The room was small, but awe-inspiring in its scope. Elven nobles from all corners of Quel’Thalas were gathered about, lounging on soft pillows while their assistants ran messages back and forth between them. The walls were lined with the elite Royal Guard, standing sharply behind their long, slender shields. Their striking red armor wove a colorful tapestry against the backdrop of rich blue velvet along the walls. Nobles and courtiers wore clothing of all colors, a kaleidoscope of sight that matched the sound of a half-hundred voices speaking politely to each other.
Sheigh had been to the Throne Room of Silvermoon many times, but only a few times when the Council had been summoned together. He thought back to the last time, trying not to shudder as he remembered the disastrous outcome of the Council’s judgment that time.
Before the great winged throne of the kingdom of Quel’Thalas, Regent-Lord Lor’themar Theron stood in discussion with his close advisors, Grand Magister Rommath and Ranger-General Halduron Brightwing. Also in the crowd were various nobles and commanders, the elite of elven leadership and society.
The room hushed as Sheigh entered, his small entourage close behind him. Sir Garradh, Sir Velindren and Sir Connal flanked him in the traditional armor of the Tuar’annwn, emerald green chainmail with golden trim and long, elaborate spears of ruby and gold. He chose not to bring any other advisors, and his own dress was simple – a red robe and tabard in the colors of House Llyrandor. His jewelry was simple, and he bore no headdress or crown. Today, he told himself, he was a humble servant of the Council, nothing more, just as Garradh had instructed him. “Avoid pomp and circumstance,” the venerable knight had advised, “and accept graciously whatever task the Council puts before you. You are not a conqueror, you are not the Exalted Champion, today you are simply a minor noble among his betters.” Sheigh had protested, but Garradh’s words held experience and wisdom, and he eventually acquiesced.
Many nobles rose as he entered. He saw faces familiar and strange. Among them were lords of houses such as Silvacce and Vermillion, DeTrais, Evermoon, and other minor noble houses. Major houses such as Windrunner and Sunsworn dotted the room. Dame Auriferous of Tranquillien, Duke Deh’lorei of Eversong and Lord Saltheril of the Western Marches were also present, as were many Blood Knight, Blood Hawk, Ranger and Farstrider commanders and nobles. They gazed upon him curiously, so different than the last time he had entered this room before them. It unnerved him all the same, and in his mind he felt the shackles on his ankles and wrists just as he had worn last time.
He entered the room slowly and deliberately, descending to the bottom of the room and bowing before the Lord Regent. Lor’themar nodded and smiled before taking a seat in front of the throne. The room fell silent as the Lord Regent raised his hand to speak.
“Lord Sheigh of House Llyrandor, thank you for joining us so quickly,” he said, speaking without a hint of deceit or sarcasm. Sheigh was off-put by that – he and Lor’themar were no fast friends. “The Council is looking forward to speaking with you today.”
Sheigh bowed again. “Thank you, my lord. I wish naught but to serve the will of Quel’Thalas.”
Strangely it was Magister Rommarth who replied. “Lord Llyrandor, the Council has a very specific task which we believe you may have the skills to accomplish. It will not be easy or quick, and it is of the utmost importance to our people. We must be sure we are choosing the right man for the job, so we have summoned you here to answer the Council’s questions.”
He swallowed hard, fear of the unknown creeping into the back of his mind. “I will answer truthfully, Lord Magister.”
“Indeed.” The voice came from his left, and he turned to face Dame Auriferous. That confirms my suspicions and those of Sir Garradh, he thought. I am being tasked with retaking Suncrown Village from the Scourge! He tried not to show his happiness as she spoke. “Lord Llyrandor, your House was charged with the defense of Lake Elrendar, a duty it failed to accomplish during the Lich King’s invasion of our lands. Your family’s traditional home was overrun and remains occupied to this day, is that correct?”
He nodded, “It is, milady.”
“Most lands in the south were overrun by the Scourge, thanks to the actions of the traitor Drathir,” a voice to his right spoke. “Very few of those lands have been liberated even to this day. Undead and Amani trolls roam the land. Yet you fought against both Deatholme and Zul’Aman with great success, did you not, Lord Llyrandor?”
“I did, milord,” he responded, unsure if he should elaborate. It was a strange counter to the Dame of Tranquillien’s rather pointed question, and he wondered what exactly it foretold.
“Later you fought in the Plaguelands and became a champion of the Argent Dawn, did you not?”
He nodded again. “I am an Argent Champion and Crusader amongst the Argent Dawn, milord.”
“But after that, you took the bulk of your house and its allies into Draenor to follow your Prince, abandoning the defense of Quel’Thalas!” The harshness of the speaker made Sheigh cringe. A blood knight, a nobleman, was angrily pointing at him. He recognized his old nemesis, Vranesh. “I personally know that many of your finest knights were killed in battle in that foolhardy crusade as you seeked to join Prine Kael’thas and his Illidari forces!”
Sheigh bit his tongue as the crowd murmered, some in agreement with Champion Vranesh, some in dissent. “You were tried as a traitor!” a voice cried out, followed by another. “Why should we consider this man?”
“SILENCE!” the voice of Lor’themar echoed across the room, forcing the nobles to calm themselves. As the crowd died down, he turned to Sheigh. “Lord Llyrandor, you may answer this yourself. We seek your truthful answer.”
Sheigh nodded, gathering his thoughts. He needed to say this correctly or risk more trouble. With a deep breath, he cleared his mind and began. “Lord and ladies, I was sent to trial for treason, for supporting Prince Kael’thas. As was stated in my pardon, my intentions were not to see through those foul actions that we know occurred in Draenor and on Quel’Danas, but rather to attempt to save our beloved line of Sunstrider kings. Prince Kael’thas was a friend of my father’s, and my grandfather served King Anestarion to his death, as did my father. I believed that, if there were any way to save the Prince from the path he was taking, it was my duty as his vassal to try to save him. I failed in that effort, and the Prince made his unholy pact with the Burning Legion.
“Yes, many of my finest knights and followers died in Draenor, died in a fool’s errand to save a madman from himself as Lord Vranesh would have you believe. Rather, as you all now know, I fought to save the lives of those who had lost the ability to think rationally for themselves. The charges of usurpation against me were trumped up, as was later proven in testimony. All here who know me know my heart was true, and was looking after the best interests of the kingdom.”
Lor’themar nodded his approval.
One of the minor nobles of House Sunsworn stood, looking at a piece of paper. “Lord Llyrandor, we have all reviewed your letters and marques of note. Champion of the Argent Dawn, Guardian of the Cenarion Circle, Champion of the Na’aru, Undying Champion of Naxxramas, one of the first Twilight Vanquishers, and even this Exalted Champion of the Horde. I must ask, milord, are you truly such a great philanthropist or do you only seek fame and glory?”
Sheigh smiled, deciding to answer honestly. “Some of both, milord.” The crowd chuckled, or frowned. “I have earned many titles for many reasons. You will note, milord, that the reason behind earning those titles was my work fighting against enemies of the Horde, enemies of the Kingdom. Some of my marques are for recognizing peace amongst the Alliance and Horde, or for helping victims of the wars.”
“And yet you were involved in the organization of Golavar the Hellcaller’s attack on the Alliance?”
Another weighty question, Sheigh realized. “Yes, milord. Following the attempt on Lord-Regent Theron’s life, I felt a warlike response was needed. I commanded the attack on Darnassus.”
“You did a fair bit more than command it, based on eyewitness accounts, Lord Llyrandor.” The unidentified noble opened a scroll. “Lord Sheigh was instrumental in swaying public opinion in favor of the attack, during a meeting of leaders in Orgrimmar. Lord Sheigh established the four-city plan and organized the attackers into four columns. Lord Sheigh established the date as well as the timetable for the attack. Lord Sheigh participated in the attack on Theramore.” He rolled the scroll back up. “Do you deny any of this, milord?”
Sheigh shook his head no. “I do not, though I might add attacking Theramore was not part of the plan, more of an impromptu march after our victories in Darnassus and the Exodar. I participated because the other commanders willed it.”
“Against the Warchief’s express orders to not attack Theramore.”
Sheigh nodded. “It was an unwise decision, if a victorious one. Theramore’s defenders did not expect our attack.” Here comes the fire and damnation, he thought to himself.
“So you were insubordinate, but an effective general both in organizing the attack and on the field of battle itself. Am I led to believe that you actually attempted to crucify Tyrande Whisperwind?” A muffled laughter surged through the crowd.
Sheigh nodded. “The keldorei have been nothing but a plague upon our people since their awakening from the Dream, milord. I wished to send them a message of what happens when you cross Quel’Thalas.”
General Brightwing answered. “A powerful message indeed, Lord Llyrandor. Most admirable.”
Sheigh’s heart skipped a beat. Admirable? This wasn’t a condemnation? What is going on here?
A woman he recognized as Magistrix Landra Dawnstrider rose to speak. “Lord Llyrandor, you are an admirable warrior. You served in the Iron Dragon Legion, fought for the Frostwolf Clan in the Alterac Mountains, and have accolades serving in the Skyguard of Shattrath, the Horde Expedition to Northrend, battling the League of Arathor, serving the Warsong clan in Ashenvale, truly the list goes on and on. Do you love war, milord? What of your son, do you wish him to live in a time of war as you did?”
Sheigh opened his mouth to speak, but the words froze in his throat. He closed his eyes, imagining what seemed like a lifetime ago, holding his wife, holding his son, a few truly happy days before his exile. My son, his heart ached. Poor Aearion.
The crowd murmured. He felt his head hang heavily, lost for words as grief threatened to overcome him. Sir Garradh spoke for him. “Forgive my intrusion, lords and ladies, but perhaps milady is unfamiliar with the loss of Lord Llyrandor’s wife and son.” Sheigh felt a gauntleted hand squeeze his shoulder, but he was fighting too hard to maintain his composure. Don’t, he told himself. Do not weep here, save your pain for when this is over.
“Indeed?” the magistrix replied. “In my preparation for this meeting, I learned that Lady Mylasande Sylvranesti and your son Aearion Llyrandor took passage to Northrend shortly after your exile, Lord Llyrandor.” She checked her notes. “In fact, I have some questions concerning your relationship with Lady Mylasande that I believe need answered.”
His temper flared, but the reassuring hand on his shoulder squeezed again. To think I treated Sir Garradh so poorly, when he shows himself to be such a good friend, he cursed himself. Taking a deep breath, he looked up at the magistrix. “Yes,” he sighed, “you may ask.”
Lord-Regent Lor’Themar stood. “I believe, perhaps, we should take a short recess. I have some notes I would like to review as well.” He gave Sheigh a sympathetic nod, and Sheigh returned it. “Thirty minutes, ladies and lords, and then we shall continue, hmm?”
(Auth-It is getting a bit long, so we’ll continue later!)