This is the first of what will hopefully be many entries documenting what I remember about my life in Quel’thalas. There are just some moments that need to be documented somewhere out of sheer sentimentality and for the sake of my sanity.
“Ranger-General, a moment?”
Fifteen rangers were training under me that day. They all lowered their bows with confused looks on their faces, and abruptly dropped down on their knees upon seeing our guest. I called out to them ordered them to continue their practice. A long pause followed my order, but they reluctantly stood and obeyed. I turned to greet our surprise visitor with a low bow and a respectful smile.
“To what do I owe this pleasant interruption, Prince Kael’thas?”
“Lady Windrunner,” he said, a practiced half-smile gracing his lips. “My father believed it fit that I come and… observe the Farstriders’ activities.”
I nodded. “I see. Then you’ve come just in time. We’ve just begun some archery drills with the newest members of the order.”
The young prince said nothing, looking over the row of Farstriders firing at targets several yards away. His eyes visibly widened as he sucked in a hissing breath upon spotting the very last ranger in the row.
“Lady Windrunner,” he scoffed, “You cannot be serious about that one being one of our rangers.”
I eyed the ranger calmly. “Of course I’m serious, your highness. He’s the most skilled ranger in this group, and one of the best pupils I have ever had.”
“But he’s human.”
I ignored him. “His name is Nathanos Marris, your highness. He’s a superb archer, outclassing even some of our veterans. He’s excellent at close-range combat, and has exemplary beast mastery skills–”
And then the prince practically spat the words out for all to hear. “But he’s human.”
The awkward silence that followed was shattered by the loud twang of a taut bowstring breaking. Nathanos’. He grit his teeth, bowed swiftly in my direction, and hurriedly strode off to replace the string. The other Farstriders began whispering among themselves, some obviously irritated by the interruption, and the others snickering at Nathanos’ retreat.
It was only then that I truly realized that I was alone in my decision to allow Nathanos into the corps.
“I don’t see any other broken bowstrings there,” I bellowed. “Get back to practice!” As the remaining rangers hurriedly resumed their activity, I turned back to the young prince, who had a barely visible smirk on his face.
“Seeing that even the other rangers are none too pleased to be working alongside this human,” said the prince, with all his arrogant air, “I humbly propose that you relieve him of his position.”
“And I humbly refuse, your highness.”
The prince looked as though he had been slapped. “Surely there are quel’dorei who are more capable than–”
“There are but a scant few who are more capable than Nathanos Marris, your highness, and they’re all part of the corps.”
“Then as your prince, I order you to–”
By then I could feel my anger reaching its breaking point. “Even if you order me to do so, I will deny you. You shame your father’s name with your outright lack of tolerance toward other races, your highness.”
The prince opened his mouth, but appeared to think the better of it and shut it again. Then he nodded and left without another word.
A few days later, I received a formal letter “requesting” that Nathanos be removed from the corps. I immediately sent a response and awaited further arguments from Kael, but the issue was eventually dropped. I don’t know if my words had moved the prince, or if King Anasterian had said something to his son… but Kael matured over time and eventually learned to respect humans – even going so far as to fall in love with one. Regardless, Nathanos remained with us, eventually gaining the respect of most of his comrades and becoming the first – and last – human ranger lord.