Monday, July 26, 2010

Regent

Just recently came back from a week-long vacation on the East Coast, visiting my beloved master warlock (aka my boyfriend). 3 hours of flying separate us, so we don’t see each other much in person anymore. So I am very happy I went. ^^

However! I haven’t posted anything in a while, so I need to rectify that somehow.

Been recently RPing an intriguing political drama involving Cerylia (my blood elf hunter main) and the various influential leaders of the sin'dorei. Our latest RP sparked this one-shot story, and I thought to share it with all of you.

This one is an exploration of the racial leader of the blood elves, Lor'themar Theron, and how he fits into my little sub-universe of WoW. As with all other canon characters, I tend to change his story a bit to suit my purposes, though he's really not much of a defined character right now anyway. He needs some love, methinks. :3

Do enjoy~

------------

Once, Lor’themar Theron had been a ranger. A proud Farstrider, defending Quel’thalas alongside the Ranger-General Sylvanas Windrunner herself. Even now, if he closed his eyes and imagined really hard, he could pretend the bow was at his command once more. That he could make the arrow sing again, and that he could go back to being a military leader once again.

But times had changed, and so had he. The Scourge invasion had seen to that. Lor’themar looked around at the dimming throne room once again and realized he couldn’t pretend away reality, much as he wanted to. The sun set over the blood elves yet again, and with it another emotionally draining day. He tried his best to sink into routine, but inevitably with the end of the day came the regrets. The pain of realizing wishes weren’t going to come true.

He wasn’t a ranger anymore. A painful, devastating injury—a dreadful slash across his left eye—had left him blind in that eye, and destroyed any hope of him ever being a skilled archer again. Sylvanas was no longer Ranger-General; her death had given her a new identity has the Banshee Queen of the Forsaken undead, and Lor’themar no longer knew her as the person she once was. And no longer was Lor’themar simply a military commander. In fact, the former prince of the elves, Kael’thas Sunstrider, had granted him the mantle of Regent-Lord, bidding him to watch over their people until the day he would return as their king.

Years had passed, though… and Kael’thas was never coming back. Lor’themar was now the sole leader of the blood elves.

Other men may have reveled in this fact, delighted that they were in the position of leading their people forward to a brighter future. But the responsibility lay heavy on Lor’themar’s shoulders, and he didn’t know what to do. Politics were never his realm, but now they were his daily arena. He woke dreading the talks, the discussions, the never-ending arguments about where to go and what to do. He agonized over every decision he made, hoping he had made the right one. And when he went to bed at night, he bit his lip, hid in his pillow, and sometimes wished he didn’t have to wake to more of the same.

With a deep sigh, Lor’themar tried to forget such worries. He couldn’t be a coward, not when his people counted on him, but it was hard to not be depressed. Especially when trapped in a role he never asked for, and never felt he deserved. But out of respect for Kael’thas (or at least the memory of the man Kael’thas had once been, and not who he had died as), and for the sake of holding the many different factions and schools of thought in Silvermoon together… Lor’themar maintained the position of Regent-Lord.

He decided to walk, to try and clear his head. He exited Sunfury Spire swiftly, to the salutes of the royal guards, and strolled through the quiet streets of Silvermoon. It was hardly well-populated anymore, but there came with that a kind of tranquility that Lor’themar had come to appreciate. He could at least pretend, under the stars and the gentle moonlight, that he was the young ranger he had been years ago, returning home after a busy day of training.

Speaking of which…

As Lor’themar passed through the Farstrider training grounds, with the many targets and practice dummies set up… something stirred in him and made him pause, his gaze lingering over the arrows and bows left behind. He suddenly remembered how he missed archery, a talent that all elves admired. It was an ancient skill to their people, long practiced by even their kaldorei ancestors. It was this desire that slowly tugged at him to enter the empty area, and pick up a training bow from the ground.

His good eye scanned the bow critically, noting how the wood was well-worn and the bowstring starting to fray from heavy use. Such a poor quality bow it was now. But, Lor’themar wasn’t in the position to be picky. And he was just going to borrow it, after all… Selecting an arrow from a small stack nearby, he straightened up and set his sight on a target. Though it had been many years since he dared to pick up the bow and arrow, his hands moved automatically to string and aim, as if he had never stopped.

Lor’themar aimed towards the bull’s-eye, momentarily confident that perhaps his fears were unfounded, and that he could still shoot as he once did. Drawing the arrow taut, he held his breath… and fired.

The whistle of the arrow through the air made his heart skip a beat, and his mind’s eye went quickly to a place in his past… a time when he was still young and under Lady Sylvanas’ training. In this memory, Lor’themar’s arrow had found the target perfectly, and Sylvanas had given him a rare smile, congratulating him. His gaze turned to the sidelines, not to observe his fellow rangers and their applause, but to see those he considered his closest of friends. To one side sat Halduron Brightwing, another ranger in training. The blonde elf was quiet and generally withdrawn, but even he had been impressed enough to clap for Lor’themar’s feat as well. Being close in age, the two had become natural friends and comrades-in-arms.

A few feet away sat two red-headed elves of different ages; the male was several years older than Lor’themar, while the female was several years younger. He smiled to see them cheering too, and his heart swelled with affection for them.

The older of the two was his best friend, Llylithen Dawnwing. The two had been friends since they were children, always getting into mischief and playing in Eversong Woods. While they saw somewhat less of each other nowadays—Llylithen was more of a warrior than a ranger—the two still remained close. The youngest of the pair was Llylithen’s sister, Cerylia Dawnwing. As always, Lor’themar felt a warmth fill him as her gaze met his, and a smile crossed her lips.

To think he had impressed her then…

But reality sank in, and the “thunk” of the arrow hitting the target quickly startled him from his thoughts. His gaze cleared, and quickly searched for his arrow… and a disappointment filled him, to see the arrow had hit several inches to the right of the bullseye. Any rookie ranger might have envied the shot, but to Lor’themar, who once had been hailed as one of Silvermoon’s finest rangers, who had been rumored to potentially become Ranger-General after Sylvanas retired… it was a painful reminder of the present. He wasn’t Ranger-General. He wasn’t even a ranger. He was the Regent-Lord of Quel’thalas… who could no longer shoot a bow as he once had.

Though it was just one arrow, one minor error in aim… Lor’themar suddenly felt as if it represented, in full, everything about him now. His focus for the future of the sin’dorei. His conviction to their allies, the members of the Horde. His confidence in himself as a leader. It was just… all off. And the weight of this realization made him fall to his knees, the bow slipping from numb fingers as tears filled his eyes. In that moment, he felt so unbearably alone.

“You were… very close,” a gentle voice pointed out, causing him to look up in shock. He quickly wiped the tears from his face and turned around to see who had spoken.

With a kind smile, Cerylia stepped forward and curtseyed before him. Her long, blood red hair, now loose about her shoulders, spilled into her eyes, and she tucked it behind one long ear as she straightened. “Lor’themar… it’s a surprise to see you out here so late.”

Lor’themar frowned a little, just at how careful her words seemed to come nowadays. She always spoke his name very reverently, very hesitantly, as if she was not sure whether to use a title with him or not. He never said anything to the contrary, but Cerylia was careful about it nonetheless. He pushed himself back up to a standing position and nodded to her. “Lady Cerylia… I could say the same of you. What are you doing here?”

Cerylia’s eyes flickered to the target behind him briefly, as if curious about what he had been doing. “I forgot my mana focus,” she explained, holding up her right hand. Upon the back of her hand was a magical rune in a device attached to her glove; only the most skilled of rangers were allowed to own one. It helped Cerylia focus magic into her arrows, as well as insure her attacks would hit, especially in difficult fights. “I didn’t want to leave it for the rookies to play around with.”

“I am sure Halduron would not let you hear the end of it if you did,” Lor’themar teased gently.

She giggled, a gentle sound that caused Lor’themar to bite his lip. “What about you?” she asked.

He frowned and tried to look away, remembering his shameful shot. “Oh… well, I…”

Stepping over to the target, Cerylia inspected the arrow he had shot. “It seems your aim favors the right now,” she observed, and Lor’themar appreciated the fact that she did not mention his bad eye. “I am sure if you practiced more, though, you could learn to correct it.”

“It is of no consequence,” Lor’themar replied, sounding more bitter than he intended to. “I’m not a ranger anymore, after all.”

“But you always loved the bow, I remember. It wouldn’t hurt to take it up again.” She turned to the pile of arrows and picked up another one, holding it out to him.

Lor’themar shook his head and backed off, the fear of failure washing over him once again. He didn’t want to shoot again, and be reminded of how everything was taken from him in one fell swoop. Arthas hadn’t just destroyed their Sunwell when he attacked Quel’thalas all those years ago… he had destroyed a nation. In Lor’themar’s case, he had taken away the young regent’s hopes of becoming a great ranger. He had taken away their most beloved king, and indirectly their most beloved prince as well. He had changed everything so irreversibly, even this moment. Once, Lor’themar had wished for a moment when he could be alone with Cerylia. Fear had kept him silent once. Now… his position, her circumstances, their reality… kept him silent forever.

If any of his distress showed on his face, Cerylia took no note of it, instead pressing the arrow into his right hand, and a bow into his left hand. Lor’themar gave a slight start at how heavy this second bow was, and looked down to see a rather extraordinary bow. It was blue and glowed with runic power, magic filling him as soon as his hand tightened around it.

“Lord Aethas Sunreaver had this bow crafted for me in Northrend,” Cerylia explained warmly, though the name of the archmage somehow struck Lor’themar as offensive now. “Llylithen engraved the runes for me with his power. It is a good bow, not like these beat-up trainer bows.”

The Regent-Lord took the bow in hand curiously, admiring its curved form and the power that emanated from it. He vaguely considered Halduron—now the current Ranger-General—and wondered whether his personal bow was as impressive. He allowed Cerylia to guide his hands into place, pointing the arrow once again at the target, and she pressed her face into his shoulder to judge his aim.

“Remember your aim tends right,” she said, moving his arm slightly to correct him. “You need not let anything hold you back from being the best you can be. You just have to learn to adapt…”

Lor’themar felt strangely clear-headed once again, and he pulled back the arrow to fire. Cerylia nodded her approval against him. “There you are,” she exclaimed, delighted. “Now.”

He let the arrow fly, and as it whistled through the air, he felt her breath catch just as his did.

The arrow struck the target, just slightly off-center of the bull’s-eye.

“Wonderful,” Cerylia gasped, looking up at Lor’themar happily. “Just like that! Continue to practice, and I bet you could hit it perfectly in time.”

Lor’themar felt himself blush a little, though it was not obvious in the moonlight. “You are very kind, my lady,” he murmured. “Though naturally, your encouragement helped. Would that I had such encouragement daily.”

“You need only remember its echoes, and it shall always remain with you,” Cerylia smiled, taking her bow from him as he offered it to her. “Things change with time, even us… But that doesn’t mean we need to forget the things that matter most.”

He blinked at her a moment, regret rising in him as he realized, once again, all the things he had always meant to say. “It’s hard to remember sometimes,” he admitted. “It’s hard to do alone.”

Cerylia shook her head and touched his arm briefly. “You are not alone.”

He considered all the ways in which to respond to that. How he could point out that no matter how he clung to others, all decisions ultimately were upon him. But regardless of what he personally wanted, no matter how within reach it seemed… he couldn’t say anything. Not even as he took her hand in his, and brought it to his lips gently in a soft kiss.

“Sometimes it feels like it,” he whispered, with a bitter smile.

------------

A few end-notes:
- Cerylia isn't in love with Lor'themar; she is in love with my boyfriend's blood elf paladin. ^^
- Lor'themar's missing eye injury, as well as his relationship with Sylvanas, comes from The Sunwell Trilogy manga. (I was never a fan of the whole Anveena plot, but it gives some minor background into Lor'themar's character that he otherwise lacks.)
- The "mana focus" is an idea I made up to explain why my hunter can shoot an arrow at a moving target, and it wiggles all through the air until it arrives at its destination. xD Clearly, some kind of magic must be guiding its aim.
- The bow Cerylia allows Lor'themar to use is the [Crypt Fiend Slayer], looted from the chest at the end of normal Halls of Reflection. I made up the story behind it, as it struck me as odd to think the Horde would have a treasure box on their airship, waiting for those who somehow survived an encounter with the Lich King. xD

All comments/critique/questions are appreciated and welcome. :) Hope you enjoyed the story!
Share/Bookmark