The library's silence oppressed Idira. Even the tower's latent arcane bursts and her tendrils of Light had faded to a muted quiescence, barely glimmering. The books stood silent and still on their shelves. Not one of them came to greet her. She touched the spines of the ones nearest her. They huddled together, desolation and misery emanating from them. Unwilling to make them suffer, she left, knowing her presence only reminded them she would soon be gone, never to return.
Within the solitude of Medivh's office, Idira cast a spell, bringing forth a crackling fire into the long-dormant fireplace. She held out her hands, warming them, thinking of nothing, watching the orange flames caress the logs, moving over the wood's rough surfaces; the lick of flames mesmerising, reminding her of the sultry touch of a lover, even as the flames blackened and consumed the logs' bark. She rubbed her hands together, savouring the prickle of heat, the itch of warmth on her skin.
Her thoughts turned inward, drifting back to the hungry, rough days of her childhood, living on the farm with her father and Myra, eking out an existence in their dilapidated shack on the coast of Westfall; the day her father came back from the riot in Stormwind, bloodied and sour; his promotion and her sudden, luxurious life in Moonbrook, cocooned within VanCleef's bizarre, criminal world. Poverty coming again as her father's forces overran Westfall; the nightmare of her long, dark incarceration on The Night's Cutlass; the return back to the farm on the coast. Thirteen quiet years of relative peace until the Legion arrived; Stormwind's Pig and Whistle tavern; Dalaran's Academy; the Archives, and finally, Khadgar's sanctuary, sealed outside of space and time. She brushed at a whisper of ash, absently smearing its chalky white residue across the black wool of her dress, thinking of Logan's letter, left behind along with her things in her dorm room, wondering what had happened to her belongings. She scoffed. Knowing the way the Academy was run, they had probably sent one of the mute servants to clear it out, her scant belongings packed into a box and buried in some vault akin to the archives; a pompous title sprawling in gilt letters across its door. Lost and Found. No Goblins Past This Point. etc. etc. She scoffed again, turning to warm her back against the heat of the fire. What did it matter now? No one would ever claim her things. They would remain there for years, perhaps forever, Logan's letter with it, forgotten, just like her.
Morose, her thoughts drifted to those who had shaped her life, protected her, befriended her: Lanira, VanCleef, Benny, Kip, Arinna, Lady Nin, Bishop Mattias, Logan, Ryback, Vanessa, Wynn, Duncan, Margle, and Unambi. She bit her lip as she dwelled on her memories of her lost protector. What would he think of her here in this place, of the terrible spectre of her destiny awaiting her, only hours away? What would he say to her if he were still alive? She pressed her hands against her face, stifling a sob, her heart torn by longing to have his reassuring presence near her, and missing him more than she had ever done before. He would know how to comfort her, would know the right words to say to help her face her destiny with courage.
Sinking to her knees before the fire, she closed her eyes, trying to imagine what he would say, hearing his voice as clearly as though he were there in the room with her.
Ya be real special, Idira. Ya been chosen ta save da lives o' millions an' ya be savin' da life o' da man ya love. Dat be da best love dere is.
A tear rolled down the side of her nose. The memory of Unambi's sacrifice replayed, bright, vivid, his body torn apart by a horde of demons so she could live to face this day. Wiping her tear away, she drew a shuddering breath. His death would not be in vain. She would face her end with honour, would accept her destiny, and make Unambi proud. She went to Medivh's desk and rummaged through the drawers until she found a sheet of paper and a quill pen. The jar of ink had long since dried out. She conjured more.
Settling into place, she stared at the empty page, considering her words, the last ones Khadgar would have from her, words intended to reassure him, to ease his pain, to let him know she had accepted her fate and her love for him would go on until the end of time. Dipping the stylus into the ink, she took a deep breath and began.
A short while later, she sat back, waiting for the ink to dry, rereading her words, satisfied she had said all she wanted to say. Another rummage in the desk uncovered a small wooden box containing a fat stick of red wax along with an array of seals. She took up the wax and left the seals in the box, conjuring her own, the sign of infinity, a closed double loop. Pressing its impression against the blob of melted wax, she sealed the letter closed.
She wandered back to the bedroom, wondering where to leave her missive. Nowhere he might see it before the event. It would have to be concealed. She went to the bed, lifted up his pillow, and slid the letter underneath. Trailing her fingers over his pillow, she considered whether she ought to pen letters to Vanessa and Wynn as well: to let them know of her fate and make her farewells. It would be an easy enough task to teleport them into a mailbox. She hurried back down the corridor, she should have just enough time. She stopped, imagining them opening her letters, their stricken expressions. No. How awful it would be for them to have to learn of her death from a cold letter; to never be able to speak to her, or know the answers to the questions burning within their hearts. It was kinder, better, for them to believe she had been sent away from Dalaran in disgrace, banished, left to fend for herself in some far-flung corner of Azeroth, with them living in the hope they might meet her again one day.
She returned to Medivh's office, and passed the time sitting before the fire reading a beautiful leather-bound tome she had discovered during her last visit, one she had intended to read later: a book of fairytales from the races of the Horde, stories she had never seen or heard of before. Half-way through, she paused between stories, discovering an inscription, written in flowing script on the frontispiece:
My love, do not forget me. I shall never forget you. Yours, forever. G.
Idira trailed her fingers over the faded ink. Sensing the latent touch of Azeroth's once-Guardian still clinging to the letters. How often had he caressed Garona's words, Idira wondered, thinking of her own letter, left for Khadgar. Words he would touch in an attempt to bring her back to him.
She pushed her melancholy thoughts aside, considering how many others had never achieved their heart's desire. She thought of Myra and Benny and of VanCleef, none of them had been able to have the life they longed for, all of them dying brutal deaths, their hearts broken. And Logan? He had spent his years of manhood longing for a woman he could never have. Even Unambi. She had suspected there might have been someone for him, too—someone VanCleef had taken from Unambi by capturing him, separating them forever. During the darkest period of their time on The Night's Cutlass, Unambi had confirmed her suspicions. He had wondered about the huntress he had intended to bind with, if she was well, whom she had bound with, if she had little ones. His words had sounded innocuous enough, but the look in his eye betrayed the truth. He had loved her and he missed her. His loss so palpable—even as a young woman, raw and inexperienced—Idira could sense his pain. Yet he had given it all up to take care of her, to protect her; to make sure she would be able to do whatever it was her Light intended her to do.
Bolstered by thoughts of him, of his connection to her path and her purpose, she continued to think of him, reliving her memories: watching him out the kitchen window of the farm while he worked in his garden, singing to the plants as he tended them; him running down the hall of VanCleef's house, carrying her and Blackie to safety the morning Papa had bombed the house; the night he spent saving her books from the storm damage; the day he rowed them out of the claustrophobic dark cavern, back out into the sunlight; his blade saving her from Papa's knife; then, surrounded by demons, his final sacrifice, triggering her Light.
A thought struck her hard. She sat up, slow. He knew. He knew she carried the Light of Azeroth. It was why he had stayed with her, even when VanCleef had offered him his freedom. Right from the very first time, when her Light had protected her in Klaven's Tower, he had recognised it, yet he had never told anyone, not even her, until the very end, when she was so terrified, so overwhelmed by the events surrounding her she had not comprehended his words. She closed her eyes hearing his voice again: Da Light got a plan, and it be a good one, ya got ta trust dat Light. Ya real special, Idira, don' ya be forgettin' dat.
She looked down at the book in her lap, her fingers still touching the faded inscription. She had not been alone with her Light after all. Unambi had known, and even if he was gone, she sensed he was still with her somehow; his memory surrounding her, comforting her, protecting her, guiding her, showing her the way. Today she would die and go to the Light, just like those before her, yet unlike many of them, she had been able to know true love. It was enough. It would have to be enough.