This morning, I tried again. I found her at her usual spot in Farstrider’s Square, doing daily target practice in full armor. She was conversing with a death knight unfamiliar to me while she shot arrow after arrow at a large wooden pole.
“I am coming,” I said.
She answered me this time, though her gaze did not leave the target. “No, “she murmured.
“You will need experienced healers,” I repeated, staring at her from my charger.
Another arrow was released with a hiss of a bowstring, and then another. The sound was a comforting one to me. Both my parents were Farstriders. Often I went to bed as a little girl, hearing that sound at night, and woke to hear the same thing in the mornings. A ranger at practice, keeping their aim true…it was the song of my childhood.
“I do not need another experienced healer as much as Meghan needs her mother at home with her,” she finally said. She still would not look at me, but her emerald eyes were narrowed and she was frowning slightly. I knew that look. My mother is a very kind and patient woman, but she is also one of the most stubborn people I have ever met.
She was not going to change her mind.
“Does it matter to you that I need my mother, as well?” I murmured softly, not even sure if she heard me. I let my gaze move downward, and stared at my gauntleted hands on the reins of my mount. The armor I wore was a glossy black and brilliant crimson, and my Blood Knight tabard still looked as unmarked as the day I had received it. “When are you getting me a Battalion tabard?” I asked a bit louder.
“You have a tabard. That one, “She gestured to me. “And it is what you are going to wear while we are gone.”
I seldom get angry, but I was now. Before Meghan, before my marriage to Furion, I had served both the Corvidae Battalion and the Argent Offensive in Icecrown. I had witnessed horrors that still plague me, and fought my share of Scourge and worse. I had the scars to prove it. My greatest strength in wielding the Light was to mend others, but I was not weak. I could protect both myself, and those who fought alongside me.
I could insure that when this Offensive was over, she would come back. It was more than I had been able to do for my father, or my brother. But for her, I could do it. And she refused to let me.
The man she had been talking to watched our exchange without any expression. Death knights can be unnervingly hard for me to read. But surely he sensed the increased tension in the air. I was finding it agonizing. I wanted to raise my voice to her, to argue, to plead. But, I have always been a person blessed (and cursed) with an abundance of empathy. In her determined expression I could see just how much denying me request was hurting her, too. She knew why I wanted to go.
She knew I was terrified that I was about to lose my remaining parent to Garrosh’s mad plans. I knew that she was fairly certain that I was going to. She finally lowered her ornate golden long bow, and met my eyes with her own.
“Anna,” she said softly. “You and your family are my reason for fighting so hard for our people’s safety. I need you here to give me a reason to come back. And if I don’t, Meghan will need her mother more than ever.” She turned back to the target, launching another volley of flaming arrows. But she did not avert her gaze quickly enough to keep me from seeing the glint of tears in her eyes.
I was not helping, I realized. I bowed to both her and the silent death knight. “I should get to my post. Are you still coming for dinner tonight, Mother?”
Eyes fixed on the target, she nodded. “I would not miss it,” she said. “I told Meghan I would bring her a kitten tonight.”
I bowed, and left the Square before I lost my composure. I made it to the Hall of Blood, and my fine tabard was what I used to wipe away the hot flood of tears that descended as soon as I was alone.