“To save a life, you must first take one,” the words of her former mentor, a large and formidable woman with sharp features and an ever-present displeasure in her eyes, echoed in Sabina’s head. She reached out her hand, feeling the pull of shadows at her fingertips. A dark feeling rose from the pit of her stomach, spreading up her arms and towards her long and slender fingers, ending in a shadowy spark.
Sabina shakes off the thought.
No. She had abandoned that life. She knew how the shadows corrupted. She watched as her friends slowly changed. She wasn’t like that anymore. She had the Light and the Light could save all.
Her attention shifts, pulled out of her thoughts as she hears a deep, rumbling voice speaking to an injured man laying down upon a cot nearby. Something something, bandages. Something something medicine. The words weren’t what mattered, it was who had spoken them.
Vazhilius was a monster of a man, large and muscular with a face etched in hard lines that made him look more like a sculpture than a man. He had a tail with enough power behind it to knock over several draenei without much effort. He was brawny. Beefy. Yet, his face was soft and his demeanor gentle, he held himself with poise and grace as he went from cot to cot, offering healing to those that needed the help of a mender. Sabina loved him. Of that, she was sure. He was everything that she wished she could be – strong enough to defend himself, delicate enough to protect those that he loved, kind enough to befriend those who crossed his path. Sabina, on the other hand, was tall and slender with a body that looked like it was made of noodles. She always had a somewhat dour expression, and her nose was nearly always upturned, besides when she had to look down upon those shorter than her.
She watched from afar, her golden eyes twinkling with admiration – no adoration. He hadn’t noticed her, not yet, as she watched him work from behind a wall. Her heart thump thumped in her chest, like the beating of the drum she so often marched to as she fought through wave upon wave of seemingly endless, increasingly demonic creatures.
Perhaps she had stared for too long, or perhaps her hiding spot wasn’t as good as she had initially hoped, but Vazhilius turned to look back at the starry-eyed priest with a raised brow. Don’t act guilty. She was merely observing the way he handled patients, was all, so that she could be as eloquent and friendly with hers. Perfect explanation. She opens her mouth and raises her hand, about to explain, when she hears the thunderous bellow of a horn, signaling for her attention. The explanation is lost.
It wasn’t long before the Legion came again and, with a decisive attack, brought a nearby regiment to its knees. Sabina ran through the camp with quick, rapid hoofbeats upon the rocky ground – as quick as she could manage in such a short amount of time. Out of breath and sweating, she wipes at her brow as she falls upon the ground near a circle of smoldering tents that smelled of rancid fel and the burning of flesh. Her knees scream as they smash against the rocks beneath her.
Behind her, Vazhilius stood guard, the pair having split off from a larger group. Sabina had one person she cared about and most of those others were not them. Like idiots, she thought in hindsight. She works, one after the other, confidently mending the broken that lay upon the ground while Vazhilius smashed at oncoming demons.
One last injured draenei crosses her path, laid upon the ground in pain with eyes and mouth wide open: a look of shock and a silent scream. Sabina presses her palms down upon the large man’s chest, feeling the thrum of the Light at her fingertips, before it suddenly vanishes without a trace. The radiant glow over her hands dissipates, like it had dissolved into the air. Gone. She claps her hands together, a solid and crisp sound. Nothing. She does it again. Nothing. Her hands begin to tremble, knowing how little time she had, but knowing she had nothing more she could do. This was her job. She had but one.
“We must leave,” Vazhilius speaks up from behind her, using a thickly muscled leg to kick back fel guard that staggered backwards and was easily sliced by the sword of another guard.
“No. We must save every one,” Sabina says, her voice shaking almost as much as her hands. She turns her focus back inwards, trying to call upon the inner Light that resided within her. A power stretched too thin from too much time spent mending. Too much power spent. Not enough life.
“We cannot,” came Vazhilius’ reply as he smashed the large, blunt end of a hammer into the head of a passing fel hound with a sickening crunch. He swings again, the hammer coming into contact with the side of a fel guard and sending it flying.
“It is here, I know it,” she screams, though her resolve finally begins to slip.
“There is no time!” Vazhilius roars, turning around to glare at the woman still struggling to heal one last injured. Sabina’s hands are held upwards, palms open, like they were searching for something – for the sky to open up and rain down Light upon her. To wash her in its magic. Her head turns towards the sky, pleading, but none came. She looked back, pinpricks of tears stinging at her eyes, a moment of vulnerability that she rarely showed to match the moment of weakness she rarely had.
“I-“ she begins, as if to ask him to take her place, to do the last of the mending while she somehow – through sheer determination and luck – took his place guarding him, yet she never finishes. In his moment of distraction, the large mountain of a man falters as a fel hound tears a chunk out of his side.
The large man struggles with the fel hound and eventually wrestles it away. The hound lands upon its back, flailing for a moment before righting itself once more. Vazhilius’ hand comes to his side, struggling to cover the gaping hole left behind, before the hound once again rushes towards him. Sabina watches, eyes dripping tears down her face, as her legs stay planted firmly in the ground, useless. Unmoving. Paralyzed with fear. No matter how hard she wills her body to move, it remains still as she watches, unable to wrench her eyes away, in horror as the man she cared so deeply for, who never knew of her affections, was torn asunder by the hound.
It isn’t until his body lays, still and lifeless, when she feels herself at one of the lowest points, that a fire lights in the pit of her stomach once more, a fire she knew from before, that traveled throughout her body and came to a point in her hands that burned with white, hot energy. She lifts herself up, the runes etched on her body glowing brightly, and presses her hands upon the fel hound. A guttural, primal scream from the deepest, darkest part of her being emerges as she burns the demon.
From its smoldering husk of a body, she feels the familiar pull of the shadows, the niggle at the back of her mind, the tingle at her fingertips that she finally relents to, dragging her fingers languidly through the air and extracting the very essence of the demon. A sickly green streak of energy that she swirled and toyed with, watching the way it moved with her every movement, before she flicks her wrist in the direction of Vazhilius’ body. She doesn’t wait for him to recover before she turns to leave.
“To save a life, you must first take one,” she says solemnly.