth to her daughters, Jenny and Nova and was fairing very well at the Temple of Light on Sunstrider island where she was training novice Priests and Priestesses. Jaina begged her love to come with her to the west, but Kael was adamant that he could not abandon his Kingdom and his position in Dalaran. So, after a last passionate night together, he bade her farewell.
Just as she was telling us the news, the bells rang, and everyone ran to the town square. There, the mayor informed us that Northern Lordaeron and Quel'thalas was destroyed by my brother, and Kings Terenas and Anasterian were dead at the hands of the mad prince. We were devastated. In a matter of minutes, I had lost my father and brother, who I haven't seen in two years. And not only that, but my brother was responsible for destroying two kingdoms.
"Oh, poor Kael! He lost his father and his kingdom too and Arthas is responsible. We need to go to him and see what we can do now. Do we strike back? Do we go after Arthas? Do we convince him to travel with you to the west?"
"Yes, I'll create a portal.", Jaina whispered, tears streaming down her cheeks.
"My love, do you mind staying with Taelia for a bit until we return from Dalaran?", I hugged Bolvar.
"Not at all, my beloved. Please hurry up, I don't think that Arthas will stop there.", he gave me a searing kiss and that was the last time I saw him.
Kael'thas was not happy to see us at all. He was furious. I've never seen him like. His rage was fueled by the fact that my brother and Jaina's former lover killed his father and destroyed his kingdom. He blamed us, called us terrible names, and ordered us out of his house before he teleported to Quel'thalas. We run out in tears, just as the bells rang. Dalaran was under attack. Arthas was here, leading his undead army. Jaina confirmed that after she run down from the Hall of the Guardian.
"We need to leave now, the Magi cannot hold Dalaran much longer, Arthas will destroy us all. Come, we need to find Bolvar and Taelia and board my ships, you are all coming with me, I won't take no for an answer.", we stepped through the portal only to find chaos. The Scourge was attacking my town, everything was on fire, and the undead was roaming the streets attacking the living. Only the Harbor was untouched because everyone was defending the ships that were boarding the terrified residents of the once peaceful seaside town.
"BOLVAR! TAELIA!", I screamed as I run towards our house.
"Forgive me, my lady, but they're gone. They were in the upper part of the town, close to your house. We got separated by the Scourge, they attacked that part hard, the residents set it on fire and blew the gunpowder warehouse there to stop them. No one survived.", a footman blocked my way.
"Calia, come. We must leave, there is nothing left for you here.", Jaina urged me but a falling burning branch for a nearby tree knocked her unconscious.
"Take her, go. Tell the ships to sail, that's an order I told the footman and run towards my home. I run into the burning house and got my bow and quiver. I then kicked the stable open and released my pets. We searched everywhere, but all we found was scorched bodies, shredded to pieces by the undead. Men, women, children, babies. I couldn't tell if any of them belonged to my husband or children. I had to accept the unthinkable. They were dead.
In a fit of rage, I charged towards any undead I came across and destroyed them. I lost count of how many I killed that day. By the time I reached the coast again, there were none left in my path. The Harbor was now devoid of ships, they all have left, hopefully to a safer place. Finally, self-preservation kicked in and I decided to look for a way to escape this Scourge-ridden wasteland. All I found was a small sailboat, fit to travel in short distances. The only logical destination for me now was Gilneas, any place further than that was suicide. I scavenged the local goods store for food, water and clothes and sailed off with my pets before the undead returned. I week later my boat sailed into the Gilnean Harbor, and an hour later I was bowing before King Genn and Queen Mia Greymane requesting asylum. They both welcomed me with open arms.
I was soon introduced to Tess and Liam Greymane and we became inseparable. A terrible accident had depleted the Clergy recently, so I was tasked with the position of the late archbishop of Gilneas. Occasionally I scoured Lordaeron for survivors. Tess was very young to come with us. The expeditions were not always successful, but quite a lot of my subjects were rescued and sent to Gilneas, Stormwind and Gilneas. The horrors I witnessed were unimaginable, I cursed my brother every time I ventured into the Plaguelands and I stopped counting the times I spent hiding in ditches hiding from the Scourge.
The survivors I rescued told me rumors about a different kind of undead who were now occupying the former Capital and the surrounding area. Not mindless undead, but former Humans led by a Banshee occupying the body of the former Ranger General of Silvermoon. Sylvanas Windrunner. I had to meet her. I was slaying Scourge at Andorhal with my trusted pets when I decided to determine whether the rumors were true. I instructed the survivors about the path they should follow to get to Hearthglen safely and I bade them farewell. They didn't know who I was. I never revealed to any of the survivors my true identity, lest they lynched me for my brother's crimes. My body was covered with black mithril mail, my heavy black leather cloak covered my head, and a red bandana concealed my mouth and nose. It was better that way. I rode towards Tirisfal Glades and was stopped at the Bulwark by Undead guards. All former Lordaeron citizens.
"Who are you, Human, that you so boldly walk towards our lady's realm?", an undead warrior pointed his sword at me.
"I am Calia Menethil and I request an audience with Lady Sylvanas Windrunner.", the large man's only eye became large.
"Princess? Your highness, welcome back to your kingdom, I will escort you to the Dark Lady myself.", he bowed and gestured to me to follow him. On our way there, he filled me in on what happened from the moment Arthas set foot on the Capital, to when Sylvanas retook it from the demons. I wept at the tragedy that befell the Ranger General and I was looking forward to seeing her again and offering my assistance. Alas, it was a disaster.
"So, the butcher's sister has survived to add in my suffering! What are you doing here, Princess? Are you going to reclaim Lordaeron? You fancy yourself as the rightful heir to the throne? Where were you when your brother killed your father? Where were you when he laid waste on Lordaeron? Where were you when he invaded my home? Where were you when he plunged that accursed sword in my stomach and denied me the peace of death? Where were you when he turned me into a Banshee and forced me to kill my own people? Where were you when he destroyed the Sunwell, when I finally broke free of his hold and in turn liberated your former subjects? You were hiding in your ivory tower, turning your face away from your people's suffering and now that it's relative safer, you decide to come and claim the throne? NEVER!", she screeched and ordered her guards to throw m in a cage before I could utter a single word.
Thankfully, I didn't stay in that cage for very long. Alonsus Faol appeared days later with my bow and quiver, pets, and a Paladin. They released me from my prison. The Paladin escorted me back to the secret entrance to Gilneas while Faol remained behind.
"For the time being, Princess. I have business to attend here. I will call you when I'm done. Here, takes talisman. It will help us contact each other and will bring you to me when the time comes. Godspeed, your Highness!", he bowed and helped me up the horse.
I was gone for weeks this time around, they were all worried sick, but were extremely relieved when I appeared at the court. They were all very disturbed to hear the news about Sylvanas Windrunner and her undead kingdom north of their realm, so much so, that Arugal, a sorcerer stood up and exclaimed that he knew how to protect us all and left running without telling his King his plan. Years later, we found out for ourselves, when the Worgen he created to battle the undead could not sate their lust for blood by ripping the undead to shreds and turned against Gilneas.
Over the years I became very close to Liam, who appeared to be infatuated with me, though I was older than him. Though it was time for him to begin courting a girl of noble descent, he preferred spending most of his time with me. He was twenty-one years old; his parents were begging him to choose a mate, but he would always reassure them that he would start soon. He never did.
It had been ten years since I lost Bolvar and Taelia. Ten years since my heart was ripped out of my chest. Gilneas lived in extreme isolation, we had absolutely no contact with the outside world, the realm was rich in minerals, crops, and wood, and the sea provided us with all the fish we needed. The Kingdom was self-sustained, and the people were happy. Only a few left and never returned, so I had no idea that my family survived. And due to the inherently secretive nature of the Gilneas, Bolvar didn't know that I survived either.
The anniversary of the fall of Southshore was a very somber occasion for Gilneas. After a ceremony at the Cathedral to commemorate the fallen, the royal family invited me to an early dinner. We ate in silence, mostly. They understood. Soon, the Royal couple took the thirteen-year-old Tess for a ride and that left Liam trying to raise my spirits by offering me more wine. Bad idea. Soon, I was sprawled in his bed and he was bringing me to new heights of ecstasy in his eagerness to prove himself worthy of my affections. I knew his parents would not approve. I may have been the heir apparent of Lordaeron by that point, but there was no Lordaeron left to rule. I had no fortune anymore, only my Archbishop's salary. And I was past the age of thirty. Besides, there was no death certificate for Bolvar. By Gilnean law, a person can only be declared dead if a body is presented, or if there was a witness present upon death. There wasn't and therefore, I was still married.
Liam's parents and I tried to explain that to Liam, but he did not relent. He wanted to marry me and only me. His resolve was strengthened by the fact that I became pregnant with twins, and he petitioned to his parents that since he will be producing two offspring soon, the dynasty and bloodline was safe.
"No, Liam. Calia is still married and will remain married until there is proof of her husband's death. And no, I will not change the law, even I, don't have that power. You will choose a suitable candidate and will have a rightful heir. And so, will Tess when the time comes. This is the end of this conversation, if you continue with this charade, I will be forced to exile Calia and send her to Stormwind to her cousin.
"Fine, I will not marry Calia, but don't expect me to marry any time soon, father.", He stormed off into the night and never broached the subject again. He soon started flirting with other girls. But he could still not make up his mind.
Liam never got to choose a mate because the Worgen curse fell upon the realm. No one was safe, we did our best to stay ahead of the nightmare, but to no avail. Two-thirds of the population was now afflicted by this new plague. Including some of their bravest and most talented. Including Gilneas bravest champion beside Liam. Calista Shadowmane, a Rogue who spearheaded the defense against the Worgen in her district and defended it until Liam and his forces arrived. Liam was very impressed by her bravery and relied heavily on her resourcefulness to destroy the Worgen. He was quite impressed by her beauty too, she was a classical Gilnean beauty with alabaster skin, emerald green eyes, and fiery red hair. They both looked very similar, and that amused me a lot. I encouraged him to spend more time with her, as I was busy healing the injured and trying to keep my unborn children safe. He was devastated when she succumbed to the curse.
There was no sign that she was ill. One minute she was defending my cathedral from the Worgen and the next she was ripping her comrades to shreds. Liam had a difficult choice to make. Save me and our children or fight Callista and die. He chose the latter. While she was busy devouring a warrior, he led me and the survivors out of the city and to the Greymane Manor. Upon arrival, I run to help the injured. But a sharp pain stopped me at my tracks. It was time, the twins were coming. Six hours later, Genn and Mia were cooing at their first grandchildren, Terenas and Liane, while I was comforting Liam over the loss of Callista, despite the painful ordeal I had just been through. Twice. Liam was inconsolable, even the birth of his children could not bring him out of his depression. He started drinking heavily whenever he was not fighting the Worgen.
Months have passed. And hope came in the form of a temporary treatment developed by Krennan Aranas, the Royal Chemist. Those afflicted by the Worgen curse were now able to control it temporarily as long as Krennan had the materials for the potion, albeit they maintained their Worgen form. Nothing could change that. At least that was what we thought.
Unbeknownst to Liam, a patrol team managed to trap the pack Callista was running with and she was the first to be treated. I was overjoyed when she rasped her name to me, and I instructed her to go find Liam at Duskhaven and show him that she was still alive and well. And most importantly, herself. At least internally. Externally she was still a terrifying-looking Worgen, though she pulled it well. Her fur was pure white, streaked with red spots and her eyes retained their bright green color. I didn't know how Liam would handle her return, but I hoped it would bring him out of his drunken stupor. And it did. He became the responsible and wise commander again who led his people to victory against the feral Worgen.
Our joy didn't last long. The Forsaken as Sylvanas' undead were called now, seized the opportunity in the chaos that the Worgen had unleashed and invaded Gilneas. No rest for the wicked! Liam, Callista, and Lorna Crowley along with Tobias Mistmantle led the defense against Sylvanas' forces who claimed that it was the Worgen that Arugal, a citizen of Gilneas, unleashed on her people that forced her to invade their land.
As if the Worgen and the Forsaken invasion was not enough, the ground shook and a massive explosion ravaged the land as the Gilnean ground collapsed, allowing the sea to cover most of the realm. We were forced to move again, this time to Stormglen. Liam's choice was very fortunate because at the outskirts of the mysteriously abandoned town, deep in the forest, in the marsh of Blackwald, my patrol discovered a Night Elf, Belysra Starbreeze. I was astonished, I was face to face with a Kal'dorei, I've never met one before, I knew they lived on the ancient land of Kalimdor, but I never imagined that I would meet one. She was there with Darius Crowley, who miraculously survived the Worgen onslaught by becoming a Worgen himself. Belysra informed us that there was a way to help the Worgen with an ancient artifact, the Scythe of Elune by performing an ancient ritual, using the waters within the tree Tal'doren. After hours of fighting with the Forsaken to take back the Scythe, the Kaldorei performed the ritual and the curse became a blessing, giving the Worgen permanent control, and allowing them to transform to their Human form whenever they wished it.
It was a big relief for Liam because Callista can become Human again, and that brought her great happiness. It also gave them the chance to resume their courting. His joy turned into shock when he discovered that his own father had become a Worgen too. But he accepted that, as much as he accepted Callista.
Despite the advantage of the initial surprise, Sylvanas had great difficulty maintaining her position. Soon she found herself cornered as we retook the city. As an act of spite, she aimed her arrow at Genn. I had little time to react, I pulled out my bow and took a shot the same time she shot Genn. Before Sylvanas' poisoned arrow killed Liam, who stupidly jumped in front of his father, my arrow hit her's and cut it in half, throwing it several meters away from the intended target. Sylvanas snapped her head towards my direction.
"Calia Menethil, so this is where you've been hiding all these years. No matter, soon you will all die after I release the plague upon you!", she smirked and rode away.
After managing to stave off the initial plague attack, Genn became convinced that we would not be able to survive another wave and gave his consent for the Kaldorei to begin boarding Gilneans on their ships. I boarded a ship with Genn, Mia, and Tess, holding my babies on each hand and took a final look at the realm that was my home for twelve years. I signed and went to my cabin to feed the babies. Liam and Callista boarded the last ship and held the rear as we headed towards Teldrassil. Alas, the Greymane's tragedy was not over yet. As we approached the Maelstrom, a sudden storm separated Liam's ship from the rest of the fleet. I never saw him and Callista again, until years later.
Days later, as we approached Kalimdor, I was busy comforting Tess, when the talisman Alonsus gave me begun to hum. I excused myself to Tess who started playing with the babies, and I answered the call.
"Princess, it's great to see you again. There is no time to waste, I need to bring you here now. Hold on.", he shouted, startling Tess and the babies.
"No, wait. I can't go anywhere, I have babies to tend to", I yelled. To no avail. A tug in my stomach confirmed my greatest fear, I was being teleported away. I materialized in a vast chamber that resembled a lot a Cathedral. Alonsus was standing in the middle, surrounded by other Humans, Dwarves, Elves, and other species that I didn't recognize.
"Welcome to the Netherlight Temple, Princess. We have a lot of work to do.", Faol smiled, a disturbing sight for an undead person.
"Alonsus Faol, I don't care what this place is, and what you are doing here. All I want is for you to return me to my children, right this instance. They are just babies.
"Are they completely alone right now?"
"No, they're with their aunt, their grandparents are in the next cabin.
"Who are their grandparents?"
"King and Queen Greymane, Gilneas fell to the Forsaken and the Kaldorei are taking all the survivors to Teldrassil."
"Then, they are well-taken care of."
"No, they are not. I'm their mother, I need to be with them, I will not allow any more of my children to be raised without me."
"I'm afraid that you will have to do just that, Princess. The thousand-year War will soon be coming to a close and the Legion will invade Azeroth again in full force."
"Yes. We only have a few years to prepare. We need you; I need you; we can't do this alone. You need to remain here and fight for the future of your children."
"Then I suppose I have to stay too.", I signed and followed him to the command center.