Mavra’s hand flew to her chest, and she stood gasping for breath for a moment. She stood shakily, using her sword to support her weight. She withdrew her hand from her chest, startled to see she was bleeding. With a grimace, she began tearing strips of her cloak to bandage herself. How many years ago was it?

Years ago, she had been in the village of Telmor when the orcs attacked. Their skin was green and their eyes like red coals.

Her mother had brilliant blue skin and always wore the purple tiara, one of the remnants of their lost world. She saw one of the orcs cut her mother down as she ran.

Tears streamed down her pale blue face and her teeth were bared. Blue blood, too much of it to be her own, saturated her dress so that it clung to her body. She pounded futilely at him, her tearfilled eyes burning with pain and righteous fury.

He raised his axe to kill her…but paused before he could deliver the blow.

Suddenly Mavra felt herself freeze, her eyes widening as she saw the spear impaling her chest. The orc wielding the spear shoved her to the side, forcing her to the ground. His heavy foot was on her back, and the spear was removed.

The orc wielding the spear shouted something to the other orc. The axe-wielding orc cried out, as if in pain. The orcs rode off.

Mavra was left alone, her blue blood running down the already corpse-filled street. She closed her eyes, knowing that death would soon be upon her.

She heard the clip-clop of hooves approaching, and felt a cold, soothing sensation on her chest. She heard a woman speak in the fluid draenei language. “You are strong yet. Let the crystal heal you. There’s still time.”

Mavra felt her blood boil and freeze simultaneously. Mavra’s eyes flew open, and she sat up, coughing blood. The healer helped Mavra to her feet, removing the healing crystal from her chest.

Mavra immediately stumbled over to her mother’s corpse. She took the purple crown, tucking it in her dress.

Mavra paused in binding her wounds, her hand touching the crown she now wore. She sighed in relief…the memories were taking her mind off the pain. She allowed herself to be swept along with her memories.

She bobbed and weaved through the marshes. Don’t panic. Don’t panic. If I can just get to Shattrah…

She glanced back to the orc pursuing her, whose mount was caught in the hanging vines. The orc dismounted and slashed at the vines with his sword, leaving his spear tied to his back. She darted behind a tree, and began to climb its mossy branches with little difficulty. The tree had plenty of knotholes that her hoofed feet found and used to climb.

Reaching its top, she took a moment to catch her breath and think. She touched her scarred chest lightly. I can’t take much more of this without my wounds reopening. It’s too far to Shattrah to make it on my own. I have no weapon or armor. The orcs are master trackers.

The orc finally managed to free his mount, a fierce black wolf. The orc lead his mount forward slowly, trying to find his quarry’s trail once more.

Her blue eyes narrowed as she watched his movements. When she was in position, Mavra released her grip on the tree, falling towards him.

The orc leaned forward, getting a better look at the confused tracks on the ground. Her hoof landed on the back of his neck with a sickening crack. The wolf lost its footing with her added weight. Her clawed hands stretched for the orc’s spear, still on strapped on his back. She managed to rip it free as the wolf came to its senses. She tumbled from the wolf’s back as it rolled, trying to dislodge her. She landed in a crouch, gripping the orc’s spear in her hands. The wolf recovered and snarled, turning on her.

The wolf charged her, but she fended him off with her spear. They circled each other for what seemed like an eon, trying to find weaknesses. The marsh around them was uncharacteristically quiet.

Mavra’s hoof slipped into a concealed puddle, and the wolf attacked as she fell back. His jaw snapped at her head. She brought up her spear to parry his attack, followed by several sharp thrusts. The wolf seemed not to feel her blows. Before she could strike a killing blow, the wolf’s teeth were snapping at her face. She closed her eyes and flinched backwards, trying to delay the inevitable. The wolf’s snarling filled her ears…and was suddenly silent.

She opened her eyes to see the wolf’s corpse, a few feet away. She got to her feet cautiously, rubbing her twisted hoof.

Mavra walked over to inspect the wolf’s body further, but was torn from her thoughts when she heard the low notes of an orcish war horn. She ran, chastising herself for pausing, but she couldn’t help but wonder who had saved her life.

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