Another carried their weapons

In the yard a Quel’Lithien scout held the reins of their hawkstriders, and another carried their weapons. He took his things, swung into the saddle, and turned back to where Renthar and Aurora stood watching. The impulse seized him to say something, anything, to bridge the gulf that stretched between them, but whatever words he intended dried and crumbled to bitter dust in his mouth. He turned his hawkstrider away and did not look back.

“You send us here to be lost, to be ignored, and then dare to be shocked when we suffer? No matter what the curses that accompany you to hell, Lor’themar, they will never be sufficient. I know whose troops sit in Tranquillien, Regent Lord. I wonder how many of your own, sin’dorei rangers, they have killed beneath your very nose on Thalassian land. Deal with the devil as you please. I can only hope that one day the devil will come for you.

“Now go,” he said quietly. “Send supplies as you wish. I will return the bearers’ hearts to you wrapped in their own tabards.”

Lor’themar stood, though he could do naught but turn and leave. They had caught him off guard, and the walls around him no longer seemed real, no longer held the assurance of solidity. He saw Aurora stand, a ghost of pride, and stare him down, chin high and defiant. Neither she nor Renthar spoke another word, and for the first time the sheer force of their hatred hit him hard in the chest.

He had no reason to combat it. He could, perhaps, offer his palms in penance, but they would only spit upon them, and in truth he could not find it in his heart to fault them for such. If he had held any hope of atonement before—and perhaps he had—the Plaguelands’ desolation had smothered and snuffed it, as it did all that lived and dreamed. These bridges had burned long ago, his own hand setting them to flame.

All three of his guards sat waiting in the front room, half a dozen quel’dorei Farstriders surrounding them with arrows notched in their bowstrings. He barely even turned his head. He simply walked straight outside; his rangers followed silently. 

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