a little backstory
I never was a praying woman. The majority of my pleas to the Light were breathless utterances that spilled between my lips on the bedroom altar. It just never made sense to me. Kneeling and speaking words to empty air seemed ridiculous and silly. My powers, all of our abilities, came from the Sunwell. The Light was… new. Three or four decades old in our culture. A cult religion brought in by trade with the Humans who gave a name to something we already knew. Something we’d always known.
Scholars argued that maybe The Light was what we’d had all along. That we just hadn’t thought to name it. It was all mixed up in the Arcane energy and only chose to bless a select minority. Open those few up to that warm energy that walked hand in hand with other magics but lent itself to healing more readily. Purifying. We couldn’t shoot fire from our fingers like the Magisters, but we could save. I never agreed with the Scholars. The Light was something that the Humans and Dwarves had chained within a prophecy. Caged it under three words called philosophy: Respect, Compassion, and Tenacity. The three always seemed to coincide but what order they came in never really seemed to matter.
Lady Lyralaes Willowinds
This was how she introduced herself, how vain! The house of the Willowinds was lost, the estate destroyed, and her whole family dead or missing. Missing; a kind euphemism for an unkind fate. Those listed as missing were likely not missing at all, but wandering the ruins of west Silvermoon. The Wretched were better off dead.
There was a black cloth over his body. He didn't know how it got there. As he startled from his unconsciousness, Marcus made some involuntary noise of distress, which rang clearly in the stillness of the surrounding area, and he reached for something, anything to help him lift himself. His heart pounded within its skeletal cage with such a force that it shook him, sending pure adrenaline through his veins. His throat seized.
No. Don't get up. Perhaps they still think you're dead.
Marcus clamped his lids shut over his eyes and didn't dare to open them again. He didn't want to see what awaited his sight should he pull the cloth away, but he knew that he must.
Gilnean winter brought with it a bone-deep chill and the steady drum of rain hammered against the outside of his tent, all and all a miserable pairing that alternatively turned dirt to mud to ice and back. Marching was difficult, pitching camp was a nightmare. Stakes had to be driven an extra three feet to ensure the liquifying soil and blustering wind didn't pull supports from the earth, and two had anyway. The heeps of the tents lay off to the side, pinned down with rocks until the howling wind calmed enough for the material to be rolled and faded once more without the risk of tearing. He had lain there since daybreak, shirt open and his left leg elevated off the side atop a crossbeam some men had hastily lashed together out of some firewood. Cassion quite hated it, but the memory of an all-too-pleased voice singsong in his ear kept him brudgingly in bed.
She was always genuinely happy to see the Ranger-Lord.
And maybe that's what worried her.