The pin gleamed brightly, not a speck of tarnish on its shining mithril surface. It took every sliver of self control the young girl possessed to stand still at attention as the commanding officer made his way down the line of seven soldiers. Four were receiving their first commendation, two their second, but Lauren was the only one in the group to receive her third token of valor. Ashlam Valorfist's face was stoic and impassive as he affixed the pin to Wren's cloak, extending the string of decorations downward below the Dawn insignia itself.
“For meritorious service, the Argent Dawn recognizes Lauren Montrose, with its gratitude. Shall the light ever ascend.” Valorfist saluted the girl, who found the ability to stand a quarter of an inch taller as she crisply raised her hand to her brow. The company was dismissed, and Wren walked over to her chestnut filly whom she had tethered to a tree just on the edge of Chillwind Camp.
“Ready to head out again, Mora?”
Lauren smiled. She knew he had to be nearby. He always was during the award ceremony. “Thanks, Barrien!” she said as she tugged and unknotted the leather straps.
“Third commendation, hmm? Don't see those often here at our little outpost.”
Wren positively beamed. “Just doing my job. Turns out I make a good soldier.”
“Yes, Montrose, you do. A little too good, in fact.”
The girl turned to face the draenei, a quizzical look on her face. “What do you mean?”
“What I mean is that soldiers like you don't stay here in the west this long, Montrose. Why did you turn down your transfer to Light's Hope?”
Lauren returned her attention to the horse. “Still got work to do here.”
“And there are plenty of recruits to pick those missions up.” Barrien glanced around and lowered his voice, stepping closer. “Frankly, ever since Arthas launched that little incursion on Stormwind a couple months ago, we're up to our tendrils in mediocre soldiers. We need good ones, Montrose. We need you.”
Wren continued to protest. “Andorhal–”
“–has been that way for years and will be for years to come,” the draenei interrupted. “I admire your tenacity, Montrose, even though I don't believe it's completely genuine. Now, have I earned enough of your respect these two fortnights to get the truth out of you?”
The girl slowly turned once again to face her mentor. She looked up into his glowing eyes for a long, long moment “You're right, Barrien. I am a soldier. I go where I am needed most.”
The great blue figure considered Lauren, as if trying to decide how to answer. Finally he took a step back. “Light show you the way, Montrose.” He reached a massive hand out toward the warrior, and Lauren accepted the handshake with a nod. “Come see me again soon, Wren,” said Barrien kindly before turning back toward the camp.
The girl finished untying her horse, mounted, and rode north out of Chillwind. A few minutes later she found herself at a quiet crossroad, the last bit of peace she'd find before entering scourge territory. She eased the filly to a halt and pulled a small envelope out of her saddlebag. The crease of the flap was wearing thin where it had been opened and closed many times over. Wren eased the note out, careful not to drop either of the smaller grey slips it contained. She unfolded the letter and read it again, then pulled forth the smaller of the two frayed cuttings.
Argent Dawn Honors Soldiers
The name Lauren Montrose had been circled in charcoal pencil, practically worn away from handling. She then looked at the larger of the slips.
Scores Massacred In Northeast Lordaeron
In a flowing red ink, the following words had been written:
Promise you'll never go here
Her mother's handwriting was messier than normal; she must have written the note in haste. Wren stared at the slip, rereading the same five words she'd read a dozen times already. “I'm sorry,” she whispered, and replaced the letter and the cuttings once again into the envelope and the envelope into the saddlebag. Lauren turned her horse to the right, pointing her east. “Fly, Mora!”
writing/the silver cord ch 03.txt · Last modified: September 3, 2011 by Dave Leach