A Broken Song in Three Voices, Chapter 1

Caren had not needed to be told that the Legion had finally arrived in force on Azeroth.

She had been in Thunder Bluff, taking a moment to relax on the heights of her people away from the continued efforts in Draenor, when she had felt the whole world shift . There had been what she could only describe later as a silent scream that rattled her to her core before she’d tasted fel on the back of her tongue. As if she’d been abruptly dropped from the tall bluffs of Mulgore to the corrupted forests of Felwood and even her own wings combined with the swiftest wind didn’t enable her to fly that fast.

Though it set her heart to racing and fingers twitching with the urge to purge the dark energy from the world she loved, Caren remained in the city until the zeppelin arrived with the messenger carrying the Warchief’s orders. She had then gathered with all of the others on the heights, packed in tightly shoulder-to-shoulder on the top tier of Thunder Bluff to listen to their Chieftain read it aloud to the people.

When he asked for the able-bodied and for those willing to put a sword to the Legion, she had very nearly taken flight just to bypass the press of bodies. Instead she had waited, ever patient, and moved forward when she was able to stand with those who she knew had seen as many years or more as she had and those who were barely old enough to have passed their Rites. It made her heart ache but they had as much right as she to defend Mulgore and the Horde and Azeroth herself.

In the whirlwind hours that followed, Caren winged to Bloodhoof Village for one moment to speak to her father’s second mate, mother of her sister. They had never gotten along since she had left Mulgore but Nomri deserved to know the eldest of her once mate might die facing the Legion. She too would tell Alisa, who Caren hoped was far far away from anywhere that might receive the Warchief’s missives.

Terrible as it made her feel since other siblings were likely going to war, she did not think her heart could bear another loss of someone she loved.

After speaking to Nomri, she walked to the edge of the village, sinking to one knee at the edge of the lake facing the direction of Stonetalon. Caren knew the exact location of her father’s grave there in the mountains, buried in the old lands of the Winterhoof who had taken in the Bloodwolfs when they had needed it most years before. There was no time to fly there now as the first zeppelins were scheduled to leave Thunder Bluff at sunset but she could face him as she said what might be her last goodbyes to Mulgore.

It was not her home – that had been taken long ago with him – but it was the place her people had found. Thus it deserved a farewell and so would be the site of her last prayers.

Caren gently touched the fingers of one hand against the grass and bowed her head in the direction of her father’s grave.

“Earth Mother,” she began in a low voice. “guide my steps as I journey to defend you and your children. Guide the steps of those who go with me. Guide those who remain behind that they may continue if we fall.”

Lifting her other hand towards the sky where she could feel the last heat of the setting sun against her fur, she continued, “May you have An’she keep hope for victory alive in our hearts and Mu’sha cover our steps that the Legion may not find us until we strike. Grant us strength, Earth Mother, to defend all that is and was and ever shall be. Grant us courage to push back this threat.”

Lowering both hands to the earth then and pressing her palms flat against it, feeling the pulse and flow of nature all around her, Caren finished, “And if we fall in your defense, Earth Mother, bring us peace in knowing that we stood when it mattered most.”

She pushed her magic faintly down into the earth then, seeking the closest seeds to leave a last thing behind and found something that made her smile. “Ah,” mused Caren with a low hum before she pulled the closest little growth to her, curling the fingers of one hand around the little seedling as it sprouted. She urged its growth onward with gentle words in Taur-ahe until it grew into the familiar white flower that was so populous in parts of Kalimdor.

Grow ,” breathed Caren then and cast her magic wide, as far as she could. She felt the rest of the seeds break the earth as she rose to her feet then she was in the air, her wings flapping to gain the height she needed to make it back up the bluffs. Holding the spell until she finally caught an upward wind, she released it alongside a scream from her hawk throat as she spiraled up into the slowly darkening sky.

Below her, a field of peacebloom stretched along the shore of the lake, a last gesture of her hope for peace as she went to war.

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