I was not a soldier. Not in those days. I would watch the soldiers leave, and then watch fewer return. When they returned, I would pick up my hammer and mend their armor so that healers would not have to mend their wounds. I would work tirelessly, through many nights, trying to fix as much armor as I could. In those days, I believe that the light had given me the skill to work metals so that I can protect those that would protect the helpless. I was not wrong. I just had chosen the wrong profession. The battles grew closer, and our numbers continued to fall with each battle. One day, the legion was right on our door steps. I prayed to the Naaru for strength, I kept hammering in in the forge mending armor and weapons that would go straight into battle. From where I worked I could see courageous soldiers returning, wounded or worse. I could not sleep, and so I worked. The hour was late and I could hear the sounds of battle approaching. I quenched a freshly repaired Vindicator’s shield. The smoke from the oils still hung in the air when Anchorite Wysannia backed through my door. “Help him.” She let a wounded soldier roll off her shoulder and onto the floor of my tent. I hurried over and pressed some rags against his wounds. “I am no healer.” I warned. “I can not fight and tend to his wounds.” Wysannia declared. I pressed the rags down hard. The soldier pressed a hand down on top of mine. “Save yourselves.” He grunted. A ball of fire crashed into a rack of newly repaired weapons, setting several of them on fire. Wysannia backed up, I could see the strain on her face as she kept casting spell after spell. The dying soldier pulled the Vindicator’s shield closer. “Stay behind this, you will be safe.” He nodded as he pushed it towards my hand. I picked it up and angled it so that if another spell came through the door it would hit the shield, and not us. A demon pushed through the door. Wysannia turned to her staff to protect herself. The demon pushed her down, but she kept fighting. She is an anchorite, powerful and willing to sacrifice her life if necessary to protect us. I tightened my grip on the shield. “The difference between fear and courage, is whether you hide behind the shield, or use your shield to protect others.” The soldier whispered. I cannot let her die. Reaching over, I grabbed my smiths hammer and firmed up my grip on the shield. I put my shoulder behind the shield and threw myself into the demon with all of my weight and strength behind the blow. The demon did not budge. However, it did take notice of a skinny little draenei with a shield and hammer. He turned, he lifted his sword high and smashed it down on top of me. I managed to raise the shield up in time to block it, but it very nearly drove me to the ground. “No, run.” Wysannia commanded me. It was too late. There was not where to run. The demon blocked the only door and there are two lives in danger besides my own. I raised the Vindicator’s shield and took another hard blow. My arm felt like it had been crushed as I stumbled backwards, I almost fell over the soldier’s feet. Planting my right hoof behind me, I swung my hammer with all of my strength. He’s wearing metal armor, I know how to make metal bend to my will. The demon faltered, I swung again. I took another hard blow on the shield, then I swung my hammer and missed completely. Wysannia got to her feet. I noticed a brilliant glow around me. Then suddenly my pains lessoned. The demon continued to attack me, blow after blow. I held my ground, striking as often as I could. After a few moments the solder climbed to his feet and grabbed his sword. I had bought Wysannia enough breathing room to help the soldier. The solder started attacking the demon as well. It was all I could do to keep its attention, to keep my shield between us and the brutal strength of the demon. Then it happened. I was prepared to take another hard blow, but it did not come. Instead, the demon rocked back on its heels and fell to the ground. “We are falling back. We have to rejoin the group or we will be over run.” Wysannia commanded. “You, with the shield, what is your name.” “I am Smithy Saeven of Tellar, Nagrand.” I declared. “I know those lands well. We are a people of deep courage and unrelenting strength. You have the shield, you take the lead.” Wysannia pointed to the door. “I don’t know where to go?” I protested. "And I am no soldier." The soldier clapped a hand on my shoulder. "No, you clearly are not a soldier. You are a Vindicator." "This is not my shield, I was repairing..." "The light placed that shield here so that you can pick it up." The soldier responded. “East, towards the river.” Wysannia interrupted. "We do not have time for doubts. Doubts will get all of us killed." I grabbed some loose armor, a helmet and some gloves, and picked up the shield again. With a deep breath, “Lets go.” I held the shield up in front of me and stepped outside. There where demons everywhere, a lot less soldiers than demons. Wysannia kept us fighting, I kept my shield between Wysannia and the demons. It was three days before we rejoined what was left of the soldiers I had been mending armor. There where a lot less of them than I had hopped to see.
A healer tended to my wounds, I barely had time to stand up when someone called my name. “Saeven, is there a Saeven in this tent?” A grizzled, war hardened Draenei called out. I raised my hand. “I am Smithy Saeven.” I answered. He weighed me with a stony expression on his face. “Follow me. You have been summoned by the commander.” He then turned around and started walking away. I grabbed my things, which now included a shield, and hurried to follow after him. Pushing a tent flap aside, I followed him in. “Commander, this is Saeven.” Wysannia stood next to several heavily armored Draenei. One of which had a Vindicator’s shield lashed to his back. I lowered my eyes and glanced away. “You held against a Legion Commander.” A hard edge voice announced. Everyone in the tent fell quiet. “I did not mean to.” I answered meekly. The deep voice started laughing. “You did not mean to.” He repeated my words. “Let me see that shield you have.” I carefully picked up the shield and carried it over to the Vindicator. “I just finished repairing it. I am not trying to claim false honor.” I backed away as soon as it was in his hands. He held it up to the light, carefully looking it over. “No, you are not.” He rumbled. “This shield has stopped many blows.” He declared. “But it will still hold.” “She is a very skilled blacksmith.” Wysannia agreed, a bit of pride in her voice. “I suspect that she has not yet found her true path.” The Vindicator set the shield on the table in front of him. “You have no armor?” He asked. “This is not mine.” I started to strip the glove off of one hand when he reached out and stopped me. “You stood against a Legion Commander, with a shield and smith’s hammer?” The Vindicator pressed. I quietly nodded. “I was not alone.” “No, she was no alone. She held, so that I could heal another, and protected us both as long enough to defeat the Legion Commander.” Wysannia reported. The Vindicator picked up the shield again and looked at it thoughtfully. “What could you have done, if you had been trained, if you had armor, if you had a weapon worthy of your hand.” He thought out loud. Stepping over to where I stood starring at the dirt just in front of my hooves. The Vindicator answered his own questions, “We shall find out.” “Report to the armors, and select proper a weapon.” The Vindicator announced as he returned the shield to me. “When next I inspect your shield, I expect to see that it has stopped many more Demons.” He explained. “Others have train many years to earn their shields, you will have to earn the shield already in your hands.” I accepted the shield, but he did not let go of it. “If your faith is as strong as this shield, it will never fail you, and your faith never fails you, you will never fail to protect anyone that stands behind this shield.” The Vindicator let go of the shield. “Prepare yourself, we begin a new campaign in few hours.” “Yes, sir.” I was a new recruit with a Vindicator’s shield. That only made it harder, because everyone expected me to be stronger, to be more able than anyone else. They expected that I had earned it, and so I had no choice but to fight like I already had. Years and campaigns passed before I saw either Wysannia or the Vindicator again.
“This is Commander Wysannia, the western line has been breeched. They have opened a portal and reinforcements are pouring through. We can not hold without help.” Commander, Wysannia? I used my two hand sword to chop through a demon with six arms. Turned, and started attacking another one being held by a young Draenei with a shield. He backed up with every blow, giving ground. I danced lightly around him, swinging the giant sword. He took a blow on his shield, and my blade cleanly removed one of the demon’s arms. “Commander Wysannia, we are cut off from sending you support. Repeat, we are cut off. You’ll have to retreat further to the west.” “No good, they are over running us to the west. We are being surrounded.” With an uppercut, the demon fell to the ground. I grabbed my radio. “This is Vindicator Saeven, I am moving my unit to reinforce the western line.” I turned to a small knot of brave Draenei. “Fall in, we are cutting a path west through the Demon lines.” “Through the demon lines?” One of the younger Draenei called out as he resettled his grip on a large axe. I sheathed my two hand sword and unlashed my Vindicator’s shield, taking my smaller sword in hand. “Through the demon lines.” I repeated. He eyed the shield and nodded, knowing full well what the shield meant. Everyone knotted up behind me as I charged forward into a mass of demons. The mages in the middle selected targets in the distance, while the rest of us dealt with anything that got close. A shaman and a priest worked hard to keep us in fighting shape. The demons had almost encircled a group of soldiers, but we did not head in their direction. We pressed for the portal, attacking it first. With reinforcements cut off, we started cutting a path that separated the western line from the main body of the demon invasion. Wysannia’s soldiers kept falling back, regaining their formations as we weakened the demons from the rear. My unit started out flanking on one side, Wysannia’s started flaking on the other. Pressing them into the middle. “This is Commander Wysannia, the demons on the western line have collapsed.” She reported. “I’m sorry, there is nothing we can do to help you, we’re cut off…” “No commander, we are moving to flank the western side of the main body. Saeven’s reinforcements cut the western line off and we finished them off with a pincer. We’re regrouping and preparing to attack their western flank.” Wysannia reported. “No good. They have too many reinforcements coming in through portals. We can not hold this valley. We’re pulling back. Get out of there.” “What’s your order’s commander.” The young Draenei asked as he leaned into his sword, his attention fixed on me. “We pull back.” Wysannia ordered. “Drop whatever you do not need to fight. We are going to run the western line and try to get behind them. If we can get to those portals, we can shut them down.” “That is suicide.” Wysannia yelled back. “This is faith. The light will not fail me, my shield will hold.” I yelled back. “Hellhounds, ready to hard march.” The younger Draenei announced as he tied a water skin back onto his belt. “Once more into flames.” I yelled, and then started running into the burning forest. “Twenty-Second, on me. We’re going to support the Hellhounds.” She yelled. The fight was ugly, the closer we got to the portals, the bigger the and meaner the demons got. The first portal fell, and that’s when all hell broke loose. The demon army split, half of it returning to the portals to defend them. That’s when we dug in and opened a few portals of our own. Support from Stormwind reinforced our flanks. Dwarves rolled out their cannons and Gnomes brought their tanks. Somehow, they were all following the command of a freshly titled Vindicator. It took several days to finally overwhelm the last of the demons. When it was done, I stood on a blood drenched hill, with my shield in one hand and my sword in the other, my small knot of draenei soldiers, every one of them still alive. Wysannia sat down on a stump. She starred at me for a long moment before speaking. “I see you have that same shield.” I smiled. “This shield has never failed to hold.” Wysannia nodded. A hard, deep voice sounded from behind me. “Vindicator Saeven, is it now?” He announced. I turned around, blinking in amazement at a face I had not seen in years. “High Vindicator.” He snapped into a salute. “Enough of that, you have earned the right to stand as an equal.” He answered as he stopped squared in front of me. “When I saw your name on the list of units that would be here, I knew this is a battle that could not be lost.” I blinked in surprise. The vindicator added. “You have a reputation for an unbreakable shield.” I tapped a long thin stress crack in the face of the shield. “I am going to go make repairs before anyone sees that is not true.” The vindicator smiled. “That is weak metal compared to the Dreanei holding it. Come, let’s talk about our next campaign.”