Faith Betrayed

A young Night Elf priestess comes face-to-face with the most difficult decision of her life, endangering the lives of all she holds dear.

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5. Accusations and Prophecy

“High Priestess…your presence is requested in the gardens.”

 

Siralen awoke to a throbbing headache. She clasped her head with both hands as gently as possible.

 

“I’ve only just fallen asleep,” she protested.

 

“You’ve been sleeping for hours. The Queen and the High Priestess are waiting for you.”

 

The priestess helped Siralen dress in her finest to prepare for the meeting. As much as she desired to slump back into her bed and sleep, she wouldn’t dare dream of leaving either woman waiting any longer than was necessary.

 

When she arrived in the gardens, she gasped. Several guards stood hovering over a priestess who looked as if she had collapsed onto the ground. Spears and swords were drawn and pointed at her. High Priestess Dejahna looked like a statue, showing no expression or emotion. Queen Azshara looked disgusted, as if some filthy beast had been lain before her feet.

 

Siralen bowed low before the assembly, but looked entirely bewildered. “What’s all this?” she asked rather groggily.

 

High Ranger Relarion emerged from behind the group of guards. “Behold, Prelate Ceylana’s murderer!”

 

The young Night Elf had been whimpering, her pale cheeks stained with her tears.

 

“She has confessed to her deed,” Queen Azshara said aloofly.

 

“Would you care to explain your motives?” the High Ranger scowled.

 

It took several minutes before the young priestess could utter a word, for she had begun to bawl. “I was hired to kill her,” she wailed.

 

“By whom? Speak!”

 

“By her!” she pointed a finger at High Priestess Dejahna. The older woman remained perfectly impassive, saying nothing. A slight smile curled up one side of Azshara’s lips as she glanced sidelong at Dejahna. Siralen couldn’t believe what she was hearing.

 

“Why would you carry out such insane orders, murdering one of your own superiors?” Relarion was completely dumbfounded.

 

“I was told it was a divine command, that Elune had willed it.” The girl began wailing again, burying her face into the stony ground.

 

Azshara’s limited patience had reached its end. “Take this wretch away from here. See that the rule of law is implemented as required.”

 

The girl swiftly looked up and searched the queen’s face pleadingly. She began screaming for mercy as the guards hauled her up from the ground and took her away. Azshara made a gesture as if she were washing her hands, then cast her gaze upwards, still smiling ever so slightly.

 

“This can’t be true,” Siralen said, her voice shaking.

 

High Ranger Relarion spoke again. “There is no way of knowing for certain if the girl’s accusations are true. Indeed, she may have acted alone for all we will ever truly know.” He bowed before High Priestess Dejahna. “I’m sorry you’ve had to endure all of this.”

 

Queen Azshara’s smile vanished from her full lips, and she almost glared at the High Ranger for his remarks, but maintained her calm. He bowed before her. “Surely Your Majesty has no objection?”

 

Azshara opened her mouth as if to speak. All eyes were turned towards her; the people were expecting to hear her pronounce some great judgment on High Priestess Dejahna. Instead, she laughed lightly. “Of course not, darling Relarion! Will you not escort your Queen back into the safe confines of the temple?”

 

“I can think of no greater honor, Daughter of the Moon,” he smiled, and bowed very low. Azshara extended her hand, and he placed his beneath hers, and escorted his Queen back into the temple, followed close behind by Azshara’s retinue, leaving only Dejahna and Siralen in the gardens.

 

“Do you honestly believe I would command such evil?” Dejahna asked calmly.

 

“I frankly don’t know what I believe anymore,” Siralen said tearfully.

 

“Then it is just as I feared,” Dejahna said gravely. “In seeking to serve two mistresses, you have begun your journey down the path of destruction.”

 

Siralen nearly went agape. She glared at the older woman. “You believe all of this has resulted simply from my appointment?”

 

“Your appointment never had Elune’s blessing, Siralen. I only acquiesced to Azshara’s demands so that the people would not be divided over this matter. But no…you were never meant to be High Priestess.”

 

Dejahna is just jealous…. I wouldn’t be surprised if she somehow tried to take all of this away from you.

 

Azshara’s words struck Siralen like a bolt of lightning. “She was right all along!” she gasped, staring off into the distance. She clenched her jaw tightly and resumed glaring at Dejahna. “It was you who ordered Ceylana’s death! Your extreme jealousy over my appointment is what has brought this devastation. You have sought to unravel my life, to break me and so grievously afflict me so that I should be removed from Elune’s service as High Priestess!”

 

“Our Queen was right about you, Dejahna.” She spoke now bitterly, but her voice still quivered with anger. “I used to believe in you, used to love you as a mother. But now your heart is unmasked, and you have demonstrated just how perfidious you really are!”

 

Siralen steeled herself and proclaimed loudly, “I would rather serve our Queen than serve with a false High Priestess, who misrepresents our goddess in every way!”

 

Dejahna stared back with a look of pity in her eyes. She spoke coolly, “Then you have left the path of wisdom. You have come to the verge of your bitter end.”

 

Crying and no longer willing to bear the sight of the other woman, Siralen withdrew herself from the gardens. Within moments, Azshara casually strolled out, smiling at Dejahna mockingly.

 

“What a crying shame!” She spoke triumphantly. “The great Dejahna, Elune’s most beloved, holy, sacred, and sincerely defeated High Priestess!” The mockery was bitterly cruel and cold, the jealousy in her voice was unmistakable.

 

“You know, I am well within my right to have you executed, regardless of the High Ranger’s conclusions. It was, after all, your crime!” She laughed at the thought. “But wouldn’t it just be so delicious to watch you return to your temple in utter humiliation, your saintliness blemished, your name tarnished?” Her face bore a look of extreme delight. She wrapped an arm across her chest and touched her shoulder, and gazed up towards the sky as if she were suddenly experiencing a moment of ecstasy. A look of disgust crossed Dejahna’s face at the sight of the gloating queen.

 

“The Light of a Thousand Moons, the Cherished Heart of the People, the ferociously beautiful Queen Azshara,” retorted Dejahna. “You sound as if you have accomplished some great feat. You may have seduced a priestess of Elune. Indeed, you may have seduced your entire empire, so that they behold only an angel of light and grace. You may even have succeeded in tarnishing my name. Yet I alone now behold you for what you are, a most detestable creature and an abject disgrace to your noble heritage.”

 

Azshara laughed and continued to gloat. “I’m willing to pardon you for that hollow diatribe. I allow you to return to your temple in Suramar in complete humiliation.”

 

“I will return to my temple. I will continue to serve Elune and lead the people in worship. And you may return with your prize back to Zin-Azshari, but know that your success is only fleeting. I foresee that your empire shall crumble around you, devastated by your corruption, before your own ruin comes crashing down upon you like the waves of a thundering sea. And when you have been utterly forgotten, and your memories have been scattered by the waves of judgment, the name of Elune shall yet endure, as will all those who are dear to her, who give their lives to her service.”

 

Dejahna’s brow rose as she smiled and said, almost with a laugh, “What is Azshara to the great Elune?”

 

Azshara laughed again, and daintily waved a dismissive hand. Turning, she took elegant strides back into the temple.

 

***

 

It is said that Siralen returned with the queen back to her palace at Zin-Azshari, where she served as her personal high priestess. Not long afterwards, a terrible force was unleashed upon Kalimdor, claiming thousands upon thousands of lives, and Dejahna’s prophecy had indeed come to pass. The great Well of Eternity was eventually thrown into chaos and imploded, swallowing the land and leaving in its devastating wake a vast ocean covering over the ruins of a once mighty empire.

 

Some say that Siralen was swallowed into the sea along with Azshara and her most devoted servants. Others say that, upon seeing the madness of the queen, Siralen returned to Suramar, seeking forgiveness and to be restored into the service of Elune. Yet there are none now who rightly know what befell her, only that of her many tales of great sorrow were spoken long after the changing of the world.

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