World of Warcraft: Sylvanas – Exclusive Preview of the Prequel Novel

It’s safe to say that Sylvanas Windrunner is one of the most beloved characters in the vast Warcraft universe, so it’s only fitting that she’s the subject of the latest World of Warcraft-related novel. IGN may exclusively feature an excerpt from Christie Golden’s World of Warcraft: Sylvanas ahead of the March 29 release date.

Golden has written a number of World of Warcraft novels in recent years, including 2009’s Arthas: Rise of the Lich King and 2012’s Jaina Proudmoore: Waves of War. As with Arthas, Sylvanas aims to provide a full account of the protagonist’s life and death and the cursed existence that now defines her. The book will also give new insight into her relationship with the being known as the Jailer.

This passage takes place at the beginning of the novel and reveals the young Sylvanas’ first meeting with her little brother Lyrath.

— Lord Verath!

“Halduron!” her father called as Halduron, Jerri, and the dragon does approach. Although she was clearly trying to control her emotions, the usually smiling Jerry was pale and almost…. scared?

“My lord, you must return to the spire at once,” said Jerry. “Lady Lyrica has gone into labor!”

Sylvanas had never seen her father so upset. “But the baby will be here in a few weeks….”

“Obviously, someone forgot to tell the child,” Halduron protested. His attempt to lighten the mood was met with unsettling silence as Verath handed Vereesa over to him. He sat the girl safely in front of him as Jerry slid off the dragonhawk, and Verath and Sylvanas mounted him.

Sylvanas was not particularly interested in children other than her younger sister; she also did not think about having children of her own. Alleria was the only one who needed to produce the future Ranger General. She sat down behind her father, wrapping her arms around his waist and pressing her cheek against his back. Virat’s reaction alarmed her, and she tried her best not to worry. Her mother undoubtedly called in the best healers in the country as soon as it became apparent that the new addition to the family intended to join her ahead of schedule.

Sylvanas and her father jumped off the dragon hawks before the creatures were close enough to land. Halduron returned Vereesa to her father, and Verath and Sylvanas raced up the stairs. A sensitive child, Vereesa sensed the tension and began to cry the moment they left, much to Halduron’s dismay, and now she was sobbing at the top of her lungs. From above, there was not a sound of another child crying at the first breath. Sylvanas didn’t think she’d ever been truly afraid of anything in her life, but suddenly fear gripped her in its cold embrace. She was clumsy when she ran.

Despite his weeping burden, Verath reached the room before Sylvanas and disappeared into the room he shared with his wife. Sylvanas stumbled a second later, preparing for the worst. Instead, she saw a sight as beautiful as a painting hung in Sunfury Spire. Warm sunlight streamed in through the open window, bathing her mother and the bundle she carried in white gold. The transom at the top was made of stained glass that shimmered in its iridescent hues. Vera cupped Lyrica’s flushed face in his hands, and as Sylvanas stepped inside, the relief made her weak; her parents kissed for a long time and then pressed their foreheads together. Tears streamed down Verath’s cheeks, but Sylvanas had never seen him smile so happily.

Alleria leaned against the wall, smiling, and another worry that Sylvanas didn’t know about faded away. The new arrival seems to have done a small miracle already if Alleria’s ordeal was all but forgotten. Lyris broke free from her husband’s arms, her hand still on his cheek.

“It’s all right,” she reassured the children. “This little boy just couldn’t wait any longer.”

Boy. Brother for three sisters. Sylvanas realized that she had simply assumed that the child would be a girl but was glad that it was not. Four girls would be boring.

Vereesa had stopped crying and now wedged herself between her parents. “Let me see, let me see!” Had it only been half a day since she’d said that to Sylvanas, wanting to see Alleria? It seemed like it was a lifetime ago.

Sylvanas quietly stepped out of the doorway and stood at the foot of the bed, wondering if the dizzying delight that filled the room would spread to her. Lyrica glanced at Sylvanas, her smile warm and sincere. “Do you want to hold him, Sylvanas?”

Sylvanas nodded. A lump in her throat prevented her from speaking. She held out her hand when Lyrica reached out and took a small warm bundle in her hands.

The baby fidgeted, turned its head, and threw off part of the blanket that had been tucked around it. Sylvanas sighed quickly when she finally saw his face, her wide eyes suddenly filled with tears.

He was perfect. Strands of golden hair, glittering like freshly minted coins, adorned his head. His cheeks were as rosy as roses, and his deep blue eyes were fixed on hers.

Joy and rage washed over her in a sudden rush as the world narrowed down to this moment, this little creature, and Sylvanas didn’t think she’d ever cared for anything more than that astonishingly tiny lump. Carefully, she moved him to touch his face, his skin, so soft, so perfect.

“What’s his name?” Her words came in a reverent, hushed whisper.

“Lyra,” Lyrica said.

“Lyra,” Sylvanas repeated, tasting. Like Vereesa’s name, the child’s name was a mixture of his mother’s and father’s names. It rolled pleasantly off the tongue, and though that was certainly impossible, Lirat gurgled as if in answer. “Light, one day I will show you our favorite place. You can splash in the water, dance with us, or just sit and watch the world as Father does. I can’t wait to show you fireflies.”

She leaned over and kissed his smooth forehead, not yet darkened by either the sun or sadness. When she pulled away, the little girl waved her plump hand, and tiny fingers grabbed a few strands of her hair.

“He likes your hair, Lady Moon,” Alleria said. Her voice was warm and soft. Everything, Sylvanas, though, was warm and soft right here and now.

“Well,” Sylvanas replied in a still-low voice with a hint of surprise as she watched the infant fascinated by the simple strand of hair, “he has golden hair like you, Lady Sun, so I think he must be a Little Lord.” The sun.”

“Two suns, two moons!” Vereesa crowed, jumping slightly. “Hold it carefully, Sylvanas,” Lyrica said. “You don’t want to hurt him.”

Sylvanas remembered her father’s words.

I will never harm you. Is always. And no one else will either. With love and courage, I will protect you.

World of Warcraft: Sylvanas will be released in print, e-book, and audiobook form on Tuesday, March 29. The audiobook will be narrated by Patty Mattson, who is the voice of Sylvanas in the game.

Jesse is IGN’s mild-mannered staff writer. Let him lend a machete to your intellectual thicket, following @jschedeen on Twitter.

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