AN: Okay, so I'm sure that this pairing type is typical, but I felt like doing it so whatever. Alara is based on my blood elf paladin. Jarreth is based off no one in particular. Same goes for pretty much everyone else in this fic.

Disclaimer: I don't own or work for Blizzard, blah blah blah, don't sue me. I think that covers it.

This is technically my first WoW fic, although not the first one I've attempted. Hopefully this will go well.

The rating isn't for giggles, either. This is bound to get serious, violent, and graphic. It stands to reason that if you don't like those things, you will have taken note of the rating and shied from it.

This prologue is short and more informational so you can learn a bit about the heroine. I tried not to make it too dry .

I've mushed the prologue and the first chapter into one chapter. I didn't think they really needed to go up individually.

Thanks, and enjoy.

Prologue: A Quiet Sort of Elf

Like any self-respecting little girl, Alara Sunshade had dreamed of growing up to be a normal, well-adjusted, happy blood elf. Her earliest professional aspirations tended toward an animal trainer, or perhaps even a stable-mistress. She was soft spoken, quite shy, and all too happy to let others lead. She owned something near to twelve cats, to which her father held a festering animosity due to his allergies.

Alara grew up on the outskirts of Silvermoon, never once stepping into the big city. Her family was large but, being the youngest of eight and her nearest sibling being ten years her senior, Alara's younger days were lonely. She filled the time playing with her cats and talking to imaginary friends.

Daveious Sunshade was the eldest of the eight children. The first word he spoke was said to be 'Paladin' and he talked of little else until he was old enough to pursue his dream. He spoke of the profession so passionately that he managed to recruit his sister Silmania. The two trained together and had left the Eversong Woods before Alara was even born.

By the time the last of the Sunshade children had ventured from her mother's womb, three of the remaining six children were enrolled in the Paladin training program. The other two, still too young to join, were showing signs of following in their siblings' foot steps. When Alara showed no sign of interest, her parents were overjoyed. Perhaps one of their daughters had some sense to her after all.

When Alara turned ten years of age, Daveious and Silmania returned from Mulgore. Alara had never met these siblings and was fascinated by their stories. They spoiled their baby sister with exotic gifts made by the taurens and trolls. It was this visit that charmed Alara away from her previous dreams of teaching cats to jump through hoops and into aspirations to become what all of her siblings had. It was eight years later that Alara found herself, sword in hand, ready to take on the world one manaworm at a time.

Chapter One: Population Control

"Fifty," Alara murmured under her breath as her sword swung in a wide arch. The manaworm she had been aiming for sliced neatly in half before dropping to the ground with a thunk. Without much thought, the young woman turned to the next floating annelid and repeated the motion. Swish, thunk. Swish, thunk. She quickly looted the small group of worms she had disposed of before turning to find another gathering.

When she had told Daveious that she was going to follow his lead, he warned her that it would take a lot of hard work and perseverance. This, however, was ridiculous. As far as she was concerned, she wasn't a paladin. She was an exterminator. "Alara," she mimicked in a whiney voice as two more manaworms hit the ground. "The manaworms are overpopulated. Go kill them. Alara, the springpaw pups are too aggressive, go kill them. Alara, I need coffee, go get it." She bared her teeth and struck a manaworm with enough force to send the front half spinning across the glade. "Bah!" The woman knelt to take some shards from the corpse before surveying the territory. There were more to the right and slightly downhill. She headed their way, sword balanced across her shoulders.

At least, she reflected as she sliced through a group of manaworms that she was imagining had a strong resemblance to her trainer, this was a good way to work out her frustrations.


Alara's attention was instantly shifted to her left and the young woman smiled broadly at the sight of another blood elf picking her way across the grassy grove. The newcomer made a show of sidestepping the orb-like remains of the manaworms as if she were dodging cow pies in a pasture. She was dressed in royal livery, indicating her role as a palace paladin. Although her hair was a hue of honey-yellow instead of the inky black tresses Alara sported, there was an uncanny family resemblance between the two females.

"Fellias! What ever are you doing here?" Alara wiped her sword quickly on a cloth pulled from her bag before sheathing the blade across her back. She came forward, embracing her sister in a warm greeting.

"Business from the city," the older woman replied, patting a bundle of scrolls held tightly under her arm. "I saw you over here doing population control and couldn't help but pay a visit."

"I could use a break, to tell you the truth. Mind if I go with?"

"By all means," Fellias smiled down at her little sister and placed her free arm around the young woman's shoulders. "It shouldn't take too long."

The two women stepped over worm orbs as they made their way across the grass toward the structure in the near distance. The Sunspire was Fellias' destination so she had not been lying when she said it wouldn't be long before her task was complete.

"It's been such a boring walk from Silvermoon, Kiddo," Fellias commented as they walked up a set of large, marble stairs placed into the side of a small hill below the Spire.

"At least you get out," Alara muttered grumpily from her sister's left. "All I do is kill manaworms and fetch Master Jesthenis a bagel."

"And so you will for some time yet. Being a trainee is difficult, we all start the same. When I was your age, those manaworms were just as populous as they are now. It never ends." They walked in silence for a brief moment before Fellias continued. "How many are you up to now?"

"Sixty-two," came the sullen reply of the younger blood elf.

"Respectable," Fellias returned with a smirk. She ruffled Alara's hair with a gloved hand, musing the locks out of their captive headband.

"Hey!" The younger grabbed her band as it threatened to fall to the ground. With a few quick motions, she had tamed her shoulder length hair back into some semblance of order. "Killing manaworms all day is boring," she stated once finished preening.

"It builds character," her sister replied. "I had two hundred eighty-one before I was allowed to become an actual paladin. Trainees aren't allowed the same type of tasks as actually low ranked knights. You know that. Once you graduate and start really training, things get more interesting."

"Like what?" Alara's interest was peeked and she didn't bother to hide this fact from her sister.

The sparkle in Fellias' eyes did not encourage Alara's excitement. "Oh, things like Tender population control. Delivery of completely unimportant documents. Gathering alcohol for another of Saltheril's parties…" Fellias burst into laughter at the crestfallen look on Alara's face. "It will get better. Just hang in there, do your duties, and eventually you'll be free to train as you please."

"By the Sun Well I hope so! I want to see Mulgore, Fellias, like Daveious and Silmania. Or visit the Needles like Migrania. I mean, even Pelia is off doing interesting Outrider work. What am I doing? Killing worms." Her frustrations brought another laugh to her sister's lips.

"Tell you what, Kiddo," Fellias started as they reached the Spire, "Next week I have leave from palace duties. Come to Silvermoon. I'll show you around, we can visit Mom and Dad, and you can meet some of the other higher ranking paladins in the city. You can make some connections. A job in the city, especially in the palace, can mean a lot of travel. Hell, they're sending me to Undercity next month as an envoy."

"Really? You'd let me come to visit?" Alara's eyes lit up to a brighter green.

"Of course! I'll arrange for your trainer to give you leave. You can stay the whole week if I can swing it. I'd love to have you. Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to deliver these before Solanian has an aneurism."

Alara waited outside of the Spire on the marble porch while her sister ran up the ramp at the back of the antechamber. She could barely contain her excitement.

Although not the closest in age – Fellias was some seventeen years older – they were the closest in location. This had allowed the sisters to become closer to each other than with their other siblings. To be blunt, Fellias was Alara's favorite and she was the one Alara looked up to most. It may have been Daveious who inspiring Alara to become a paladin, but it was Fellias who supported her through the difficult trails of being a trainee.

As she stood on the porch, Alara beamed at anyone who dared look her way, not bothering to notice the strange looks she was given. Other trainees of various disciplines as well as low ranked professionals scurried in and out of the Spire like busy little worker ants, scrolls containing menial tasks clutched in their hands or under their arms. The urge to burst into random dance flooded over Alara and it took a lot of self control not to boogie down right there on the porch.

Glancing into the Spire, Alara saw Fellias jog back down the ramp, jumping the last couple feet to land in front of Jesthenis. She engaged him quickly in conversation, using her usual briskness that tended to throw others off guard. Fellias motioned toward Alara and Jesthenis glanced her way. Alara raised a hand and waggled shy fingers at her master before the man looked back to Fellias.

It seemed like an eternity before Fellias returned to her sister on the porch of the Spire. "He says you can have next week off of training," the elder announced before her sister became too squirmy. The younger woman's breath exploded from her chest with a squeal of happiness.

"He either really likes you, or really doesn't," Fellias continued as the two walked away from the entrance to the Sunspire. "He was reluctant to let you go at first."

"You didn't bully him, did you? He's not that bad of a person." The indignant look on Alara's face was amusing, but Fellias held back more laughter. She'd already laughed a number of times at her little sister and, even though Alara was a constant well of amusement, Fellias thought that now might not be the best time to giggle.

"No, of course not. I never bully," she said indignantly instead. "Anyway, I'm going to hurry back to Silvermoon. This coming Sunday, I'll be waiting for you at the front gate of Silvermoon, alright? And bring something nice to wear; I have an invite to Saltheril's shin-dig."

As Fellias jogged off toward the bridge leading into the Ruins, Alara was left with a warm, tingly feeling inside her stomach. She needed a good, long vacation from training. This trip to her sister's would be just what the doctor ordered.

The day was chilly when Alara rose from her cot and snagged her travel bag from the floor. She tossed it onto the rumpled blankets and quickly dressed. Although the clothing she dawned was topped with the shoddy, no-so-shiny chain mail she had been given upon her entrance into the training program, Alara carefully folded a nice, silky shirt and a long skirt into her pack. If she was going to go to Saltheril's party with Fellias, she would at least look respectable. That clothing was the only nice thing she owned, which wasn't saying much as she owned very little. She reflected a little forlornly that everything she actually owned she could fit in her bag with room left over. That would change when she started adventuring and getting paid for her duties. Being a trainee definitely left one with very little finances. All the money she collected in her looting was turned in to the academy to pay for her training. At least they fed her, she admitted silently to herself as she grabbed a couple loaves of bread taken from last night's dinner. She stuffed these into her pack and followed them with her hearthstone and a flask of water. It wasn't that far to the city, but it could take her a number of hours to get there and she was skipping breakfast to get an early start.

Attaching her pack to her body, Alara surveyed her room with a final sweep. "Well, that's it," she murmured to no one in particular. Grabbing her battered battle sword, she sheathed it across her back, spun around on the ball of her foot, and strode purposefully out her room, shutting the door quietly behind her. Not many of her fellow students were up and moving yet and she didn't want to wake them. The dormitory was silent as she padded out of the building and into the early dawn sunlight.

Cold though it was, Sunstrider Island was practically glowing as the sun crept over the horizon to bath the small bit of land with light. Soon the early morning chill would receded and be replaced with a warm sunlight that would permeate the whole land of Eversong Woods. It was going to be a beautiful day to say the least, perfect for traveling. "It's a good thing that's exactly what I intend to do today!" Alara announced smugly. She stood on the porch of the dormitory for a long moment, soaking in the lovely sunrise and inhaling deeply. Nothing could possibly ruin this day for her.

The young trainee skipped down the steps and started off at a jog for the bridge that lead off the island. She occasionally waved to a few other early-rising trainees going about their own business. A couple waved back but most were too wrapped up in their own affairs to do more than nod congenially in her direction. It didn't really matter to Alara; she was far too happy to care if they even noticed her existence. The young woman wouldn't be surprised if she looked down to find herself walking on a cushion of air.

As the bridge approached quickly, Alara was forced to pause and gaze apprehensively at the arches leading into the Ruins of Silvermoon. She had been through them only once before in her lifetime and she had clutched Fellias' hand tightly the entire time. The Wretched gave her a severe case of the willies and having to pass through that area without an actual paladin next to her was a little unnerving. To make herself feel a little more confidant, Alara unsheathed her sword and held it tightly in her hand. "Just in case," she muttered to herself as she continued across the bridge and toward the ruins.

A few steps in, Alara was forced to sidestep rapidly and halt her progress. At her feet, oozing a mixture of coagulated blood and a substance Alara could only vaguely recognize as whatever he had eaten earlier was a corpse. How long he had been dead she wasn't sure, and she'd be damned if she was going to touch him to find out. With a bit of tentativeness, she prodded the body with her booted toe. Nothing. "Well, what did you expect?" She berated herself. It wasn't as though the body was going to say 'hey, knock it off!'

For what seemed like an eternity, Alara stood there, staring down at the body with uncertainty. She wanted to do something helpful, but there really wasn't anything she could do. He was dead. That much was obvious by the fact that his stomach was sitting next to his knees. She couldn't exactly ignore the fact that she was standing next to a corpse of a blood elf, either. If it was Alliance, she would probably spit on it and continue on her way, but this man had been one of her own species.

"I'll tell the guards about you," she addressed the corpse finally. She felt better having made a decision. "They'll know what to do about you. I have to go now. Sorry." Feeling slightly silly at having talked to the corpse, Alara moved further down the path that led to Falconwing Square. She could vaguely hear the Wretched moving around on either side of the path, lurking behind the abandoned buildings. The back of her neck prickled unpleasantly as she ran, but she knew that if she kept straight towards Falconwing, she should be okay.

Alara ran right up to the first guard she saw and reported her findings. He stared at her for a moment before nodding his understanding.

"Ah, you need Outrunner Alarion. That's probably one of her messengers. She's actually at the far end of this road here." He pointed back in the directly she had just come from. "Remember the Sun Well."

"But I-" Alara started, looking distressed. The guard jabbed his finger toward the arches at the far end of the lane, repeated the woman's name Alara needed to talk to, and smiled encouragingly. "Oh, fine."

Somewhat annoyed that her progress was being side-tracked, Alara spun around and jogged back the way she came. She glanced surreptitiously to her sides to make sure no Wretched were climbing the embankment to the road to eat her. She leapt over the corpse once she reached him and practically sprinted to the woman when she spotted her.

"Greetings, Paladin," the woman said formally, raising her palm in welcome. "What can I do for you?"

"I'm not… well… There's a body," Alara pointed over her shoulder with her thumb. "He's rather dead."

"Damn, another one?" Alarion growled slightly under her breath for a moment before surveying Alara. "Hey, can you do me a favor? There's a package on that guy that really needs to go to the inn in Falconwing Square. Could you deliver it for me while I take care of his body? The innkeeper will reward you."

"I… but…" Alara stood there for a moment, torn between her willingness to help others and her desire to get to Silvermoon to start her vacation. "Sure, okay." They didn't have to know she wasn't supposed to be doing quests yet, right?

"Thanks. I really appreciate it."

Alara merely nodded and ran back towards the corpse. Searching the body for a very illusive package was not a fun task. The blood soaked little box made Alara retch, but she tossed it into her bag none-the-less and took off down the path for Falconwing.

The innkeeper did reward Alara as Alarion claimed she would. With a few more coppers in her bag, the blood elf felt a little better about having been sidetracked from her travel. Turning to leave, the innkeeper put a hand on the young woman's shoulder. "I was wondering, since you delivered this to me for Alarion if you could do me a favor, too."

"Uhm… I really…what is it?"

"I made these for the guards," the innkeeper motioned to a tray of tarts on a table near-by. "But I can't leave the inn and my helper is visiting some family in Silvermoon. Could you hand them out for me?" The woman smiled warmly at Alara, picking up the tray and offering it to the younger woman. "You can have one, too."

"Well..." They did smell delicious. "Okay, no problem."

"Please return my tray!" the innkeeper called after her as Alara jogged off with the tasty-smelling tarts.

One tray of tarts, two letters stashed in her bag for people in Silvermoon, a promise to return in a week to help arrange a child's birthday party, and a bad leg cramp from running all over Falconwing Square in order to find an elderly elf's lost glasses later, Alara was ready to continue on her way. Her pocket felt heavy with the copper she had gained from her ventures and she couldn't wait to spend it in Silvermoon. "Well, if this is what being a paladin is going to be like, it's not that bad." She grinned to herself, massaged her leg a bit more, and then headed for the arches that lead out into the Eversong Woods.

"You are late," Fellias announced the moment a very bedraggled Alara came into view around the corner of the path. The woman was standing on the bridge that led to the front gates of Silvermoon. "What in the world happened?"

"I was mistaken for a fully-fledged paladin seven times." Alara collapsed onto a bench as soon as she reached her sister. "Tart?" The younger woman offered the pastry to Fellias. The older woman merely laughed.

"Well, I hope they paid you well for your troubles. You know you can refuse to help people. You're not supposed to be doing quests yet," Fellias chided gently. "You could get hurt."

Alara pulled a face at her sister and tore the tart in half. She handed one portion to Fellias before munching on her own. "I was delivering pastries and letters. Unless I get a paper cut or food poisoning, I think I'll be alright."

"Regardless," Fellias started, then shrugged and thought better of scolding her sister. She couldn't help it if she wanted to be helpful. That was one good trait a paladin needed. "Shall we?" The older woman motioned to the front gates. "Saltheril's party is tonight so we need to go get ready. You brought something more presentable, I presume?"

"Yes. But I also have a couple letters to deliver…" Alara motioned vaguely to her bag and Fellias nodded.

"We'll get those passed out after we change. Onward!" Arm slung across her sister's shoulder and sucking sticky jam off her fingers from the tart, Fellias led her little sister into Silvermoon.

AN: Well, there's the first bit. Please let me know what you think.