It had been five years since he had last returned to Silvermoon, much had changed.
The sweet aroma of summer flowers greeted his senses, the streets were polished to an immaculate shine, and sunlight winked through the golden flecked treetops. A stark contrast to the chaos of five years ago. The smell of ash choking the air, and blood spattered upon the stone like a macabre painting.
"Shindu fallah na! They are breaking through! Father, there's too many! We must fall back!"
Tharalas blinked with alarm, he thought he had locked away those memories for good. Despite the restored beauty of his city, there were things in the world that would never truly hide the scars, the many precious lives that he would never have back.
Tharalas strode into the square; his mood had soured after a harrowing ordeal with the Blood Knight squadron stationed near the gates of the city. The interrogation was expected, as every passing traveler was questioned thoroughly before entering the gates of Silvermoon. The barely concealed contempt, however, was not planned for.
The Blood Knights made no attempt to hide their distaste. Their eyes critically raked over the ragged leather of his jerkin, the dirt-stained boots, and the unmistakable tabard that marked him a Farstrider.
"Make your business and be gone, ranger." The guard veritably spit out the title, "Return to the wilds once your business is concluded!"
With great effort, Tharalas bit back his scathing retort and held his tongue. He knew full well that they would throw him out of the city should he rise to their bait. With a curt nod, he roughly shouldered his longbow and pushed past the jeering guards, inwardly seething at the blatant disrespect.
Reaching into his bags, he fished for the parchment nestled inside, smoothing out the edges as he read the elegant script penned by the Ranger-General of Silvermoon. A fortnight prior, Tharalas had received the message once he had returned from his patrol along the border of the Plaguelands. The letter had requested the presence of each lead ranger to return to the city to receive further instruction.
If it was to be done in person, it was a grave matter indeed.
Halduron Brightwing had done much to see to the restoration of Silvermoon. Piece by piece, he built back the reputation of the rangers. Progress was being made, though the memory of the Farstriders failure to protect against the Scourge invasion still lurked within the minds of the citizenry.
Tharalas scowled in remembrance, they couldn’t possibly know the losses sustained on the front lines that day- the enormous sacrifices to save the city. Some of which he still regretted to this day. Tharalas was too absorbed in his thoughts before he had nearly run into one of the Silvermoon magisters.
"Watch your step, ala'ni!"
The magister boldly shoved past, but not before casting a dirty look in his direction.
Tharalas mumbled a half-hearted apology as he continued walking, attempting to keep his temper in check. Ever since the Farstriders had been all but wiped out by the invading Scourge, the mages had quickly stepped in to fill the void of influence within the political circle. It was they who had petitioned the high council to consider a new class of soldier to protect Silvermoon where the rangers had failed. The once opulent hall of the Farstriders had been pushed aside to make way for their idea of the elite soldier - the Blood Knights.
As he entered the training grounds, he took note of the change of the last few years. The Blood Knight headquarters was mockingly grand, as the Farstriders had been pushed into a small, obscure corner of the square, barely noticeable under the overgrown brush and shrubbery.
He cast a sympathetic look to a young ranger, as she practiced her archery on one of the propped targets. A small band of Blood Knight recruits loudly criticized her clumsy aim, and her lack of finesse, causing her to completely miss the target several times. They laughed obnoxiously as she huddled into herself, shyly collecting the arrows from the barely hit upon target.
As Tharalas walked past, he cast a withering look upon the group, a silent promise to strike back - and then some. They quieted at his approach, though he could hear their resumed banter as he made his way up the stairs, leading to the Sunfury spire.
He clenched his teeth in irritation.