Smoke rose from Felwood. The high slopes in the mountains between the now cursed land and the icy Winterspring were drowning in ashes descending from the acrid clouds above. Hours prior one may have heard a cacophony of screams from elf, demon, and beast alike. Now the only sounds were the distant crackling of trees falling to the forest floor, dead and burned. What was once a small hamlet dug into the rock of a mountainside was now naught but a ruin. Bits of corpses were scattered about, blanketed by ash in the blasted cobbled road dividing the town in half. Scorched buildings now lie about as rubble. No fires remained burning here; none like the blazes down in the fel landscape of the valley. Rheana Snowblind left a trail of lonely footsteps in the dust behind her as she strode through her childhood home, surveying what the legion had wrought in her lands. With no eyes to see, the night elf listened in the silence for a sign of life, any life. She focused on scents, trying to divine the smells of frightful survivors in the barren waste. The air was foul and hot, evaporating the sweat from her skin and cracking her lips more with every passing moment. When at last she arrived at the center of the village, Rheana was somewhat pleased to discover the central building largely intact. The stone tower had been built by the highborn for watchers to oversee the land below, and the highborn had built it to last.
She carefully ascended the ancient staircase, wary for loose stone or a sudden collapse. She reached the top, having encountered no problems along the way. Once there, she began focusing her magic on her empty eye sockets. The world around her lit up in her mind. Far, far below her was a world on fire. But she did not climb all this way to cast her phantom sight on the mess she had witnessed made firsthand. She turned to look upon her home. It was dark and cold in comparison to the glow she had seen behind her. Not a single ember of life flickered in the gray ash piles. No elves, no demons, no birds, and not one trace of her family. The heat of a thousand forges burst from Rheana’s breast. She had held on to hope: stupid, arrogant hope that she could still find them in time. The flame within her coursed through her veins, and fueled a roar of pure rage, fury, and sorrow that rang out across the valley and soared up into the heavens. Light flashed before her phantom eyes. Flames of green flared to life all around her; the air sickened and burned while the stone at her feet began to crumble at the intense pressure of demonic-powered emotion. The tower fell, but Rheana rose. From her back emerged a pair of wings that cut through the air as swords through flesh. The elf’s piercing howl ceased. Her ears still rang with fiery rage, her mouth stinging with bitter regret. Slowly, she lowered herself from the air onto the ruins of the broken watchtower. So much for building something to last.
After her outburst, Rheana walked as though a ghost in living flesh. The heat did not touch her as it had before, and the thirst did not demand to be quenched. All sounds and scents were muted now. Something near where her eyes used to be, a muscle was tingling, unable to operate as it once had. It seemed she could no longer shed tears, though her greatest sorrow had been realized. A strange thought to touch her mind now. Without fully realizing it, the night elf arrived at her new destination. A foot scraped against the stone of another old structure, this one far less grand. Though the waters were long gone by now, Rheana knew that she had found the town’s Moonwell. The elf knelt in reverence of the goddess she had turned her back on. She had no shoulder to cry on, and no tears to shed. Instead she sent her voice up to someone she had never known.
“Elune,” she began shakily, “I have not prayed to you for some time. I haven’t the mind for piousness anymore. Though none may remember my name, and may never recall why I acted as I have, whether for good or ill, it matters not. What matters is that we noble few stood against a legion. Justice demands that blood be spilt for our crimes, and history shall say we were all of us liars and heretics. I shall not ask for forgiveness. I shall not even ask of you salvation for my damned spirit. All I desire now is the will to enact vengeance! For if I do not take a stand, who will?” The elf stood, ash slipping from her leggings at the motion. She turned from the well as rain began to fall all around her. She lifted her empty eyes to the sky above and said one final line of prayer, “Farewell, my goddess. I must go now…to drag your foes back to the hell from whence they came!”