Triumph

*Author: I recently earned “the Exalted” title for 40 exalted reputations. It’s pretty rare on Moon Guard so I decided to play it up a bit!*

He had been waiting two years for this day, and he intended to enjoy it. He felt like he was wearing wings, his soul was so light within him. As the women of his household dressed him in his finest silks, Sir Garradh and Sir Connal prepared his ceremonial armor, a suit of finest mithril lacquered in rich red, embossed with truesilver and gold, emeralds and rubies inlaid throughout the suit so it glittered magically in the light of the sun splashing through the windows. He had commissioned the armor two years ago, and today he would wear it proudly. The two-headed falcon symbol of the Tuar’annwn was worked into the armor and flocked with actual falcon’s feathers, and the cloak his mother had prepared for him was feathers tipped in ruby red on a thick fur cloak. For his crown he chose laurel leaves, proclaiming his victory over his enemies, many of whom would be there for this day.

Today Sheigh Llyrandor, High Magister of Suncrown, Lord of Quel’thalas, and Prince of Lost Eldre’thalas, would be proclaimed an Exalted Champion of the Horde.

***

The sun shone brightly in the high court of Silvermoon, banners from a dozen nations and factions flapping in a soft breeze between the Fountain of Dath’remar and the Sunstrider Bridge. Druids of Cenarius, knights of the Argent Dawn and the Ebon Blade, banners of the Darkspear Trolls and the Kor’kron Legion and the Bloodhoof Tribe. Sheigh smiled as he saw old Gnarwakkar among the delegation from Thunder Bluff, Mue’hela standing with the Cenarion Circle, and even old friends from the Iron Dragon Legion.

Lady Abriel and many surviving members of the Tuar’annwn joined him. The faithful old knight Sir Garradh carried the banner of the Tuar’annwn while Sir Connal carried a banner for House Llyrandor. Allied and subservient houses were also present, such as House Silvacce, House Vermillion and House Sylvranesti. He looked for Lady Eratika under her family’s banner, but the beautiful death knight didn’t appear to be present. Islimah’s house was represented in especial strength, Sheigh noted, and Isli looked stunning in a radiant white dress at her uncle’s side.

The Sunfury Guard snapped to attention as he proceeded across the bridge to Sunfury Spire. At the far end, waiting at the entrance of the Sunfury Spire were a delegation of the Blood Knights, Champion Vranesh among them. Sheigh greeted him coldly, staring down his nose as Vranesh greeted him as an equal. The urge to smile, to rub Vranesh’s nose in his return, was strong, but today was Sheigh’s day and he would lower himself for no man.

Past the Blood Knights were a party of archmages, openly cheering and greeting their brother mage. Many wore the purple eye of Dalaran, and he recognized several friends of his father and grandfather there. More than one clamored to shake his hand, telling him how proud his grandfather would be. He swallowed hard, fighting the urge to succumb to pride and grief, his heart tightening in joy hearing that from men and women who knew his grandfather well.

The drums and trumpets changed from the slow march to a blaring fanfare as the gates to the palace tower opened. Ranger-General Brightwing and High Magister Rommarth stepped out into the sun first, followed by four members of the Kor’kron Legion. That caught Sheigh’s eye, until Vol’jin stepped into the sun alongside the lord regent, Lor’themar Theron.

Vol’jin himself, Sheigh thought. What a great honor – not only was he being recognized by Silvermoon, but by one of Thrall’s close personal advisors and good friend. He bowed deeply before the two grand leaders. With a condescending grin, Lor’themar bowed slightly, while Vol’jin showed sincerity in his own bow. The troll broke into a nervous smile as he took Sheigh’s right hand, turning him toward the crowd. Lor’themar presented Sheigh with a silver sword in the other hand. Together they raised Sheigh’s hands, and the crowd turned to pandemonium.

***

The speeches were impressive. Vol’jin’s words were most touching, speaking of the honor of elf and troll working together, of how Sheigh had earned the respect and endearment of each faction of the Horde in turn. Lor’themar spoke of his victories over Kel’thuzad and Yogg-Saron, the battles in Quel’Danas and Icecrown. He failed to mention Sheigh’s exile from his homeland – Vol’jin did not. The reminder was sweet. Seeing Lor’themar blanch at the reminder was like candy. It was the one time Sheigh allowed himself to smile, just once to remind Lor’themar of what he had put Sheigh through.

There would be feasts for two days, drinking and dancing and even a tourney in his honor. But at the end of the night, Sheigh returned to Orgrimmar, to the tower where he considered his true home to be. His heart would not forgive Lor’themar for exiling him, even if Lor’themar had ended the exile. He would return the next morning to attend court as a Lord Magister of Quel’thalas should, but tonight he was a champion of the Horde, Thrall’s Horde, and he would sleep in Thrall’s city. As he drifted to sleep, his fiancee beside him, he dreamed of holding Lor’themar by the throat, slowly squeezing, slowly squeezing.

So sweet was the taste of vindication.

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