Author's note: Well, what can I say?


I never imagined that this story would get such immense, positive response. The amount of reviews and praise it has gotten is absolutely humbling and has been a driving force to continue, even when my life turned incredibly hectic for long periods of time and simply did not allow me to keep writing at the pace both the readers and I would have preferred. I'm eternally grateful for all the reviews, and the constructive criticism people have offered to help me fine-tune the story and make it even better.

My only regret is that I didn't finish the story before Blizzard gave us Aggra. While I'm not too bitter about my ship sinking, it still takes some power away from it, for me at least.

It's a little scary to post the final part of what is without a doubt my most successful piece of writing ever. I can only hope to match what Diplomacy grew into, with my future works.

The first time I played WoW was in the spring of 2007, and a short while after that a friend sent me the script for Warcraft 3. Reading through it, then Thrall and Jaina's lore pages on WoWwiki and the precious few fanfics there were for the pairing, I immediately knew that I wanted to write a romance fic about them. Diplomacy, like so many of my fanfics, started with just one single line - in this case the one Jaina uses to finally win Thrall over to her crazy idea in chapter one; "There is no man like you, not in any race." Originally, this fanfic was supposed to end with the wedding, but I soon realized that there were so many issues I wanted to bring up that it had to be longer than that.

My writing process never moves in a straight line. The epilogue you're about to read, like the troll dance in the final chapter, were among the first things I wrote back in 2008. The prologue and chapter one I remember writing at two in the morning while listening to "Tell him" by Céline Dion and Barbara Streisand on repeat.

I'm not going to make promises about a sequel right now. There might eventually be one, or there might simply be short-stories that follow up on how things work out in this what-if lala-land of mine with things like the Wrath Gate and Cataclysm. I have some ideas, but I'm a bit burned out in real life right now and writing long stories doesn't feel very tempting. For now, I'm going to stick to shorts and character studies.

Again, thank you so much for your support and I'm so happy that you liked this fanfic!

Epilogue II

Lady Vashj could tell that her personal guards were not at ease, although they kept their complaints to themselves. She could not blame them, for the air in Tempest Keep held a metallic, burnt stench that seemed to dig into her scales, dehydrating her. Arcane bolts of lightning tore at the sky outside, above the cracking landscape. Part of her was thrilled at the vast amounts of power apparent in the area, but another part felt unease at the tear of the land.

She had lived in the ocean for millennia – a world embodying eternity did not scare her. However, one could not swim in the Nether. Only fall, by the way it looked. She had no wings.

And the Netherstorm was far too dry for her tastes. However, she had been made to understand, by several increasingly frantic letters, that this was a matter she truly had to take into her own hands.

The naga were met just outside the portal by very much relieved blood elves, and Lady Vashj slithered alongside High Astromancer Solarian's hurried steps through the long, confusing corridors of the keep. For the sake of her honored guests, the High Astromancer had foregone her magical hood which normally made her face an unreadable mask reminiscent of a void walker. This in turn had forced her to apply more beauty enhancing magic, but even that could not completely hide how worn down she was.

More elves with harrowed expressions passed by, proving just how badly this whole situation was worrying them all.

Following a final turn and heading towards a guarded gate at the end of a corridor, a distant, muffled scream was heard from where they were heading. Lady Vashj tilted her head, frowning.

"Is he torturing prisoners?" she asked. She did not disapprove, exactly, but it did not seem like Kael'thas to dirty his hands with such things. Then he had to truly be beyond furious, dangerously so.

The pale, fine face of her guide scrunched up in a grimace, and Solarian actually winced when another scream rung down the corridor.

"No, my Lady," the elf said with badly hidden distaste. "It is worse than that."

The scream continued, ending and beginning again even as the two women stopped a few steps from the doors. Difficult to say if it was the same voice screaming, distorted as it was by pain. Whichever it was, it was a deep, roaring sound. Didn't sound like a human or elf.

The several guards mumbled grateful welcomes to the naga, which she ignored.

The snakes on Vashj's head obediently laid down and wreathed themselves into a braid. She knew that they disturbed the Prince even after all this time, and she had no intention to make him even more aggravated.

While Vashj focused on this, Solarian knocked on the great doors. The guards looked on with great apprehension apparent on their faces.

"Your Majesty?" Solarian called, keeping her voice neutral. "Your Majesty, Lady Vashj wishes to see you. May I open the door?"

A second passed, with a lull in the screaming, and then there was a snarl from inside. It may have been an acknowledgement. Solarian squared her jaw and pulled one half of the gate open.

Roaring, a full grown orc, in black mithril armor lined with copper, flew through the open door. Solarian recoiled, crying out in shock, and Vashj's snakes rose up with an alarmed hiss as she too drew back, eyes wide.

However, the huge thing went straight through Solarian as if it was… just an illusion. Despite its lack of matter, it crashed on the floor loudly and then laid still. A smoldering hole went straight through its chest, so large that one could see the floor through it before a flood of dark blood covered the tiles. Luckily, the magic at work could not recreate the smell of burnt flesh and blood.

Vashj and the elves stared at the thing by their feet, Solarian gasping for breath and pressing a hand to her chest.

After a moment, the naga shook herself out of it and her snakes laid back again as she squared her jaw. She had never seen this orc in person, but knew him well enough from pictures and memories drawn into moving images.

"I sssee," she said, hissing with the distaste she felt.

Small wonder that the elves had called for her help if their Prince had sunk so low as to play sadistic games with illusions. Such things amused their Lord Illidan from time to time as well, but it was not the sign of a healthy mind. Vashj really had had higher thoughts of Kael'thas.

Still hissing, she swept past the blood elves. Her tail whipped out and right through the fading image of Warchief Thrall.

Kael'thas' chamber was, to her surprise, pretty much intact save for a few torn pillows and papers scattered across the floor, splattered with ink. Judging from the splotches along the floor and wall, a bottle of it had been thrown across the room.

There was a human shaped, pink image curled up on the ground, blonde hair spilling over the dirty papers. Vashj pretended that it wasn't there as she slithered towards Kael'thas. The distaste kept her anger up for a moment longer, but she controlled it and let it fade to annoyance and then concern as she looked closer at the Prince.

He lounged on a divan, glaring at her with his head propped up on a fist. Rage and lack of sleep lined his handsome features, encircling his eyes with dark rings. His fine red robes were in disarray, and he made no move to appear more collected under her gaze.

Behind Vashj, the door was silently shut.

She slipped up close to where he was, then lowered her body on her long, thick tail so that their faces were at the same level.

"I've never seen you like this, Prince," Vashj said, lowering her voice to a soft rather than harsh hiss.

He glanced away.

"I'm sure they have informed you well enough of what has happened," he countered.

Unperturbed by his cold tone, Vashj leaned closer.

"You should speak with Master Illidan," she urged. "He knows your pain. He would help."

"It's too late." He said it dully, shaking his head. "It was always too late, they moved too quickly. We could not have amassed the troops in time to stop them in Ratchet…"

His words faded into a growl. On the floor, the image of Jaina Proudmoore curled up, covering her head pathetically as sobs wrecked her naked form.

"… and now they sit behind their walls."

"She is not worth this much pain, my Prince," Lady Vashj whispered, stroking his cheek with the back of her fingers.

"No, by hellfire, she's not!"

He shot up suddenly, clenching his hands at the trembling illusion.

"To be scorned in favor of an orc!"

"Kael'thas, calm yourself!" Vashj sharply said.

With a combination of quickly softening orders and careful touches to his arms, she managed to soothe him back down on the divan. He still glared between her and the illusion, but at least settled down.

"You know humans, Kael'thas," Vashj said, shaking her head. "They are foolish, frightened little things. When they've made a decision they'll defend their choice with blind pride, because they're deathly afraid to realize that they are wrong." She wasn't sure if a sneer would be a good idea, considering his state of mind, so she kept that to herself.

She motioned towards the source of the quieting sobs, still refusing to look straight at it.

"Let her suffer through all the nights she can bear with that orc," Vashj whispered into Kael'thas long, elegant ear. "That is sufficient punishment for her, until the day we can crush all of them. Then you shall have her, if you want her."

After a moment he slowly nodded, but she was not sure if it was in real agreement or just a polite way to make her stop talking.

She could feel it, if not her very eyes could have told her the same, what a dangerous blow Lady Proudmoore's actions had been. Illidan was difficult enough to deal with. Kael'thas had to stay sane, but he had already lost so much.

Unbeknownst to her, in the silence between them he listened to another voice, far deeper and more sinister than Vashj's could ever be.

Kael'thas stood up abruptly, surprising her. The snakes on her head rose in alarm, but she ordered them back down as she studied his face. Though the rage remained, the worst tension melted away under his massaging fingertips.

As he snapped his fingers, the sobs instantly ceased and the illusion on the floor froze.

"Pardon me, Vashj." Kael'thas took in a deep breath and held a hand to his forehead for a moment. "It was a heavy blow to my pride, I admit that. I have made you all worry."

"You did," she agreed, watching him warily. The change was welcome, but she was not certain that it had not come too easily. "I and your people care a great deal about you, and we hate to see you suffer. Are you feeling better now?"

"Yes. Thank you for taking the time, dear friend." His smile was charming as always, but also - as was also common for him - a little tight.

Vashj nodded and returned his smile. She noted, however, that he did not dissolve the illusion. Shaking his head, Kael'thas made a move to start walking towards the doors.

"There are, indeed, matters I must attend to," he said. "I have high hopes that we may soon begin the next step in rejuvenating the Sunwell. Once that is complete, I will have more time and means to discuss how to go from here with my people's allies."

And he grimly smiled, baring his pearly white teeth.

As great a thing as their marriage were, the Warchief and Lady Proudmoore could not influence the actions of their enemies. They could only take a stand amongst their allies. For the forces of the Burning Legion cared not a whit about those wedding vows that rocked the political world of Azeroth.

The world itself, and its defenses, ultimately still rested on the shoulders of not only the leaders and generals of Azeroth – but on those brave men and women ready to risk their lives in the everyday battles to protect it from the demonic and undead forces.

The End