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Velen:Prophet’s Lesson

by Marc Hutcheson

And the Light! He could feel it surrounding him, as strong as anywhere in Azeroth, pulsing and shining through the alien creatures.

The sky darkened. First to an angry red that invaded the amber skies like a premonition of doom. After a few moments, the color began to shift to an ever-more-nauseating shade of green. Flaring comets screamed from the diseased heavens and struck the earth, sending all the poor creatures scattering in panic. The comets stood up from their craters, towering and terrible, and began to rain down death with ruthless efficiency. A rip opened in the air near the prince, and a flood of horror spilled out: winged demons and alluring succubi wielding greenish-yellow fire and powerful magic, destroying everything in their path. After the dark army had finished its deployment, a gigantic form walked through the rift, and it looked too much like the draenei for the prince not to notice.

This last being leveled the rock sculptures around him, clearing a space where he could kneel in the dust made from his destruction and draw symbols of dread power with his clawed finger. When he finished, there was a moment of perfect quiet as the slaughter halted and the entire world waited in horrified stillness.

And then, an explosion.

The unleashed energies ripped the world's surface apart, and Anduin found himself crying out and throwing his arms up in terror, but the magics moved right through him without harm. The Legion marched back into the portal, returning to the dark nexus of the demons' dwelling, and in their wake was left... nothing. Nothing alive, at any rate. Even the wondrous rock formations—Anduin would never know if they were natural or carved by the alien life he'd witnessed—were no more. There was only ash and broken matter. Even the sky was clouded, no longer allowing a clear view of the four moons.

Then, mercifully, the vision ended.

Anduin stood before the Prophet once again, and although he fought the impulse and was angry with himself, he wept.

"There is no shame in mourning so much lost," Velen said gently.

"What world was it? When did this happen?" the prince asked through his tears.

"I do not know its name. Its inhabitants did not speak in ways we understand, and none of the mortal races from this world ever walked there. I call it Fanlin'Deskor: Amber Skies over Wondrous Rock. Given that I doubt the Legion records its victims—or even deigns to recall them—we are likely the only ones in the universe who know it existed at all."

"How sad," Anduin said.

"Yes. Light willing, when the last victory is won, I will sit in a tower built on one of the lost worlds, and I will record them all as my penance."

"Penance? For what? What have you done but help, Velen?"

"I failed long ago to turn my brothers from their course. And creation has paid the price." Velen waved that line of discussion away, returning to the purpose of showing Anduin the vision. "But my intent was to illustrate for you the consequences of defeat. As terrible as the Cataclysm has proven, as formidable an enemy as Deathwing may be, our war is a far greater struggle. It is not just a single world we defend, but them all."

Anduin always knew his lessons were at an end when the Prophet resumed his meditative posture and stared out at the energies of the Seat. As the prince opened the chamber's door and began to slide out, one final pronouncement from the Prophet followed him from the room.

"And, young one, it is a terrible burden."

* * *

The matter-of-fact tone of those last words haunted Anduin through the rest of the day and well into the night. He tossed and turned, fighting the sleep that he usually found easy to come by. When he finally succumbed, his dreams were sharply seen, vividly witnessed.