Monday, January 24, 2011

Times of Raising Them Up

Several nights had come and gone.  The Moon had shifted from her fully displayed face to a hidden smile in the dark sky many times, since Draccus had been introduced to his community, to his people.  While still a young lord of the forest learning and growing, he came to see a depth of character in the people around him in the everyday moments.  Their unwavering diligence to the smallest detail in their duties was a constant source of amazement to him.  It was as if a person were looking into a pool of water and unable to discern the source of the wellspring.  Surrounding him were the mysteries, histories, and tales that spoke of where he came from, and also told of where he belonged.

He would watch the seasoned Hunters of his village, from a distance, sitting with their pets curled up at their feet.   They would slowly and delicately carve and bend the woods of elms, ash, and yew trees into strong bows fitting for their arrows.  Once these pieces of craftsmanship were fitted with their strings the Hunters would then sing and whisper over their weapons placing magical re-enforcements and enchantments on them.  Not one single detail was rushed or over looked.

Another testimony to the quality found in every action those around him took was in the smithery of both blacksmithing and jewelcrafting.  Never has there been a blade forged with a sharper edge or tested in the fires more intensely then the weapons created from the hands of a Night Elf.  Those who pounded the precious metals with a hammer and anvil poured their whole being into the steel.  The jewelry and trinkets were so uniquely designed and woven together, that only the race of Dwarves matched them in brillance and renown beauty.

The Night Elves had over the ages become a stoic race in their daily lives.  This hardness had become part of their makeup from the constant battles and living an existence of survival and struggle.  Though the Guardians were entrusted with caring for Nature they were not immune to the forces of nature.  The rain still soaked them to the bone, and the desert sun parched their throats no less.  The numerous different elements that altered the landscape and weathered all life also equally affected the Kaldorei.  One of the greatest forces of nature that they had been blessed with witnessing was time.

Time once was the passing of moments that were counted by those that lived them.  The cycles of life and death over mortals had once been a detached and isolated event that did not touch them.  They were born and lived freely.  Being connected to the Emerald Dream, the Great Trees like Nordassil, and one another it gave them a precious gift which lengthened their life spans knowing no limits.  Over centuries they roamed the forests and distance lands.  Given all the time in the world a whole race was able to study, master, and learn the arts gaining endless wisdom.  They had tasted of immortality, drunk deeply of that sweet wine, but as fate would have it, this gift was not to remain forever theirs.

A few brief centuries ago, a great battle had been waged on the very ground that Draccus was born and now explored.  In that pivotal moment of history a great sacrifice was made in order to stop the destruction of Nordassil by an enemy named Archimonde, a Lieutenant of the Burning Legion.  Had this fiend succeeded in his goal, even more would have been lost, but Malfurion Stormrage unleashed a great magic and defeated this powerful threat.  The cost of this victory came in the loss of immortality for all Night Elves.  The greatest force of nature, the passing of time, would now hold sway over them as well.  Setting their lives on a fixed place in history with an eventual end made many of them see the value of each moment.  Time was a precious event not to be wasted or carelessly used up.

As time passed Draccus grew into a youth full of energy and strength.  Upon looking at him, he walked, ran, and climbed with the capabilities and prowess of other Night Elves much older then him.  The life of the younger Night Elves was one of strict training and discipline from elders in the community.  There were roles and responsibilities that needed to be filled  by all as members of this society.

They were given practical instruction in the use of staffs, daggers, maces, and unarmed combat.  Along with the instruction in martial arts they also received expert education concerning the professional arts.  Some of the lessons covered were on the basics of anatomy, botany, navigation, and first aid.  Beyond the general courses covered some teachers taught other primary professions.  Some of these specialized professions were in such schools as enchanting items with magical qualities, or alchemy that harnessed plant life into potions and elixirs.  There were even some trade skills that greatly aided in warfare by means of equipping the combatants in armor made from cloth or the hides of animals, namely tailoring and leatherworking respectively.

Of all the professional courses that the pupils were exposed to, leatherworking was one that caught Draccus as both fascinating and deeply intimate.  To craft garments and armor from the animals of the forest was one of the most revered trades a Night Elf could undertake.  All life was held in high regard and respected, from the smallest creature to the largest beast.  Being a skinner and leatherworker required the working with and taking the life of an animal entrusted to their safe keeping.  A delicate balance and sensitivity were required to becoming a master in the trade.

Although the seriousness of life was always stressed, there were times of laughter, adventure, and joy.  When left with such unguarded moments Draccus would find himself running off carefee on a quest with some of his friends from training.  The freedom of those times released in his spirit the oppressive weight from a silent presence that grew within his thoughts. 

Late one evening, after the day's lessons had been completed, Draccus darted from shadow to shadow.  He was playing a game of sorts with friend of his.  Lannika a lady of the forest, who also had been born around the same time as he had been.  Together these two were constant companions and true friends.

Calling out with laughter in his voice, "Catch me if you can, Lannika.  I am as stealthy as a Rogue."  Jokingly referring to the few Night Elves that had taken to becoming knife dancers.

"Yeah, but not as stealthy as a Druid in cat form," Lannika responded from the other side of a tree, "My mother showed me her sleek feline form the other day."

Appearing from behind Lannika, Draccus threw a stick at the young lady who was watching the woods for any sign of him with her silvery eyes.  She turned ever so fast on her feet to face him.  She saw that familiar mischievous grin on the face of her friend.

"What are you up to?  I recognize that look and we always end up in trouble because of it."  She responded with a voice that was light hearted and attempting an air of innocence.  Truth be know she also had equally gotten them into as much trouble before.

"I overheard my father talking with someone" he replied, "and they mentioned a place called Moonglade.  That is the place where I hear they train Druids in the different aspects and how to shift into various forms.  I think we might be going there soon, because the other person he was talking to was your father."

"Guess it is finally time we learn how to move like shadows" Lannika said with anticipation.  "Perhaps you would look better with fur, but I doubt you would be any faster."  With that jesting comment she turned and bound off into the woods daring him to catch her.

"I really get to learn how to become a powerful Cat" Draccus mused, "I wonder what that will be like.  To silently stake a prey and pounce with razor sharp claws and then dash off before anything else noticed.  Guess I will find out soon enough."

The Saga continues with....To Moonglade For First Time

Monday, January 17, 2011

The AiLill's First Steps

The wooden staircase curved in a gentle slope along the trunk of the tree allowing passage from the sleeping quarters to the common area below.  The leaves painted in rich purples, deep greens, and some even tinted in blues lightly dusted the walkway.  Malfurion Stormrage lead Farethilus and Galdrian Moonsayer towards the Night Elf community with the boy in their arms.  Upon reaching the lower platform a hush washed over those gathered, and all eyes turned in their direction.

By now the Moon had begun to cast her first beams of light, that pierced the darkness.  There were torches that aided in lighting the surrounding vale, but none that burned from tar or pitch that fumed the air with a rank smell.  The flames from these lamps that licked and danced in the air were of a magical source.  A light that shone clearly, illuminating the ground and all those nearest, all the while emitting a hue of arcane blue.

Glancing out at the faces, which increasingly grew more numerous as more came traveling in, Farethilus gasped in awe and awareness at those who had covered such distances.  A pair of Storm Crows glided in from the bows of the trees to rest on the ground before shape shifting into Night Elves.  In the distance he could hear the stealthy wings of several Hippogryphs ferrying their riders to this spot.

"Our brothers and sisters of the wood have come from far tonight to honor us and the celebration." Farethilus whispered to Galdrain. "I see two Feral Druids from Moonglade that teach the way of the Cat and Bear.  Behind that small crowd over there is another Druid hidden under a hooded cloak, but the form being much more stout then us Kaldorei I believe it is a Tauren Druid!"

Lady Galdrian tensed her sinewy muscles and stared directly at the Druid from the Plains, "If that horned creature so much as stomps the ground in aggression I will call forth a powerful blast of nature's wrath and knock it off its hoofed feet."

Malfurion missing nothing of their conversation turned his head slightly, "Peace Lady Moonsayer, I have invited our brothers and sisters of the Plains.  They are due an equal share of the joy as well as a place among our Circles as Druids.  We all are dedicated to preserving and protecting Nature and her allies, and we will not fight against one another.  Besides honored Sentinel, the Druid you would have tried to knock back is a sister of the Keepers of the Grove.  A powerful Restoration Guardian, and many have tried to knock her down."

Farethilus was busy scanning the crowd for anyone else that he might recognize or that would standout in this assemblage.  So focused on witnessing the swelling throngs of people before him, he hardly noticed the little boy in his arms becoming heavier and more active.  He looked at the boy in his arms that was looking back at him with puzzlement on his face.  The young Night Elf then turned his head around taking in the scene for the first time.  Gently setting the boy down, he stepped back to witness a profound moment.

Just several hours old, and already Draccus was entering into his first cycle of transformation as a Night Elf.  Although he was born with the seeing eyes of the amber glow, a rare gift bestowed at birth, what he now was experiencing all Night Elves before him had experienced.  The Changeling Cycle was little know outside of the society of Kaldorei.  A secret closely guarded and only shared with those entrusted within the Circle of Druids or the Priests of Elune.

Nature and magic weaved their essence into the very fibers of a Night Elf's body once he was born.  Often the process would leave marks or physical alterations on the young form.  The truth behind why outsiders and most villages were void of visible children was because there was an overwhelming force unleashed on newborns that sped up the growth and awareness of each child.  This was one of nature's ways of protecting the fledgling Night Elf from natural predators like spiders, wild animals, and from the weaknesses of a defenseless youth.  This transformation also aided in the development of communication, intellect, strength, stamina, and agility.  One of the greatest of all believed reasons why every single Night Elf underwent the Changeling Cycle was to form a shared bond and link to the community and with nature and magic itself.  This ageless symbiosis created an avenue for an individual to draw power, guidance, and form a connection, as was fitting to their unique calling, from the elements and life around them.  Some would use this medium for the mending and healing of what was once broken and dead, to bring new life in plants and flesh alike.  Others would channel the focus, rage, and powers of nature and arcane itself in raining down devastation to enemies or battling whatever foe may stand against them.

And indeed the transformation had affected Draccus deeply, for he was aware and stronger then he was just moments ago.  His limbs had lengthened to a degree and while not yet capable of bearing weight other then his own, he no longer appeared a newborn. He was a youngling with an inner strength that was fully his and also ever growing and changing.  He heard the voices and whispers of those that stood near to him.  Many faces stared back at him with a shared knowledge of his passage from birth to life to awareness, and he was comforted by that.

How long have I been able to perceive clearly those that were older and taller then me, but of the same blood, Draccus wondered.

He gazed with instant recognition upon the two Night Elves standing at his side.  A strong and gentle hand held his small left hand tightly, this lord Night Elf was none other then his father.  He sensed that bond more firm then the ground he stood on.  His other hand had grabbed a fist full of emerald silk fabric cascading down a beautiful lady Night Elf.  The  flowing robe was complimented by a cloak of pure white, pinned with a delicate jewel, and her head was crowned in a wreath.  A mother's eyes looked down on him, and he felt loved as no one could describe.

A third prominent Night Elf stood in front of him and the way he towered over the boy and commanded respect from the entire crowd, he wondered who this mighty lord of importance was.  And then this figure of importance spoke in a voice that sounded far and wide across the vale and into the hearts of everyone gathered.

"This is the awaited boy, Draccus Moonsayer!  It is with him that I will entrust great responsibility and power when the times comes.  He is one of us, as we all can see by his eyes that glow brilliant amber, but he will need all of us to prepare him for what lays ahead.  He will one day wield the full forces of both Nature and Arcane in the balance of combat, taking on the sacred form within the Druid Circle of a Moonkin.  He also will become a Guardian of Restoration that the Dragon Aspects will come to know and many allies will rest assured in."

Upon the declaration being bestowed by the Archdruid and with both parents at his side Draccus took his first steps into the world eager to embark on his foretold future.

The Saga continues with....Times of Raising Them Up

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Beginnings of A Druid's Tale

"The world is upon the brink of all out war, as the races from all across Azeroth are forced to claim their place in history.  The elements and forces of nature rage against the edges of civilization, as factions battle over petty feuds.  Humans, Dwarves, and Gnomes are not the only key players in this struggle.  Out of the shadows of night and from the deep reaches of the forest a forgotten people are needed to cease their isolation and stand strong again.  This is the tale of one such person, one who would reunite the races and fight the coming Nightmare."-Ysera

The cool breeze of the evening filtered through the forest canopy of Nordrassil.  The majestic tree reached towards the heavens like a pillar overshadowing the landscape for miles around. While the leaves gently swayed from the currents of the air under their canopy stirred a small community of Kaldorei.  The Kaldorei were known in the Common tongue as Night Elves.  In this secluded vale there was new life being brought forth into the world.

For many years the Circles of the Druids, belonging to different Aspects, had awaited the birth of a son who would rise up to become a great leader and champion.  This long awaited champion would also carry a great burden of responsibility and legacy.  Finally the waiting was over, this was at last that watched for hour.  The forest stilled itself to listen to the first cries of a baby who held such a promise.

The family that was to bear this youth was under the headship of an Archdruid, Farethilus Moonsayer.  An elder well respected for his wisdom and battle tested courage.  He had stood among the ranks of Night Elves eons ago in a bloody conflict against The Burning Legion. An enemy numbering in the thousands bent on total destruction of the world and nature itself.  Farethilus had called upon the fury of nature and arcane powers in defeating those foes.  Still bearing the scars and memories of that distant past, he would never forget.  But from those long ago wars he also maintained a deep bond and friendship with a fellow Druid named Malfurion Stormrage.  A powerful leader of all the people of the wood, once lost to the Emerald Dream.

In Farethilus's lodge there were many family members and friends from nearby groves that helped in preparing the feast celebrating the House's newest member.  There was an atmosphere of eager expectation.The tables and dishes were being filled with the finest fruits, nuts, and breads.  At one of these tables two lady Night Elves chattered excitedly.

"Can you believe how hard this pregnancy was on Lady Galdrian?" the taller one said to her friend that was placing the wooden bowls and silver goblets around the long table.  "She carried him longer then most children of our kind.  And then the strange manners of the Priests from the Temple or Druids from the Cenarion Circle stopping by and putting their hand on her belly whenever they visited?"

Her friend replied, "They must know something special about him that has not been revealed yet.  We will get to see him soon enough.  The Archdruid Stormrage is up there with them now.  Just image what he had to do in order to travel here and oversee the birth, that alone is worth taking note of." 

The smell of roasted meat from a freshly slain stag rose in the air, the aroma of spices and dressing wet every one's appetite.  Rarely was meat eaten, but this sweet dish had been given as a gift to honor the Moonsayer's newest addition and those gathered.  A neighboring Night Elf lord was busily pouring out flasks of berry wine from his own vintage into tall pitchers to be shared freely.  He hummed to himself with merriment.  A feast was a splendid occasion to drink and laugh, and he privately enjoyed supplying his beverages at any gathering.  All the guests assembled now awaited the presentation of the boy.

The Night Elves weren't the only ones gathering to witness this moment in history.  On the surrounding hills a pair of Centaurs and a few Dryads stood silently watching, while a pride of Night Sabers sat nearby.  All of them were staring at the upper window of a home crafted from the living tree.

Inside that open window was a room belonging to Lady Galdrian Moonsayer.  The life mate and bride of Archdruid Farethilus, she was cherished by all who knew her.  As a women Night Elf she had been among the first of her people to join the Cenarion Circle as a female Druid.  There was a time when that special class of Wardens guarding Nature and the Emerald Dream were only allowing noble male heirs to become part of their ranks.   She had studied under the teachings of the Keepers of the Grove, mastering the healing arts which she could tap into mending any wound, even bring some back from a fatal demise.  She had also served several years as a Sentinel in the conflict against outside intruders in the Southern forests in Ashenvale.  A strong capable women of nobility, a battle proven Druid healing her allies, and now a mother.

Laying back on the soft bed, with feather stuffed cushions supporting her, she hummed an ancient love lullaby to her son.  The bond between a mother and son is a deep connection that stays with the mother long after her child has left the home, and Lady Galdrian wanted to tattoo this memory in detail on her heart.  In her arms lay her swaddled baby.  The difficult and long months were worth the reward.

"I will be your mother and you will be my son no matter what comes in the future.  May there always be love and peace with you." She thought to herself with uncertainty.  "If only Elune would spare him from the fate that has been foretold though the ages awaiting him."  A single tear escaped her eyelids as she continued to hum over him, a song of sweetness and sorrow.

The joys of a newborn child swam against the waves of concerns, because life was full of hardships.  No one would face the hardships that lay out in time before this innocent youth . His very emergence into the twilight world had brought much joy to these two parents.  Although the details and the exact encounters his story would encompass remained shrouded in untold mists.  In the minds of these parents so intimately involved, it was like watching a thunderous, dark, and limitless storm approaching on the horizon.  The winds of trouble pushed against their inner thoughts, with the force of a gale hurricane.  Holding out for hope their minds' eye looked not to the blackest of the storm but to the calm and clear air that followed all storms.  The promise of better things to come afterwards.

Malfurion Stormrage stood in the corner of the room silently and patiently looking on as these two Night Elves, dear friends, lived in the moment with their son.  Never did the spectacle of seeing new life taking its first breath fail to fill him with awe.  The gift of life was a dear treasure to him personally.  In light of their lost immortality the Archdruid appreciated each moment in the centuries that his people still had to walk out.  Having once been blessed to never know the cold touch of life's limits, he held on to the warmth that was so near to him now.  Over time that warmth would fade cooler and cooler till like the Autumn season's leaves they would be blown away on the chill of Winter's reach.

Farethilus gathered the boy in his arms and carried him over to the hearth that glowed with magical light and warmth.  The father then sat in a chair of solid birch wood that had once grown up from that very floor and remained fixed as a place of rest and reflection, before the crackling fire.

The father spoke to himself, Galdrian, and Malfurion all at the same, "What shall we name him?"

For a long time neither of the three said anything aloud. There were to many questions, thoughts, and paths that stretched out before them.  A name held power and the name with which this young night elf would be known by would ring out across the whole of Kalimdor, even carrying across the seas of all Azeroth.  As the noise from downstairs started to settle and the rhythm of the night floated in from the forest, a whisper quietly passed among them.

Staring up into the eyes of his father for the first time the baby's eye beamed with a rare amber glow for one so young.  This hint of promise was not missed by Farethilus or Malfurion, and they both looked at each other with a nod of agreement.  Newborn night elves were normally born with silver eyes that reflected like the moonlight off still water, but this boy was different.  Some how they were aged and full of seeing with understanding.

"His name shall be Draccus Moonsayer", the father spoke towards the mother.  "For he was born with a sign and is full of promise.  His eyes glow brilliant amber long before most druids ever change, and he will be a force of both damage and healing in time."

She turned unexpectedly towards the Great Archdruid Stormrage and asked pointedly, "What will he become?  And will you do all that you can to see that he is prepared?

"Who the boy becomes and if he is prepared to face the journey ahead is not mine to decide Lady Moonsayer, for we can only play our parts.  The remaining task of fulfilling the promise before him, rests with him."

Malfurion then moved to the hearth and looked out the window to the eager crowd gathered below, "I will consult the Centurion Circle and the other Aspects of the Druids to see what paths may be open, but for now lets us go downstairs and share with everyone this Night Elf named Draccus."

The Saga continues with....The Ailills First Steps