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(( Iana was keeper of the Order's Chronicles, but I wrote this piece as part of an exercise in "what if", posted in Starlight's story forum. Thought it should be here too, as there's no other story of the Order's fall. Though the scene didn't happen, the account of events the Sentinal gives is accurate.

- Auburn ))

Fallen Orders Edit

I haven’t been here for a while

In blindness and decay the circle’s been closed, now

My song of the end

I’ve seen it all

~ Blind Guardian: Past And Future Secret

The tide goes out, quiet and unassuming. Pools left behind on the rocky shore trap groupers and crayfish, leave them vulnerable to the gulls careening down from a murky sky. It’s a deserted shore like any other, in an alien land where dusk is forever.

“It began almost as soon as Argent Dawn’s letter arrived from the Plaguelands,” the Sentinel explains, in her quiet, even voice, hand resting against the shoulder of her armoured frostsabre. “It was easy to trace, it’s a matter of public record in Stormwind, and our own people there notified us in due course.” She pauses, looks at the woman lower on the hillside, hiding inside her cloak and determinedly flicking small stones out to sea. “The Order of the Silver Sun is no more. But you knew that.”

“Just tell me.”

The Sentinel nods once. “They were distracted by new enemies, a cult in Stormwind. They never found a replacement to their Council. They took new members, but trusted too easily the purity of their motives. They took new duties, ambitious and moral ones. They were Iana’s children in that – they didn’t let fear stop them from pursuing justice.

“Stormwind will say the Order failed. Outnumbered, untrained and outmatched vigilantes should not be responsible for the safety of a city: everyone knows this. Those who view them kindly will say they did the only thing that could be done to save the city from an even more ill-suited custodian, the Scarlet zealots who even in these times would rather fight their allies than their enemies. Those who view them poorly … they’ll simply say they lacked the discipline for the task. A command where leaders cannot rise above their grievances is doomed. Perhaps that is part of the truth as well – I know they fought amongst themselves.”

“Y’ say that like y’ think there’s more.”

The Sentinel shrugs. “Politics. Those never tell the full story. Those are not the reasons I’ll give the Sentinels for our sister’s fate.”

“What is then?”

“Betrayal.” The Sentinel draws herself up, tossing her mane of black hair, hands closing on her hilts. The other woman tenses, looks back at her and waits. “There were three. The first was a former Crusader, who turned traitor on the people who took her in after she betrayed her brothers. The second was a friend of hers, one of the newcomers. They lost their nerve, they betrayed their oaths and crossed over to the enemy – or perhaps they were traitors from the start. If Iana’s Order lost heart, part of it went when these two failed them. The third … Darnassus isn’t proud of that. A druid, though now a traitor to the Circle as well as her former friends. She tried to kill Iana before – this time she brought the other two to assist, and succeeded.

“Entriia Darkstorm, Honoria Detol, Ems Carpenter. Our sister’s death is on the hands of these three. Elune willing, they will answer for their treachery.”

The woman listens but says nothing, just flings a stone out to sea, hard, and watches it fall. “What about the others? There’s still—”

The Sentinel shakes her head. “Gone from Stormwind. Scattered. Hiding, I think – we’ve seen some in Darnassus, but they’re no-one’s faithful anymore. None of the surviving leaders are strong enough to carry the torch without Iana.” The Sentinel pauses, eyeing the cloaked women. “Unless you—”

“Unless I what?”

“You asked about them – and I know your loyalty.”

The woman scatters the rest of her stones in a wide arc, and turns and walks over to the supplies the Sentinel brought for her. She picks up the greatsword set against the pack and shoulders one after the other, winces a little as the weight settles on badly healed bones. “Thanks fer the gear, Thelia, an’ the news. I owe ya one.”

The Sentinel gives a gracious nod, still watching her. “You’re not returning, then.”

“T’ what?”

“You can’t hide forever. Not even as your race defines it.”

The woman stops, hesitates. She presses her fingertips into the pit of her own palm, into soft new skin, without any of the familiar calluses or scars. She hasn’t told the story, the Sentinel hasn’t asked. Some tales you don’t share. She shakes her head. “They didn’ owe me a thing. I don’ owe ‘em no more. The Order dies with Iana.”

She looks back at the Sentinel, and offers her hand.

“As you say.” The Sentinel frowns but clasps the woman’s forearm firmly, and nods once. “May Elune and your Light guide you.”

“I’ll need ‘em. But they get around, so I reckon they can spare an eye fer you too.” A sharp nod, a quick clap on the Sentinel’s shoulder. “Step careful, ey?”

With that she walks away, picking her way carefully up the hillside from the shore, leaving the Sentinel and her saber to return to civilisation alone.

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