Episode 23: Surfal's Fate
When I stepped off our Night Elf vessel and into the city of Darnassus, I felt a wave of emotion that I hadn’t felt in years. It was a bold mixture of fear, confusion, panic, and sorrow. At that moment, all my feelings, bottled up for years on end hit me like a brick wall in the face.
The Worgen curse had messed with all of our minds, but as our thoughts and memories came back to us, they felt so fresh. I had wept the night I remembered my mother’s death at the hands of an Orc raiding party. I had laughed when I thought of my Uncle Maron’s efforts to keep me safe.
Most importantly, I thought of Keaira.
She was almost nothing in my mind. A name, a fact, and the rest was distant confusion. I knew that I cared about her, but I could not remember her face or her voice, only that she was a piece of my past.
In Darnassus there were priests lined up waiting for our arrival. I was self-conscious of how awful I smelled, and looked, a giant furry animal that could mumble spoken language. I was amazed that the Night Elves hadn’t tried to kill us.
I was paired with one such priest, who identified herself as Adriana, and then went to work on sorting through a mixture of potions and spells.
“You’re a bit of a mess,” she said cheerily as she worked. “You want to be human again?”
“Can you do that?” I asked.
“Partially,” she nodded. “Close your eyes…”
I did what she requested and felt a tingling sensation pass over my body. My fur felt funny and I was suddenly aware that it was… shrinking, as if it was slowly being pulled into my skin. Without it I suddenly felt naked. I was wearing clothing of course, but without the hair and thick hide, I felt exposed. It made me almost laugh knowing that I once wore mostly cloth robes. I I had been a brave man.
“There we are,” she said at last. “Take a look.”
I opened my eyes and saw my reflection in a pool of water.
“You said partially… I look completely human.”
“That’s right,” she replied. “However, I cannot make it last. When you grow angry, or if you will it upon yourself, you will return to the worgen form.”
“If that happens how will I look human again?”
“It may not make sense now, but eventually, you will be able to change at will.”
“I have a question for you priest,” I said as though trying not to sound serious. “Are worgen incapable of using magic?”
“Not at all, we have several worgen magi and druids too. Why do you ask?”
“I… I was once a mage.”
The woman’s eyes widened. “Your name… this says you are named Salonis, but you’re not. I know your face. You are the famous Sionis Sepher.”
My eyes widened too. “You know me?”
“My child was one of the first to join the Night Elf magi. I have heard your name time and time again from various teachers. The paintings I’ve seen don’t do you justice, but you are Sionis Sepher. I can tell it now.”
“You have been missing for two years,” she interrupted. “Why did you not reveal your identity sooner?”
I put my finger to my mouth, signaling her to be quiet, and she responded by letting silence fill the air between us.
“I don’t want people to know,” I told her.
“I can’t use magic and I can barely remember anything about my old life.”
“Perhaps I can help?” she asked.
My mind went back to the one called Keaira. I realized that this night elf may be able to help me more than I thought. “Perhaps you can.”
When all the worgen in my group had been given the same gift as I had received, we were taken to a large shelter. There I met a woman who was a “young” convert as she put it. She had only returned to sanity a few days before me. Her brother and father, also worgen, had not survived the chaos that had been our flight from Gilneas. Her name was Amidone, a priest with excellent potential.
We were finally dismissed and I went to join Tallendra in the city square. When we met, I gave her a very serious look and then said, “I need you to find someone.”
“Oh,” she said slowly. “Sionis… I’m sorry.”
“My name is Salonis now. I don’t want you to be sorry. I need your help.”
“She was in Auberdine,” she said. “The cataclysm…”
I was shocked. I remembered Auberdine. I had been there before; years before. I looked around and then back to Tallendra. “I need to get there.”
“We have a refugee camp set up on the beach of Darkshore. I can get you passage if you want it. Sionis, they haven’t found any new survivors in days.”
“That’s fine. I need to go there.”
“Okay, we’ll go together. Lor’danel can use my help anyway.”
“Can I go?” I heard a new voice ask.
I turned and saw it was the woman I had met shortly before.
“If you feel up to it, that would be fine,” Tallendra replied. “They’ll need your healing powers too.”
Amidone smiled. “Good. I’m losing my mind in that storehouse.”
A few short hours later, we were sailing up to the dock of the new Night Elf village, or refugee camp really, and I immediately saw that things were far less orderly than I had expected. Dozens of wounded were lined up on the green grass while healers and nurses continued to rush back and forth. I felt sorry for them, but I wasn’t planning on sticking around.
“Auberdine is south of here?” I asked.
“Just follow the coast,” Tallendra said with a nod.
There was no pause or moment to think about my actions. I just started walking. At first, I thought someone might stop me, but I never expected the winged horse that touched down a few feet in front of me. It let out a whiny and stepped up, rubbing it’s nearly transparent head against my face.
“Wow,” Amidone said, looking the creature over. “What is that?”
“This is Surfal,” I replied softly. “My horse.”
Then, it all came back to me in a rush… my horse; the same one that had been mortally wounded during the battle against Archimonde, the same one that the Lich King had tried to kill. This was Surfal. Surfal was a being of pure energy that had once been a flesh and blood horse. Like me, this animal had come a long way from the creature it had been at birth.
“I don’t understand,” I mumbled. “You’re soul is bound to Keaira. If you’re alive…”
Tallendra and I both made the same connection at the same moment.
I started to climb atop my horse and it spread its wings like it wanted to fly. I was nervous, but I decided to roll with this. I snapped the reins and we were airborne to Auberdine.
When Surfal landed, I was staring at the water’s edge. Just beneath the surface of this flowing water was a large rock; what had once been the foundation of Keaira’s home.
I felt another powerful emotion take hold.
I started to cry. I started to yell.
I felt myself turn back into the worgen. I didn’t care; the emotions that I had trapped away all this time, the guilt, pain of loss, it was all multiplied by ten as I stood over the ruins of the old dwelling. I roared and I tore through the wooden pieces of debris looking for any sign of a body, but there was nothing to be found. The Night Elves had already fled this area; there was no one to speak to.
Behind me, I felt Surfal nudge me slightly, and I turned to look at the animal. Despite my rage and my new look, it still didn’t run away. I couldn’t believe that it somehow knew who I was. I slowly climbed back on Surfal and he spread his wings again, but folded them away and started to walk back toward the village.
I couldn’t blame the animal. I didn’t want to fly either.