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Adamsm Story Thread
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Table of Contents:
Flight of a Shaman
Stories of a Magus: The Beginning
To the Grave/Cyber Hero/Alone in the Dark
Life of a Protector: Prologue/Chapter 1
Life of a Protector: Chapter 2
Tales of the Draenei(TotD): Chapter 1: Solo Mission
TotD: Chapter 2: Monster in the Forest
Azeroth 20 Years Later: Prologue and Chapter 1
A20YL: Chapter 2
A20YL: Chapter 3: Battle for Durotar
Battles for Hyjal and Deepholme
Battle for Grim Batol and the Death of Deathwing
Azeroth 20 Later: Epilogue
Fall of a Goddes.
Flight of a Shaman
"Arise apprentice, it's almost time for your journey to began." The voice of his master cut through the meditation of the young Wildhammer dwarf, who slowly stood, keeping his eyes down. His master, Kuran Deephammer, was the current chief shaman of the Wildhammer's, and a dour old man who was well loved by all in the tribe.
"Come along youngling, we have much to do." Kuran said, turning to walk away as Azor Wildfury, his only current apprentice hurried to catch up. Azor was different from the other Wild clan dwarves, his hair and beard cut short and a soft white colour like the fur of a wolf. His eyes were a piercing ice blue, and tattooed along his brow and eyes were runes of power. He was stocky and powerfully built, able to easily lift the Stromhammer he always carried with him, knowing that it would take 3 human's to lift the hammer. He wore simple leather's, without any metal fastenings, as his master had always told him "Wearing metal while using the power of Lightening is a fool's move."
The two dwarves headed up to the Aerie, intending to saddle up their gyphons and fly to the testing spot for his ascension into mastery. Azor was excited and his happiness was picked up on by his mount, a beautiful tawny gryphon female, young, just fledged a few seasons ago, and had been his partner for the last 3 years. "Hello Aerowing." He said with a smile and the creature growled happily as he placed the saddle on her and swung up.
"Come, let's go apprentice." His master called, on the back of his own gryphon, a massive black that had been rumoured to kill a Black Dragon on it's own without the help of the ancient shaman. The two dwarves shot into the air and winged towards the mountains overlooking the coast.
Azor was starting the first part of his mastery test, clothed only in a loincloth as he sat in the middle of the forest, reaching out with to feel the power of the Wilds, and had dropped into a light trance when the Earth groaned in pain, and snapped him awake.
"Master! What was that?" He called, looking for the elder shaman and seeing him crouched with his hand on the Earth. "Something struck the planet, something violent." Kuran answered shortly, "Return to the test, it is on the other side of the world, unimportant to us." Because the elder Wildhammer's back was turned to the younger, he couldn't see the look of fear that momentarily appeared before being hidden.
Azor had dropped back into his trance, trying to forget what had just happened and cleared his mind. The Dwarf listened to the woods around him, hearing the sounds of the wolves below them passing by the canyon, above him was the birds and insects. Smiling the Dwarf began the calling, the first part of the test; a way to show the connection to the Wilds, before trying with the elements.
He sat there for an hour, blocking out all outside noises, merely focusing on his spell, wanting to set it up as a request and not a demand. Had he been able to see what was happening he would have been worried; away from him, Kuran was casting a series of spells, sending off messages to find out what had occurred to cause the Earth such pain.... and if it was part of what he had been dreaming about starting to come true.
Azor suddenly felt something respond and gently asked it to approach. There was a cheerful squawk, and opening his eyes, the dwarf almost fell back; there in front of him was a large crow which gazed at him with intelligence and humour in it's eye.
"Hello, thank you for responding to my call." He said quietly, wishing he had a piece of dried meat or something. Looking around, he saw a berry bush and quickly grabbed some, offering it to the bird who quickly but neatly ate them. There was a sense of thanks from the crow, which flew upwards and settled into the branches above him.
"Well, your first stage is done; onto the next one." Kuran said, and Azor sighed, but got up, stretching as he prepared to began the elemental testing.
The crow watched with curiosity as Azor began the next test, sitting on top of the Water, listening to it's voice while a rain storm pounded down around them. The bird, his master and the Gryphons had gone into the large tent they had brought with them.
By the Spirit's this is cold
. Azor thought to himself, hearing laughter all around him as Water danced and played in water striking the water.
Then focus lad, and you'll be done that much quicker.
Water spoke to him and he smiled, he knew that Master Kuran heard Water as a deep swirling voice, but the liquid element sounded like his sister as he listened to it.
With a small laugh, he reached, and carefully manipulated the Water, slowly making it rise upwards in a column underneath him. Azor was completely focused, so he didn't expect as a bolt of lightening exploded down in front of him as Water let loose a cry of fear.
He fell hard, belly flopping into the pond. "Are you alright Apprentice, did it strike you!" Kuran asked, running towards him. "I'm fine master, but I intend to stay here till I can do this." Azor said stoutly, climbing back up on top of the water and dropping back into his trance.
The old Dwarf smiled at him and returned to the tent, staring at the elementals and shivering. "It's coming closer." He murmured, before seating himself to wait for the answers from his early missives.
The shaman stood panting, the Trial of Water finally finished, and began the Earth trial, stepping into the cleared ring of Earth Kuran had created for him. The storm's had passed and it was shady under the trees. He looked over and smiled, seeing the crow sitting on Aerowing's shoulder, the female gryphon merely purring at the bird.
Azor stood quietly waiting, then began to dance. Kuran raised his eyebrow at that, but merely watched, impressed despite himself as his student started to stomp, and in time with the beat in his head, was using the power of the Earth, creating simple dirt statues and drawing rock's upward. He continued through the steps, moving faster and faster, the Earth responding to him, swirling around him, the spirit moving upwards and forming intricate pattern around the Wildhammer.
"Amazing." Kuran said with a huge smile, seeing the full potential of his student.
Azor was preparing to undergo the Trial of Winds, watching the sky as another storm moved along. "There is your trial my student." Kuran said, smiling as he pointed at the sky. "Gently calm the storm, but don't disperse it, just make it so in it's fury, it won't destroy everything."
Azor nodded and set himself, staring upwards. He closed his eyes and reached upwards with his senses, riding the storm, finding it's center. There it is. Azor thought, slowly but steadily unknotting it, working on spreading it out, cooling the fury, but keeping the storm alive.
Without a crash of thunder or a slice of lightening, the rain began and he looked over at his master with a huge smile on his face. "Nicely done youngling." Kuran said, moving off, then calling back over his shoulder. "Once the rain is over, we travel to Blackrock for you to undergo the Trial of Fire."
Azor relaxed, enjoying the flight on the back of Aerowing, looking down in amused confusion as the crow was riding on his saddle horn. "Why did you come with us anyways?" He asked the creature which gave a cawing laugh and he just shook his head.
"Don't look gifted items in the mouth." Kuran called back, "The Crow is smarter then other of his kinds, accept it as what it is and enjoy." The master turned back, watching the sky as there flew to make sure they wouldn't be a new storm coming in.
Azor looked down into the lava filled crater and looked across at his master. "You know what you have to do." Kuran said, turning away to move from the heat. Sighing, the younger Wildhammer quickly stripped down to his loincloth and considered for a moment before stepping into mid-air and floating downwards towards the lava. He stopped about 15 feet up and began the ritual; a combination of endurance and flame control.
Kuran sensed the magic within and hoped his apprentice could do this.
Aerowing whined, looking at Kuran who gently patted her head. "He's fine, he's only in the 4 hour of this." The master said with a smile, still able to sense his apprentice, meditating in the crater, able to ignore the heat, and he currently had 5 flame pillars whirling around him, and was working on his 6th. "He's got to be as powerful as possible for what's coming." Kuran muttered, thinking of his dreams and vision's he had been receiving from the Wild's lately.
Kuran looked up, and stepped towards the volcano's edge. "Welcome back lad, you did perfectly." He said, holding out a cloak for the slightly burnt looking Wildhammer to put around himself. "Thank you master." Azor said, feeling drained.
"You did very well my student, no longer an apprentice, you are a master now." Kuran said, opening his gryphon's saddle bags and pulling free a tattoo needle and a bottle of ink. "Now, we just need to inscribe the power of the elements on you, so that you do not have to worry as much if you lose your totems, thought you will have to crave those next." The old dwarf said as the younger took a seat and remained stoic as he began to place the runes onto his body.
The long flight back from Blackrock had been uninteresting, letting Azor consider what he had gone through. The Wildhammer knew what was to come next and had to admit to himself he was a little worried, for after carving his Totems, and he intended to make his based on creatures that embodied the elements, he would travel to the city under the mountains, Ironforge.
"Master, you have been to Ironforge before right?" He asked on the wind, surprised how easy it was to do so. "Yes I have Azor, a few times. I do not enjoy being there as it is a place of confinement and airless, but still, it is an interesting place." Kuran said with a chuckle.
"Now, were almost home, and then you can began the final part of your ritual. You have chosen your animals correct?" He asked, looking back as his former apprentice. "Aye I have, a wolf for the earth, a thresadon for water, a gryphon," And he patted Aerowing at that point, "For wind, and one of the rare salamander beasts for fire." He answered, feeling slight pride.
Azor smiled as he finished his wind totem, modeling it on Aerowing's face. He put the relic aside and started on his next totem, the Fire one with the salamander inscribed on it. The crow, who had decided to adopt him, merely sat on a fallen log and watched him.
Azor had finished his final totem and imbued the power of the elements within each, and now stored the small relics onto a special belt that was hidden under his tunic. The young Wildhammer rode to the top of the peak and settled in there, preparing to meditate to settle himself for the journey that would began tomorrow.
Azor looked at his master as the older dwarf stood in front of him. "Go now my pupil, my friend, my equal. You are to travel the world learning about the power of the spirits." Kuran said, holding out a tied scroll. "Give that to the King of Ironforge, the Bronzebeard will need to know about that." The master shaman smiled as he pulled his student into a bone cracking hug.
"Good luck Azor, fly high and free." Kuran said, as the younger dwarf mounted onto Aerowing and left, not looking back at his home. "Come on girl, it's a huge world, let's ride!" He said and she let loose with an ear splitting screech.
The sun beat down onto the Ring of Valour within the great city of Orgrimmar in Durotar. The massive arena was ringed by seats, and they were full of members of the Horde, here to observe an honour battle between two bitter enemies. The Warchief sat in the place of honour at the head of the Arena, with his three advisers; Garrosh Hellscream, Varok Saurfang and the troll Vol'jin, intending to observe this final conflict.
"Are you sure of this Warchief, you could stop it." Vol'jin said quietly, the tall lanky troll said, looking at his Warchief who sighed. "If we stop it, it will just go on. The two have been found brawling in several different locations, with the last one being in Thunder Bluff and almost costing several of the guards there lives as they fought, nearly knocking them from the plateaus." Thrall answered, sitting back.
"Huh, let them fight. Blood lust is good for the young. Whoever wins will prove themselves the greater fighter and the one worthy for living." Garrosh said, with a smile, which vanished as Saurfang shot him a look. "Be silent, this is a tragedy that either of them have to die." The old orc said, leaning on his axe as he watched the two combatants enter the Ring.
"We end this tonight." The figure on the left, a burly female orc said, her short dark hair, small tusks and black eyes blazing as she looked across at the beast of her nightmares. "Yes we do Ironaxe." The other figure, a massive bald troll, his skin a deep black, his eyes red and blazing, his own tusks doubled, one set of troll, another a set of orcs. "You are my sister, I know why we're here. Let's just finish it Belix." Mor'jon Grimmjaw said, throwing his cloak to the side as he stood before her in silver armour.
The orc woman smiled as she pulled a long sword free from her back, a weapon with a deep blue blade and edged in Loa runes. "My mother's blade." Grimmjaw said, pulling his own weapons, a pair of unadorned broad blades. "Yes it is." Belix said with a sneer, pulling her second weapon, a broad axe, free from the harness on her back.
They both turned as Thrall stood, staring down at the combatants. "Your here to fight to settle an honour debt. You, Mor'jon Grimmjaw killed your father for his 'cowardice' as you call it. And you Belix, are here to kill your half-brother for that." The Warchief said, his face expressionless as he sat back down. "Begin."
With a scream of rage, Belix charged forward, her weapons held ready. Grimmjaw moved into the attack, his weapon parrying her's, and with a sudden move, his leg snapped out and caught her in the chest, sending her flying from him. He jumped after her, his weapons slamming down into the ground as she rolled away. From the ground, Belix struck, her axe slamming into his blade. "Just let me kill you." She hissed, trying to strike at the half-troll who leaped away.
"If that happens, I am not worthy of joining the Loa's." Grimmjaw rumbled, setting himself as she charged forward, their blades slamming into each other and causing a ringing sound through out the arena. Grimmjaw risked a glance up and saw a bloodlust expression on Garrosh's face, the brown orc clearly enjoying the battle. Grimmjaw suddenly groaned, feeling his sister's axe bite deep into his side. "Pay attention to me, not the watcher's." She growled and he sighed as he hauled off and belted her across the face, sending her spinning away from him. Before she struck the ground he kicked her hard in the stomach, sending her flying across the arena floor.
"Just forfeit already Belix." Grimmjaw said, stalking towards her again, his eyes narrowed. "Never." She gasped, charging towards him again. The half-troll set himself, and swung his blade, slamming into the longsword of Belix and disarming her, the blade spinning upwards and crashing down point first into the wall. The orc female looked after it, then at her half-brother, who tossed one of his own weapons away.
"Let's keep it fair little sister." He said quietly, shifting into a two-handed fighting pose, and she snarled at him as she did the same. "Let's continue." Grimmjaw growled, charging forward, his blade coming down on her axe from an overhead smash, which she blocked, then drove it down into the ground.
The battle reached a new frenzy, the two opponents evenly matched; Grimmjaw having more reach and strength on her, but Belix was quicker. Their blades were mere blurs as they spun and struck at each other, each scoring dozens of minor wounds on each other. Grimmjaw spun, and struck her hard in the leg, cutting deep, and grunted as her weapon slammed into his back.
The two forced each other back, Grimmjaw favouring his wound, Belix limping as she circled him. The two met again in a resounding clang, the weapons locking together. Grimmjaw stared into his sister's eyes, seeing nothing but hatred for him. "If you don't stop, your going to end up no better then a fel orc sister." He grunted, trying to force her weapon down. "Shut up!" She hissed, and he suddenly gasped, blood forced out of his mouth as she drove a long dagger into his side.
"Your dead now brother." She cackled madly, as the half-troll dropped to his knees, his sister raising the axe above her head and ready to strike at his unprotected neck. Grimmjaw's eyes closed, and he merely thought; Let it end. Let her kill the hatred within her and let her live on. The half-troll heard a swish and smiled.
Stories of a Magus: The Beginning
"Are you sure about this Father?" The eight year old asked, looking up at the massive city of magic, Dalaran the Beautiful. "Yes lad, it is. You nearly burned down the barn a few days ago." His father, a simple farmer, answered as the two approached the great city on the family's cart. Morgan Martin looked at his young son, named Telnar, and smiled.
His boy was at that age; young enough to still see everything as an adventure, but still realizing there was a harshness to the world. The boy was young, and he truly hoped that his son would one day grow up to be great.
The cart pulled up to the front gate of Dalaran, and Morgan lifted his son off the cart and looked into his eyes. "Be good Telnar, learn what you must, and do us all proud." He said, hugging his son and stepping away. The two turned as the great gates opened, and three tall shapes, covered in cloaks and hooded stepped forward.
"Is this the lad?" The middle one asked, a human as he pulled his cloak free. "Yes magus, this is my son, Telnar Martin, and as requested, he's ready to began training." Morgan answered, with a slight bow, trying to hide his momentary fear of the mages.
"He'll be fine here Farmer Martin." The figure on the left said, and there was a flash of blond hair and blue eyes under the hood. An elf, Morgan thought, a chill running down his spine. The elf woman moved forward and held out her hand to Telnar who looked at it for a moment, then reached out and took it, a strange expression on his face; partly thoughtful partly sad.
"You'll be allowed to visit him during the holidays, and if truly needed we can send him home to you Farmer Martin." The middle figure said as the three headed back into the gates. "Remember this, your son is destined to be a wizard, and he will learn all he needs to know here." The human said, and the gate closed behind them, Martin staring after his son, feeling a mix of emotions: saddened by his son's departure, fear at what the boy would grow into, and relief that he was gone so that his strangeness wouldn't spread to his younger brother and soon to be born sister.
Four Years Later:
"Come on 'Telnar'! Let's move, we're going to be late!" Sheril called over her shoulder, the lithe elven beauty moving ahead of her friends as they sprinted towards the practice room, knowing their mentor's would be angry with them if they were late for the third time this week.
"Don't call me Telnar!" Martin shouted after her, embarrassed by the use of his first name; he knew his father had given it to him to pay homage to some long dead ancestor, but still didn't make it easy on a boy to have an elf-like first name. "And we're only going to be late because you dragged me and Knockturn out to the lake and lost track of time!" He chuckled, looking over his shoulder at the stout gnome following along behind them.
"It's fine, I don't mind, just more useless shielding spell training this morning, I really want to learn how to blow things up but Magus Nailscrew won't teach me those yet, she says I'm too impulsive, you don't think I'm impulsive do you... " Knockturn Wrench, a young gnome, only 22, rattled on, and the other two smiled as they continued their run.
Martin had met the two due to the fact that his mentor, Magus Zachary Ashburn, was good friends with Sherix Nailscrew and Galeron Brightfire, an elvish magus who had been training Sheril Morningwood. He still remembered that meeting, two year's after he had arrived in Dalaran.
"And these are some of my friends young Martin." Magus Ashburn had told him, the elder human using the young boy's last name as he rarely responded to Telnar. The boy looked over, slightly wide eyed at the two gnomes and two elves in the room with him. "This is Magus Brightfire, and his pupil Sheril Morningwood, she arrived here last year after showing great promise." Ashburn said, smiling at the other magus as the two children sized each other up. Martin had learned a few things about the other races and knew that, even though the girl in front of him looked like she was his age, there was a good chance she was a few years older.
"Well, aren't you going to bow?" She asked, her voice high and slightly grating. "No, why should I?" Martin asked in confusion, looking at his mentor who was trying to hide a smile. "I am a member of the great house of Morningwood, we are a fixture at all the high society parties within Silvermoon!" She said, fliping her hair and Martin couldn't help it, he began to laugh. "What... why are you laughing?" She said, staring at him in shock. "Well 'Lady' Morningwood, your in Dalaran, not Silvermoon, and seeing as I barely know you... I don't see why I should have to bow." Martin said, looking at her with a slight smile on his young face.
"Enough lass, I've told you before, no arrogance here, we're all equals within the mage city." Brightfire gently chided the girl before flashing the young human a smile. Ashburn cleared his throat, bringing them back and pointed at the two gnomes. "And that is Magus Nailscrew and her pupil Knockturn Wrench, who has been here for two years longer then you." He told Martin who stared into the face of the elder gnome and bowed, seeing wisdom and intelligence there. "I am pleased to me you." He said, and missed the quick smile between his master and the gnome woman.
"A Human, fascinating, how old are you lad, I'm 20 but I'm not sure what that translates into in human years." The young gnome male began to talk and Martin was hard pressed to get a word in edge wise.
Martin snapped back to reality, seeing the massive doors for the practice room in front of them. The three friends entered quickly and composed themselves before walking towards their mentors, who had been talking among themselves and looked up as their pupils approached.
"Your late." Magus Nailscrew said, a pointed look aimed at her pupil who cringed back a bit. "Sorry sorry sorry." Knockturn said, and she held up his hand before he got going again. "It's my fault Master, Magus Nailscrew, Magus Brightfire." Martin said, not wanting either of his friends to get in trouble. "We were at the lake and I lost track of time." He said, keeping his eyes down, not wanting to look into the eyes of his mentor.
"We can excuse it this time, but if it occurs again, we will have to do something about it." Magus Ashburn said, turning away and motioning for them to follow. "Now, let's get to work on today's lesson's shall we?" The magus said, and the three friends let out sighs of relief.
Two Years Later:
"Well done Martin, very well done." Magus Ashburn said with a wide smile, looking at the human mage as he was on his hands and knees panting and groaning. There was a three foot circle around him of undamaged floor, but beyond that, the wood of the practice room was shattered, burned and frozen from the assault his master had just put him through.
"Thank you sir... "Martin said quietly, trying to feel pride but couldn't get past his tiredness. "Your shield spells are exceptional lad, on par with many mages several years older then you." Ashburn said, moving over to lift the boy and place him on one of the few undamaged chairs in the room.
"Sir, am I... I mean.... You know I don't like the attack spells, that I don't enjoy fighting if I don't have to.... Is there something wrong with me?" He asked, looking at his mentor with slightly scared eyes, as he knew Sheril loved learning new spells of attack, and Knockturn was obsessed with explosions.
"No lad, there is nothing wrong with that." Ashburn said, handing his pupil a flask of ice cold water. "My hope is that you will live without ever needing to use your magic offensively, that you will just use your magics to help the world become better." The magus said, then with a wave of his hand banished the practice room shields. "Now, unless I am wrong, but I believe Sheril and Knockturn are waiting for you, so you should leave and go see what mischief they're up to... and try to keep them out of it." Martin laughed at that, standing slowly and staggering a little.
"Sir, I could keep those two out of trouble, I'd be more powerful then Prince Kael'thas or Archmage Antonidas." Martin said with a chuckle, leaving the room, and feeling the momentary stomach drop feeling as he moved through the permanent shields around them. He quickly headed back to his dorm room, and as he pulled the door open, he could hear the voices of his two friends within.
"Hello Sheril, hello Knock, give me a moment here then we can head off." He told them, moving towards the bathing room, and he heard Sheril give a small gasp. "You look like hell Martin, what was Ashburn doing to you this morning?" She asked, worry in her voice.
"It's fine Sheril, we were just practicing my shielding power, and you know how my Master is." He called through the door, stripping off his robes and quickly wiping himself down. He felt one of his coughing fits coming on, and quickly dove for the chamber pot, coughing and seeing flecks of blood fly from his mouth.
Damn, I thought Ashburn said this would get better the more I use the shield magic.
He thought to himself, waiting for the spell to pass and hearing both Knock and Sheril pounding on the door, trying to get in. "It's alright you two, just a little cough, I'll be fine in a minute." He called to them, washing his face and pulling on simple pair of trews and a tunic. He picked up the small necklace his younger sister, only 6, had sent to him last Winterveil. Martin smiled, for it was crudely made, just a piece of rope with a stone on it, but his brother had told him that she had worked hard on it, wanting to give her big brave mage brother a good luck charm.
"Let's go my friend." Martin said, opening the door and stepping out, tying his hair back into a ponytail as he did so. Sheril was still looking at him with concern, but Knock was already moving off, the gnome seeing his friend was well so knowing it was alright.
"Come on, come on! We should move quicker, these plants are rare, they only bloom every few moonturns, I want to collect them, the codex says they can be used to make a nice big explosion..." Knock started to speak and the other two followed along after him, making yes or no sounds as he continued to prattle away.
"Knock, slow down!" Martin called, looking around the forest as the human and elf followed the gnome, the short figure moving purposely towards through the underbrush. "Sad isn't it, when the long leggers are having a problem with following the gnome, truly truly something is wrong with that..." The gnome said over his shoulder, but not slowing down.
"If we leave him out here, do you think anyone will notice." Sheril said in Martin's ear, and he smiled at her. "Nah, the animals will bring him back to Dalaran, he'll make too much noise in their forest." He answered, looking around, realizing they were entering a part of the forest he had no experience with. The group continued on, Knock completely focused on the herb, Sheril acting like it was a new adventure, only Martin was keeping a watch around them.
"Ah ha!" Knock called out, after they had been walking for about half an hour. "Here it is, here it is, here it is... " He sang, as he moved into the meadow and quickly started to harvest the herb. Sheril went to look around, and Martin took a seat at the base of a tree, thinking about things, wondering why when he cast the shield spells, his body reacted so strangely.
He had drifted a bit when he heard Knock give out a squawk. "I say, what are you... what do you think.. that's mine!" The gnome said, and Martin snapped back to focus, looking over to see several humans standing over the gnome, trying to take his herb bag. "HEY! Leave him alone!" Martin yelled, running towards them, angry about these human's picking on his friend.
"Stay there boy." A voice growled, and Martin slowed, hearing a coldness to it that sent a chill down his spine. "These are our herbs, they make a nice explosion, and are good for scaring people." The speaker was a tall human, his face hidden in a cloak. Martin looked around, not seeing Sheril anywhere, and Knock was a rage, just barely controlling himself.
"Alright, let us walk away, and we won't tell anyone about this." Martin said, his palm held upwards, trying to think of something to keep his friends alive and well. "No, I don't think so." The leader said, pulling a blade from his belt and moving towards Knock, who growled and prepared to let loose a fireball, only to be suddenly picked up by the ankle from one of the human's behind him, his spell going loose, and struck a patch of the herbs, the flowers burning for a moment, then blew up with a muffled thump.
Martin thought, looking around again, and this time he saw Sheril, the elf almost invisible in the forest. He looked at her then at the flowers then at her again. Please please please get it Sheril. He thought, starting to step back, his eyes on Knock. "NOW!" He roared, and cast a shield around both himself and Knock, and he shuddered slightly as the shield sliced the hand off the human holding the gnome, and saw Sheril let loose a steam of fireballs into the meadow, which started a chain reaction, the meadow going up in an explosion of fire and ash.
Martin could hear screams of pain and fear from within it, and felt something strike his shield, looking down to see Knock standing near him. The two sprinted for the edge of the meadow, stopping at the forest and looking back. They looked back and saw the meadow was a crater, with no signs of the human's who had attacked them. Knock was shivering and mumbling, trying to pull the hand off his ankle, and Martin leaned over, banishing the shield spell and helped him.
"It's alright Knock, their gone, were safe." He said, and looked up as Sheril approached at a run, she gave Martin a quick hug, then crouched down and pulled Knock to her, speaking soothing words. "Well, if you have him, I'll deal with this." Martin said, summoning a blizzard into the crater to put out the fires that still burned, not wanting to set the entire forest on fire.
"Let's head back, we need to tell the Master's what happened here." Martin told the others quietly, then took two steps and promptly threw up, the reaction of using the shield spell hitting him again. "You did really well Martin." Sheril said, and the human flashed her a sickly smile, before pushing himself to his feet again, and taking Knock from her, putting the gnome on his back to make it easier for them to move quickly. "Did I? We killed them, it doesn't matter if they were going to kill us, we still killed them." He said, a saddened sound to his voice as they started back towards Dalaran.
Three years later.
"Master, are you busy?" Martin asked, the 17 year old young man knocking softly on his mentor's door frame and looking into the open door. "No, of course not. I'm never too busy for you my student." Ashburn said, turning in his chair to look at the young mage, a slight smile on his face.
Martin bowed, entered the room, taking a seat on a chest in his teacher's room. The young man looked at nothing for a moment then over at his master. "Sir, is it as bad they're saying?" He asked quietly, and Ashburn sighed, putting away the information he had been reading and removed his glasses to rub his eyes. "Yes, it is. The Conjuror's have sent information to us here, telling us of these... orc's?" He said, looking over at one of the piece of paper, before turning back. "Apparently, they've been using magic we have never seen before, and are willingly consorting with demons from the pit....." Ashburn trailed off and shook his head.
"But, this probably isn't the only reason you've come to see me now is it?" He asked, and Martin shook his head, thinking back. "Sheril hasn't come back from Silvermoon yet sir, and I was hoping you could tell me why?" He answered, and looked at his teacher who pulled off his glasses and began to clean them, looking slightly put on the spot. "Huh, well.... I mean..." He sighed, and looked away. "She's been promised to someone Martin, and will finish her training with the Majestrix's within Eversong." Ashburn told him, and Martin looked like he had been poleaxed, before he snapped back and nodded.
"I see... thank you Magus." Martin said dully, standing and leaving the room. Ashburn stared after his pupil and sighed, wishing he could help the boy out, but knew that heartbreak was hard on someone young like his student. "It wouldn't have worked out lad, but....." The magus sighed, returning to his work.
"Well? Well?" Knockturn asked, as he ran into Martin later, and the human grunted at the gnome. "Martin.... pal, what's wrong? Where's Sheril? Why isn't she back here?" Knock asked, looking worried as his human friend was fairly gloomy which was unusual for him.
"She's..... staying in Silvermoon, she'll finish off her training there." Martin said, still staring blankly ahead. "What... no... why would she? That makes no sense, she told us this was a quick visit, that she would be back... " Knock went off on a ramble, and Martin just listened to him, his mind still blank. He snapped back though as he heard the gnome say something. ".... We should go find her and bring her back, she needs to graduate with us." The gnome said, and Martin smiled at him.
"Your right. We should." Martin agreed and was moving towards the teleport orb to Silvermoon at a quick walk, the gnome caught flatfooted for a moment, then he took off after him. "Is this wise? Don't we need a magus with us if we wish to visit them?" Knock asked, feeling slightly worried about the abrupt change that came over his friend.
"You will." A voice said from behind them, and the two jumped and whirled, seeing a tall shape step out of the shadows. "Master Brightfire." Martin said, bowing to Sheril's teacher who smiled at him. "Come along, I wish to find out why the Morningwood family has decided to remove my pupil without saying anything to me." The elvish mage said, striding along and the two young mages fell into step behind him.
The three touched the orb of translocation and appeared within the city of Silvermoon. Martin looked around quickly, and took a step back as three Silvermoon guards stepped forward; "Halt. Who are you?" The lead one asked, his hand sliding towards his polearm. "It's alright Guard Captain." Brightfire said, stepping out of the orb.
"Magus Brightfire! Well... if your here with them, I guess we can let them in. But keep them under control Magus... You know the rules." The Captain said, moving back to his original position. The three mages started off, heading deeper into the city. "Sir, what was that about?" Martin asked, looking at the magus who sighed. "Sorry about that lads, but.... most of the elves here are a little put out by the idea that mages of any race is allowed entrance to this city by the Dalaran connection." He answered, not meeting either Knock's or Martin's eyes.
As they moved through the city, the two non-elves noticed that the High Elf population of the city were looking at them with a combination of disdain to outright hatred. "I don't think we are well liked here... " Knock said, starting in on one of his long winded speeches. Martin looked over at the magus with a sad smile on his face. He knew, deep down, that those of the Elves who joined up with Dalaran were the exceptions to the races, those who didn't have as much bigotry against the other races. He had hoped that Sheril would be different but now....
"So where is the Morningwood house?" Martin asked Brightfire, both of them ignoring Knock as he was still rambling on, talking about the wonders of High Elf magic and technology. "It's in Evensong woods, once we reach the front gates of Silvermoon we can rent a pair of hawkstrider's to reach them faster." He answered, Brightfire keeping an eye out as they moved along.
As they headed through the massive gate at the entrance of Silvermoon, the two friends started to move a little faster, wanting to find and talk to their friend before it was too late.
"This place is amazing, it looks nothing like Dun Morogh, I really wish I had time to stop and look around more. I'm sure something here can make an explosion.... "Knock was still talking, seated behind Martin, and the human sighed, wishing the gnome would just be quiet for a moment. Brightfire looked back at them both and considered for a moment. "When we reach the Morningwood estate, please let me talk boys, I would hate to explain to your masters why you were incinerated by an angry High Elf magistrix." The magus said, and Martin nodded, knowing he would have to protect the gnome.
After riding for another hour, they finally came into sight of the estate, and Knock whistled, shock at the size of the building finally shutting him up. "Yes, the Morningwoods are not one of the first family's, but they have been here for a long time." Brightfire said with a smile as they approached the main gate.
"Halt, who are you!" A voice called, and they watched as a guard wearing the colours of the Morningwood house stepped out of the guard building at the gate. "Magus Brightfire, Mage's Martin and Wrench, here to see Mistress Sheril Morningwood." The master mage called, his eyes cool as he looked down at the guard.
".... One moment magus." The guard said, bowing low, then turned and headed back into the building at the gate, more then likely to use some type of magical item to contact the main house. The three were left standing for 10 minutes, Martin and Knock fidgeting while Brightfire merely sat there as if nothing was bothering him. Finally the guard walked back out and opened the gate, waving them through.
"Hmm, I wonder." Brightfire murmured and Martin looked over at him, questioning, but the Elf merely shook his head. Martin was watching the main house and when he saw a familiar figure step out of it, he was hard pressed not to make the hawkstrider charge forward and jump off it to sweep her off her feet.
"Wow, she cleans up nice eh Martin?" Knock asked, and looking back at his friend, he saw the gnome'e eyes were almost popping out of his head. The human felt the same way, as the young elfish woman was done up in high finery, with a body hugging dress showing off her curves very nicely, her long blond hair falling free. Sheril had a strange look on her face, partly joy partly sadness as she looked at the three who approached.
"Hello student." Brightfire said, getting off his mount and stepping towards her, a smile on his face. "Hello Magus Brightfire." Sheril said, holding out her arms and her master hugged her lightly before letting go. "I need to go and speak to your parents Sheril, where are they?" He asked her, and she sighed and pointed into the house. The magus nodded to them all and moved off, a steely expression on his face.
The three friends stood around for a moment, then with a small chuckle, Sheril motioned for Martin and Knock to get off the hawkstrider. "Follow me, both of you." She said, and moved off towards the backyard, the others following along. Knock was looking around with interest, deciding to leave the discussion to the human.
Martin considered for a moment then just went with it. "Sheril, what is going on?" He asked her, stepping forward and taking her hand. She sighed, and gently pulled her hand away, "I'm sorry Telnar, they sprung it on me without warning. I didn't know they were planning on setting me up for marriage." She told him, turning away from the human, her eyes closed. "Then tell them no." Martin said, stepping around in front of her and placing his hands on her shoulders and trying to look into her eyes.
"If I do that, they will disown me, leaving me alone and without anyone." She said, tears falling and Knock scoffed. "Alone? Alone? So what are Martin and I hmmm? Or the magus's of Dalaran, they care for you Sheril. You wouldn't be alone, not in the least." The gnome told her, and moved off, throwing his hands in the air.
"He's caustic, but he's speaking the truth. You know this Sheril." Martin said quietly, pulling her close, her slim body fitting against his just right. "I love you, you crazy elf woman." He told her and she laughed at that, sliding her arms around him and the two just stood there. There was a cough, and the two jumped, stepping away from each other and blushing slightly. Brightfire was standing there, looking at them for a moment then sighed. "I'm sorry lads, but her family is firm on this, she is not to return." He said, moving off.
Sheril looked at her master in shock then turned to see Knock following. "Martin.... " She started to say but he moved off as well. The human quickly ran up to the magus and looked over at him. "It's her decision, not ours." Brightfire said, a strange look on his face. The three had reached the gate when there was a cry behind them. Turning, the three watched as Sheril ran forward, a determined look on her face. Knock got down off the hawkstrider and headed over to the one with Brightfire, and Martin leaned over and pulled the Elf woman up behind him.
"Changed your mind?" He asked her, and she laughed as she playfully punched him in the shoulder. "No, Knock did. And Martin.... " She said, leaning forward to whisper in his ear; "I love you too you round eared barbarian." The human smiled as they moved off, heading back towards Dalaran.
One Month Later
"You realize of course that the two of you have placed us in a bad position?" Archmage Antonidas said, staring over his desk at Martin and Sheril who stood hand in hand. "The Morningwood's are quite enraged, and are calling for your head young mage Martin." The archmage said, looking at the young human who returned the look without flinching.
"If that is needed, so be it sir. But I would do it again and again, I love Sheril, and I refuse to let her go." Martin answered, sliding his arm around her waist and pulling her close. "And I refuse to return home. They can cast me out if they want, but I refuse to leave Telnar, he's the only one I want, and the only one I will marry." Sheril said, standing straight with a steely glint in her eye.
"Good. I was hoping you would say that." Antonidas said with a smile, shocking them both. "So, I will pen the letter to your family young Morningwood. For now, you and young Martin should retire to your rooms and relax for a bit." The two youngster's looked at each other, then bowed to the Archmage and quickly withdrew.
As they ran down the corridor, they noticed an important looking messenger running past them, heading for the Archmage's office. "Wonder what that is about?" Martin said, and Sheril shook her head. "Does it matter? We have official Kirin Tor permission to be together." She said, kissing him on the lips and dragging him towards her room.
There was the sound of frantic knocking at the door and Martin carefully disentangled himself from Sheril, smiling down at her before moving to the door. "Who is it?" He called quietly and chuckled as Knock started up. "Sorry to disturb you two, but we have big problems, huge problems, giant problems! The master's want to see us and really quick." Knock told him, and Martin sighed.
"Alright, give us a few minutes Knock and we'll be right there." He told the gnome, quickly getting dressed and waking Sheril and letting her know what was going on. Martin enjoyed the sight of her getting dressed, then the two exited her room and headed off, Knock trailing them with a large smirk on his face.
"Ah good, your here." Ashburn said, nodding at his student as the three took a seat near him, Nailscrew and Brightfire. "What's going on sir?" Martin asked quietly, seeing almost every high ranked magus of the Tor in the audience room, all of them speaking quietly while an old man sat on a stool in the middle of the room, the Archmage beside him, and Prince Kael'thas Sunstrider on the other side.
"We'll find out in a minute." Ashburn answered, his eyes narrowed, his hands clenched on his robes. Martin reached out for Sheril's hand and found her grasping for his. They smiled at one another and looked down as the older gentleman stood.
"Member's of the Kirin Tor, thank you for meeting me here. For those who don't know me, or don't recognize me.. I am Khadgar." The old man said, and there were gasps all across the room as people realized who it was; the young mage who had been sent to Karazhan to study with Medivh.
"What in the world happened to him?" Nailscrew whispered to Brightfire and Ashburn who shook their heads, shock on their own faces. "For the past few years I have been living within the castle of Karazhan, and studying under the great magus Medivh. But we learned something recently that I have already told the elder's of the Kirin Tor about, which has no bearing on what I'm about to tell you." The old-young mage said, looking around the room.
"The Orcish Horde, that tide of death and destruction that had recently spilled into our realm from another, has won. The city of Stormwind has fallen, the people, those that escaped the slaughter from the Horde's attack, fled north, with the young Prince Varian Wrynn, Lord Lothar of the royal knights and myself. The King.... the king was killed." Here Khadgar seemed to have been forced to speak as if something had bothered him. "The refugee's recently landed in Southshore, and have been heading north to Capital City. I made my report there, then traveled here as quickly as possible, to warn all of you." Khadgar leaned back a little on his stool at this point, staring at those assembled.
"We are going to assist, as Lord Lothar and others believe that the Horde will head north, as they intend to destroy everything in their path. My friends, fellow Kirin Tor members, will you help fight against them?" He asked, and the younger members roared in agreement, causing the magus to smile. "Then my friends, there will be a portal to Capital City opening tomorrow, if you wish to go with me, please be there at dawn." Khadgar said, standing and leaving the room.
There was a murmur of sound through out the hall, as people left, discussing what Khadgar had told them. "So, I will be leaving, but it is your choice if you wish to travel with me Martin." Ashburn said, and the young mage looked at Sheril first then at his master. "I need to think about it sir.... " He said, looking at Sheril again, who had a sad smile on her face at his words.
Knock headed off with his master and Brightfire, while Ashburn followed after the upper ranking mages. "Your going to go aren't you Martin?" Sheril asked quietly, and he pulled her close. "I have to, Master Ashburn is like a father to me, and if the Horde comes north... there's chance they will pass through my family's land, and I would be a fool if I didn't try to help them." Martin answered, feeling her tears on his chest.
"Then you can go, just make sure to come home in one piece or else." She said fiercely and he laughed, "I will Sheril, you have my promise on that." Martin said, the two moving off, talking quietly to each other.
Stories of a Magus: The Second War
Stories of a Magus: The Third War
Stories of a Magus: Time of Conflict
Stories of a Magus: The Burning Crusade
Stories of a Magus: Wrath of the Lich King
Stories of a Magus: The Daughter's Tale
Stories of a Magus: The Shattering
Three in one here.
To the Grave
Death, my constant companion, the traveler at my back, the only one who has always been there for me. Since I was small, all I can remember is the smell of rotting flesh, the scent of blood, the stink of the grave.
When I was four, my town was over run by the Horde, streaming out of the swamps, and slaughtering all who were in their way. My father and uncles perished under those axes, killed trying to protect the rest of us. We fled with the others from Grand Hamlet, heading for the capitol, Deaht at our heels the entire time. Many of the townspeople left.....and only a few reached the fabled city of the white stone.
For months, I watched, as people around me steadily disappeared after heading out to the fight the ravaging insane creatures that had decided to destroy our world. My mother and sisters tried to make the best of it, but they were always breaking down into sobs and crying...I never understood why though; my father and uncles had been freed from the torment of life.
I saw the start of the end; the orcs breaking into the city, and we fled for the harbor. At some point, we learned of the death of the King....another who had escaped the bonds of life. I saw the young prince on the same boat as us, and could never understand his grief. The ship ride to the north passed in a daze, time seeming to hold still at times. I don't remember much once we reached Southshore....at least, nothing that wasn't important to me; I spent a large amount of time alone, just watching the people heading north to Capitol City.
My mother worried about me, my sisters started to fear me...I could never understand that. So what if I wanted to spend time in the graveyard, watching the diggers as they buried those of us who had died on the boats to the north, or those who began to die as the War came north. Truly, it felt like Death was following me....and yet, I did not fear it.
I don't recall what happened to end the so called Second War, but I do know at 7, our new lives in the north were different. My mother was forced to get a job cleaning houses, and my sisters helped her; myself, I just stayed away from the other children, as my hobbies seemed to cause them distress. Whenever someone mentioned a dead animal, I was there, investigating it, learning about it, finding out how it was put together.
The years passed, the orcs were freed, and the Prince of Lordaeron began his grand war against the dead. I could never understand that, and I will admit this here, as the chance of anyone reading these are low; I went to the meetings for the Cult, listened to the orator that was the Archmage Kel'Thuzad, and realized they were right: Death was what Life was about, not living, but dying.
I intended to join the Cult...but could not; the lands we were in fell under the plague, and my family fell; my mother and 2 of my sisters killed by the Plague, and my other 2 sisters were slaughtered by our fallen family members. I survived, after killing them, and as I stood there in the middle of our house, my face covered with my mother's brains and my clothes covered by my sister's blood, and I knew then that my life had reached that point; do I continue to live or do I die?
I left the ruins of my home, walking down the center of the street of my town, barely noticing as the Scourge slaughtered and killed those around me. At times, the ghouls and skeletons would stop and watch me pass, but few made moves towards me. I thought that it was Death, deciding to kill me in Her own way...and I cared not. A Cultist attempted to bar me way from leaving the town, but the same weapon I had used to club my mother to death; the leg bone of my sister, worked well on him as well.
Free of the town, I went in search of a rumour, a man who had mastered Death, or so it was said. I found him, hidden in the lands that would become the Plaguelands after the Third War ended. He taught me much about Death, teaching me the rules of the Grave. At the end of several long years, I met my final test; to kill my teacher. His death was the one I will remember, as it completed my training and sent me off into the world.
Months later, I met the bounty hunter known as La Fey.
"MOLLY!" The voice roared, and the gnome teenager cringed as she looked guiltily over her shoulder as her father marched towards her, his eyes burning with rage. "Um...yes Da?" She asked, trying to act innocent, and her face changed to an expression of pain as her father grabbed her ear and dragged her towards the workshop.
"What in the name of the Maker did you think you were doing? I can't believe you would change the specs on my machine! What were you thinking!" Collin Twinwrench roared at her, and the girl tried to make some excuses, but her father merely ignored them. "Take those damn modifications off of the harvester now!" He growled, tossing her into the room, and slammed the workshop door shut.
Grumbling, the gnome girl got up and got to work, taking the extra weapons off of the harvester suit that her father had created to assist the farmers with collecting the crops in the fields. "Not like I was doing anything wrong; the bandits are getting worse and the farmers should protect themselves." She grumbled under her breath as she pulled the large blade from the left arm. The work took her several hours, and when it was finished she stared at the suit, shaking her head. "I know it's a bad idea." She said and left the work shop.
A month went past, and the harvester suits went out, and the farmers cheered about it. Molly went with her father as his assistant, and had to admit she was enjoying the time with him....even if he kept screaming at her for her obsession with weapons. She knew that he had had a bad time with the second war and the whole thing with Gnomergon....but still, he had to realize the peace they had wasn't very good; something bad was going to happen eventually and when it did, weapons would be important! But whenever she said that to her father, he just shook his head and told her to not think about such things, that she was almost an adult, and it was time to find out what she wanted to do with her life.
It was a nice day, and Molly was out in the field, helping to fix a broken harvester, when she heard the first of the screams. The gnome girl quickly climbed up to the top of the suit and looked to the west, where she could see smoke starting to rise up from where farm houses were. "What the...?" She muttered and hit the switch to open the suit and dropped into it. "Please, please please let that hidden mod I left in this suit work." She muttered and hit the button to start the suit up which did so with the sound of a backfire as the suit charged towards the farm houses.
The screams grew louder as she approached, and as she came over the hill, she watched as humans wearing red bandannas and black leathers were attacking the farmers who were trying to fight back with their farm tools. Molly reached over and hit a hidden switch, and the left arm opened and a blade snapped out of it. "DIE!" She screeched and drove the blade into the back of a bandit who was trying to cut at her father. The human cried out and dropped, and her father looked up at her suit with horror in his eyes.
She ignored that look and went after the other bandits, the humans fleeing from the strange machine in their midst. After the last of them were driven off, Molly turned the suit toward the farmers and her father and got out of it, and climbed down to stand in front of them. "Well?" She asked, and her father just shook his head and walked away from her. The farmers muttered words of thanks but wouldn't look at her either.
"Bah, whatever." She muttered and got back into her suit and started off down the path towards the shed where they were kept. "Saved their stupid boring little lives and they don't thank me at all." She grumbled as she parked the suit and hopped out. She looked at it for a moment, then left the shed and quickly gathered up her gear and supplies. "Well, if they don't want to see the truth, I'm not staying where I'm not wanted!" She said and started to leave then stopped at the sight of her father in front of her.
"Where are you going?" He asked, and she sneered at him. "I'm leaving; you don't want me here, you don't say thanks for keeping that scum from killing you. Whatever Father, I think I'll go back home and visit with uncle Ray; he's the one who taught me about the steam suits, and he doesn't see my weapon creation as an obsession!" She snarled and brushed past him, starting on the road north.
It took many years, but she finished her own steam powered suit and headed out into the world....and met up with a famous bounty hunter who wanted her expertise on weapons.
Alone in the Dark
"Remember, when you aim, it's like the weapon goes directly from your eye to your target." The voice of his instructor was low, and the boy nodded slightly, as he shifted his grip on the throwing dagger. "Always remember this; before you throw or fire, be sure that you have the right target in sight." She said and stepped away as the boy threw the dagger. The slim blade flew straight and true and slammed into the center of the target. "Good job Morgan." His mother said as she walked over to the target. "Thank you mother." The boy, small and thin, said quietly, his face expressionless as he looked at the weapons around them; daggers, dwarf pistols and rifles, even a few gnome inventions.
"You will be exceptional once the training is over my boy, and you can join me and your father on our hunts." His mother, Tina La Fey said, pushing back a strand of dark reddish blond hair from her face. "Yes mother." Morgan said and started to gather up the weapons, checking to make sure the safety catches were on it. "Mother, why do you have me train with knives, bows and daggers when both you and father prefer the guns?" He asked, looking up at her.
"You need to learn them all; you saw what happened when father was ambushed by that orc at the end of the war; had he not been able to get that short sword and used it, he would have died." Tina reminded the boy who shrugged. "But...." He started to say but she merely shook her head. "Do as you are told, and you'll thank us later." She said and Morgan shrugged again, following her into the house with the gear.
With a grunt, Morgan sat up and looked around himself, swearing as he realized he had fallen asleep.
He thought, sitting up carefully, and checked around himself again, before reaching for the rifle at his side and setting it down on the ground. He sighted along the scope, checking the spot again where the killers had gone to ground. Only one was visible, the long rangy form of a troll cooking a stew. He sighted over it's skull, and considered pulling the trigger then...and took his finger off it.
Too easy to kill you like that.
He thought savagely, before shifting backwards to where his camp was.
His mind flashed back again to what he had found three months before, when he had traveled to his parents home in the Stromgarde mountain.
Blood all over the place, the bodies of several members of the Horde dead, multiple ways to kill them obvious; some bullet holes, others stabbed with daggers and knives, his father's special bolts from his hand held crossbow in the skull of a Forsaken. Morgan had found the bodies of his parents, back to back, in the war room, the corpses of the Horde raiding party thick there...and their bodies hacked to bits, and the damage had been worse on his mother. After burying them, and burning the house and the bodies of the monsters that had killed his parents, the bounty hunter had started off on the trail of those who had survived.
Morgan shook his head again, and looked down at the rifle in his hands; his mother's own personal weapon, one that she had kept for years.
I've killed all but five of them; these are the last.
He thought and smiled to himself as he reloaded the gun with his special blossom shots; bullets designed to fragment in the bodies of those it hit, and cause maximum damage, even enough damage that a troll's natural regeneration couldn't help them.
4 shots for them, and one of the special bullets for the leader.
Morgan grinned viciously as he put the rifle on his back and checked his other weapons.
The tall thin human stood up and started carefully down the side of the hill, circling around to come at the camp from the far side. Morgan slowed as he approached the camp, coming from downwind to keep the troll guard from scenting him. He stood in the shadows of a large tree for a moment as he observed the troll still cooking. With a slightly feral grin he raised one of his pistols and took aim. "Die scum." He muttered and pulled the trigger, the weapon making a small bark sound as it fired and the troll dropped, the back his head vanishing as the bullet struck it.
Morgan was moving already, heading for the cave, his eyes narrowed as he went to try to cut down on the sudden change from light to shadow inside.
One more troll, one of those blood elves, 2 orcs and the leader.
He thought and luck was his as a large form stepped forward, calling out some word in orcish; probably the name of the troll. Morgan didn't even slow and just snapped his hand out, the second gun barking and the orc jerked back, a hole in the side of his face where his eye had been.
The human cursed as the sound echoed in the caves, and heard a pair of roars from farther back. Morgan slowed his rush, and pressed up against the side of the wall waiting. He heard the sound of tromping feet and grinned as the orc and troll went past him. He stepped out as the orc spun around, roaring as he smelled the human. The huge beast shouted something in his native language and the troll slowed trying to turn in the confines of the tunnel. "Next time, make sure you pay attention." Morgan said, his hand snapping out and a rain of small metal fragments striking the orc, who looked down at them, then up at the human in confusion.
"Burn monster." Morgan hissed and tossed a lit match at the orc, the flame striking one of the pieces of metal which erupted into flames, and set off the ones near the orc, covering his body in a matter of moments. The orc roared in pain and shock, and fell back against the troll, who let loose cries of his own as he tried to shove the green body off him. "I should let you both suffer, but I'll give you mercy." Morgan growled and pulled the rifle off his back and shot both of them, leaving the bodies to burn.
The human turned and let loose a scream of pain as a knife slammed into his leg. He staggered backwards, and just barely got his cloak in front of him as two more knifes flew towards him; they struck the heavy ironwool of the cloak and stuck there. Morgan struggled out of the cloak as his attacker, the blood elf, came at him silently from the dark in front of him, a pair of short blades in her hands. "
" She growled, and swung at him, both blades flashing and cutting at his clothes, just barely missing his stomach. "
Yes you are.
" Morgan answered, using his rifle to block her next attacks. "
Betrayer; my mother trained you Alissa.
" Morgan growled, dropping his rifle and pulling his own blades free to block her next strikes.
You're parents were weak; we offered them a choice contract and they did not take it. Death was what deserved!
" The Elf hissed back, as she kicked Morgan hard in the stomach, and slammed her fist down onto the blade in his leg, driving it deeper. Morgan roared in pain as he fell back and the Blood Elf got on top him, her blades at his throat. "
As weak as you are La Fey and now you....
" She trailed off, her eyes wide as she felt something push into her body below her stomach. "
I'd tell you to say hello to my parents, but where you are going, they won't be there.
" Morgan smiled and pulled the trigger on the gun he had pulled as the two had fallen. The shot from this pistol, which wasn't silenced, was loud in the cavern, and the blood elf screeched as the force of the shot rolled her off him. She lay there, her hands over the hole as Morgan stood up and walked off, leaving her screaming and bleeding out.
After a few minutes of walking, Morgan carefully stepped into the last room of the cave. He froze as the sound of clapping came at him out of the shadows, then the click of a weapon being aimed at him. "
Well nephew, you've killed my merry band, and just slew the second last apprentice to the great Tina La Fey, with just you left to take the name.
" A voice, low and gravelly, one that Morgan knew well, and one that he now hated with a passion, came to him. A slim form stepped out of the shadows, the skin sallow and rotted, bones showing in places, but other then that, his body was covered by the same dark brown leathers as Morgan had on.
"Don't call me nephew." Morgan roared, his weapons out and aimed at the Forsaken, who chuckled. "
" The Forsaken said, his head tilted, his own pistol aimed at Morgan's heart. "
What else should I call the son of my brother?
" Mathias La Fey asked, a sick smile on his face. "You murdered them both. AND FOR WHAT!" Morgan screamed and was moving towards the Forsaken, jamming his weapon against the Forsaken's jaw and feeling the pistol of his enemy pressed against his chest.
Because your father told me no. And you're mother had the gall to choose him over me.
" Mathias answered, seeming to not care that the gun was there. "
I enjoyed what I did to her you know, at the end there.
" The Forsaken laughed and twisted side ways, putting distance between and aimed the gun at Morgan's face, laughing again at the sight of anguish on the human's face.
So, standard rules then nephew? Count of five, we both fire, and whoever dies is the loser?
" Mathias asked, his head tilted as he held the gun steady. "Fine you bastard." Morgan answered and stepped backwards till they were 20 paces apart. The Forsaken lowered his gun and Morgan did the same. "One, two..." Morgan started and was knocked backwards as Mathias fired. The Forsaken stalked towards his nephew as he lay there on the ground, the bullet having struck him in the side of the chest where the heart was.
Honour was what killed your father idiot.
" Mathias said and stared down at the human, then his eyes widened as he saw no blood and the glint of steel from the hole. "And you have none." Morgan said, as his hand rose, his father's pistol in it. He pulled the trigger, and the special bullet slammed into the face of the Forsaken who screamed for a second before the ingredients in the bullet; a mixture of blessed water, purified steel, and sprigs of holy leaves, ignited, burning away his skull and wherever it dropped on the body, began to burn that away as well.
Morgan lay there on the ground for a few moments, then carefully sat up, wincing at the pain in his chest as he got to work on better binding up his leg and getting the knife out of it. He looked at the smoldering remains of his uncle's body and spat at it, before forcing himself to his feet and staggering out of the cave, ignoring the still twitching body of Alissa as he passed past her. He moved past the burned bodies of the troll and orc and stopped in the fading light of day at the mouth of the cave.
He looked back once, then shook his head, and headed off into the plains.
Life of a Protector
"Push my love, push!" Trevan Stormwing murmured, his hand clasped tightly by his life mate, who looked up at him with a sarcastic smile on her face. "What do you think I am doing?" Selias Stormwing said, her joke cracking at the end as another round of contractions hit her, and she squeezed her mate's hand tightly, and he winced.
"Hush both of you; the babe will be fine, the mother will be fine, the Goddess won't let anything happen to either of them." The Priestess of Elune who was the midwife for the small Night elf settlement said, as looked over Selias' stomach at the two parents. "You choose a good time for the birth; Her moon is full tonight, a good omen." The Priestess said as she looked back down, the child crowning.
Selias continued her breathing, while Trevan continued to whisper encouragement to her, telling her of what they would do once the child was born. The Priestess smiled up at them both as she lifted the child; a little girl, who was already wailing mightily at the top of her lungs. "Your daughter..." She started to say, then looked down her eyes widening. "Take her quickly." The Priestess said, passing the girl to Trevan who took her with a look of alarm.
"What is it?" He asked, as the Priestess bent back down between Selias legs, her hands held out. "Another one." The Priestess said shortly, and after another hour of contractions, a second child was born; a male this time. Unlike his sister, the boy had only cried for a few moments before being placed in his mother's arms next to his sister.
"Twins." The Priestess said, looking at the mother and children, then over at Trevan. "I had no idea, and neither did Selias." He said quietly, looking at his children; the girl was currently still crying at the top of her lungs while the boy merely lay there quietly. "The Goddess moves in strange ways. But, now that the babies are here, I can return to the Temple. I will write the names of the children there; what did you decide on?" The Priestess asked and Trevan chuckled quietly.
"Well, a girl was to be called Mirara, after Selias great grandmother who fell in the War." Trevan said, smiling at his daughter as Selias began to feed her. "As for a boy, we had decided on Tova." He told the Priestess who nodded, writing them both down. "I will let the Temple know. Tell Selias that she is excused from her duties for the next few months, but let her know that the Sisterhood will be awaiting her return." Bowing, the Priestess left the house and Trevan walked over to sit on the edge of the bed, looking at his children.
"Well beloved? Are they what you wanted?" Selias asked quietly, looking at her two children; Mirara still suckling hungrily, and Tova looking around fuzzily, the boy still quiet. "Yes; and blessed be to the Goddess for providing us with them both." Trevan said, leaning over to kiss his mate on the forehead.
A Few Years Later
"MOMMA!" Mirara yelled, the young elf charging across the grass towards her mother, Selias smiling at her daughter as she swung out of the saddle of her night saber, the large cat yawning as it sank down to the ground. Mirara launched herself fearlessly into the air and was caught by her mother, who whirled her around before pulling her lose and kissing her on the cheek. "It's good to see you my little love." Selias smiled, and the girl hugged her tight.
"Just her?" Trevan asked, moving up beside and hugging both his mate and his daughter, who giggled and reached up to tug on her father's beard. "I missed you too beloved." Selias said, and kissed him as well. "Where is Tova?" She asked, looking around for her son and Trevan sighed. "Off by himself again; last I saw, he was seated on the edge of the forest, watching the animals." Trevan answered, and Selias shook her head. "Well, let's go find him." She said, putting Mirara down, and taking one her hands, and Trevan took her other, and the three walked around the house, Selias night saber following along behind them.
In the back of the house, Tova, looking similar to his sister; they shared the same colouring for eyes and hair, but not skin colour as Tova took after his dark skinned mother while Mirara had lighter colour like her father. The boy was completely silent and motionless as he stared ahead of him, where a young deer was browsing on new foliage at the edge of the clearing where the house was. The deer's head suddenly shot up and it sniffed the air, then spun and leaped off into the forest, as the sound of approaching feet reached Tova who jerked upwards and turned around, his head tilted as his family approached.
"Tova!" Trevan called and the boy trotted over to them, looking up at his mother with a fond smile on his face as he hugged her around the leg. "Hello sweetling." Selias said, reaching down to pat the boy on his head. "What were you doing?" She asked, and the boy looked up. "Watching." He said simply, then let go of her and headed over to the saber, who crouched down low and nuzzled the boy gently, making him giggle. Mirara ran over and started to pet the saber as well, which caused the cat to drop down and roll onto it's side so that the children could rub it's belly.
"How has he been since I've left?" Selias asked, leaning against her mate who put his arms around her. "Quiet, and not very active." Trevan answered, as they watched the two kids playing with the saber, the cat being very gentle with them both as they climbed over it like it was a giant play toy. "They spend a lot of time together, and I hear Mirara talking to him, but I rarely hear Tova answer her; yet she does not seem to mind." He told Selias who nodded.
"Well, perhaps he's just shy." She said, as she had many times before. Trevan grunted and shook his head. "I don't know; when we visit the town, he's almost always in the Grove." He said, and Selias chuckled slightly, reaching up to touch her mate's face. "There is nothing wrong with the Grove; the Druids are kind, and welcome any who show interest in them." She said and Trevan grumbled, making her laugh a little harder. "I know you dislike the Druids my love, but the High Priestess has told us all to accept them." She reminded him.
"I know." Trevan muttered, and let go of his mate to walk over to play with the children, Selias following with a fond smile for her family.
"TOVA! KEEP UP!" Mirara yelled, looking over her shoulder at her twin as he walked along behind her. The girl spun in place, her simple dress blowing around her as she flicked her long purple hair out of her face. "I am." Tova said, pushing his own black hair out of his face, and shook his head at her. "Too much energy." He muttered, but walked a little faster. He knew that his sister was looking forward to this; a chance to meet up with other children of the village, but he himself found it taxing.
"Lazy bones!" She called back and took off at a sprint, laughing. The adults they passed looked at the two children, a fond smile for Mirara, but a forced one for Tova. The boy had seen those looks before, and had learned to ignore them by now; for some reason, the adults were not fond of him. He thought it might have been because he was remote from the others; he knew that deep down, his father was distressed by him as well.
Mirara slowed down and looked back at her brother. She sighed to herself at the black look on his face and walked back to him, and put her arm around his waist. "Don't worry about them." She muttered and he smiled sadly at her. "I don't Mirara." He said, and put his arm around her shoulders. The girl looked around and the adults who had been staring at her brother looked away.
"Come on, the others are waiting for us." Mirara said, and pulled her brother along. "Oh Mirara, do I have to?" He asked and she chuckled. "Yes! I went on that long boring hike with you, so you have to spend some time with the others!" She said and he sighed, but smiled at her. "Fine."
The two elves reached the gathering place where the other children where, and Mirara called out to some of her friends and ran ahead of Tova. He had slowed, seeing several young elves he had a problem with; a group who felt that the time he spent alone meant there was something wrong with him, and enjoyed trying to get him to fight with them. Tova looked around, but his sister was already in a deep conversation with the other children of the Priestesses and he sighed to himself as the group approached him.
"Well, if it isn't the Loner." The leader, an elf named Crow said, larger then the rest, said as he stepped forward and looked down at Tova. "Crow." Tova said quietly, looking around at the others at they formed a circle around him. "Didn't I tell you before not to come near us?" The tough said, grinning at his friends as he pushed Tova in the shoulder. "You approached me." He answered, looking for a way to escape before the fight started.
"Gettin' smart?" Crow asked and took a swing at Tova who ducked, the blow missing. Tova danced backwards from the larger boy, and was pushed from behind by one of Crow's friends, sending him off balance and into the next strike from Crow, a heavy punch to his side that knocked him down.
"GET HIM!" One of Crow's friends cried, and the bigger elf started pummeling Tova, who felt a rage growing inside him. As the blows rained on him, he could distantly hear his sister screaming at them to stop, but the rage continued to grow. Finally, he had enough, and he snarled, driving his fist upwards and caught Crow hard in the chin, knocking him back. With another snarl of rage, Tova leaped onto the older boy and began to pummel him back, still growling as he did.
"ENOUGH!" A voice roared from seemingly far away, and the two fighting children were separated by suddenly growing vines that pulled them apart. Crow looked up with bruised and battered eyes to see a tall Night Elf standing over them both. They both looked over at Tova who was still growling like a wild beast as he tried to get at Crow again. The man sighed and walked over to the boy and placed his hand on Tova's forehead. "Calm yourself youngling." He murmured and his hand glowed for a moment. Tova jerked and his eyes widened...then closed, the madness vanishing.
"What happened here?" The Elf asked, and looked at the children who looked away. "Crow attacked my brother!" Mirara snarled, crouched down beside Tova, helping him get free of the vines. "Did not." The other boy said, and his friends backed him up. "Take the lad home little lady." The Elf said, and Mirara nodded, helping Tova to his feet and getting him to lean on her. "Come on, let's go." She murmured to Tova who looked at the Elf that had stopped the fight. "Wait Mirara; who are you sir?" He asked, his voice a little hoarse.
"I am Druid Runetree." The Elf answered and turned back to the other children, continuing to question them.
"So, are you excited?" Tova murmured into his sister's ear, as the two stood outside of the main entrance to the Temple. Mirara nodded, and shivered a little, and Tova smiled as he gave her a small hug. "You'll be fine, and Mother will be there too." He reminded her, and gave her a gentle shove towards the door. "Go, we can talk after the ceremony." Tova said and she smiled at him before entering the Temple of the Moon. He waited a few minutes, then slipped inside and leaned against the wall near the door, able to watch his sister as she and the other acolytes moved up the center aisle towards where the High Priestess stood, looking gravelly down at them before starting the ceremony to formally induct them into the Sisterhood of Elune.
Tova grinned to himself as he looked around at the families gathered to watch this. The twins father was seated in with the other family members of the acolyte, and his mother was up at the dais with the other Priestesses. He knew that Selias was beside herself with happiness that Mirara had followed in her footsteps and pledged her life to the Goddess. Tova was happy for his twin that she had found what she wanted to do with her life; lately, his Father had been asking him what he wanted to, and the only thing he could think of would make his father angry, his mother sad, the village look at him with scorn even more. The only one he told his dreams about had been his sister, but since she had started training to join the Sisterhood, they hadn't had as much time as normal.
I won't say anything today; this is Mirara's day, and she has been so looking forward to it.
Tova thought, watching the ecstatic smile on his sister's face as she recited the formal oath to join the Priestesses, and to pledge herself to the Goddess. She had practiced long and hard to make sure she knew it by heart, and had told it to him so many times that he found himself mouthing the words along with her. When she finished and received the blessing from the High Priestess, she turned to look at the people in the audience and smiled, her eyes searching for his. He stepped out of the shadows to grin at her, and she winked back before moving aside to let the next one step forward.
After the ceremony was finished and everyone retired to the outside for the party in the clearing near the Temple, Tova grinned as he pulled his sister into a hug. "Well, you've done it; you've joined the Priesthood of Elune. What's your next plan?" He asked with a grin and she lightly smacked him on the head. "Trying to figure out what you will be doing for the rest of your life." She told him and gently broke the hug, then looked around, and her eyes went wide. "Tova, look!" She said, turning him around.
There, across from them, stood the High Priestess Tyrande....and at her side was the Archdruid Stormrage. "I didn't realize he was awake currently." Mirara murmured to him, and Tova nodded. "Yes, from what they said, I thought the Druids were still in the Dream right now." Tova answered and they looked around, noticing more Druids among the Priestesses. Tova felt a smile come over his face at the sight of them, and Mirara looked up at him, then put a hand on his shoulder. "Go, speak to them! You know you want to!" She said, and pushed him lightly towards them. Tova took a step forward then stopped and shook his head.
"You know how Father feels about the Druids; and if he knew what I wanted to be, he'd beat me till I was as dark skinned as you." Tova said with a slight lopsided grin. Mirara shook her head and tapped him lightly on the head. "You have to tell them; you know Mother wouldn't mind it, and she'd help us with Father." She told him, and he shrugged at her. "I'll think about it." He said, and the twins walked around the clearing, speaking to friends and members of the Sisterhood.
At one point, Tova left his sister speaking with some of her fellow Sisterhood members, the same ones who had been acolytes only hours before and wandered off to the edge of the clearing, taking a seat at the base of an old tree and leaned back, closing his eyes.
I should just tell them....but I can't bear to see the disappointment in Father's eyes.
He thought, listening to the wind in the trees. He knew deep inside that the feelings he had around nature meant something, and that the best to learn it would be to go to the Druids.
"Hello again youngling." A voice spoke and Tova opened his eyes and looked up, and a smile broke across his face as he scrambled to his feet and bowed to the Elf in front of him. "Druid Runetree." He said and the other elf put a hand on his shoulder, stopping him from completing the bow. "None of that youngling; we are all equal here today." The Druid said and stood in a relaxed pose. "So, how have you been since that time a few years ago?" Druid Runetree asked and Tova's skin darkened. "Fine sir; they haven't been bothering me since." He told the Druid who nodded.
"Good; we are all creatures of Elune and Nature, and should not treat each other like those fools treated you." Runetree said and Tova shrugged. "I am seen as strange Druid, but I do not mind it." Tova said and sank back down to sit against the tree. "It has been that way since I was small; if I had a choice, I would be alone....well, except for my sister." He said that part with a slight chuckle that was echoed by the Druid. "Yes, well, you are twins." Runetree agreed and leaned against a tree. He looked at the young elf for a moment, then around the clearing. "You are not like your family are you?" Runetree asked and Tova shrugged again.
"That is what I thought." The Druid said and looked over at Tova. "Well, if you wish to learn more about the Ancients and the Druids, feel free to travel to the Grove whenever you want." He told Tova and nodded once before rejoining the party. Tova watched him for a few moments then stood up and went in search of Mirara, considering what the Druid had said.
Tova sat cross legged in the center of the Grove near the village where he had grown up; it had been about 20 years since Mirara had joined the Priestess of Elune, and he and his twin had moved out of the family homestead after the major eruption that had occurred after Tova had announced his plans to join the Circle and become a druid. The memory of that day was still fresh in his mind.
"YOU'VE CHOSEN WHAT?" His father roared, more or less leaping across the room and grasping Tova by the front of his shirt and lifted him a little of his feet. Tova looked into the rage filled eyes of his father expressionlessly. "I told you; I wish to join the Circle Father, and I will. You and Mother cannot stop me. I've already spoken to Druid Runetree and he intends to sponsor me." Tova answered, trying to keep his voice steady, shocked a little bit by the anger of his father.
"You will not! As long as you live in this home, you will do as I command you!" Trevan snarled, and lifted one hand, preparing to strike his son. "Father no!" Mirara cried, and ran to the two, grabbing her father's hand and sending a small spark of power into it, making him let go of Tova who stumbled then moved to his sister's side as she released her father's hand. The twins looked at him defiantly, and he swelled with more anger, intending to strike them both.
"Enough Trevan." Selias spoke quietly, and all three turned to look at her as she stepped into the room, her eyes locked on her mate. "I know your feelings about the Druids, but if this is the path our son has chosen, we should support him." She said, putting her arms around him and trying to soothe his anger. Trevan growled once and looked at his offspring, Tova continuing to stare back emotionless while Mirara met his gaze with a glare of her, her arm around her brother's shoulders. "If you choose that mad path Tova, know that I have no son. And I do not want you living here any longer!" Trevan growled, and noticed a sudden look of triumph on his son's face.
"That is fine with me Father; the Circle has already said I can take lodgings in the Great Tree outside of the village where the local members of the Circle live." He told his father and turned on his heels and strode out, heading for his room to gather his things. From behind him, he heard a muted argument between his parents and Mirara, then the sound of her light footsteps racing to catch up to him.
"Tova." She called and he looked over at her, pausing in placing some of his clothing into his packs. Mirara had that stubborn look he knew well on her face as she leaned against the door way. "I'm leaving as well; I'll bunk at the Temple until Father accepts your choice. I don't want to live here if you are unwelcome." She told him, setting her chin and he chuckled, dropping the full pack he had in his hands and pulled her into a hug. "I should have known you'd do something like that." He said, and she giggled a little as she broke the hug and moved to help him keep packing.
When the twins were finished packing and ready to leave, they stopped to say good bye to their mother, but ignored their father who sat in his favorite chair brooding. "I'll visit you both when I can." Selias promised, kissing both of her children on the forehead. She pulled Tova into a tight hug and whispered to him, "I'll try to work on your father little love, he'll come around eventually." He smiled at her and left the house with his twin, not looking back.
Tova shook his head, banishing the memory and looking around sheepishly to make sure that Druid Runetree was not observing. He sighed to himself in relief when he saw his Shan'do speaking quietly to a member of the Sentinels, the Elven woman standing at attention as she discussed with him about the current problems blighting a small section of the forests nearby. A new disease had appeared, one that affected the trees, the Treants and the Ancients in the area; Runetree was a premier herbalist and botany expert, and the Sentinels had called on his assistance with dealing with the blight.
Tova carefully stood and padded over to stand at his teacher's side; the druid nodded at him, not breaking the conversation. "So, you think it is something left over from when the Satyrs were driven from that area?" He asked the woman who nodded, her face hidden by the mask all sentinels wore. "Yes Druid; we cleared out the demons less then a week ago, and now this strange illness is affecting the plant life there; it cannot be a coincidence can it?" She asked and Runetree shrugged. "Just because it seems planned does not always mean it is." He said and looked over at Tova. "Student, go and gather my herb pouches please, we are going on a small journey to inspect these plants." Runetree said and Tova bowed and moved off quickly.
The Sentinel stared after the boy, then looked at Runetree out of the corner of her eye. "Is he still a problem?" She asked quietly, and Runetree smiled at her. "Hardly; no matter what Stormwing says, the boy takes to Druidism like a bird to flying or fish to water." He answered and she nodded. "Well, I'll keep it quiet that he is leaving the village; his Father has traveled south to Feathermoon, so no chance of encountering him while you two are out there." The Sentinel said and moved off to start harnessing the sabers that would carry them to the blighted area. Runetree smiled again as he stood with his arms crossed, waiting for his student to return.
Tova gathered up his own supplies and his Shan'do's, then took off at a run back to where the two adults were waiting. He was excited to be able to travel with Runetree, and was looking forward to the journey; he had only been a few miles away from the village his whole life, so traveling farther out had the thrill of adventure to him. As he left the Tree, he grabbed a pair of stave's from beside the doorway, and placed his on his back; he wasn't bad with a weapon, but preferred the staff if he had a choice.
Runetree nodded as Tova ran up, and caught the staff that his student tossed to him. "Let's go youngling." He said and moved quickly to where the three saber cats were waiting, and swung into the saddle of a slim saber with a dark gray colouring. Tova choose the smallest of the cat's, and secured their packs to the back of his saddle. "Lead on Sentinel." Runetree said, and the woman nodded, gently placing her heels to the great beast which took off at run, the other two following.
The small group traveled for most of the night, and only stopped as the sun started to rise. "We'll make a cold camp here." The Sentinel said, and patted her saber, sending it to the ground with a low yowl. The other two cats lowered themselves to let the druids off, then padded over to lay down next to the Sentinel's mount. Tova worked quickly to clear the area for them to lay out their bags, casting small spells designed to keep them safe. Runetree and the Sentinel set up the rest of the camp; the woman making a small camp fire, while the elder Druid pulled out some ration supplies and started cooking.
Tova crouched down near the fire, looking over at the Sentinel. She looked up at him, her eyes glowing dimly from within her helm. "Yes?" She asked, settling back and withdrawing her glaive to start sharpening it. "What is your name?" He asked quietly, and thought he saw a smile under the helm. "You can just call me Shadowbough." She answered and Tova nodded, standing up and moving over to check on the mounts. The Sentinel stared after him for a moment, then chuckled quietly and returned to her work. Runetree had watched the exchange with a smile of his own, then went back to cooking.
After a quick meal, the group lay down in the shade of the grove of trees, the three sabers acting as guards while their riders slept. Tova slept soundly, no nightmares or dreams this day. When dusk came around again, he was the first up, and worked quietly to start the fire back up, and put a bot over it, boiling water for tea and a quick meal. He looked up as his mount padded over to him, and he smiled, patting her on the nose. "Go, hunt. And take your sisters with you." He told the cat who made a low noise and quickly vanished in the forest, the other two following.
Once Shadowbough and Runetree were up and had finished eating, Tova called for the mounts, who came back quickly, the lead cat licking her lips to clean off the remains of their kill. "Good girl." Tova murmured, scratching her behind the ear as they put the saddles and armour back on the cats, then started off again, heading towards the blighted location. "We should reach it in a few hours." Shadowbough said, looking at the other two riders. Runetree nodded at her, and Tova grinned, then settled back to enjoy the ride again.
The group had reached the blighted area, and the first sight of the infection chilled Tova to the bone; one of the Ancients of the land, the massive tree being standing near the break that lead into the clearing, was covered in dark splotches all across his leaves and bark skin. The being looked down as the three approached, and smile broke across it's face. "
Welcome back Sentinel.
" The Ancient, known as Moru, spoke, it's voice rumbling and deep, but a tremor to it. The Ancient looked at the other two and nodded. "
Welcome Druids, to my grove.
" It spoke again and stepped aside. The other two elves nodded at the Ancient as they went past, and Runetree began moving swiftly around the clearing, gathering samples of the blighted foliage. "Tova, ask the Treants for some of their bark please." He said absently, and Tova nodded, move quickly to a group of the walking trees. He murmured the request, and each of them offered him a section of their bark that had been infected. "Thank you." Tova said, and touched each of them, willing some of his own power into them to try to help the healing. "
Thank you as well.
" Moru said, and Tova looked up at the tree being who smiled again.
Tova moved quickly to his Shan'do, handing him the samples. "Thank you lad." Runetree said, and sat down on the ground, pulling supplies out of his packs and got to work on isolating the poison within the plant materials. Tova watched for a few moments, then started to pace around the clearing, looking at the ground and trying to figure out another way to help. He heard muttering from the center of the clearing where Runetree was, but was used to his Shan'do talking to himself while working; if he ever stopped, Tova knew there would be a real problem.
"What are you doing?" Shadowbough asked, and Tova jumped a little, which made her chuckle. "Seeing what I can see." He answered, looking at the Sentinel who continued to follow him on his rounds around the grove. "You told Shan'do Runetree that the corruption started after the Satyr's had been driven from the land correct?" He asked and she nodded. "Yes; it was strange. We thought the problems were dealt with, yet we've seen it in a few other places well." She told him, and Tova nodded back at her, then looked over at Runetree, who was in a trance, his hands over the samples of corruption.
Tova stopped and looked at the Sentinel then over that mounts. He recalled something Runetree had told him about demonic corruption and the way it affected life around it. "Sentinel, when your group was here before, was there an area of the grove the sabers would not approach?" He asked her, and she tilted her head, thinking about it. "Yes....there was." She said, and pointed to the northern end of the grove. "The sabers would not go near those rocks there; we had just thought that there was some left over scent there, but seeing as the sabers fight with us, that doesn't seem right now does it?" She asked, following as Tova moved quickly to the rocks and began to look around them.
The young druid scrambled across the rocks, climbing up them and looking into crevices and cracks. The Sentinel watched him, and was soon joined by Runetree, who shook his head at her wordless look. "I can't tell; what is my student doing?" He asked, and she shrugged. "He has some idea, and seems to think that whatever is causing the corruption is here." She told him, crossing her arms over her chest as she watched reach the top.
"Ah ha!" He cried and pulled something out of the top of the largest boulder..then let out a cry of pain and drop backwards, the object falling one way and he falling another. There was a rustle and vines below him burst out of the ground, catching the boy and slowing his fall. Runetree had a second vine spring up to catch the object, and hold it carefully, while Tova got to his feet, shaking his burned hands.
"Did I find it Shan'do?" He asked, rubbing his hands together and casting the small healing spell he knew. Runetree nodded and passed him a small bottle from his belt pouch. "Spread that over your hands, and let it sit for 20 minutes, then clean them off; it will cleanse the injury, and deadened the pain for a while." Runetree said, and walked over to the vine holding the object; a statue of a Satyr, which glowed lightly with a green tinge. He held out one hand but did not touch it, merely reading the energy around it. "I see...." He muttered then pulled out a few objects from his pouch and placed them around the vine, which was slowly blackening from the top down. "Shadowbough, in the saddle bag on my mount is a candle, please get it for me." He requested and she did, interested in what he was planning.
Tova finished putting the salve on his hands and stood watching his master as he continued the cleansing ritual. "If this works, what happens?" He asked Runetree who shrugged slightly. "The corruption of the grove will stop, and the plants and others will begin healing." He told him, and Tova nodded, watching as Shadowbough gave the candle to Runetree who placed it at the base of the vine and lightening it. He murmured a few spells, and the light of the flame flared up, striking the statue.
There was a long loud shriek, and the vine erupted into flame, then the statue exploded, a cloud of dark green smoke rising up from it. Runetree nodded, then turned to look at the others. "I'll have to do the same at the other corrupted locations, but now that we know what to look for, we can deal with the others." Runetree said and patted his student on the shoulder. "Good job Tova, very well done." He said, and Tova blushed at the praise. "Just doing as you've told me to before Shan'do; always thinking." He said and the group headed off, intending to travel to the other corrupted areas.
It took a few days, but once they were all dealt with, Shadowbough headed off towards the Sentinel forces to let them know what to look for in areas where the Satyrs had been, and Tova and Runetree returned home. Once they reached home, Tova went in search of Mirara to let her know what had happened.
After telling her the tale, his twin smiled at him as she gave him a quick hug. "Good job little brother; keep it up, and you'll be a great druid in no time." She said, and Tova smiled back at her. "I suppose so." Tova said and the two headed off, chatting as they went.
Life of a Protector
"You know Druid Runetree, you are making my brother even less fun then he was before." Mirara murmured, seated on a tree limb above the Druid who merely chuckled, watching his student closely, preparing to pounce on him if he showed any signs of losing concentration. "Your brother is coming along admirably Priestess; he's already master the lower level spells and has been essential in assisting the regrowth of that section of the forest after the forest fire last summer." Runetree said, and relaxed a little, leaning back against the tree.
In front of them, Tova sat in an easy cross legged pose, his hands held out in front of him, his eyes closed and his breathing deep and even. Under his hands, a small bud was steadily growing, the power going from the druid into it; the point of the current lesson was to do it with a minimum of energy, but cause the flower to blossom and flourish to it's full potential. The Night Elf young man had changed over the last few years; he was nearly his full height, and his hair was tied back from his face in a several large braids. Tova's face was scarred from the last few years of fighting against the taint that still existed in; from animals driven mad to rogue satyrs.
Mirara sighed, and jumped down lightly from the branch and walked around her brother, humming quietly under breath. Runetree kept his face expressionless, though a smile tugged at the corner of his mouth as he watched Mirara lean forward and wave her hand in front of her brother's face, flicked his ears, tugged on his short beard, and played with his hair. There was a low sigh and Tova struck, his hand snapping out and grabbing Mirara's arm. "Please cut that out sister." He said, standing up and looking down at his sister, who grinned impishly at him. "I could, but your teacher told me to do that." She said, making a simple movement to free her arm and sauntered away from him.
Tova looked at Runetree who shrugged and shook his head. "You'll have to learn how to keep your calm on the field of strife, while only the Goddess knows what charging at you student. At least she wasn't poking you with a stick....this time." The elder Night Elf said, tossing Tova a water skin. He caught it and took a long drink before shaking his head, then looked down at the plant he had been nurturing: the peaceblossom had bloomed perfectly and gave off a slight scent. "At least I could do that." He said with satisfaction, then looked at his teacher with a slight flush. "Take pride in your accomplishments Student, but don't let your head swell." Runetree chided and started off, the the twins following him.
"Mother will be home for our coming of age party." Mirara murmured quietly to Tova who smiled. "Excellent....and Father?" He asked and Mirara shook her head, which made him sigh with relief. "Still off with that scouting party in the southern lands; he won't be back for another year or more, so he'll miss the celebration." She answered and slid her arm around her brother's waist and gave him a small hug. "I still can't believe he is still being so stubborn about this! You've been a druid for most of your life now, you think he would have gotten over his stupid prejudice by now." She growled and Tova just shook his head, letting her rant; Tova had come to his own conclusions about his father a long while ago.
Mirara looked up at the sky and swore loudly, gave her brother a quick hug then sprinted away, heading for the temple at a run. Tova chuckled and looked over at Runetree who had a questioning look on his face. "She forgot she is suppose to lead the services tonight; if she's fast enough she'll just make it." Tova told him and he nodded, and motioned Tova to continue following him. "Well, now that you have some free time, there is something I have been wanting to speak with you about." Runetree said, and Tova looked at his teacher, but Runetree said nothing more till they were within the Grove tree and seated themselves near the Moonwell in the center.
After a few moments of silence, and getting some tea to drink from the few young acolytes who survived the Druids happily, Runetree cleared his throat and looked into the pool. "You've reached a point in your training Student, where you need to make a decision." He said, taking a sip of his tea while Tova tried not to fidget. "You know of course that the Druids serve a purpose in the world; we are here to keep Nature in balance, and to help the Forest thrive." He said and absently ran his hand over the Moonwell, causing ripples in the water. Tova watched as they flowed across the still surface before bouncing off the sides and slowly vanishing.
"To do that, the Circle is divided among three principle branches: those who heal the World, those who strive to hold the Balance, and those who protect the World." Runetree said and looked down at his own hands. "I am one of those who works for the Balance, to keep the world in tune and going along the path the Goddess and Nature desire for it. That is one of the reasons why, so long ago, I agreed to become your Shan'do." He told Tova who nodded, still staying quiet till his mentor was finished speaking. "Our leader, the Archdruid and others like him, are healers, who are still trying to repair the damage of the Sundering so many years ago. We have made strides in healing over the years...and have seen areas still remain corrupted, such as the southern lands and the lands south of Stonetalon." Runetree's eyes seemed to be staring off into the distance, then he shook his head and focused on Tova again.
"But the third branch, the Protectors," Runetree said and Tova leaned forward, his expression eager. "They are the ones who you have seen working with the Sentinels to deal with the corruption hand to claw. I've watched you during our time working to help cleanse areas, and seen the way you looked at the members of the Claw, Talon and others. You are not meant to follow in my steps, or the Archdruid's....which is why, while there is still a few more months till your coming of age ceremony, we will be traveling to the Moonglade, where you will undergo the test of the totem, to find out where in the ranks of the Druids you belong." Runetree grinned at the sudden smile on his student's face. "We leave in the evening. Prepare yourself Tova, this will be a long hard test....but I have no doubt you will succeed." He said and stood, patting the younger elf on the shoulder before leaving the Tree.
Tova remained motionless for a few more moments, then leaped to his feet and took off towards the home that he and Mirara shared at a fast run, already thinking of what he would need for the next few months.
"Do you have everything you need?" Mirara asked, hovering over Tova as they waited outside of their home for Runetree to arrive and start the journey. "Yes 'mother' ." Tova said with a chuckle and hugged her tight, the sudden move making her tense up. "I'll miss you too while I'm gone dear twin." Tova murmured and she returned the hug just as fiercely. "Come home safe or else!" She threatened and the two broke the embrace as the sound of hooves on the path came to them.
They turned to see Runetree on the back of one of the great stags, a second beast following along docilely. "Good morning you two." Runetree said and the riderless stag stepped over to Tova and nuzzled against the younger elf, who murmured quietly and scratched behind it's ears. "That is Greathorn; he has agreed to be your ride for this journey." Runetree told Tova as he quickly stowed his gear on the area behind the saddle. Tova turned to Mirara and gave her one last swift hug before climbing on the back of his mount. "Stay out of trouble Mirara." Tova called and she stuck her tongue out at him, tears in the corner of her eyes. "You as well. Look after him Druid Runetree." Mirara called as the two headed off back down the path that led out of the village.
Tova looked back once and saw her waving after them. He returned the wave and turned his attention to the front again, wiping his sleeve across his eyes as he did.
It's only for a few months, we'll see each again soon.
The two had been on the road for a night, and Tova had to admit that riding on the back of the stag, with the long ground devouring lope and canter, was a different experience then riding on the back of a saber; for one thing, the sabers preferred to find ways around things; the stags choose to go over them. He had already taken a few hard hits after Greathorn had decided to leap over several fallen logs instead of going around them. Tova felt a little embarrassed when they stopped for camp the first day; he had been sore and aching, while Runetree, who was his elder by several centuries, had acted like it was a day of easy riding. The only thing that had made that night bearable was the fact that Runetree had some salve to ease his sore muscles and aches.
The next night of travel was similar to the first, but Tova was becoming used to the movement on the back of his mount at this point. "Shan'do?" Tova asked, and Runetree looked over at him with a raised eyebrow. "What are the different totems you spoke of?"
"Ah, that is a good question." Runetree said, a smile on his face. "The totems are the Greater Spirits we draw our powers from; the Claw and Talon are the two most well known, and they are the followers of the Great Bear and the Spirit of the Raven." He told his student who nodded. "There are others of course; such as those who follow the Swift one," He said, patting his mount on the side of it's neck. "There are not many who choose the Stag, but there are enough; they are the scouts and spies in the forest."
"There are those who follow the Great Seal, those who spend time in the lakes, rivers and the oceans of the world." Runetree said, falling into his teacher voice as he kept watch around them. "They too are a smaller group, but one we use when boats are destroyed in storms and we need to recover the supplies and goods from the wrecks." The Druid was silent for a moment then looked at his student out of the corner of his eye. "There are also two lost choices; the Serpent and the Wolf, but for now, the less said about those two the better." He told Tova who nodded.
"The last form is one that is considered to be something different; that is the Great Cat. It is the most far reaching of the forms, seen from our lands to the lands far to the north and south, and even supposedly to the far east....though, we have no true evidence of that." Runetree said, and shook his head. "The Cat is the one many try to follow, but find what It requires to be hard to remain a servant of. Cat will help those who ask, but at the same time, the form is very seductive; I have seen those who have lost themselves to it, and vanished from our Circle." He looked at his student again. "When the time comes, choose carefully student; it will be something that will change your view on the world." Runetree fell silent at that point, and Tova had nothing to say, merely settled into the ride, and consider what he had been told.
The strength of the Bear, the speed of the Stag, the power of the Cat....what to choose.
He thought to himself, looking towards the mountains that were steadily growing in the distance.
"Shan'do, are we being watched?" Tova asked quietly as they moved down a trail in the center of the forest, still heading north towards the Moonglade. "Yes." Runetree said simply and laughed at the expression on his student's face. "Calm yourself student; they are friends and allies, who have been at our side since the day of the War." Runetree said and raised his hand, then pointed. For a moment, Tova saw something large, fur covered, and slightly like a bear on it's upraised back paws. "What is that?" He asked, feeling a moment of shock and fear.
"That student, is another member of the many creatures who share the forests and the lands with us; a Furbolg." Runetree answered, raising his hand again and seeing another of the creatures respond before vanishing back into the underbrush. "We are free to relax here Tova, the Furbolgs hate the Legion leftovers more then we do, and have kept their lands free of the taint. That is one of the reasons why Shan'do Stormrage choose to place Moonglade in this area; the Furbolgs are a great source of protection for us." He said and Tova nodded, considering that.
The journey through the Furbolg land was fairly quick, and Tova attempted to keep a watch out, but only saw the bear kins a few more times over the course of the next few hours. In the distance, something large was looming, and Tova kept his eyes on it. As the sun started to rise and the night slowly went away, he realized what he was seeing: the side of the cliffs were carved into the symbol a massive bear head, with the entrance into it set up as a cave mouth.
"What is that?" Tova asked and Runetree jerked upwards, looking around bleary eyed. "Ah, that is the Timbermaw Hold." He answered, and stretched. "We will stay here for the day, then travel into Moonglade at dusk." He told his student who nodded, and the two entered the cavern.
Tova had found it hard to sleep, the new experiences of the Furbolg around him, as well as knowing that they would be in the Glade soon so that he could start studying about the totem.
He thought, laying back on his bedroll, watching absently as a group of Furbolgs went past them, heading to the east and the Winterspring. He did not remember falling asleep, but when he woke up, he heard a low voice speaking, and the sound of his shan'do answering.
"Yes Chieftain, I know; I'll speak with the Archdruid about helping to deal with some of the hunting issues you have been having. I'm sure there won't be an issue with that." Runetree said and looked over. "And my young student is awake." He said with a smile and passed Tova a mug of something to drink, which he took with a nod of thanks.
"Chieftain Grizzlefur, my student Tova Stormwing. Tova, this is the leader of the Furbolg for these lands." Runetree introduced them, and the furbolg smiled at him, which was a slightly disturbing sight, as the bearkin had a mouth full of sharp teeth. "Please to meet you chieftain." Tova said, bowing. "Honour is mine." The furbolg said and stood up. "Need to go; good journey." The bearkin said in slightly broken Elvish then moved off quickly.
"How...?" Tova started to ask as Runetree began to pack up their supplies and tie them to the two stags. "I've spent time among them; they are believers in the Balance, same as the Druids so they are excellent allies." Runetree answered and held out his hand, helping Tova to his feet. "Come. The journey is almost over....and the then the works starts." He said, mounting his stag and Tova scrambled into his own saddle. The two took a passage way to the north, nodding at the Furbolgs they passed in the hold, the bearkin either nodding back or smiling at the two elves.
"They are not what I would expect of another race...but I don't have much experience with them." Tova admitted and Runetree chuckled. "You have been sheltered student, but you'll have new experiences soon." The elder Druid promised as they approached the exit of the hold to enter into the Moonglade.
Tova looked around himself, trying to not stare at all of the new sights as the two moved down a trail leading from the Timbermaw Hold. He shivered a little, feeling eyes on him and looked around himself again. "What is wrong Student?" Runetree asked, looking over his shoulder at Tova who shook his head. "Can't you feel that Shan'do?" Tova asked and Runetree chuckled. "The watchers? Don't worry; as long as we bring no threat here, we are safe." He told him, and Tova nodded, not quite understanding what his teacher meant.
The two Druids continued on the path for another hour, and Tova felt the eyes on him increase instead of go away. He finally reined up Greathorn and looked around, his hand on his staff. "That's enough." Runetree said, his voice harsh and made Tova jump, but the druid was not looking at him. "Step out into the open now please before you drive my student into violence."
Tova looked around widely, trying to see who his teacher was talking to and nearly jumped out of his skin as a piece of the forest seemed to move....and around it, two other shapes took form. At first, all he could see seemed to be living vines and trees but as they stepped into the moonlight, he had a clear view of them: the lower bodies of deer, moving almost soundlessly on the forest floor, while from the waist up, they were female, and he flushed a little as the hair, looking like vines, swung away from one shapely breast before falling over it again. He yanked his eyes upwards and saw elven faces looking at him, the eyes narrowed.
Druid Runetree, welcome.
The lead one said, and Tova jerked again, hearing the voice seeming to echo in his mind, and the dryad's mouth had not moved. "How?" He asked in shock, forgetting himself and all three turned their eyes to him, making him flush again. "Hello Karia." Runetree said, bowing to the Dryads who switched their attention back to him. "These are Dryads, young Tova, the daughters of Cenarius." He said, and Tova gulped then bowed as well, making the three Dryads smirk at him before two of them stepped back into the forest and the lead one stepped towards Runetree and walked at his side as they started moving again.
Why are you here Druid, and with a young elf who seems to know nothing of us?
Karia asked, looking over her shoulder at Tova, the smirk still there. Tova felt his cheeks flushing again and looked down at the path, trying to not stare at the Dryad. "I was planning on telling him of the Children of Cenarius once he had chosen his Totem." Runetree answered and Tova wondered how his teacher could be so calm.
Truly? He plans to be a Protector?
Karia asked, and turned her body to look at the younger druid, her head tilted. "Yes, and he will be a fine one. Now, why did you feel the need to cause my student stress?" Runetree asked and the Dryad chuckled, her voice like a liquid in Tova's head.
We have to test them, you know this. Still, it amused us as well. Travel safe Druids.
Karia said, then bounded off away from them, vanishing into the forest while Tova watched.
"Are they all like that?" Tova asked quietly and Runetree chuckled. "No, not all; some are far crazier then those ones." He answered and pointed ahead of them, where in the distance lights were seen. "And there is Nighthaven my student, let's hurry shall we?" He said with a smile, then spurred his stag forward, forcing Tova and Greathorn to speed up to catch them, chuckling a little.
"We can leave the stags here student." Runetree said as the two reached the edge of the town. Nighthaven was different from the town where Tova had grown up; there, the town was built in a clearing within the forest; here, the town was built around the forests and rivers that fed into Lake Elune'ara, with many bridges and paths leading around them. As the two entered the city proper and headed towards the cliff that over looked the lake, Tova saw many wearing the robes and armour of the Druids, as well as a few Priestesses of Elune and Sentinels. The townspeople of Nighthaven nodded at the two druids as they passed them, a few smiling at the slight shocked look on Tova's face.
"What is wrong student?" Runetree said under his breath as Tova shook his head and shrugged. "So many people Shan'do, I'm just not used to it." He replied and Runetree gave him a sympathetic look and a pat on the shoulder. "You will get used to it Tova, but it takes time. Even I still dislike being here; far too many clustered together and not enough of the Wilds." He said and Tova nodded, still feeling shaken.
The two had reached the main gathering place within Nighthaven, a large building with a pair of Moonwells out front of it. Tova lagged back behind his Shan'do as Runetree entered the building and approached a tall Night Elf speaking quietly with a Sentinel and a member of the Circle. He looked up and a grin spread across his face and excused himself to walk over to Runetree, grasping the Druid's hand.
"It's good to see you Runetree, was the journey here stressful?" The Night Elf asked and the Druid shook his head. "No Rabine, it was quiet, except for the Dryads deciding to play a joke on my student." He told him and the leader of the city, Rabine Saturna chuckled and shook his head. "I'll ask Keeper Remulos to speak with them, and see if he can get them to behave." Rabine promised and looked over at Tova. "So, this is the student you have spent so much time with eh?" He asked and the two older Elves walked towards Tova who bowed awkwardly. "Hello sir." Tova said and Rabine chuckled again. "Chief Saturna, this is Tova Stormwing; Tova this is Chief Rabine Saturna, leader of Nighthaven's Night Elves." Runetree said, and Tova ducked his head sheepishly.
"So, he's here for the Test?" Rabine asked and Runetree nodded. Rabine stood there for a moment, looking at his friend out of the corner of his eye then shrugged. "A word of advice; Archdruid Staghelm has recently arrived here for his Dreaming, I would stay away from the Barrows if I was you." Rabine said, the comment flying over Tova's head but Runetree nodded, his face clouding. "Thank you Rabine, that is good advice." Runetree agreed and motioned for Tova to follow him as they walked away. Rabine watched them, then turned back to speak to the Sentinel and Druid.
Tova kept quiet as his Shan'do purchased some herbs and other supplies from sellers within the city, considering what the leader of the town had told his teacher; he knew that Archdruid Staghelm was one of the leaders of the Circle, up there with Archdruid Stormrage...but he had never heard of bad blood between his teacher and the archdruid. Once the two had left the city and settled into a grove, he cleared his throat and Runetree looked over at him. "Yes Student?" He asked.
"Why would we have to be careful of Archdruid Staghelm?" Tova asked bluntly, unable to figure out a way to say it subtly. Runetree looked perplexed for a moment, then shook his head with a small smile. "Merely something that happened in the past Student, don't worry about it. Fandral does not know about you, so it will not affect you." He said and Tova opened his mouth, then closed it at the look his teacher shot him. "Yes Shan'do." Tova agreed and took a seat beside the fire that Runetree had made.
"Here, drink this, then throw this into the fire." Runetree said, and passed Tova a mug of something that smelled strongly of herbs, and a pouch of more herbs. Tova nodded and drank it down quickly, shuddering at the strong taste and cast the pouch into the flames, leaning back as flames licked upwards and a thick smoke started to rise. "Lean forward Student, and breath deep of the smoke." Runetree said and Tova nodded, doing so quickly. As he sat back, he felt his eyelids grow heavy. "Good luck Student; and be careful." Tova heard his Shan'do's voice from far away as a green mist slowly surrounded him.
Tova opened his eyes and stood up, staring around himself in wonder; all he could see was the land, with massive trees rising up above him. Everything had a green tint to it and he took a step, then looked down as he did not hear his foot step and saw that the ground was covered by moss.
Where am I?
He thought and jumped as a voice echoed to him.
Within the Dream young Druid; this, is our land, had the servants of the Traitor Queen not summoned the Legion and destroyed the Well.
Tova whirled, trying to see the speaker, then fell back as a large form stepped out of the mist.
Who...who are you?
Tova asked, then clapped his hand over his mouth as no sound had come out of his mouth.
I am a Son of the Demi-God Cenarius.
The figure answered, and Tova began to see the other clearly; a massive form with the lower half of a stag, thick bushy hair and beard, large antlers that rose up off it's head and eyes like a Night Elf staring down at him.
I am the Keeper Remulos.
The Keeper answered, and helped Tova to his feet.
What is happening Keeper?
Tova asked in confusion and the Keeper took pity on him.
To learn about the Totems and choose one, it must be done in the Emerald Dream, where Druids spend time during their Dreaming period to help restore it.
Remulos answered and Tova nodded following the Keeper as he moved off.
Have you decided on which of the Totems you wish to follow?
He asked and Tova shook his head.
No Keeper; I feel as if I'm torn between them all. I wish...
And he trailed off and the Keeper looked back at him.
You wish what young Druid?
Remulos asked and Tova shrugged helplessly.
Why must we choose only one? Why can we not follow many of the Totems? Wouldn't that make us better able to protect the world and keep it safe?
Would it though?
Remulos asked and Tova stopped in his tracks.
He asked and the Keeper turned to look at him with a slight smile on his face.
Would be forced to make a constant choice every time help you and the others protect the world?
He asked again and Tova thought about it then shook his head.
I don't know what you mean Keeper.
Tova answered and Remulos nodded again then pointed ahead of them.
Think long and hard on it young Druid, you'll find the answer some day. But for now, the Choice must be made.
He said and stopped at the edge of a clearing as Tova entered it.
The clearing was surrounded by more of the massive trees, and a river ran through the center of it. Tova stepped forward and looked around, then looked back the Keeper...and saw he had vanished.
Tova muttered and walked to the center of clearing and looked up, seeing merely more green sky above.
I don't know what I am suppose to do!
He said and looked back down, and nearly jumped out of his skin as he saw he was no longer alone; in front of him stood a massive Stag, the creature nearly 3 times the size of Greathorn.
The fact that It spoke to him made Tova knees feel weak.
Tova said, and felt himself start to shake as the Stag walked over to him. The Beast lowered it's nose and gently touched Tova's chest and he felt a warmth spread through him.
It asked, and Tova nodded, smiling in spite of himself.
You are here to make the Choice, to decide which of us you wish to follow and learn from yes?
It asked again and Tova nodded and took a seat on the ground.
I do not think I am meant to be a follower of the Swift one Great Spirit; when I think of myself protecting the World, it is not as a runner, but as a fighter.
He said quietly, and the Stag nodded then turned and paced away, stopping near the river.
Tova walked towards it and then jumped back as a large form broke the surface of the river and looked up at him from one large eye.
Then what of me?
The Great Seal Spirit asked, It's voice conveying an undertone of laughter and Tova shook his head.
No Great Spirit, I cannot see my life spent in the water and looking for wrecks.
He answered and the Seal nodded then splashed water at him again before settling down to watch with wide eyes. As the water washed over him, Tova felt a calm spread over him.
A screech echoed over the clearing and Tova ducked as a massive winged form flew past him, and landed on large rock which had not been there before. He turned to see a massive Raven staring at him with black eyes, and could swear he saw mischief there.
Then young Druid, do you desire to soar in the skies and see the world from far above? Will you race on the air currents of the world and experience it?
The Great Raven Spirit asked, and Tova walked over to It, thinking hard. He thought about how he had longed to be in the sky, and how he had desired that freedom for so long...but knew if he choose it, he would slowly forget about his duty to protect the world.
I would love to...but I cannot Great Spirit. I must decline.
He said, feeling a sadness settle over him. The Raven cawed a laugh at him and gently covered him with a wing; as It did so, the sadness faded.
A pity, I would have enjoyed having you as a follower young Druid.
The Raven said and gently turned Tova around.
Another massive form shambled out of the woods and Tova felt fear grip him for a moment; the Great Spirit of the Bear towered over the others, the massive size of the creature making the clearing feel small.
So, this is the new one?
The voice of the Bear a rumble that Tova felt in his bones and he held still as It slowly paced around him.
Strength, courage, bravery....you would do well as one of mine.
The Bear rumbled and Tova gulped, the overwhelming power of Bear threatening to drown him.
I would Great Spirit...but I would not be able to serve you well. I...I'm not prepared for that.
Tova said and the Bear leaned in close, sniffing him, then it nodded before gently touching him with It's nose; as with the others, the negative emotion he had been feeling, fear, vanished.
You are right; but soon you will, I promise.
The Bear said and moved away.
Tova jerked up as he heard a howl and a hiss from behind him and whirled...but saw merely shadows that vanished into the trees as a roar echoed from the trees. One moment, where Tova had been looking was empty, the next, a large Nightsaber was pacing towards him, It's eyes locked to Tova's. The Night elf felt his breath leave his body and took a hesitant step forward, reaching out towards the Great Spirit of the Cat.
Well, that was an easy choice wasn't it?
The Cat purred and rubbed It's head against Tova, who felt himself crying but wasn't sure why.
He said and looked at the other Spirits.
The Totem has been Chosen. But you will learn our powers too eventually young Druid. Use our powers well, but only to defend others: If you use them in rage, in fear, in despair, for revenge, you will lose them. Remember that, and welcome to the ranks of the Protectors.
The Bear had spoke that last then the other Spirits vanished, leaving Tova alone with Cat.
Tova asked and the Cat grumbled low under It's breath then nudged him.
Return to the realm of Mortals, learn from the Protectors, and gain your new power. But, you are no longer a true student; you have passed and will join the ranks of the Druids now. Welcome to the Circle little brother.
The Cat nudged him again with a paw, striking him on the shoulder and Tova felt himself falling, his last thought before the green faded was that he had succeeded...and merely gained more questions.
Tova gasped as he sat up, staring around widely, his eyes wide and his breath coming fast. "Calm yourself Tova, you are fine, you are safe." Runetree soothed him, as he forced him to drink from a steaming mug of tea. Tova drank deeply, and sighed, relaxing back then looked up at his Shan'do with a shaky smile. "Well...I made a Choice." He said and Runetree nodded as he pointed at Tova's exposed shoulder. He looked over and felt his eyes widen again as he saw the mark of the Cat there.
"Welcome to the Circle." Runetree said, echoing the Cat's words as Tova felt his face split into a massive smile.
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