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