The water splashed onto the bow of the ship while Iliera stood at the very edge of the vessel, looking out at the blue ocean to her left and the shores of Kalimdor to her right. The smell of the ocean, the cool breeze in the air, all felt so refreshing after the Argus campaign.
Returning home victorious had been glorious, but there was no denying that the immediate aftermath was painful to unfold. The Academy of Hope, now leaderless, had been broken by the destructive power of the Legion. A handful of volunteers and other members remained, most of them being members of her assault team that had chosen the suicide mission in the Burning Throne. It was a strange twist of events, that the most likely to die had ended up being the lone survivors.
Now, those that remained continued on to Silithus to investigate Horde activities in the area. Iliera had not revealed the details to the others, but the Alliance already had a fairly good idea of what was going on. The Horde was mining a new material that had been uncovered by the blade of Sargeras. It was powerful material as far as anyone could tell, and the Horde clearly intended to mine, refine, and use it for something.
Having crushed the Legion, the fact that they were so quick to refine such a powerful material made her concerned. Would the Horde turn on them as Sionis told her they had done in the past?
Thinking of Fÿnn’s concerns about the Horde and the Alliance turning one another, she quickly pushed the dark contemplation from her mind.
“Copper for your thoughts?” a voice asked from behind her.
She turned to see Aremadiel Valorforge, one of the youngest paladins in the Academy.
“You’d need a lot of copper for all my thoughts,” Iliera replied with a smirk.
“I’ve got deep pockets,” Aremadiel said jokingly. “Come on, what have you got to lose?”
She spun around to face him, the smile melting away. “Okay, I suppose it couldn’t hurt. Let’s see, my first thought? The Academy is lost,” she said bluntly. “Less than forty of us remain.”
“You started with less, if I know my history,” Aremadiel repeated.
“We had an idea. It blossomed. Now, we’re just the remnants of that dream.”
“So then the the remnants of hope lives on,” Aremadiel replied.
“In a dozen instead of hundreds,” she mused. “Is that enough?”
“I believe it is,” a new voice added. She turned to see Dhespair, the Death Knight that had aided them this far in their efforts.
“As do I,” Aethelwolfe added, stepping on deck with his helmet in his hands. “As I stand here, a paladin next to a Death Knight. I know anything is possible.”
Behind him, Macksyn, the pandaren monk, gave a friendly smile and nod. “I don’t think we’re ready to give up on what we worked so hard to build. We honor those who fell to the Legion and carry on what we have learned from them. So, if we’re not large enough to be an Academy, then we are not an Academy, but our bond is unbroken. We are not lost.”
Iliera’s spirits were lifted by their words.
“So if the Academy of Hope is ended, then in its place, the Remnants of Hope, rises to replace it. The Academy’s goal was to learn more about our enemies, to master the ways of professions, stealth, and most importantly, combat. We aimed to overwhelm our enemies with knowledge, and we did not fail.”
“Here here,” Fÿnn said, joining the rest on the deck.
“So, as the Remnants of Hope, we have a new purpose. We are the shelter for those who have lost so much in the fallout. We will continue to teach, to guide, to take in those who have no home, as Sionis took me in on Draenor, and I took Fÿnn under my wing in Westfall. Together, we can give hope to those who have none.”
“We can make new friends that way,” Ailyn chimed in, joining the others.
“We can rebuild our numbers,” Dhespair added. “Grow strong for whatever lies ahead.”
Iliera hesitated at the death knight’s words.
Would it be a cycle, she wondered?
Would they rebuild and grow into a strong force… only to meet their end when the next darkness rose to smite them?
Perhaps, however, if they grew strong enough they could be ready for the next conflict. They could face it head on when it arrived and the Remnants of Hope would protect those who could not protect themselves.
“Let’s hear it then,” she asked. “Would you all stand with the Remnants of Hope?”
Everyone on the deck cheered.
Iliera gave a firm salute, and they responded in kind.
“Very well,” she said, pride welling up inside her. “On this day, the Remnants of Hope is born. We stand together as one, to prepare, to learn, and to shelter those who seek aid. Our enemies will never cease, and we will not yield to their presence, be it the Legion, cultists, or even the sword of a corrupted Titan!”
Not far ahead, the shores of Silithus beckoned. She turned away from the crowd, toward the land, and pointed her hammer in the air as though challenging the sword itself.
“We are born! We are strong! For the Alliance! For Azeroth!”
The clamoring of armor and weapons overpowered her ears.
The spirit of hope burned brightly among them all.
They were ready for whatever might come next.