Episode 13: Time is Running Out

Iliera, paladin of the Silver Hand, hero of the Alliance, and refugee of Draenor.

She stood on the deck of a star ship, looking out across the devastated landscape of her ancient homeworld. Behind her, the leaders of the Army of the Light stood together, discussing their next move.

Meanwhile, she held in her hand, the latest report she had written to Sionis Sepher back in Dalaran. The fighting on Argus was beginning to take its toll on the Academy members. The demons were so thick they could cut through them for days. Knowing that each one might not return from the nether gave them motivation to continue the push, but they fought at the base of operations for the entire Burning Legion. There were too many demons to fight a war of attrition. For every thousand demons that fell, if even only one of the heroes of Azeroth went with them it would favor the Legion.

She was responsible for the safety of these people and she was failing them.

As she found her frustration growing, her mind began to wander to earlier days.

Three years. Was that really all it had been?

Just three years ago her reality had been so far removed from this nightmare.

She had been young, energetic, and ready for a career in jewelcrafting that would have her traveling all across Draenor. She had hoped to pick flowers, start a family, and maybe even train her very own elekk.

The fight against the Iron Horde changed all of that.

They started a war. They tried to take her village. In that moment, filled with fear and panic, she called upon the Light and it answered in force.

She had protected them then, and she had not stopped since.

When the heroes from Azeroth came to Draenor, she had met Sionis Sepher, and together they had helped reclaim her home. They stood fast against her foes, protected her family, and marched toward the enemy.

Slowly they pushed back the Iron Horde until Draenor was nearly free.

If only it had been so simple.

When the dark green poison seeped from Tanaan Jungle, Sionis warned her of the danger that had come to her world. The demonic army that they called the Burning Legion.

The evil villain of their past.

Their dark deeds back to haunt them again.

So she did what she had been doing since the Light had come to her.

She fought.

They repelled the Legion’s assault and together the demons were pushed back.

Finally, Draenor and Iliera’s family were safe, but the Legion was not gone. It couldn’t be ignored. No matter what peace was established, no matter how much they fought, the Legion would always be out there amongst the stars.

Thinking on how Draenor must be strong for the Legion’s return, she helped secure the rest of of her world, pushing back any last traces of the Iron Horde until the world was purged of their corruption.

Then dire news arrived on Draenor. The demons were launching an invasion on Azeroth.

No time to plan.

No time to prepare.

Iliera had felt her heart torn in two. Could she leave her family, her people, and everything she had known? If she did not, would the Legion return stronger than before, bent on Draenor’s destruction? She wrestled in this contemplation for days.

So, she made a decision.

As High Exarch Yrel took guard on Draenor, it would be Iliera’s charge to seek out and destroy the Burning Legion, no matter where that adventure might lead her.

Someday she would fulfill prophecy, join the Army of the Light, and defeat her enemies.

Here on the Vindicaar she served as the tip of the spear for the assault on Argus.

She stood with the Army of the Light, as she had so naively promised to herself, and they looked out at doom and destruction below.

The Legion had weakened in its confidence, but they were recovering. They had figured out that the counter-assault was not as strong as we had boasted.

The window to defeat her enemy was closing. Here. Now.

Their spearhead offensive was dulling under constant assault.

She turned away from the large viewing window of the Vindicaar just as one of the Lightforged Draenei was walking toward Turalyon.

“A report for you, High Exarch,” the draenei said, kneeling before the human and handing him a scroll.” He took the paper and quickly unrolled it, his face scrunching as he did so.

“Iliera,” he said, looking up at her. “It looks like you’re up again.”

She frowned. “Magni again?”

“I’m afraid so. Sounds like another message from the world soul.”

Her heart sank.

There was a world soul here on Argus. The sorrow of her people’s past knew no end. If they had stayed and fought against the Legion as the elves had done on Azeroth, could they have spared this creature such a tormented fate?

She had communed with the world soul two times here on Argus. Each time had been unpleasant, with unending pain and confusion mixed inside what felt like a warning from the very planet itself.

They had learned a lot about the Burning Legion’s plans by allowing this communion to continue, so Turalyon had asked that she serve as the mediary.

“I’ll head to the surface immediately, High Exarch.”

When she materialized on the planet’s surface, she shivered ever so slightly. The sensation of using a Lightforged Beacon was still new, and she had not grown accustomed to it. The small hovel where the Broken resistance had fortified their position up was not very large, or very well lit. The beacon pulsed pure light into the cave, but it sometimes felt like the darkness on Argus sought to devour the light rather than simply avoid it.

Several “broken” were wandering through one of the nearest caves, while two Alliance adventurers walked beside a Blood Elf at the hovel’s entrance. Iliera veered to the left, to a small offshoot where the broken had stored a special stone.

A stone that Magni Bronzebeard used to communicate with a world soul.

“I’m glad ye be back, lass,” Magni said as Iliera approached the chamber.

“The High Exarch sent me,” she replied. “How can I help?”

“I hear you’re leading one of the assaults on Antorus,” Magni said, his voice hesitant, as though he was questioning the conversation. “You’re part of some school or something?”

“The Academy of Hope,” Iliera replied, proudly. “We are many things.”

“I’d be lying if I said I’d heard of them,” Magni replied, a hearty smile appearing. “I’ve got news for you. A new voice reached out to meh today.”

“A new voice?”

“I have my suspicions, but I’m not sure. Touch the stone, Iliera. Find out.”

Iliera nodded. With a careful touch, she laid her palm on the stone. She felt a vibration growing from within the rock and she closed her eyes.

The vision came with great haste and a voice filled her mind.

“I remember the awakening, how life sprang up all around us.”

Warmth. Life. Iliera could feel it.

“I remember unity… until it was shattered by betrayal.”

Cold. Darkness.

“I remember fleeing… to keep him from his prize.”

A flash of light. Standing before Iliera, a life force so powerful it was almost overwhelming. Not here in the small cave on Argus. Somewhere else. She could sense this being and the strength that flowed from her lifeforce.

She was Eonar. The Life-binder. One of the mighty titans of old.

“The time for hiding is over. Aid me… or everything ends.”

The being was gone, and with a blinding flash of light, she fell back away from the magical stone and collapsed on the ground.

“It’s not possible,” Magni said as he helped her up. “If the Life-binder is somehow connected to this, we have to figure out how. The answer must be in Antorus. This is all culminating at the Burning Throne. We donn’a have any more time to plan or organize. We need to act now. I fear this plan has been in the works for a very, very long time. It can’t be anything less than fate that we are here, right at the end, to stop Sargeras before he succeeds.”

“You’re right,” Iliera said, feeling emboldened. “We have to put a stop to this madness. Once and for all.”

“Report back what you saw here,” Magni added. “The Army of the Light must act.”

Iliera bowed and left the hovel. With each step she took from the stone, the better she felt. Eonar had shared just a moment of a vision, but there had been so much potential in it. Life still flourished in the galaxy. The Burning Legion had not destroyed it all. Not yet.

She saw the Lightforged beacon a short ways ahead and marched toward it with divine purpose. She was going to assemble her forces. The Army of the Light would assault Antorus and she would be the one leading the charge, with all of the Academy of Hope behind her.

There was no more time to waste.

She would call upon Sionis, Kaellax, Kelynve, Macksyn, and any of the others that had stayed behind to protect Azeroth. If what she had just seen was true, their efforts would be meaningless if Sargeras succeeded here. Just thinking of all this had given her armor the glow of the Light and she knew she was on the right path.

This was destiny.

A young draenei girl, torn from time itself and set on the path to save the universe.

She wouldn’t fail.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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