We’re a little behind here at ALTerior Motives, but as a friend recently told me ‘Deadlines are for squares.’ So, now we’re wrapping up here and well, of I may be so bold. Also, check back tomorrow for the start of something really big!
The gates of the University were crowded with family members desperate to check on loved ones, and others just seeking sancuary from the riots. Zha’ane and Channi worked their way to the front of the crowd only to be stopped by the guards trying to keep order with the growing mass of people.
“Wait your turn, mate!” Came the gruff order.
Zha’ane pulled out his papers identifying himself, “I’m with Kaldorei Intelligence, and I need access to these facilities immediately!”
“I don’t care if you’re Shaw himself, you have to wait your turn!”
Zha’ane looked over at Channi, and then back to the guard, “You know who Loreli Tymara is?” It was common knowledge within the school that Loreli was recently promoted to head of security, but how many people knew that outside of the school? Or cared for that matter. The guard’s eyes narrowed as he nodded in response. “This,” Zha’ane called over the noise of the crowd as he pulled Channi ahead of him, “…is her daughter! Adopted, but daughter nonetheless… lost in Northrend. I find her and bring her back to… this?!” He gestured at the chaos surrounding them. “I don’t know about you, but if word got back to Loreli after this was all said and done that her daughter was denied entrance… I just don’t want to be the one that made that call is all I’m saying.”
The guard looked at Zha’ane through narrowed eyes yet again, then he shifted his gaze at Channi. He’d heard something about a girl.. a death knight asking about Loreli a week or so ago. Damn it! He knew he was being held by his short and curlies on this one. Damned if he did, and damned if he didn’t. Oh well, better to be safe and let them in. At least I might still have a job afterwards. he thought to himself. “Fine! You two! Get in here!” There was a shuffling of guards as they were allowed to pass, followed by loud yells from those behind them. “But you have to leave your weapons here!”
“But I’m with KI?” Zha’ane replied.
“That might mean somethin’ in Darnassus, but on my campus, it doesn’t mean jack! Hand ‘em over! You’ll get them back when you leave.” He took pleasure in having some kind of power over this night elf.
Now it was Zha’ane’s turn to narrow his eyes. He knew he could get passed them if he wanted to, but he was already pressing his luck using Loreli’s name to get in. He pulled his main daggers and placed them in the the guard’s hands.
“Hers too, mate!” he motioned to the death knight. Channi looked to Zha’ane who nodded approval but kept his eyes on the guard. She handed over her battle axe reluctantly. She couldn’t remember ever not having a weapon within easy reach.
“Can you at least tell me where can I find Lore?” asked Zha’ane.
“Look, I’m letting you in because you say she’s her daughter! Ms. Tymara is a very busy woman right now, and I can’t keep tabs on her. You’ll just have to go to the Quad with all the others, and catch up with her later.” If she really is Loreli’s daughter, then at least I let her in. “Through that door and wait for the next group to be escorted to the quad.” He then turned around and tried to make sense of the crowd at his gate. “One at a time!”
Zha’ane watched for a moment and then turned to the indicated door with a heavy sigh. This wasn’t turning out like he hoped.
Channi watched as Zha’ane paced back and forth while they waited for the escort to the quad. She still felt inclined to ask about what was going on, and why he tracked her down to bring her home, and why he was so familiar. So many more questions, but once they were through the portal, and in the middle of the riots, she figured there would be more time to talk later. Now still didn’t seem like a good time. She would wait, then.
After about ten minutes, the door that they were to be led through opened and in walked a tall male night elf and a female draenei that was almost as tall. They seemed to belong there and were apparently their escorts. The night elf stood silently looking over the crowd in the room, watching for any potential problems. It was the draenei that spoke up first, “Attention! Can I have your attention?” The crowd stood up, anxious to move along and get closer to loved ones and away from the riots outside the gates. As the nervous murmuring died down, Channi was immediately aware of Zha’ane at the front of the crowd, speaking in hushed tones with their escorts. Judging by the smiles on all three faces, they knew each other and were happy to see one another.
Then their faces turned to look at her, and once again, she could see the surprise… and remorse in their eyes. Eyes that seemed familiar, but not. It was a disquieting feeling that others seemed to know more about her than she did. And they always felt sorry for her. She felt herself flush with self consciousness as she involuntarily tried to shrink back into herself and become smaller so they couldn’t see her. But it was too late for that, they were already motioning for her to come forward. The rest of the crowd in the room watched and murmered as she slowly got up and walked to the front of the room.
“Oh my….” said the draenei. “Channi…? Do you remember Gin, and me?” She motioned to the night elf next to her as she spoke. Channi could only shake her head and glance at all three of them. The draenei smiled, ” It’s ok. I’m sure in time, we can reawaken your memories.” Then she looked back to Zha’ane, “Loreli was in the infirmary the last I heard, and I can take you there, but we have to get these…” she gestured at the others in the room, “…visitors to the central quad first.”
“Thank you!” replied Zha’ane. The relief becoming readily apparant as he was that much closer to his goal.
Or was it something more? Channi thought to herself. Yes, he was relieved, but there was another feeling that she could read as well. A nervousnesss… Anticipation? He still seemed worried. About what, she couldn’t be sure but it was there.
She was startled from her thoughts by the night elf giving her a gentle pat on her shoulder armor and a smile. Again, the remorse was there in his eyes and again, they were eyes she remembered but didn’t at the same time. Then she heard the draenei speaking again.
“Everyone, my name is Arliece, and this gentleman here is Ginawa. We will be escorting you to the Central Quad where you will be kept safe from the riots outside. If any of you have family members attending here as students or staff, please place your name on this list here,” she held up a clip board with some parchment on it,” and we will post it where the students and staff can check and come to visit you, or take you back to their dorms. Unfortunately, for your safety, and that of our students and staff, we cannot allow you to wander the campus, so please bear with us.” With that, the crowd shuffled forward as the clipboard was passed around.
After a short walk through the hallways of the University, they found themselves in a large open air quad. Those that had arrived before, were sitting quietly, holding loved ones brought with them while watching the smoke in the skies. Finally, being removed from the riots, they had a chance to calm down and try to fight the shock over the events of the evening. Channi watched quietly as a student came out to find his family and felt something stir within her as hugs and cries of joy sounded when loved ones were recognized. It was an unfamiliar feeling, an emptiness that she couldn’t identify.
She was brought back to her senses by Zha’ane nudging her lightly, “Channi? Come on. It’s time to find Loreli.” He smiled at her as he said this. Again, so familiar and so full of sadness for her. But also… Hope? She was not sure, but something inside told her that was what it was. The more she watched, the more she observed of those around her, the more intrigued she was. Who was I? How do they all know me? Why do they all feel sorry for me? So many questions. So much to understand. She nodded at the once familiar face, and followed quietly.
They walked down a couple more hallways to another building. Channi was lost in her thoughts when she felt a soft furry nudge next to her. She recoiled at the surprise, but then realized that Ginawa was apparently a druid and had changed into cat form next to her. He seemed to want her to pet him. After a couple nights at the Pig & Whistle, she had observed others petting the large cats, and even had a chance to pet one herself. It was a new exprience for her, but it was not unpleasant. She afforded herself a small smile as she gently reached out and stroked the big cat behind the ear. She seemed to be doing it right, for he leaned into it and this made her smile more.
Arliece led them to one more building and then down some steps to a basement. It was well lit with candles and some kind of gnomish technology that energized bright bars of light. Inside they found a number of people injured in some way or another being treated by others. The less injured ones were being cared for by what were apparently students of the various healing arts, while the staff oversaw the more serious injuries.
Loreli was in the far corner near an open door animatiedly speaking with a female paladin with red hair. Zha’ane saw her and hurriedly thanked Arliece and Ginawa before rushing off to speak with her. Loreli appeared disheveled, like she’d just come back in from the chaos outside. Her eyes opened wide as she recognized Zha’ane and she threw her arms around him in relief. Channi watched as Loreli pulled back and asked Zha’ane a question. He nodded with a smile and then motioned to where Channi waited quietly with Ginawa and Arliece. Loreli looked over at her and rushed to the death knight and hugged her tightly.
“Oh, thank Elune, you’re safe!” Loreli pulled back and kissed her cheek and Channi was surprised to feel tears on her adopted mother’s face. She blinked as she was once again the center of attention. But this time, she welcomed the feeling. There was something… comforting in the embrace and show of emotion. Instinctively she felt herself reach out and pull Loreli close as well. It was her first hug. And again… it was not an unpleasant feeling for the death knight. No… that wasn’t quite right. It was the girl that found a sense of belonging. And with that, she that realized that this was the reason they all fought the Lich-King: Love.
And with that, she began to understand…