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   “You are bleeding.”

   Saora turned to face Dhaja, “What?”

   “You are bleeding,” the draenei touched her own upper lip just below her nose. Saora mimicked the movement and lifted her fingers to her eyes. Sure enough, red gleamed on her fingertips.

   “Guess I used more power than I thought.”

   “You put enough strength in your shields to completely stop the magic of one of the most powerful creatures on Azeroth. It was beyond what most could handle.”

   “Not so sure about that.”

   “I am.”

   Saora scowled at the justicar, “Saurfang was just Arthas’ puppet, and he was weakened from making his hovering statue garden. You’re acting like I destroyed Frostmourne or something, and that is so not something I’m capable of. Trust me, I’m nothing special.”

   “Why do you not wish to be strong?”

   “What?”

   “Here,” Dhaja shook her head, “hold still.”

   The draenei’s slender hand raised toward her, the same hand that formed the shadow spell. A tremor shivered up Saora’s spine and her eyes widened. Jaybird’s hand tightened on her shoulder, reading her anxiety. A low growl rippled through Rocky’s stiffened body. The justicar narrowed her white eyes but continued to lift her hand.

   “Stop,” Jaybird commanded, softly.

   Dhaja ignored him and waved her fingers in front of Saora. She began to hum. Her full lips parted and the hum turned to a soft song. The lyrics were Draenei, the justicar’s native language, one Saora never managed to learn. A few recognizable words breathed past those perfect lips, Sha’tar for Born of Light, naaru for the creatures that gave the draenei the Light’s blessing, and Xi’ri, the name of one of the naaru, but the rest was little more than pretty noise.

   Pale blue magic drifted between Dhaja’s long fingers like smoke around incense. With a final word, “auch’ari”, she spread her fingers as if offering the magic as a gift. The spell drifted to Saora’s pale face and encircled her head like an affectionate cat. The comfort of a warm breeze blew across her skin and skimmed down her body. Everywhere the warmth touched, strength returned. The priestess straightened and rolled her shoulders. The haze of exhaustion vanished and she beamed at the justicar.

   “Wow,” Saora whispered, “I feel...great!” Behind her, Jaybird relaxed. Rocky huffed and, tossing the draenei scowl, shuffled away.

   Dhaja smirked, “A simple spell taught to the soldiers of the naaru.”

   A scowl pulled at Saora’s lips, “We’re not soldiers.”

   “I am. And the Keeper of Benediction is, as well.”

   “We are not soldiers!”

   “Why do you not wish to be strong?”

   That question again. Saora brushed Jaybird’s hand from her shoulder and stepped closer to the justicar. She has to tilt her head up. She’d forgotten how tall the draenei are.

   “Just because I’m not willing to murder innocent people --”

   Dhaja scoffed, “Innocent?!”

   “ -- does not mean I am weak,” Saora continued. “We’re here to stop Arthas, not to pick another fight with the Horde.”

   “Those creatures are Man’ari,” the justicar spat. “They are no more innocent than those who live within their blood. You know what corruption flows through them, corruption they welcomed with eagerness!”

   “They repented. And have fought valiantly against the Burning Legion for years.”

   “They are a disease to be purged!”

   Saora held up a hand, “Enough.” Dhaja’s mouth clamped shut. Her purple skin flushed and her fists clenched and quivered. Her head bobbed to a silent rhythm and Saora wondered if the justicar was counting. She waited, watching Dhaja’s color fade back to normal.

   “I saw the fight,” Dhaja said. “I felt your power.”

   “It isn’t my power,” Saora blushed.

   “That you would say that is only further proof that you are worthy of your title and position. The Benediction will only form for someone who completely embodies the Light, the strongest of us, the one who brings Light to any darkness. Why do you refuse to embrace it?”

   “I’m no leader, Dhaja.”

   The justicar smirks, “You are. You simply do not want to be, and, for all that is brought from the darkness, I cannot fathom why. With the kind of power you can wield, the Alliance could raze all demonic corruption from this planet and mine. We could be rid of the monsters, free of the Man’ari.”

   “ ‘How easily the mind can be turned to hate from a place of fear - an instinctive, natural, protective response. Instead of focusing on the things that unite us, we focus on what divides us.’ ”

   “Profound words,” the draenai’s smirk faded to a frown.

   Saora grins, “Thrall said that, the orc Warchief of the Horde.”

   Those white eyes flashed. Her fingers clutched at her palms again and she clenched her delicate jaw. Her perfect mouth dropped open and immediately clamped shut. She spun away, muttering in Draenei under her breath, and stomped to the front of the platform.

   “Making friends?” Verita approached, her eyes on Dhaja’s retreating figure.

   “You’ve always been about uniting Azeroth’s creatures against the Burning Legion, V,” Saora said to her. “You’ve never tolerated racism or blind killings. What is someone like that doing with you?”

   “Dhaja is a strong fighter, strong in the Light. She is sometimes too...enthusiastic. But she follows orders, and, despite her fanaticism, she usually makes the right decisions. She is learning restraint.”

   “She must be really, really good for you to put up with her.”

   The hunter gazed at her friend, impassive, “She is.”
:D
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August 25, 2014
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