“Never take a man’s hand, Son…” King Archibald Greymane said, his strong frame now a muddied silhouette against the fading glow of twilight. “’Tis always better to stand tall on your own. It is what separates the great from the meek.”
His son, Genn, all of seven years old, pulled his outstretched hand back. He was sitting cross-legged on the cool stones of the recently built fortifications. The ramparts were impressive testaments to the power of the nation, but to Genn, perhaps not nearly as impressive as the man standing in front of him.
“Do you think all of this was built by asking the other kingdoms to lift us up?”
The industrial towers of Gilneas City loomed below. It was a magnificent sight, for sure: large tiled roofs poised over cobblestone streets; shops, factories, and billowing smoke; it was truly a city with an eye toward the future, toward the potential of its people.
“When I was a young prince, as you are today, my father would not have dreamed of this! But I did dream, and I struck out on my own, and look at us now…. All of it done without taking the hands of those in Stormwind or begging for aid from those in Lordaeron. And we certainly did not grovel to the long-eared arrogance of those demi-humans in Quel’Thalas.”
Genn had heard the stories of Gilneas in the time before Archibald had taken the crown. It certainly was a nation of nowhere near the power it would rise to.
Download high-resolution “Now get up, boy. Get up, and don’t ask me to help you again. Because all of this will be yours, and when it is, you must be ready.”
“’Tis yours, Father. Gilneas will always be yours.”
Archibald smiled, his tone softening. “No, Son. Princes grow into kings, and days fade into nights. This is the way of things. Come now, I daresay I can feel a chill in the air. We should feast. I do believe it is roast boar tonight.”
Genn quickly pulled himself to his feet. Succulent swiftthistle boar, made by who Genn believed was the finest chef in all of Azeroth, was his favorite thing beneath the two moons.
“If you want sauced apples, boy, you can have them. Such is also the way of kings and their progeny.”
With that, the two made their way down the ramparts. The last hues of daylight screamed across the bruised sky.
The night elven transport ship rocked in the increasingly rough seas. With each nauseating sway the ancient wooden boards that first formed the ship’s imposing hull millennia ago let out warping creaks.
In a musty cabin within, King Genn Greymane opened his eyes. The memory of his youth was still festering, still haunting him for reasons he did not quite understand. It wasn’t the only one: streams of memory flowed into his mind these days, drowning his waking thoughts as if trying to convey some message he could not grasp. Memory was mysterious that way, its own kind of magic, perhaps stranger and more powerful than the mighty arcane powers the hooded magi of Dalaran were so adept at wielding.