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The Silver Cord

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Chapter Eight

“Hold on!” Ocilla yelled over the sound of the wind in her ears as the open-air tram car whisked its occupants toward the dwarven capital. She leapt to the aid of her daughter, bracing the girl’s arms as Lauren struggled to swing one foot up and onto the speeding platform. Breathless and bloodied, the warrior scrambled onto the vehicle’s floor.

A silent moment passed as all three of the train’s passengers looked at one another, heartbeats slowing and shaky hands growing calm. They glanced back and forth, the man, the woman, and the girl, as if trying to wordlessly come to a consensus on who should speak first.

“Who–,” said Lauren.

“Why–,” started Roswell

“What–,” began Ocilla.

The man raised a hand, cutting them all short. “Lauren, I think you’ve earned the right to begin.”

“Who are you?” the girl asked without hesitation, shouting to be heard over the rushing air and clanking of metal wheels on their rail.

Wren’s mother’s eyes drifted over to the strange man, the person who had recruited the young girl into the ranks of the Argent Dawn when no one else would have her. He leaned inward, motioning for the women to do the same. “My name is Roswell, Lauren. Roswell King. I am….” He looked back at Ocilla, the corners of his mouth turning up ever so slightly. “I am an old friend of your mother. She asked me to seek you out, to guide you into the Dawn.”

“We had to know that you were okay, Lauren,” the healer interrupted. “We couldn’t keep an eye on you ourselves, so I asked for Roswell’s help.”

The warrior furrowed her eyebrows. “You told him to spy on me.” The girl’s face flashed brightly, lit from beneath as the car passed over a spotlight mounted to the trench floor.

“No, Montrose, she did not,” King replied. “And if she had I would not have done so. I am in a position within the Dawn to know things. All your mother asked me to do is pass along any details that might come my way, such as your assignments and commendations.”

“I know you went east to Light’s Hope,” Ocilla added, moving to turn her back to the rushing air. She pulled up the cowl of her cloak to shield her ears from the noise. Lauren started to argue, but her mother cut her short. “It’s okay, angel. I shouldn’t have sent you that note in the first place. I’m sorry. I’m your mother and I can’t help it.”

“What’s with the hood? What are you hiding from?” the girl asked.

“You know what, Lauren. I can’t be seen with you in public.” Ocilla looked as though she were bearing a great weight.

“You don’t work for the church,” retorted the girl. “You can talk to me all you want.”

“It’s not that easy,” her mother replied with eyes closed and head bowed. The trio squinted, suddenly bathed in ambient blue light. The tram car entered the glass tunnels beneath the shallow sea: a submarine connection between the upper and lower pieces of the continent. “Your father has… bent the rules more than he should. He won’t give up fighting your excommunication.” Wren smirked as a warm sensation spread down her forearms. Ocilla, seeing her daughter’s reaction, shook her head. “You don’t get it, Lauren. He’s close to being….” She took a steadying breath. “He’s putting this family in danger because of you. If the archbishops decide they’ve had enough of him, of me, of any of us, then he and your sisters could all be cast out. They don’t need a reason, angel.”

The smile faded from the girl’s lips. She’d never heard her mother talk so openly about her frustrations with her father. “You… you have to tell him to stop.” The words came slowly, as if Lauren were a puppet mouthing the voice of someone else. The mother nodded knowingly as the tram car plunged back into darkness.

As if on cue, Roswell cleared his throat. “I’m sorry to cut short the reunion, but we’ll be at Ironforge before long and Lauren and I still have a few issues to address.”

Even in the half light, the girl’s scowl was plain. “I don’t care what you–“

“Be silent,” interrupted the man. He didn’t yell or raise his voice so much as simply command. “You have had your chance to ask questions, Montrose. Now is the time for you to listen.”

“I’m not wearing your damned pin,” Wren fired back. “I’m not Dawn anymore.”

“Yes, you are,” replied King. “Section Eleven, Common Code of Enlisted Judgment: ‘No resignation of commission shall be deemed official unless presented in writing to a Warrant Captain or higher official.’”

“Whatever,” Lauren growled.

“You have no idea how much trouble you are in right now, soldier. Absence without leave, conduct unbecoming the Argent Dawn, assault of a superior officer. That last one alone could land you twenty years’ hard labor at Silkworm.” The man paused, letting the words hang in the turbulent air.

The voice of Wren’s mother softly and cautiously broke the quiet. “Roswell, please.”

“Ocilla, that you are a friend is the only reason I’m not escorting your daughter to the brig.” He exhaled and coughed a few times. “Now, here is what is going to happen when we arrive in Ironforge. Lauren, you are going straight to the gryphons and reporting to Light’s Hope. Go to the quartermaster for a new badge of commission and then see the duty officer for your assignment. You will be disciplined for your absence these past few days. Perform your penance and move on. Is that clear?”

Wren gave no response.

“I said, is that clear soldier?”

Again the man’s words were met only with the clatter of the tram car on its overhead track.

“Fine. Ocilla, you will escort me to the medical unit in the Military Ward. From there I want you to visit the physician’s office in the Forge. You must tell no one what has happened today. Create a cover story for your visit and mention it as appropriate.” The car jerked upward and a few hundred yards ahead the tunnel’s exit zoomed into view.

“Soldier, my half-brother is a highly placed operative of the Scarlet Crusade. The atrocities he has committed have cost my family dearly. I will not rest until those dogs have been wiped from the face of Azeroth and beyond.” The man struggled to his feet, and Ocilla jumped up to aid him. “Remember that as you return to your post, but otherwise forget this afternoon ever happened.”

Wren blinked her eyes a couple of times as she stood. She looked to her mother who nodded and kissed her daughter on the cheek. “We love you, Lauren. All of us. We are so proud of you. Don’t throw what you’ve earned away. Don’t… don’t throw what we have all paid away.” The car eased to a halt at the platform. “Go now, angel, and may the Light watch and protect you.”

Lauren turned and wordlessly pushed her way into the crowd of people milling about the station. A gnome in a red jumpsuit spoke into a small conical device that amplified his voice. “Trains to Stormwind will resume shortly, everybody! Just a little mechanical trouble. We’ll be up and running again in no time at all!”

This is the end of the story as it was originally written. I began a ninth chapter with an amusing scene involving Wren having to dig latrines behind Light's Hope and concluding with her being given a mission to scout into Stratholme, which would have linked up with the in-game roleplay done by the group. Unfortunately the paper I wrote that story on has been lost.

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writing/the silver cord ch 08.txt · Last modified: September 3, 2011 by Dave Leach

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