Gwynifar's hands shook slightly as she re-read the note from her parents. Treng entered her room and sat next to her on the bed. "What's wrong?" he asked, noticing her pale face. Wordlessly, she handed the note to him. He read it over, glanced at her in confusion, and read it again, out loud, "Gwyn, please come home at your earliest convenience. We've had some troubling news. It's about your brother, Khlar. Love, Mum & Dad." He looked at her, still confused. "What is it? And why are they asking you to come home? I thought their council said you weren't exactly welcome back." Gwyn looked at him with anguished eyes. "My brother, Treng. Didn't I ever tell you? Khlar was killed by the Scourge a year before I was born! Why would they have news about him now?!" Treng was silent a minute, digesting this. "I think we should leave right away," he finally said. Gwyn was surprised. "You're coming with me?" she asked. He replied, "Of course, you're my sister. I guess this makes Khlar my brother, too." Gwyn said nothing more, just hugged him gratefully.
Their trainers were a little disturbed at the news as well, and gave their permission without argument. They set off the very next day, their pets roaming around them but staying within sight. Authir seemed upset by his mistress' distress, and spent most of the journey riding on her backpack, sending little mental messages of comfort. Gwyn's ability to communicate with her pets this way had startled the orcs at first, although they had said it was not unheard of, just very rare. Haiden too would run over to her periodically, pacing at her side for a bit or licking her hands.
When they arrived at Silvermoon City, Gwyn almost ran right back out of the gates. The way the elves had decided to kick her out those years ago, combined with the disturbing message, made it very difficult for her to walk through the gates and down the main street. Arriving at her parents front door, she took a deep breath and knocked loudly. The door was opened by a maid, who told her kindly that her parents were not there but at their home outside Silvermoon, near the Farstrider Retreat. Gwyn and Treng thanked her and left the city.
They reached the small cottage where Gwyn had spent the first 5 years of her life. Looking at it now, it seemed smaller than she remembered. Gwyn stepped up to the door, then looked at Treng, who gave her an encouraging nod. She took another deep breath, and knocked, then opened the door. As they entered, her mother came bustling up to greet them. She wrapped Gwyn in a comforting hug, then turned and looked Treng up and down. "This must be Treng," she said. "Gwyn's told us so much about you in her letters. Be welcome." Then she turned and led them to the sitting room.
Before they entered the next room, her mother stopped them. "Gwyn, we've had quite a shock, and I don't know how to explain it, so your father and I decided it was best to show you. Don't be alarmed, honey, it's not quite as bad as it seems." And with those rather cryptic words, she went into the sitting room, leaving Gwyn and Treng to follow.
Treng gave Gwyn an encouraging pat, then gestured for her to lead the way. She stepped through the doorway, her heart pounding. Her father was sitting on the couch in the center of the room's far wall, her mother just now sitting down next to him. And in her favorite chair nearby was a tall, pale blood elf, who saw her and abruptly stood up.
He had her family's reddish-brown hair, and his features were familiar, but she was sure she had never seen him before. Then she noticed his pale, almost bloodless features, and the eery glow of his eyes, completely unlike the typical glow of their race. Suddenly it all fit together, and as she realized who, and what, he was, she stopped breathing.
Her brother, lost all those years ago, fighting the Scourge..... what she had heard of the Lich King's abilities to create undead soldiers.... the not-quite-stranger's appearance and almost-familiar features..... Gwyn felt her whole body grow cold.
Her brother, Khlar'rissan, the family's hero she had heard so much about growing up, was a Death Knight.
Gwyn started shaking as Khlar turned to face her. "Sister..." she heard him say, his voice strange, as if he had to force the breath into his lungs. "No," she whispered, then louder, as he stepped closer to her, "NO!!" Then suddenly her vision blacked out as her consciousness fled.
Much later, Gwyn and Treng sat outside in a patch of sunlight. Gwyn watched as Khlar sat down next to Haiden nearby and began petting him. The big wolf looked wary, but his tail was wagging. Authir sat next to Gwyn on the grass, rustling his wings softly, and Arthoas was perched in the tree above their heads. All three had accepted the Death Knight, and Gwyn, after a long talk with her parents, was prepared to do the same.
Khlar was no longer a minion of the Lich King. He had broken free some time ago, and tracked down his family, hoping to rejoin them. He could do nothing about his appreance or his undead state, and he was haunted by memories of what he had done under the Lich King's control, but now he wanted a fresh start, to try and make up for the evil he had done.
After sitting in silent thought for some time, Treng finally spoke up. "What is he going to do now, does he know?" Gwyn's reply was quiet enough he had to lean closer to hear it. "No, he has no idea. I thought maybe he could stay with us for a bit. You know, when we go back to Kalimdor." Treng blinked at her. "What are we going to do with a Death Knight?" he asked. "Well," replied Gwyn, more confidently now. "I thought maybe we could keep him out of trouble."
Treng managed to keep from laughing, though just barely. Gwyn hit him anyway.