The thought saddened him. He loved his father, but the gulf between Varian and Anduin, both in temperament and experience, was too great. Why can't you see, Father? I'm not like you. And what's wrong with that? Isn't there something to be learned from our differences? From me?
For his part, Anduin regretted their falling-out. His father insisted on treating him like a child, when the Prophet, Magni, and others clearly saw him differently, acknowledged his budding worth. Anduin and his father had argued during the Alliance summit at Darnassus, and Varian had laid hands on him, hurting his arm with a vice-like grip. The proudest moment of Anduin's life had followed when, in the aftermath of that argument, the Prophet had spoken to him in his soft preternatural tones, inviting him to study at the Exodaras his ward.
Why couldn't you see I had to go, Father? Why didn't you see the honor in this invitation?
Anduin wrenched his attention back to the present, away from distracting self-pity and toward the need of the lasher. He made a vow to himself in the next heartbeat that he'd never lose his awe of this experience. Healing was too often seen as a commonplace thing, a miracle made mundane, but Anduin knew the Light, healing's source, didn't see it that way. Every life, every life, a miracle.
Before the prince now was a beautiful, broad-petaled plant-creature, purple and green, upright and strong. The draenei released their hold on it. One of them bowed in recognition of what the boy had done.
Anduin heard a disturbance behind him and started, awakening fully from the healing trance to realize he was sitting on his royal behind in the mud. Very dignified, Anduin thought. Father'd be thrilled.
The prince sprang to his feet. Facing him was a heavily armored, tall draenei—a Shield, one of Velen's personal guards. "The Prophet has asked to see you, Prince Anduin," was all he said.
The refugees had arrived in lost humility at first, in ones and twos, by leaky boat and makeshift raft, risking the unknown to flee the horribly known. Rumor had spread that the draenei withstood the breaking of the world, that refuge could be found on Azuremyst Isle. And rumor was better than the reality most of these exiles faced. In the beginning, the draenei had aided as they could, giving the refugees a place outside the Exodar, healing them, and sharing food and water. But then the outcasts had begun sending out word to find their friends and families, and the call echoed throughout Kalimdor: The Prophet holds Azuremyst safe. The Prophet foresaw the Cataclysm and will make everything right. The ones and twos became tens and twenties... and then hundreds. Now, the refugee camp boasted a thousand exiles, and the draenei found that the need had outgrown their will and capacity to provide.
The whispers in the camp eventually took a darker tone.The Prophet won't see us. The draenei keep him hidden in the vaults of their ship. They look like hoofed demons, do they not?
Anduin had spent time among the refugees, healing as he could, encouraging faith in the eternal Light, counseling and leading in quiet ways that often left adults astounded in his presence... and a little disturbed when he wasn't around. The prince had asked many times why these wayward souls failed to seek the protection of his father, of the strength of Stormwind. They would answer with sideways eyes, naming his father a great and true king but saying he lacked the Prophet's ability to see the future. No offense intended, their tone said, but your father's just a man. The Prophet is more than that. After a while, by piecing together many discussions as if he were solving a puzzle, Anduin realized the refugees' actions were not simply predicated on reverence for a prophet they'd never met. These people were from the edges of society. For them, the rightful order of government was something to be feared rather than sought as a protector. Eventually, the prince stopped asking questions.
And so, he was a familiar face as he was escorted through the camp to his audience with Velen. Familiar and yet not one of them. He felt the distance, a gap born of his royal blood, his strength in the Light, and the trauma of his childhood. Sometimes, he was a little wistful that he wasn't more... normal. But he was beginning to sense, as he rushed toward the challenges and strange energies of puberty, that the differences were necessary. He had a unique role to fill, that of leading and protecting his people, and it was neither a privilege nor a font of personal power. It was a duty.