The Junior General; Steele the Younger, of the sha'tar sat behind his men as the Grand Anchorite of the Shattered Sun gave his daily sermon. It was a true unity of causes, Blood Elf and Draenei, he smiled and rose as the sermon ended, giving his amens and vows as the elves and draenei shuffled into groups, chatting amongst themselves or going off to do their various duties. Junior General Steele bowed his head for a moment, thinking of his father out in the battlefield. He looked up and surveyed the Shattered Sun Warriors. The Shattered Sun was a collective effort of the Scryers and Aldor for the sole reason of combating the demons of the Burning Legion, and until the assault on Northrend, the greater part of the Shatered Sun had been deployed to the Sunwell to prevent the Legionlord Kil'jaeden from entering Azeroth. Now that the Sunwell was back under the control of Silvermoon, the greater part of the Shattered Sun was called back to Shattrath once it was established that the Aldor or Scryers alone were to prove no match for the growing Illidari threat. The general sighed and took a deep breath before leaving the terrace of light, taking in the sight of their leader, A'dal, one more time before mounting up on his elekk to ride over to the elevator to Aldor Rise and the common ground between the Rise and the Scryer's tier. The general dismounted once he reached the well furnished entrance, and walked over to the two guards.
"Guard Captain Dawnsunder, Dawnbreaker." The General said, greeting the two captains of the guard.
"Sir, welcome back, I assume your..." Captain Dawnsunder said.
"..Sermon was enjoyable?" Captain Dawnbreaker finished.
Junior General Steele laughed. "Oh boys, I will never get used to that. Come." The general said, and passed by the two brothers and they fell in behind him, flanking him to his left and right. Approaching the command table, a Draenei commander turned around.
I'm afraid we have some bad news sir...the Sha'tar Altar has fallen."
Junior General Steele let his emotionless mask fall for a second, betraying his grief, but he quickly regained it.
"What!? He shouted. "How?!"
The commander looked down for a moment. "It was totally decimated by the Illidari High Generals themselves."
"How many were there?" Steele demanded.
"Our reports say three, sir, the two demon hunters and the Grand Blood-Lord." The commander said, noticeably uncomfortable.
"What about reinforcements? We sent three battalions of Aldor and Scryer forces with some Shattered Sun men in there too!" Steele snarled.
"Worse!? What could possibly be worse?!" Steel shouted, turning around and then looking back to the commander. "What happened?"
"They met the Deathlord, Varion his name is, and the undead elves that now serve the Illidari. But as the assault was stopped cold, Varion met the Aldor grand Vindicator in combat, from the extremely few soldiers that escaped, he was fighting extremely well against the Deathlord, but his status is so far unknown. The main part of the army was slain and..."
"Don't tell me..." General Steele sighed, putting his hand on his forehead in thought.
"Yes sir, the army was raised, and is presently besieging the Auchenai Ruins to the south."
"I don't know why they'd do that, but that lets us free up lower city forces from there if the Illidari are going to just raze it to the ground." The general paced for a moment. "Is that all commander?"
The commander sighed and opened his mouth to speak, but was interrupted by Guard Captain Dawnsunder.
"Sir, we must regret to inform you but..."
"...your father and the Elder Anchorite were slain." Dawnbreaker finished.
The general clenched his fist. "This isn't how it should have been..." Steel snarled for a second. "How did he die?"
"He was slain by Akairos." A voice said.
Down from the sky a great brown bird descended and transformed back into a Night Elf. "Archdruid Zo'shi." Steele said with a bow.
Zo'shi returned the bow. "Hello general, please, hear my words. My poor misguided friend, who you know as the Grand Blood-Lord, was once a great warrior of Silvermon, but he has changed. In his zeal to defend his home he has taken greater and greater steps into darkness. One could relate it to the Azerothian Scarlet Crusade." Zoshi said, taking a crystalline seed from his robes. "This is a Life-Force Seed, it sucks energy from whatever it touches of non druid origin."
"That is incredible! But why show us, Archdruid?"
"To help you. I know Akairos, he loves the Sunwell at heart no matter what he says or does and will habitually go there when low on power."
"And then we can use the seeds again there to corner him while vulnerable!" General said with a smile and reached out to take the seeds from Zo'shi's hand.
Zo'shi closed his hand around the seeds. "I'm sorry general, but these are special. I won't see them in your hands, I did however give one to a infiltrator in the Black Temple."
An elven lieutenant stepped forward. "And how do you know about that? That was top secret."
"I know enough to suit my needs. For example I know that your spies were uncovered and killed." Zo'shi responded.
"of course..." the general sighed.
"but it is not all bad. I also know that akairos is on the way to the sun well. I honestly do not know why he is on his way there as he has no solid connection to the sunwell. He is no blood elven paladin." zo'shi said, his voice tinged with a bit of sadness near the end. "Now general, I know you will want to capture him or whatever it is you may want, but I only request that you allow me to speak with him before, I will keep him there, he will still listen to me."
"That is fantastic! Do you know when he will be there?"
Zo'shi shifted his posture and leaned on his staff. "He might be there already."
"well then we had better get moving." the general said as Zo'shi transformed back into a bird and flew away to the shattrath portals and to the Island of Quel'danas.
Zo'shi arrived in front of the many arcane sanctums on the isle, each one was filled with reserve shattered sun soldiers keeping themselves amused in various ways or practicing on the training grounds.. Zo'shi ran over to the gates of the sunwell and was confronted by Lady Liadrin. Since the blood elves had reclaimed the sunwell the garb of Lady Liadren had softened somewhat. Instead of her sharp and angled regalia, she now wore more classical blood elven colors. Her new armor had smoother curves and larger, more rounded shoulders, and a finely crafted chest piece, covered by her Blood Knight tabard. Small gems studded the rest of her light, cream colored armor. Behind her stood her honor guard stood at attention, each one dressed in typical black and red Blood Elven armor.
"Halt Night Elf, what business have you here?" she asked.
"I am Archdruid Zo'shi. I am here on behalf of the shattered sun." Zo'shi responded.
"Oh...yes, word was sent ahead of you. Speak quickly."
"An invader has breached your sacred land."
"Impossible!" she said.
"It is true." Zo'shi said. " The Grand Blood-Lo-"
"That traitorous bastard! How dare he violate the sanctity of these grounds!" Liadrin cut him off. "Sorry Archdruid, shall we enter?"
They found no trace of Akairos throughout the lands of the Sunwell's outer structures, nor in the former dead scar or the upper levels, eventually reaching the shrine of the Eclipse.
"Hold Archdruid, I will enter first." Lady Liadrin said holding up her hand, motioning for Zoshi to wait. Liadrin walked into the shrine with her small group of honor guards and a sword flew past her head, sticking into the wall behind her where it smoldered slightly.
"Akairos! Is that you?" Zo'shi said, pushing past the honor guards. On the far side of the shrine was a hooded figured, garbed in blood elven robes, his head was bowed and he was leaning against the Shield of Silvermoon.
"Hello old friend, how are you?" the hooded figure said.
"Akairos, come with me." Zo'shi pleaded. "Come back to sanity, you can-"
"Sanity?! Would someone insane seek to idolize their friends so?" Akairos said, whipping off his hood, his eyes closed. "Look Zo'shi...my eyes are just like yours." Akairos said as his eyes, which glowed a golden yellow.
"We need to leave now." Lady Liadren said to Zo'shi. "Those eyes are only possessed by extremely powerful paladins, far above us."
"I can hear you talking about me." Akairos said with a smirk.
"Then you know what I think of you!" She yelled, drawing her sword and her honor guard did the same. They charged at akairos, ready to strike.
Akairos held his hands up, letting the shield of silvermoon drop to the floor. "You have no part here!" Akairos shouted. The honor guards dropped to their knees in repentance, but Lady Liadrin shrugged off the attack and drew her shield to, swinging at akairos. Akairos grabbed her sword hand by the wrist and held it away from him and with his other hand held her shield away from him. Lady Liadrin strained, trying to get her hands free. "You're weeeeeaaakk." Akairos laughed breathily.
"And you are a traitor!" She shouted back. Akairos sneered and looked past Liadrin for just a moment at the frozen honor guards, Liadrin took advantage of the moment and tore her shield hand free, bashing akairos in the face and jumping back several feet. "You were our greatest! Nobody loved our land or defended it harder then you! You betrayed us! You slaughtered your own and abandoned us! You forgot what it means to be a Blood Knight! You and your brother! How could you!?"
"You could never understand!" Akairos shouted, vanishing in a flash of light, appearing at the wall and grabbing the Sword of the Sunwell from the wall and pointing it Lady Liadrin. "You weren't there! In Northrend!" Akairos screamed and charged Liadrin, their swords clanging and the metal ringing through the shrine of the eclipse. "You talk of what it means to be a Blood Knight, honor and sacrifice. The Sunwell will save us? That's a laugh. I watched my soldiers die, my friends fall, the light, the sun well was no help!" Akairos screamed and thrust at liadrin who parried and leaped back. "You trust in the Sunwell so much?! Take it back!" Akairos said in anguish, throwing his sword into the ground, wiping the blood from his mouth. "Take the shield to, do whatever with it. I can't rely on the sunwell anymore, I answer a higher call. Only personal strength gained by the Illidari will suffice."
Akairos turned away from Liadrin and Zo'shi, walking over to look down at the sunwell. "I'm sorry Liadrin, I truly am. But what I am doing won't be wrong in the end, the future of the blood elves in Outland will be safe, I love my people, I just don't love relying on strength of others to do so. Surely you of all people understand that, you were the first one. Do you remember your reasons for stealing the Naaru's light?"
Lady Liadrin was taken aback at the question, she gasped for a moment, then regained her composure. “How dare you ask that question Blood-Lord. I was in error.”
“But you had purpose, what was your goal at the time?”
“I…I wanted to fight for my people, to defend our honor and strengthen our causes. I was disheartened by the light…I…”
“Then you understand Lady Liadrin. You aided in defiling a Naaru, you were the first to learn of the Light’s glory, you are the greatest of the Blood Knights, and you know that in order to fight, there are sacrifices.” Akairos said, placing particular emphasis on he word sacrifices.
Akairos bowed his head for a moment and light glowed under his robes, the glow intensified as he robes burned away in holy fire. Akairos turned around, revealing his reforged armor. The plates were an beautiful mixture of gold, brass and platinum, it did not shine or sparkle with holy light as it once did, but it glowed with a luster that radiated energy, The armor was gleaming gold and brass, with heavily plated boots and gauntlets, thick, yet easily movable chainmail adorned with plates made up the chest and legs, and glittering green crystals studded the armor at several points. from it’s shoulderplates, magnificent rays of light shone out, illuminating the area around him and surrounding himself with an aura of power, from one shoulder was a hammer of power, from the other, a prayerbook. The true strength of the light had been both bound and embodied within the armor. It was both Beautiful and terrible and the same time.
“I have drained a new Naaru, each of these fel crystals contains enough surplus light energy to fuel me for as long as I need. But this…” Akairos said, tapping a glowing spot beneath his Illidari tabard. “This is a vial of water from the sunwell, enough to magnify my power one hundred times over!” Akairos said, clutching his fist in front of him. “Through the might of the Ilidari, all the blood elves in outland will be safe, no agent of the Legion, of the Alliance, or ANYONE will every harm my beloved people!’
“You are truly mad…” Lady Liadrin sighed.
Zo’shi was shocked at what he was hearing, was this the same Akairos? Was this his friend? Zo’shi’s head swirled with thoughts and he leaned on his staff.
Akairos looked over at Zo’shi with sadness. “You will always be welcome Zosh, I would never harm you or our people. You taught me so much…I…do you think I am mad?”
Zo’shi sighed. “No…not mad…your heart is in the right place, but your heart is slowly fading to black. Akairos…” A tear came to Zo’shi’s eye. “…Someday…someday we will meet again…and when that day comes, my dear friend, it will be a sad, sad day for the both of us.” Zo’shi said as dark and shadowy hands appeared in the air behind Akairos and dragged a portal open, Radinius stepped out and nodded to Zo’shi. “The silent one walks in the shadow to.” I am sorry for you to my friend.”
Radinius bowed his head for a second, Akairos and Zo’shi could both feel the sadness that Radinius was experiencing. Radinius looked up, hearing the pounding of footsteps of Shattered Sun Soldiers. Akairos heard it to.
“Goodbye…Blood-Lord.” Zo’shi said to Akairos with a bow.
“Goodbye…Archdruid.” Akairos said, returning the bow and turning towards the portal. “Oh, Zosh?” Akairos said, stopping before the portal.
Zo’shi looked up at Akairos. “Yes?”
“Be well.” Akairos said, walking through the portal and the shadow gate closed behind him. The repentance on the Honor Guards broke and they all stumbled and fell forward, not expecting the sudden return to normal movement.
“Oh Akairos, I do not look forward to that day.” Zo’shi said with a sigh, transforming back into a bird, leaving Lady Liadrin behind.