The first silvered tongues of the Kalimdor morning breached the mist shrouded pines of the Draenei’s new home, and the world awoke to a new, precious day. Pavla Illaris sat down in the dew-wetted grass, closed her eyes, and lifted her face towards the sun with a smile. She lost herself here each morning in the deep rumblings of the earth and whispers of the wind – the very breath of the world itself. She could feel each soothing intake and the reluctant exhale. The breath of convalescence; of a world mending itself after the great tragedy of the Legion’s second invasion. It was easy and rhythmic, nothing like the tortured and ragged inhalations of the shattered Draenor. Here she could feel life and growth, and not the tortured imprints of a world broken and her own people mercilessly slaughtered.
The life in this world made her feel alive.
She opened her eyes and stared into the mists, her thoughts drifting back towards the mundane. Things of lesser importance, as her mother would say. Selfish things. Irregardless, this new world was an opportunity for her. Gone were the days of ceaseless war, of fear that the next dawn would be your last, and of old orthodoxies and old ways. Before her lay a new world, its heart only lightly touched by the taint that had destroyed her old home. Azeroth was not beyond repair, and there were those who she knew were setting themselves to that very task. The spirits were seductive, and she knew that they pushed her towards this course that she now found herself on. They whispered in visions of recent tragedies in the lands she knew of only from those few soldiers of the Alliance Expedition who had survived the sundering of her homeland, but they also hinted at changes within the ranks of the hated Orcs and of peoples and lands she could only imagine in her dreams. Nothing was specified, and nothing was clear. The spirits, it seemed, to believe that knowledge earned was more worthwhile than knowledge given. Still, patience was not one of her virtues, and she ached to see what was intended of her. Moreso, she ached to escape, but such a thing would be difficult.
She rose slowly, dusting off her pants, and turned away from the dawn. She had come to hate returning from these early morning sojourns to a life she lamented. Since arriving here in Azeroth the tensions within her own household had risen considerably. Her parents seemed lost, and like so many people they seemed to concern themselves with scavenging through the remains of the Exodar, searching for their old lives amongst the rubble. So much had been left behind in their escape, and absently the past few days had left her wondering if perhaps the steel that had been the Draenei had finally bent under the eons of pressure applied by their enemies. The mood was somber and quiet. Some lingered around the ship – well, city, now – in a state of shock. Others seemed to be setting themselves to rebuild, however. Again.
Overhead the sky rumbled. A storm was on its way.
She ducked into one of the small makeshift hovels that had been raised above and blow the earth around the crashed ship. Seated inside, sorting through a pile of scrapped belongings, were her mother and father. Immediately her father, a graying and venerable Draenei, looked up from his seat and scowled. Pavla met the stare and narrowed his eyes as he rose and strode past her out into the mists.
Pavla sighed and flopped into her father’s now vacant seat. “How long will this continue?”
Her mother pursed her lips in a way she had come to despise over the years she had sparred with both of her parents. It was a patronizing, and it made her stomach turn.
“He is very upset with you, Pavla,” her mother said evenly.
“He has been upset with me for years.”
“I really have no intention of arguing with you.”
“You bring such things on yourself. If you would make the right decisions in your life we would not need to have such discussions.”
“Discussions? More like lectures.”
Her mother exhaled through her teeth in exasperation.
“You have no idea,” Pavla said.
“How this world feels.”
“My own daughter, a heathen.”
“If you could see what I see…”
“Hush!” Her mother stood up quickly, nearly toppling the table. “Let me tell you something, child. You share your beliefs with those who slaughtered us! The bones of our people litter that broken world because of those who worship as you do! Look at what they have done to us. We huddle on these islands and try to find ourselves again. We survive because of our devotion to the Light. We have survived and will continue to survive because of it, but only if our children do not stop turning away from what is right!”
These words, in a myriad of different forms and tones, had been repeated thousand times over in a thousand arguments. Pavla was sick of it. She was done with all of it. She bit her tongue, her usual angry response dying in her throat. Instead, she rose, and said simply, “I’m leaving.”
Her mother looked across the table at her, her eyes widening. “Leaving?”
“Here. This city. These damned little islands.”
“Pavla… Why? I’m sorry!”
“It’s not that…. I mean, it is, but there’s so much more.”
Pavla rose from her seat and leaned forward, shifting through the scraps on the table. Most had belonged to her parents… Heirlooms from ancient ancestors now lost to the ages. Some were her things, though. A woolen doll, now torn apart beyond repair. Her hairbrush, laying in a similar condition. For the first time she finally understood her parents and their plight, and that they could never see beyond the eons that the Draenei had run and hid or the slaughter they had all endured. They lived in the past, and she strove for a future.
“I remember how you once adored this,” her mother said as she picked up the doll. She turned it over in her hands before setting it back atop the pile.
Pavla bit her bottom lip and titled her head. “I once did, but that was a long time ago. You always talk of the past and what it means to our people. I should become a paladin because it is what our family does? Mother, look around you There is a future for me here. There is a future for us. Dreanor was a dead world, shattered by the corrupt. We have a chance to begin again here…. To find something else instead of tradition and flight.”
She sighed and fell silent, settling back into her chair. A long, uncomfortable silence hung heavy between the two women.
“I’ll bet you’re hungry, dear,” her mother finally said. “I’ll get you something to eat.”
Pavla picked up the beaten doll and stared into its black, button eyes