CHAPTER 5: RESTORING THE LOST BLADE
The Isle of Quel'Danas could only be reached from a portal in Shattrath City. It was a long time since Navimie had visited the Isle, and she had no real reason to visit now that the Sunwell had been cleansed. Visitors and tourists were not generally welcomed by the Sin'dorei. The Isle itself was not a particularly pleasant place either - demons still roamed around, and everywhere you looked you still could see signs of conflict and the lingering smell of sulfur continued to taint the air.
As Navimie entered the Sunwell Plateau she was stopped by a pair of Blood Elf guards.
"What brings you here?" demanded the older, dark haired Blood Elf.
Navimie inclined her head politely. "I request permission to speak to Halduron Brightwing. I have business that requires access to the Sunwell."
A green and gold clad Ranger-General approached Navimie, his long golden locks unadorned by a helm. He looked her up and down haughtily. "I am Halduron. What kind of business could one of YOUR kind have here?"
Navimie bristled, but managed to politely explain the events leading up to her arrival, but refrained from mentioning the sword. Items of power tended to bring out the worst in people, and she was alone in this unfriendly fortress.
"I hope you understand that I can't just admit you to the Sunwell, Navimie," said Halduron. "This is the most sacred place known to the sin'dorei and we have only recently regained control over it."
Navimie groaned inwardly. She was going to have to tell them, whether she liked it or not.
"Halduron, I have in my possession a blade thought to be Quel'Delar." As she mentioned its name, one of the guards let out a gasp and his eyes narrowed at Navimie in suspicion. "Uther himself told me that the sword must be cleansed, else it become another beacon for evil."
Halduron's face showed his disbelief at Navimie's story. "You would raise the hopes of our people with tales of Quel'Delar? Without proof of the truth of your claims, I see no reason to take you at your word."
Reluctantly, Navimie took the cloth wrapped blade and opened it for all to see. She was hesitant to hand the blade over for their inspection, and she cast a wary eye at the guards who crowded around to have a look. Her neck prickled under their scrutiny, and she found herself assuming a defensive stance as she readied herself for a fight.
What was that voice? Was it her own thoughts? Or was she hearing the thoughts of others? She tried to focus on what Halduron was saying whilst she fought down the urge to swipe their beautiful faces with her huge bear paws.
Comprehension dawned on Halduron's face and his countenance changed to one of respect as he locked gazes with Navimie. "You are the one working with Myralion Sunblaze, aren't you?"
Navimie nodded. This was looking more positive.
"I know of a way we can test the sword. If you know the blade's history, you recall that it was borne by Thalorien Dawnseeker in defense of the Sunwell against the Scourge."
"Yes, the Blood Queen said as much."
She had purposely dropped Lan'athel's name in a nonchalant manner, just to see the Sin'dorei warriors flinch. She was not disappointed. Halduron continued, however, not missing a step.
"He fell in what is now the Dead Scar, buying time for his men to make their own preparations. You will find his remains near the southern end of the Dead Scar on this isle. Visit them, and if his spirit gives you its blessing, I will allow you to enter the Sunwell."
"Do I need to summon his spirit? Is there something I should know?" asked Navimie, as she repacked the sword.
Halduron shook his head. "No, his spirit has lingered there since the war. But I warn you, communing with the dead is not for the faint of heart."
Kill him. Kill them all.
Navimie tossed her head indignantly, her nose in the air. "I'm a tauren, Ranger-General," she said, drawing herself to her full height. "Communing with the ancestors is something we Taurahe do each year, even as children." And she turned and took her leave.
The dead scar was full of bones, corpses and the occasional mindless undead which were of no threat to Navimie, but it was rather sobering place, and unpleasant. The stench of death hung heavily over this place, and Navimie could not understand why a Blood Elf hero still lay out in this forsaken warzone, and not buried or cremated as befitting a great warrior. Perhaps it was because these proud elves did not want to get their hands dirty. Her contempt for the Sin'dorei increased further.
As she approached the corpse, she saw the ghostly form of what she presumed was Thalorien Dawnseeker, readied for battle.
"We must defend the Sunwell from the enemy at all costs! I am ordering you to withdraw to the Sunwell proper to help prepare the defences!"
Navimie watched as the ghostly pantomime played out. So these were the last moments of this great Sin'dorei hero. Thalorien looked a little dismayed as his fate seemed to dawn upon him.
"I will make my stand here and buy you as much time as I am able. Use it well and make our prince proud.It has been a great honor to fight beside you in defense of our land and our people." He gripped his sword, Quel'Delar, in all its former glory, and turned to face the enemy. Navimie was surprised as the ghost turned to look directly at HER.
"You, stranger... you are not one of my soldiers. Will you stay and stand with me to face the enemy?"
Navimie looked over her shoulder, then back at Thalorien in puzzlement. She gestured towards herself questioningly, feeling a little foolish, like she was talking to herself. Surely he wasn't.
"Tauren, I thank you. Come, stand with me," and Thalorien gestured to a spot beside him. Navimie stood next to him, shifting into bear form. I'm going to fight this battle with him... is this a dream? she wondered. Another apparition appeared, a deathknight atop a charger, and Navimie wondered if he too could see her as if she was in their time.
"Step aside, blood elf," sneered the death knight, his blue eyes glowing even as a ghost. "I, Morlen Coldgrip, am here to take this city in the name of Arthas and the Scourge!"
"Listen well, Scourge defilers. None of you will reach the Sunwell so long as I stand!" shouted Thalorien.
Morlen pointed his sword at Thalorien. "Forward! Ghouls slay this pathetic high elf!"
Waves of spectral ghouls and crypt raiders assaulted the pair, but Navimie clearly outmatched these nether horrors - years had passed since she fought at the Sunwell, and her strength and power had grown significantly in that time. Their attacks hardly scratched her bear armour, and when at last they faced Morlen himself, she took the beating that was meant for Thalorien and between the two of them they despatched the human death knight. It seemed odd to be looking at corpse of a ghost. Navimie tried not to think too hard about it, because the more she tried to understand it, the more confused she became. She wasn't the only one bewildered. Thalorien stared down at the defeated death knight incredulously.
"I... I wasn't meant to survive this attack. Why has this happened? Why have you come here?"
Navimie bowed her head. "Thalorien Dawnseeker, I seek your guidance and blessing for this," she took out the sword, "Which once belonged to you."
Thalorien gasped. "It's Quel'Delar! You possess the sword!"
Navimie placed her hand on the blade. "It is your sword, carried from this place by Lana'thel to Icecrown. I recovered it and restored it, but evil has pervaded the blade. To cleanse it, I need your blessing." She knelt down, and held the blade up to him, though every fibre in her being screamed at her to keep it close by her side.
Thalorien's ghostly hand touched the blade. "I don't know how, but the blade has chosen you to be its new wielder. Take it with my blessing, and wield it against the Scourge as I once did." He nodded at her, and his eyes took on a faraway look as he faded into nothingness, over his bones still on the ground where he had fallen in battle so long ago.
The blade hummed, and though there was no visible change in the blade's appearance, Navimie could sense something different about the blade. She sheathed the sword again, and headed back to Halduron.
Halduron's attitude had done a complete turnaround once he realised that Navimie really did have the famed sword.
"You truly do carry Quel'Delar. This is a great day for all of Quel'Thalas and the sin'dorei. You have my leave to enter the Sunwell and finish the sword's restoration."
"Thank you, Ranger-General," said Navimie, keeping her voice even and trying not to sound smug.
Show them their proper place. You have the power.
"Keep your head high, Navimie. The children of Silvermoon have dreamt of this day for years." Halduron looked upon the sword reverently, his eyes shining with the thought of the lost treasure being returned to them. He gestured towards the gateway to the Sunwell. "The Sunwell and the end of Quel'Delar's exile await, Navimie."
Navimie headed inside, and was surprised as Halduron followed beside her. He leant over to her, and spoke in a low voice meant only for her ears. "You will find Lor'themar Theron, the regent of Quel'Thalas, and Grand Magister Rommath standing within. Be wary of them and do not allow them to entrap you in their political scheming." Navimie glanced at him, and nodded for him to continue. "Instead, remain focused on your task here. Immerse the reformed Quel'Delar in the Sunwell to complete its restoration, then show it to Myralion Sunblaze at Quel'Delar's Rest. Speak to a Warden of the Sunwell when you are ready to enter the Sunwell Plateau."
Halduron bowed and took his leave. Navimie paused to admire the shining marble columns of the citadel that housed the Sunwell. This part, at least, was beautiful. Flowers, green grass and even delicate looking benches gave the whole area a serene feeling, but even Navimie could feel the power of the Sunwell, though she was not attuned to being able to harness it's power.
Power. It could be yours. You can control all of this.
"Shut UP," hissed Navimie. "Stop talking to me. I know it's been you all this time."
"Excuse me?" asked the Sin'dorei Warden, looking puzzled at the tauren who was seemingly talking to herself.
"Oh, excuse me," coughed Navimie, feeling a little silly. "I have been tasked with the Purification of Quel'Delar. I am ready to enter the Sunwell."
The guard placed his arm on Navimie's, and muttered a few words under his breath, and the she blinked at the bright flash before she was submerged in darkness. She aquinted as her vision adjusted to the darkness, the soft glow of the wall candles filling the chamber with a feeling of peace and ambience. The evil that pervaded this room and the image of Sargeras rising from within the Sunwell itself were gone, and Sin'dorei guards and pilgrims were gathered around the Sunwell. The guard touched her arm again and gestured towards a red haired and red robed mage.
"I am Chamberlain Galiros, Navimie," he said, bowing low. "You honour us with your presence, and with the legendary artifact you have returned to us."
Why should I be returned to them? Who fought for me, who reforged me? You belong with me.
"Thank you, Chamberlain," said Navimie, politely, ignoring the sword's malevolent words.
"Come, I shall present you to the leaders here." He held out his arm, a very gentlemanly gesture, and Navimie took it, bemused by the sudden pompous and proper show that the Blood elves now displayed.
They strode into the Sunwell chamber, and Navimie saw Lady Liadrin was also here, talking to pilgrims, as well as Lor'themar Theron and the Grand Magister Rommath. She also saw a high elf that she did not recognise, but Galiros pointed out that it was Captain Auric Sunchaser - she remembered the name but he was an enemy to her the last time she had seen him. He was in charge of the Allerian stronghold in Terrokar Forest, and he was no friend to the Horde. She remembered the advice that Halduron gave her, and she kept her guard up, and her eyes and ears keen.
"My lords and ladies," boomed Chamberlain Galiros. "I present Navimie, bearer of Quel'Delar."
All heads turned in her direction. It was hard not to squirm under the scrutiny, but Navimie held her head high and her gaze level as she swept her eyes around the room, locking eyes briefly with Grand Magister Rommath before she turned to look at Lor'themar. She held the tainted Quel'Delar aloft and hurled it into the Sunwell.
A wail assaulted Navimie's ears, and she covered them but she was the only one who seemed to be hearing it. Everyone else in the room seemed oblivious and were approaching the sword or kneeling at the edges of the Sunwell.
"Can that really be Quel'Delar?" gasped a Sunwell Honour guard.
Lor'themar Theron looked on skeptically. "We shall see."
"Look at it, Lor'themar," said Grand Magister Rommath, approaching the Sunwell to gaze upon the sword immersed in its waters. "It is certainly Quel'Delar."
"So it is. You have my thanks, Navimie, for restoring Quel'Delar to its rightful owners." Before Navimie could stop him, Lor'themar walked up to the blade and grasped its hilt. There was an almighty explosion, and Navimie staggered under the blast. The Regent of Silvermoon was thrown across the room and slammed bodily into the wall, and he fell, stunned as the guards rushed to assist him.
"My Lord Regent!" yelled a Sunwell Honour guard. "What have they done to you?"
Before Navimie could move, Rommath cast a spell and imprisoned Navimie in an icy prison. Guards ran from all directions, surrounding her, their spears pointed threateningly.
Grand Magister Rommath stood in front of her, his expression furious. "What is the meaning of this treachery?"
Another Sunwell Honor Guard prodded Navimie with the tip of his spear. "Drop your weapon and surrender, traitor."
Navimie growled, but she was imprisoned in ice. "Release me! I am innocent!"
She was surprised when Captain Auric Sunchaser approached to stand in front of her "This is not my doing, nor hers, Rommath. There is no treachery here." He gestured to the guards in attack positions. "Call off your men. Lor'themar's own foolishness caused his injuries."
"You DARE?" yelled Lor'themar, as he shook off the helpful arm of the Honour Guards and strode purposefully towards them.
"Quel'Delar is not chosen," said Auric, looking into Navimie's eyes. "It chooses its master."
Rommath examined the sword still lying in the Sunwell. "It seems the captain is correct. Quel'Delar is not to be ours after all." He waved dismissively at the guards. "Guards, return to your posts."
Navimie rubbed her arms as the icy prison faded. She adjusted her armour and and inclined her head at Rommath. "Thank you, Grand Magister. I had no idea that the sword would act in such a manner."
Grand Magister Rommath looked at her, his eyes cold. "You have what you have come for, Navimie. Take the sword and begone. And you, Auric," he turned and glared at the High Elf. "Have a care for what you say in this sacred place."
Navimie went to the sword and reached out her hand hesitantly before she grasped the hilt of the sword, half expecting to be thrown back as Lor'themar was. However, the Restored Quel'Delar was lifeless in her hand, and she held it aloft, as Blood Elves crowded around her for a better look at the prize. The feeling of obsession with the sword had also evaporated, and she allowed the pilgrims to touch the sword, smiling at the awestruck looks on their faces as they gazed upon the lost treasure that had returned.
Auric coughed to get Navimie's attention, and getured towards a portal to Dalaran. "Carry the sword back to Dalaran through that portal, druid. You have done what many quel'dorei have dreamt of for years. Quel'Delar has been restored at last. Do not tarry here." He turned to glance at the still infuriated Lor'themar, and Navimie quickly acquiesed, and headed to the portal. She took one last glance at the Sunwell, before she activated the portal and was transported back to the cold snows of Northrend.
"Am I truly laying my eyes upon the weapon of Thalorien Dawnseeker?" Myralion's eyes were shining with such wonder, it made Navimie smile. "This is a wondrous day for the Sunreavers and for all sin'dorei! At last, Quel'Delar is restored for the glory of the Sunreavers!"
"I am happy to have helped restore this great treasure, Myralion," said Navimie, feeling pleased. She looked at the sword wistfully. She could not wield it, and it seemed a shame not to keep it, but she knew that it was best returned to the Sunreavers, whom she had fought beside and could trust.
"Myralion, the blade rejected the touch of Lord Lor'themar, and Rommath said the blade had chosen me. However, as a druid, I do not have the skills to use this blade. I would like to give it to the Sunreavers for safekeeping, to find a worthy master for it. I am sure that in time, one will appear."
"All the Horde will celebrate you as a hero, Navimie." He held out his hands, and Navimie passed the sword to him for inspection and all the Sunreaver guards cheered. "You are correct, Navimie - as a druid, the sword seems to know you lack the training to wield it and hasn't bonded to you. Where, then, will its next master come from? I will not conceal my disappointment; I had hoped it would be a worthy sin'dorei."
"It may yet be one, Myralion," said Navimie, a little disappointed that he still held onto his racial prejudices. "But we are all Horde - any of our allies would be a worthy master for the sword, as long as they fight in your name. This finding is a Victory for the Sunreavers."
"Perhaps you are right," said Myralion reluctantly, passing the sword back to Navimie. "Let us seek the Argent Crusade's counsel. Go north to the Argent Tournament Grounds and present the sword to Justicar Mariel Trueheart on behalf of the Sunreavers."
Justicar Mariel Trueheart was delighted at the news that Quel'Delar had been not only found, but restored.
"That a weapon of such power has been redeemed from the clutches of evil is a great omen in these times, Navimie. With Quel'Delar and staunch Sunreaver allies at our side, the Lich King will have good reason to fear." She accepted the sword from Navimie and exited the Argent Pavillion, and held it high above her head.
"Crusaders and combatants, a true hero stands before you this day!" she shouted, her voice carrying over the whole of the Argent Tournament grounds. "Navimie, of the Sunreavers, has restored the ancient blade of Quel'Delar as a symbol of our resolve to defeat the Lich King!"
Thundering applause and cheers filled Navimie's ears and she blushed. All this hero talk was getting rather embarrassing. She waved her thanks and turned to face Justicar Trueheart.
"The Argent Crusade maintains an arsenal of exceptional weapons for our strongest allies. Allow me to offer you your choice from among them in return for entrusting us with the care of Quel'Delar."
"Thank you, Justicar, for your generosity" said Navimie, bowing low. "It was my honour to help the Crusade and the Sunreavers."
An Argent Paladin strode out, carrying a heavy chest which contained 3 maces. Navimie cast an appreciative eye over his bulging biceps before she turned her attention to the contents of the chest. All weapons were of Blood Elf design, and were impressive looking.
Mariel drew out a tri-pointed mace with a glowing purple gem. "This is the Cudgel of Furious Justice, and this," she took out the other one handed mace forged in the shape of a dragon's head, "This is the Hammer of Purified Flame. Both weapons are suitable for someone with your skills."
Navimie peered into the chest at the last item. "What is that one?"
Mariel place the two one handed maces back into the chest and withdrew a two handed mace with four fierce prongs and a centre spike that was surrounded by magical glowing yellow runes. "This is Lightborn Spire. A worthy weapon, I think for a guardian druid such as yourself."
"Justicar Trueheart, I would like to take Lightborn Spire," said Navimie, testing the weight of the weapon in her hands.
Mariel nodded. "A good choice, druid. I hope it serves you well." The Argent Paladin closed the chest and headed back into the pavillion, and Navimie watched him walking away, a foolish smile on her lips. Mariel coughed and Navimie shook her head and laughed.
"Farewell, Justicar Truehart, and glory to the Crusade," said Navimie, as she activated her hearthstone.
"May the light be with you, Navimie," returned Mariel, as she took her leave and headed back into the Pavillion. Navimie inhaled deeply and blew out a steamy breath, happy to leave this frigid wasteland and be back in the warm sunny climate of Pandaria.
Author's Note: Phew! Took ages to get that last chapter out! You can read the whole series from the beginning if you click here.