World of Warcraft

Warcraft Short Story: "The Lilac and the Stone"

Warcraft Short Story: "The Lilac and the Stone"

Queen Regent Moira Thaurissan is exhausted. Her son, Dagran II, is rapidly coming of age and stands to inherit leadership of both the Dark Iron and Bronzebeard Clans. But Dagran is bookish and odd: He would easily choose the company of his library over leadership. Can Moira inspire her son to take up his birthright, or will her fears for his future—and the future of the clans—prove true?

Among all the great craggy, unfeeling boulders of our people, Dagran was always my flower.

For all the good it ever did him. Or me.

Few can imagine what it costs a gentle soul to grow up a dwarf. It may even be worse than to come into this world saddled with the soul of a daughter instead of a son. That one singular roll of the bones determined much of my life before my fist first found my mother’s braid. My body robbed me blind with its first breath: it was a girl’s, and therefore not what my father wanted.

I am Moira Thaurissan, daughter of Magni Bronzebeard and his bride Eimear, princess of Ironforge, widow to the Dark Iron Emperor, mother to his heir Dagran II, and I have been angry since I was old enough to walk the path set before me. Sometimes, I think my anger will outlive me. That they will close up the earth over my body, and long after I am forgotten, some brutal, black hardened jewel left from my rot will work its way up out of the moss, hissing and spitting and still scalding hot. Maybe they will use it to warm a village somewhere. An eternity of cozy hearths and ready stews fueled by this bitter fury I carried but could never fully satisfy. I like the idea of that.

For a long time, I wore my anger on my chest, glinting like one of the gems on that shield they can’t stop squabbling over. As if it could shield me, as if it could shield anyone. But in time I learned that anger shown is anger wasted. It only puts others on guard, makes them fearful or defiant, pushes them to dig into defensive positions, fuels rumors of madness and whispers of revolt, and blunts its own edge as even fear fades with overuse. So I learned to make that shield gem inside myself, pushing the rage deep down into the caverns of my heart, compressing it into a crusted geode of pain, all so that my husband’s people might like me a bit better. All my mistakes have come from that horrid boiling crushed place inside me. Sometimes . . . I wonder who I might have been without it.

Read and Download the Rest of This Short Story by Catherynne M. Valente

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