wasn't what he had expected.
Not her transformation; while that was a surprise as well, it was a welcome one, and helped to put the youngest Wrynn's mind at ease. He'd need all the help he could get to be ready for her very first question right out of the gate.
"We... the Alliance started as a union of human nations against the threat of the orcish invasion from Outland," he started, looking uncomfortable even citing the incident as he gestured to silently invite Celestia and her guard to follow him further down the hallways of Stormwind Keep. The marble archways rose high overhead, the spaces between them lined with stained glass murals of important events from Stormwind's past and painstakingly crafted statues of some of the Alliance's greatest heroes. "It was only through great sacrifice that the First and Second Wars were ended, including that of..." The words caught in his throat for a moment. It was still difficult for him to recount the details. "Of my father, Varian Wrynn, who still resides in stasis upon the throne thanks to the efforts of the priests of the Conclave of Light. It was thanks to him, and many of his brothers-" Here he stopped again, offering queen and commander an apologetic smile. "-I apologize, Your Grace. The concept of brotherhood is a strong one for the Alliance. Even if they were kin to my father, I feel that my uncles, Light bless them, give me that title as well as a show of acceptance. It is a welcome one for me."
Behind the two heads of state, the stallion allowed himself a private smile; a nephew who was treated as the youngest of them instead of a simple relative. There was something he could appreciate in that. He had nothing to add, however, continuing simply to listen to the Lord Regent and bask in the sunlight tinted by yet another depiction of a lone figure in silver-blue armor atop a mountain of orcish corpses. Anduin, either not noticing or not wishing to disturb him, continued.
"It was thanks to their efforts that mankind survives in the Eastern Kingdoms at all; to say nothing of other kingdoms siding with us in the years that followed. The dwarves of Ironforge were always staunch allies. The draenei gave us much insight to the arcane that I feel the Guardian would have preferred remain in his hands alone," he laughed, nodding to a few of the statues they passed, one of a stout figure in horn-crested plate by the name of Bronzebeard, the other a cloven-hoofed paladin with a hammer slung over his shoulder and a determined look in his stone-chiseled eyes.
Atta gave a grunt of appreciation.
"The night elves, the kal'dorei of Nordrassil," Anduin continued, gesturing to a statue of a feminine figure in... thrifty armor, a warhawk upon her shoulder and an elegantly crafted bow in her hands as she sighted down something that was surely not long for this world. "They suffered greatly at the hands of orcs and demons alike, and were grateful for any aid we could spare them; they and the draenei form the bulk of our forces upon the continent of Kalimdor." His smile faded as he began to ran out of things to talk about that weren't himself.
"As Regent, it's my responsibility to look after them as if they were my own people," he finally said after a moment as they passed into a new chamber; this one was circular, multiple pathways leading away between the great statues that stood guard between the marble pillars. There was no need for him to point these out: Atta had done at least some
of his homework, and these were familiar to him. Vulkan, the Promethean, the savior of Blackrock Mountain and the Dark Iron dwarves; he had almost singlehandedly banished Firelord Ragnaros and saved the wayward dwarf clan from eternal slavery, their gratitude to him bringing them back into the Alliance fold with their Ironforge cousins. There was Ferrus Manus, the Iron Hand, the obsessive perfectionist who had gone with his Legion to seek the friendship of the giants of Northrend- and to ply the secrets of their smithwork, as well. The Praetorian, Rogal Dorn, who had raised a thousand fortresses and besieged a thousand more. Atta's brow scrunched ever so slightly; there was no sign that he had ever betrayed the trust of his brothers like so many others had- no matter how much Stormwind had attempted to cover up the existence of those traitors- so what had befallen him?
Anduin was not ignorant to Atta's scrutiny; the shadows cast by some of those marble daises, their occupants covered by black cloths of grieving and a fervent desire to forget, felt as if they cast a longer shadow than ever. The mark of the traitors was still felt, even here in the foyer of the throneroom.
"I'm sure you knew already that not all of my kin remained in the fold, Lord Commander," Anduin finally said, addressing the elephant in the room directly. After a pause, Atta slowly nodded. "It's not a secret that the Phoenician has taken up leadership of the sin'dorei of Silvermoon in the absence of their prince," he said carefully. "Nor that the Red Angel has thrown in his allegiance with Orgrimmar's Warchief." For the sake of politeness, he did not mention the Night Haunter, the crazed murderer that stalked the ruins of Northrend, nor the truly lost and damned that had thrown in their lot with Lupercal... or, worse yet, the Ruinous Powers. That didn't mean he held his silence, however. "In the face of such adversity from your own kin, to say nothing of what your people and the people of the Alliance have overcome... it is nothing short of a miracle that you have done as well as you have, Your Grace." He inclined his head in a short bow, but it was no less reverent or sincere for its brevity. "The Alliance might be young, as are you, but that makes it no less admirable for its strength of conviction."