I suppose the appropriate place to start is the beginning. My name is Lady Cristina Desouza, Farstrider Captain and Champion of Silvermoon. As a child I grew in the pristine streets of Silvermoon, where I studied, learned, and played. My parents, Althalor and Dinia were landed gentry. So while we were not lavish, we worked hard and lived well.
With no brothers or sisters, the animals became my siblings as I grew and my father taught me the beauty of a finely carved riser and a perfectly quilled fletching. Nothing was quite the thrill of watching the Farstriders parade for celebrations and display their expertise in competition. No family was so honored or recognized more than the Windrunners. Watching Alleria, Sylvanas, Vereesa, and Lirath was the greatest thing ever! Sometimes I would see one or two of them in the courtyard, practicing swordplay, trying out new tips, or just sitting in the grass talking of the latest noble gossip!
I was so determined to be the ‘fifth Windrunner’ so I ate, slept, and breathed the bow and hunting. Mind you, I could never be a Windrunner even in dreams! But the thought of Alleria, Sylvanas, and Vereesa calling me “sister” made me giggle! I remember the day Lirath died. All Silvermoon wept. I did not see her personally, but rumors spread that Alleria was going to avenge her brother by spilling every drop of Orc blood in Azeroth. He would have made such a fine ranger. We shared several of the same tutors. Sometimes, I wonder why not me instead…
I guess the loss of Lirath motivated me even further to be the best recruit not named Windrunner. I studied and practiced, practiced and studied. My parents worried so and offered me an easy out running the family shoppe. My heart was not in books and ledgers and inventories and they understood. I excelled with the bow – even carved a few that the royal bowyer wrenched from my room never to be seen again. I wonder what they may have been purposed for? My day of ascension came and I was ready to enter the Farstriders, in service to the protection and glory of Quel’Thalas. Sylvanas and Vereesa presided over the ceremonies. The day was perfect. Every nerve in my body tingled with anticipation. I was going to be different! Unlike the other recruits who respectfully mumbled, “Thank you Ranger General. Glory and honor to Quel’Thalas”, I was going to say something deep, thoughtful and reverent to honor Lirath. The good news is with a family name of Desouza, I would be near the front of the line.
As my name is called, I approach Ranger General Sylvanas with a very stoic but pleasant affect. She smiles back slightly saying, “Congratulations Cadet Desouza, you have completed all the requirements necessary to defend the honor and glory of our homeland. Kneel and be known as this day forth Ranger Cristina Desouza.
My nerves bested me. Instead in speaking in glorious tones of praise and reverence for Lirath, the best my brain could muster was, “I..I..I..I am h-h-here to honor Lirath.” The sisters were stunned as all were in attendance. Sylvanas drew her short blade and with a fierce, firm voice quietly responded, “I will give you but a ten count to explain that comment fully, lest we be shredding your cloak to be restitched as a tablecloth!”
“Ranger General I meant no disrespect!” I beseeched her, “When I received news of his passing, I wept. We had many the same tutors together. Indeed, I was blindly hoping he and I would both become rangers this day. His loss inspired me to be even better than I thought I could be. His hand guides my bow with every true shot. I promise I will strive to be all the ranger that Lirath could have been. I will do my best to honor his name. I have no siblings, Ranger General. Losing Lirath was like losing a brother.”
Sylvanas’ countenance softened as she sheathed her sword. “Very well, Desouza. You have earned a reprieve with your tongue this time and there is much that was spoken I’d agree to. While I find it noble that he was your focus for motivation, I highly doubt you will be anything akin to what Lirath had the potential to achieve, but you are always welcome to try. And I would expect you to do nothing less than honor every Quel’Dorei who calls this place their home, regardless of their family. Finally, I find it endearing and touching that our tragedy touched you so personally. But NEVER forget child, he was MY brother. Perhaps should you appear before me again for a commendation, instead of trying to impress me with your valor, honor, duty or loyalty simply respect our traditions with a simple “Thank you, Ranger General. Glory and honor to Quel’Thalas.
I would see her two more times before the Third War. Each time, I politely bowed and said, “Thank you, Ranger General. Glory and honor to Quel’Thalas.”