Trust

The king of Stormwind tries to balance being a father with being a king.

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“Trust.”

“I hate that word.

My father trusted Garona Halforcen and had his beating heart ripped from his chest because of it.

I had trusted that Arthas Menethil, my one friend in the darkness that followed Stormwind’s destruction, would grow into a righteous king and a great Paladin. Now he is but another defeated enemy, a story told to children to make them behave.

I had trusted in our alliance with Gilneas, and they hid behind their wall like cowards, intent on letting the world outside burn.

Tiffin had trusted her people, and they struck her down with a piece of the very stone they worked with.

I had trusted that our truce with the Horde at the Wrathgate would be beneficial to both factions, and I was repaid with betrayal. I trusted the orcs. I trusted those shambling corpses that call themselves citizens of Lordaeron, my home when I had nowhere else to go! And how did that turn out? My men were killed with a sick plague unleashed by that so called “Banshee Queen” whose very presence defiles capital city!

So no, I do not trust that peace with those savages is possible, Jaina. I know better than to trust anyone.”

Jaina Proodmoore stood before Varian Wrynn, silent after the impassioned king had finished speaking. She had been somewhat taken by surprise at this outburst, despite knowing very well his feelings on matters of diplomacy with the Horde. Varian shattered the silence, his voice softer than before.  

“I’m sorry, Jaina. I’m afraid there can never be peace with all that has happened. Just like the mangy wolves they ride into battle, they are rabid murderers. And like any rabid dog, they must be put down.”  

With this last word, Varian stood up from his throne and headed for the back rooms of Stormwind keep. He heard the sounds of a mage portal in the throne room, and smirked. He and Jaina had an interesting relationship. Neither was a fan of the pompous ceremony or silly formalities. He always spoke frankly and cut right to the chase. She shared that trait, a breath of fresh air for any king. They had both lost much. Her father was killed by orcs as well. The difference is that she let them do it. While Varian let his emotions and experiences dictate how he ruled, she never let herself into the equation. She always chose the greater good.

“But in a war, without the conviction to stare into the eyes of your enemy and watch the flame of their soul extinguish, knowing that the only way to create lasting peace is to exterminate them from the earth completely, you cannot truly win.” Varian thought to himself. He had learned a lot in the arena. The gladiator half of him, known as Lo’Gosh, often controlled Varian, giving him a notoriously short temper. That was the difference between him and Jaina. It was the difference between passion and reason. And somehow, it worked. “We make a good team…” Varian mused under his breath. His thoughts were interrupted by the sound of something moving behind him. No stranger to assassins, his hand went to the hilt of his sword. He turned to see his son, Anduin. Varian sighed, returning the partially unsheathed weapon into its scabbard.

“By the light, son! You can’t sneak up on my like that!” Varian said, chuckling.

“Sorry, father. I needed to talk to you.”

“About what?” asked Varian, eager to give some fatherly advice.

“What you said to Jaina in the throne room, do you really mean it?” The boy’s face looked like it had been cut from stone, with an expression to match. Varian noticed how similar Anduin looked to him when he was his age. Varian had been caught off guard by this question, since he didn’t know Anduin had been listening. He paused to gather his response.  

“I did.” Was all he managed to eke out. Varian had always taught Anduin to be true to himself and others. Despite his hardships, he had wanted Anduin to have a better life than he did, without the hardships that had jaded him to the world. He wanted to raise a ruler that could put his people before his emotions. He wanted to raise a king like Jaina.

“So you don’t trust anyone? Not Jaina? Not even me?” Anduin said. These words hit Varian like a battering ram.

“I trust you. I trust Jaina. I trust every guard in this palace to keep you safe every night.” Varian responded warmly.

“B-But you said-“Anduin Stammered.

“I said I know better than to trust people. Not that I don’t. You see, son, at some point in your life, you will need help. There will be something that you cannot do alone. You need to trust in your allies, whether you like it or not. Stand together or fall apart. The Alliance is stronger than the sum of its parts, and we trust each other.  Genn Greymane thought he could stand alone and now he is taking refuge in the city he turned his back on. Whether or not I want to trust anyone has nothing to do with it. I trust in Stormwind and I trust in the Alliance.” Varian sighed.

“Understand?”

“I…I do.” Anduin smiled and walked away.  

Varian continued walking, stopping just outside his chamber door.

“That boy teaches me as much as I teach him.” Varian smiled as he went to bed.

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