A story, and my final thoughts on an expansion.
The World-Shaman's words echoed in her mind once more, even here in Quel’thalas, as Cerylia Dawnwing turned her face up to the beautiful blue sky. Though it was far enough away not to have suffered when the Destroyer first spread his wings over Azeroth again… it was still caught in the grip of fear and uncertainty, much like the rest of the world. And its people were changed, much as they tried to pretend otherwise. The Horde itself was changing…
A sigh escaped her lips, as she turned from the balcony to go back inside again. The Dawnwing manor, nestled not too far north of Fairbreeze Village, had just finished being rebuilt prior to the Cataclysm, and to her relief it hadn’t been damaged any. She had seen the carnage and destruction caused by the elements and their upheaval firsthand. The Barrens and its great chasms now opened by earthquakes… Tanaris and much of its shore demolished… She had even heard that much of Ashenvale had been taken by a fire elemental (to speak nothing of the war that engulfed it already), and Stormwind City itself had been visited by Deathwing, losing an entire district in the process. And these were but a few of the places changed forever.
She thought of her own homeland, already torn and damaged by the Dead Scar, the haunted remains of the Ghostlands, and the wildly differing views of much of Silvermoon’s leadership… and she felt tears prick at her eyes. The sin’dorei people had suffered so much already. They had reclaimed their Sunwell in recent years, thank the Light. But their land was still broken and in need of healing. The blood elves themselves differed in opinion as to what to do next. Some believed they had to leave the Horde and become neutral again—the actions of their Horde allies unsettled them in recent days and made them certain they were headed down a path that was neither necessary nor beneficial to the sin’dorei. Other elves were quite happy with their new friends, and were excited at the opportunity to travel to faraway lands and fight in grand battles. Still others were somewhere in the middle—happy to have such diverse friends, but wary of giving far too much and getting nothing in return.
Cerylia, increasingly, found herself in the last school of thought, though she was wise enough to keep such opinions to herself… at least for now.
Stepping into the manor once again, Cerylia found herself greeted by her white tiger pet, Kuuma. Loyal and as affectionate as any kitty, Kuuma gave a yawn and rubbed his enormous head into her legs, prompting her to smile and pet him. Her green eyes scanned the entirety of her darkened bedroom, narrowing with disappointment to find it empty of any other inhabitants. But the stream of light from beneath the nearby door, leading to her private bathroom, made her smile, and with little warning she crossed to the door and flung it open. An amusing yelp was heard, followed by a splash.
Cerylia let her eyes adjust quickly before peering inside the elegant bathroom. Gilded white tile covered the floor, with only a soft red rug placed next to the bathtub interrupting this pattern. She tilted her head to admire her reflection in the large mirror lining one wall, as she stepped carefully to the bathtub and peered down at its inhabitant. He gave her a frown as he tried to hide under the warm water’s surface.
“Am I interrupting?” she teased, taking a seat on the rug and resting her chin on the edge of the bathtub. Kuuma purred his amusement as he lay down behind her.
The blond, well-built elf finally sighed and sat up, gazing at her with adoration. Mithraius Sunrose was, until recently, her betrothed… and now he was her husband. Cerylia was hardly used to the realization yet, but whenever she reminded herself of it, a warmth filled her from head to toe. For many years now the two had traveled together, fighting some of the most powerful enemies imaginable… and they came out of all these fights together, inseparable. He was a Blood Knight, a paladin of the Light. His courage and resilience complemented her grace and cunning beautifully, and when she was with him she felt no fear or weakness. He was her strength. Her light. Her love.
“It’s hardly interrupting when my wife pays me a visit,” Mithraius replied, reaching a wet hand to touch her face. She blushed and lifted her hand to touch his, keeping it close. “What are you thinking of, my beloved?”
Cerylia closed her eyes against his hand. “Oh, just… all that has happened. Our journeys to stop raging elements. Our missions against the Twilight cult. All the dragons we have slain. It all seems like so much.”
“Don’t forget that episode with the trolls,” he reminded lightly, though his own brow furrowed at the memory. The attempt of the Zandalari trolls to rally the Amani in nearby Zul’Aman… it might have ended in disaster if not for the blood elves’ Darkspear troll friends, warning them of the danger. Both sin’dorei and quel’dorei had taken the field then, along with their Horde and Alliance friends. It was a tenuous partnership that tested the patience and the tolerance of both sides greatly. What had begun as an attempt to heal the rift between blood elf and high elf had nearly turned into civil and factional conflict, and only with the defeat of their common enemy did the two finally relax before going their separate ways. It had brought up many questions about the state of Quel’thalas, and of its leaders. Cerylia had voiced her concern on many occasions, but it had yet to be seen whether things would improve in the near future.
Cerylia nodded solemnly, before falling back into thought. “And then to see Dragonblight overrun by all those horrible Twilight dragons… torn apart by those Old God creatures…” she mused. “Horrible. But… thank the Light, it is over. Thrall and the Aspects destroyed Deathwing for good.”
“We did help,” Mithraius pointed out, smiling proudly. Though it had been a terrifying battle, faced with the horrible mutation of what had once been the Aspect of Earth, they had somehow pulled through. “And even with the Dragon Aspects losing their powers in the fight, somehow it is relieving… to know that we mortals are not helpless. We’re not dependent on powers out of our control to save our world. We should be proud, I think.”
“Of course we should,” Cerylia agreed. She curled into the touch of her lover’s hand affectionately, before finally sighing and getting to her feet again. Kuuma lifted his head to peer up at her. “It’s just… every battle leaves scars. Do not get me wrong; it is a relief to know that the races of this world can rally together when it comes to a shared threat… I mean, look at Deathwing, look at the Lich King. But I feel… conflict still lies ahead for us. It doesn’t feel like this is… truly resolved.”
Mithraius frowned just a touch, at the expression of doubt and uncertainty in Cerylia’s face. This was supposed to be a time of relaxation, relief, and joy. Not worry. He decided the bath could wait for another time, and pushed himself up and out of the tub. Kuuma darted away to avoid the water dripping onto the floor, and Cerylia watched the paladin appreciatively, handing him a nearby towel to dry off and wrap around his waist.
“Cerylia… even if there is conflict in the future, I don’t want you to worry about it now,” he said, reaching for her and taking her face in his hands. “I remember what Nozdormu said, after that fight with Murozond. ‘All that matters is this moment.’ Perhaps you just need to enjoy the present. Perhaps… we need to enjoy this peace while it lasts.” Mithraius stroked her cheeks tenderly, before drawing her into a warm, tight hug against him. She wiggled a little against his wet skin. “I love you.”
Her heart jumped at the words, the feeling never growing old. She closed her eyes happily and finally relaxed against him. “I love you too,” she whispered, letting her anxiety, her regrets, all her “what-ifs” disappear.
Maybe there truly was no need to fear the loss of the Aspects. Maybe the people of Azeroth really could take care of themselves.
It was this hope, and the promise of happiness now enveloping her in his loving embrace, that gave Cerylia the courage to keep going.
Goodbye, Cataclysm. You shall be remembered.
Cerylia Dawnwing is my main character, my hunter, and Mithraius Sunrose is my boyfriend’s paladin. The two are currently married in our ongoing RP, and I’m delighted. Yes, they are very privileged and intimate sorts, but such is the way of the sin’dorei. Silly elves. ;)
Cataclysm had its good and bad points, and if I honestly had to sum it up, I would say that while I didn’t enjoy the story and the questing experience as much as I did in Wrath of the Lich King, I did very much appreciate the class mechanics changing, and how I felt so much more capable as a player. I love the new healing design, I’ve come to appreciate hunter focus, and I’ve gotten a much better taste of several other classes. My new class favorite? Paladin, particularly Retribution and Holy spec. Maybe in the expansion you’ll see the rise of another new end-level character taking her place next to Cerylia and Serisyna.
Mists of Pandaria is just around the corner, and I hope that it shores up the shortcomings of this expansion while taking the strengths and best parts forward. I haven’t played around with the new talents or new class too much, but I love what I’ve seen so far and I’m confident I’ll get used to it, just as I did with the class revamps for Cataclysm. I am desperately excited to play Pandaren, and I am very much looking forward to monk as well, specifically my orc monk who will herald the return of an alt I deleted once and miss very much.
Cerylia is very happy she got to participate in end-game content thanks to LFR, and she feels very hopeful for a brighter and more peaceful future. Though she may be disappointed come MoP… I think she’ll be ready to face whatever challenges lie ahead. Maybe meet new friends too!
Whatever Cataclysm was to you, know that every moment in our lives builds upon one another. Just because it wasn’t the “best expansion ever” doesn’t mean it had no purpose or was a waste of time. The joy of WoW, I’ve found, is that it keeps evolving and changing for the better. Change may be scary, but it’s definitely necessary. (Say, didn’t I touch on this last time?) If it still feels like a waste of your time… well, don’t play. A game is for fun. Only play if you’re having fun.
See you all in Pandaria~