Claravess pushed her robe’s hood back and scented the air with the keen twitch of her nose. Her eyes narrowed as she watched the group of humans, night elves, dwarves and various other races approaching her tent which she had pitched along a steep precipice that gave way to a Legion stronghold camp to their west. She gritted her teeth at the sight of them, and her fingers clutched at the hilt of her dagger, his long sharp claws digging into her palm.
Xal was pleased at her fury. “You know you could smite them all.You only need utter those three simple phrases that call the shadow to your endearing command.”
Claravess growled loudly while her own weapon chuckled at her discomfort. “I’ll thank you to keep your wasted opinion to yourself. I will handle them all as I see fit.”
“Blasted to oblivion would be a good start, don’t you think?” Xal’s smooth and gentle tone belied the slick evil of her suggestions and Claravess was thankful to have a wit that kept her ahead of it, unlike so many others that came before.
Amongst the group, a none-the-wiser human hunter put up a hand in greeting. “Commander! It’s good to see you!”
Claravess fought her shadowform down, and made something of a pleasant face. “Good afternoon, soldier.”
Her squad was boisterous as ever in their march to her. Loud, and unruly, the group seemed bonded in more than blood and honor and respect for her. They liked and respected one another. At least outwardly. The shadow priest had been made privy to dissent amongst the, a fissure webbing its way through the assembled team that threatened to open into a chasm, taking down the hard work Clara had put into assembling the formidable group.
More shouts of greetings went up as the troops came to a halt just down the hill from the female Pandaren. They seemed haughty and overconfident, gazing up at her with what she now deemed faux respect.
“We will take down Gul’Dan tonight!” a human mage guffawed at the end of the tumult of greetings, causing the ruckus to start up anew.
“Yes, thank you.” Claravess’s voice hit like a void bomb amongst them, and many froze, their eyes going wide as they detected the change in her demeanor.
“Dun ye believe in us, Clar’?” A dwarven hunter bellowed out with a joke still lilting his words, and the priest returned him a withering look.
“Allow me to be brief and to the point, friends.” She spoke the last word while only just concealing a sneer. “As your Commander, I make it my highest priority to ensure that those I choose to fight along side me are of the highest of quality.”
She saw proud chests swell and appreciative looks exchanged, and Xal, at her side, nearly tittered with excitement at how Claravess had a rush of adrenhaline to speak quickly and crush them.
“What makes a soldier of high quality? An ability to use a sword well? The ability to incapacitate an enemy with a well placed spell or curse? Is it how quickly you dispatch a demon compared to others of your class or skill?”
Her troop was quiet as they listened to her, rapt with attention. She and Xal savored it, in their own separate ways. Just like the perfect silence at the perfect moment, Claravess struck hard and true. “Those mean nothing to me. They mean nothing to the guild that we have created. If your heart is not true then spare me the darkness of your presence. When a soldier cannot stand by and support those around him or her; when they take take it upon themselves to shame another member of their group, where is the honor in their drive? It’s been brought to my attention that we’ve had some one in our squad degrade another in a personal manner. I will not reveal who the subject was, and they haven’t told me (and refuse to tell me) who it was that slandered them in an unnecessary way.”
There was an uneasy shifting among the assembled troops, and a few seemed to shrink back at her words.
She continued, her pulse quickening in a maddening way. “Let me be clear: if you have a problem with some one’s behavior in a battle, that’s one thing. It’s another thing entirely to attack them in a way that is offensive to them in personal way. To whomever ridiculed their fellow soldier so deplorably, I’m sure we might lose you because you don’t agree with what I’m saying, but please know, if some one had done this to you, and you came to me about it, I would still be making this same argument and speech. And if our squad implodes by virtue of me addressing this matter, then I’m fine with it. What I am not fine with is any kind of even faintly personal abuse taking place on my watch. I think you’ll find, in the future, that it is much easier to preserve what is good about something by simply addressing your concern rather than creating an attack that focuses on some one’s demeanor or attributes. In fact, the issues that were couched in these comments were something that I had already handled privately at the end of the night. Things had already been set straight before those who attacked this individual sunk their dishonorable teeth in.”
Claravess could see the pink rise in the cheeks of some dwarves and paler skinned elves at the heart of the raid and she bit back a vicious smile at their embarrassment. “As the person who organized this group and wants us to succeed, let me just to the offenders, whoever you are, if you decide to stay, then I would ask that in the future you address your concerns to me personally. I think you’ve all seen that that I will fight tooth and nail to preserve a safe space for all of us. Please consider the person you insult before you do. Consider how you would feel if you were told such things. We are all friends here, we are comrades. We all laugh, we all screw up, and yes, some of us have some learning to do about boundaries. There is nothing to fault anyone one. But embrace the role of teaching some one how to conduct themselves rather than going off the handle and belittling them.”
The shame in the group was evident now, and Claravess waved her hand, dismissing them. “Go on, now. Go finish the quests you’ve taken up and your missions. I’d rather not see any of you until we begin our assault this evening.”
Sometimes you like your guild, but love your friends. And when you’re a leader, you have to break heads.
I’ll do it gladly when I have to. Be kind to each other in groups, ok?