Varian felt the world slipping away… but then someone was suddenly kneeling next to him, praying and holding his ground against the menacing drakonid. The king struggled for consciousness and slowly realized it was his son, the prince's arms raised high, his shouts and prayers protecting his father and keeping the creature back. Anduin stood up now and opened his arms wide to the sky, a golden nova of holy energy forcing the monster to retreat as the prince advanced, strong and fearless. Like a king!
As Anduin shouted the power word "Barrier," the graveyard seemed to blur and shimmer around the king and prince. The drakonid was confused now, and he swung his axe at the prince, but the mighty weapon harmlessly glanced off with a heavenly ring. Varian watched in wonder as Anduin persevered. The drakonid circled, preparing to attack, and Anduin's only weapon was his faith! Varian tried to reach for his sword, but it was too far away. He fell back, gasping in pain. He could barely breathe, much less move.
Anduin stood like a rock, courageous and resolute, even as the drakonid prepared one final charge. Varian rolled over despite the searing pain and tried to get up. He had to do something. Suddenly, he felt the heavy shard of the black dragon's armor in his belt. The king struggled to reach it, finally pulling the razor-sharp spike free.
As the drakonid charged, the boy stood firm, surrounded by an aura of Holy Light. He opened his palms to the sky and spoke the words to dispel magic. With each word, the earth resonated with energy, shaking the gravestones and sending a ripple across the surface of the lake. A flash of fire exploded from the sky and hit the drakonid as he rushed in.
The inferno blinded the beast, and he stumbled toward the serene silhouette of Anduin, the hideous creature screaming in both pain and rage. As the drakonid fell, his armor quickly faded to a dull gray, no longer protected by dark magics.
At the last possible moment, Varian lunged forward with everything he had left in his body and raised the hungry point of Deathwing's splinter of armor.
The impact with the drakonid was like a mighty avalanche as his massive weight collapsed on top of Varian and the razor-sharp shard penetrated through the monster's armor and chest. Somewhere in his mind Varian heard a scream that was half battle cry, half agony, but he wasn't sure if it had come from him or the creature. Then, mercifully, everything went black.
Somewhere far away Varian felt Anduin was there. He opened his eyes to see his son holding him, the boy's tears mixing with the king's pooling blood.
Jaina and Jonathan came running into the cemetery, followed by a host of guards. The general frowned and motioned for his men to check the assassins' bodies as Jaina dropped to her knees next to the king and prince. She looked at Varian's terrible wound, then glanced at Anduin and shook her head.
Varian gazed up at Anduin with newfound warmth and admiration. "You were right…" He grimaced in pain. "Love outlasts everything." Anduin brushed the blood and dirt from his father's eyes, but Varian could barely feel his touch, his body was so cold—the whole world seemed to be melting away.
The sun shone blood red on the horizon now, casting the whole cemetery in a deep crimson hue. The king closed his eyes and let the Light do its bidding. As the entire honor guard of Stormwind gathered around their dying king, Varian's wheezing grew softer and less frequent.
"I am so sorry, Father," Anduin managed through his tears.
Varian opened his eyes again and tried to smile. "No. It is I who am sorry… for not seeing earlier what you are… what you have always been. I'm so proud… that you are my son." Varian reached up with his bloody hand to touch the boy's smeared cheek. "Do not mourn for me, Anduin. This has always been my fate… do not let it be yours."
With that, Varian's arm and body fell limp. Anduin sat there, frozen, for a long moment, his whole body numb, his life spinning away before his eyes. Jonathan reached down to help the young man up. "Come, Anduin, we must get you to the safety of the keep. The heir apparent must be protected."
Anduin sat motionless, hearing nothing the general said, looking at the dying hulk of his father in disbelief.
"Let us leave this place," Jaina pleaded, reaching for him. But the prince pushed them both away and wiped his eyes in sudden fury.
"No! This is not how it ends!" He shook the king. "Do you hear me, Father?! A Wrynn prince will not again watch a loved one die before him! This is not our fate!" Anduin screamed into the sky, and the clouds seemed to part in sympathy.
The others present watched in awe as the prince closed his eyes and slowly began to chant. At first it was a soft and gentle sound, but as his voice rose in crescendo, it became a beautiful and powerful song. As the words came, his hands began to glow with light, faint at first, then brighter and brighter, until it was competing even with the setting sun, bathing the entire cemetery in the shadowless light of midday.
The song reached a fever pitch, and the young priest lifted his eyes and voice to the heavens, calling to the very heart of the cosmos for a source of divine power.
Suddenly, liquid rays brighter than a thousand suns burst from Anduin's fingertips, penetrating the king's body and painting everything in a brilliant yellow glow. The guards gasped and stepped back, shielding their eyes as Varian's entire being was rocked by an influx of pure light. And at the center of it all was Anduin, holding his father close while a vortex of infinite beauty danced between them.
Then, in sharp contrast to the intense swirling energy billowing all around, the prince began to speak with a melodious and gentle voice as he carefully laid his hands on the immobile king's forehead and quietly, peacefully, began to pray.
Benedictus was in his element. The crowd was cheering everything he said. The people of Stormwind would someday realize that this day had been inevitable, that through him, the world would finally be purified by these great events.
He shot an arm out to the masses, who hung on his every word. "As I stand before you, we face a terrible time. The world has torn its foundations asunder. Azeroth is even now being cleansed by divine fire, and we will long remember these days of trial as the crucible from which a new age was born!"
The crowd cheered without knowing why, and Benedictus smiled to himself, closing his eyes in satisfaction. Suddenly, the crowd cheered again, even more loudly than before. Benedictus opened his eyes in surprise. Another roar, louder than the last, and the archbishop turned to see what the multitude was cheering at.
Limping onto the stage, disheveled and covered in blood, came King Varian and Prince Anduin, barely holding each other up in their fatigue. As the realization of their dire state spread, a concerned murmur arose, but Varian raised his hand in a gesture of reassurance, and the crowd grew silent.
Benedictus was completely speechless as he bowed and gave the stage to the king of Stormwind. Varian limped to the podium, with Anduin helping him stand tall in his weakness. Varian gave his son a pat on the shoulder and a nod of appreciation as Anduin moved back to be with Jaina and the rest of the Honor Delegation's contingent.