The streets of Stormwind curved into an infinite loop. If you walked far enough, you always ended up where you began. Borænin Greythorn had passed his own beginning at least twice. It was early morning, just past dawn, and he continued his solitary walk through the winding streets, just as he’d been doing all night, ever since he parted company with that pale kal’dorei girl. Kalimè, she’d said her name was, Kalimè Silverthorn. The hated name, the forbidden name. The name that must be snuffed out wherever it was found. Such was the will of the Lord Protector.
Borænin sneered, thinking, Lord Protector, what a joke. Petulant man-child, more like.
In the depths of his innermost mind a sibilant voice whispered in shath’yar, “Are you so different? Do you not willingly serve this “man-child” as you call him?”
“Oh, shut up,” Borænin growled, startling a shopkeeper who was out sweeping his front entrance in preparation for the start of the day. Borænin looked sheepishly at the man and hurried past, irritated by the lapse.
Is the Shade right about me, he wondered, not for the first time.
“You know I am,” came the taunting reply.
No, damn you. I am not him.
“And yet here you are, doing his bidding. Stroking his ego.” There was a dire laugh with a maniacal edge, followed by. “Kissing his perfect golden ass.”
It is necessary! I am looking for someone who can stop him!
“Oh, of course, your noble purpose. The great hero. How could we forget?”
I’m no hero, I know my limits.
“Limits? Oh, dear.” The laugh again, more cruel this time. “We could go on for a lifetime just talking about your limits.”
Go taunt someone who cares, Shade.
A pout. “But we like you.”
Then say what you will, I am done listening for today.
“You’re no fun anymore,” came the reply, as if from a growing distance.
Sighing, Borænin ceased walking suddenly, settling himself on a stoop along a narrow street. Looking around disdainfully, he noted that this part of the city was older, grubbier than the rest.
How long am I going to keep up the charade? I’ve been at this for centuries now.
Thinking back, he reflected on the many Realms he had explored. All the different ways he’d seen history play itself out. He had seen places where the Greythorn and Silverthorns both were long gone. He’d been to places that were nearly indistinguishable from his home. He’d seen others where the Silverthorns survived. That always made the Lord Protector so furious! As if any suggestion across an infinite universe that he was not his father’s superior had to be crushed.
And of course that was it, wasn’t? Any remnant of Kalithil Silverthorn must be erased. The whole universe must only know the name Gilræn Greythorn. And in all Realms he’d seen, at least the first half of that had been true. Kalithil had sometimes been an old legend. Sometimes a devil, sometimes a god, but never a living one.
Grimacing, Borænin remembered the Realm where Kalithil was worshipped as a creator by his descendants. They had committed genocide there, left the world a smoking husk, just to salve the Lord Protector’s bruised ego. And Borænin’s hands were as bloody as the Lord Protector’s own.
When will I finally make a stand? Will I ever?
Here Kalithil lived. Borænin wondered what kind of man he was.
Could he be the one? Am I fool?
Sitting there, listening to the sounds of a familiar but foreign city come to life around him, Borænin Greythorn wondered.