While most Night Elves would normally be retiring to their dwelling places for a restful slumber away from the sun rays, there were a few that remained active during the day. The sentinels kept an ever vigilant watch against the wild animals or a malevolent intruder during the villages' rest. The gathers toiled in the bright world taking in the needed resources for food and other uses which only were in bloom during the sun's sovereignty of the sky. And then there was our band of Night Elves gathered on the edge of Mount. Hyjal along an outcropping of rocks. This ledge afforded a magnificent view of the world below.
A trio of hippogryphs with their azure blue and fire orange feathers obediently awaited their master’s command nearby. These silent creatures of power were a cross between a giant eagle in their wings and talons and had a pair of horse’s hind legs. As well as hinting of an old intelligence with subtle magical properties, they were both wild and tame at the same time. The flight capable mounts had been relied upon for ages for their natural sense of direction and keen ability to keep their charges safe in all conditions. Out of the wild they had been summoned for the task at hand; to travel with the six Night Elves upon their backs to Moonglade, a sacred land.
Out of the band gathered three of them were a young lord and two ladies of the forest, Draccus, Lannika, and Lorenn respectively. They stood dressed in the simple garb of apprentices ready to embark on a journey of unknown length. Behind them silently stood the three proud fathers, watching the anticipation climb in the hearts of their children. The Changling Cycle had lasted but a short while, and yet here stood these three ready to begin a new chapter in their lives.
A russet colored vest hung loosely over the plain white shirt that Draccus had hurried to put on during the previous night as he parted from his mother, Lady Galdrian. It had been a gift from one of the village's leatherworkers, an elder named Thornclaw. The artisan had said it would protect the wearer from any scratches or cuts he might encounter. Tucked in one of the inner pouches of the vest, was a gift his mother had given him. Wrapped in cloth and tied securely with twine was a handful of living seeds, their use still hidden from her son. She had given them to him to be used only for the most critical injuries and only after a Restoration Druid had instructed him on their proper casting.
The young lord also wore a belt that had been enchanted to hold six bags of varying sizes, to hold what food and water he needed, as well as any treasures he would discover along the way. His pants were the style of a hunting party's leggings. The design tailored snugly against his skin allowing for ease of movement as well as the breathing away the sweat from a long run. Dark colored cloth had been cut to replace the pants he had worn out while exploring the woods. The hem of the pants stopped halfway down his shin leaving his bare feet exposed. Over his back he slung a quarter staff made from strong oak and notched at both ends, it height was nearly that of his own.
The two lady Night Elves, Lannika and Lorenn, both wore robes fashioned from a durable weave of hemp and silk to give a toughness and beauty reflected in the same material. The hues each had chosen to wear were subtle differences from one another, reflecting the personality of the adorned. Lannika had decided to bare the colors of twilight purple on her gown, denoting the ever changing mood and readiness to spring from the shadows. Lorenn had gone with a traditional dye of deep rich green, matching the foliage of the surrounding plants, as if blending into them. Appearing the gentler of the group with their physique and dress; however, they were just as formidable as the men. A stranger would have been mistaken in their underestimation of these two young Night Elves, because in their hands one held a razor edged dagger and the other a one-handed mace. Weapons of combat and usefulness they rested in hands that had been shown how to use them swiftly.
"I hope I have everything on me that I will need" Draccus spoke aloud, " of course that is not much. In the way of possessions what I leave another can use, and whatever need may arise a source will be found to meet that need." Confident in his abilities to scavenge off the land for what may be needed, but internally hoping to not go without.
Farethilus Moonsayer responded to his son's comment, "What you have with you now is all that you make take along. Anything else will go to someone else in the community that will care for it as it was done before you."
After saying this final statement, he reached into a bag on his belt and pulled out a small family pendant. There was a metallic crest consisting of a half sun mirrored by a full moon and encircling the jeweled piece was a wreath of thorns and leaves creating a semicircle band. Ever so quietly he passed this precious trinket into Draccus's bag to remind him of his heritage. A father's love for his son wanted to keep him close, but a stronger love wanted to see him go out and fulfill the promise on his life. This could be a final goodbye.
"Did you not pack before last night's festivities?" Lannika asked Draccus with her usual friendly, questioning tone. She had her affairs in order since they had learned of the adventure awaiting them weeks ago. "What about you Lorenn? How long have you been ready to go to Moonglade?"
Lorenn silently shrugged her shoulders, and adjusted the pack she carried with her. Knowing that this was a time of change, a time of goodbyes with loved ones, she did not respond with the same enthusiasm as her companions. Part of her would miss the secluded life of learning and playing in the shelter of her family lodge and the people she had come to know in these few short years, but as with all things she must grow.
"The time has come for us to mount on these trusted beasts of the air and descend into a new world for you three!" Farethilus spoke with a firm authority in his voice to the rest of the party, while a silent burden not expressed passed through his mind.
Taking hold of the reins to each hippogryph the patriarchs with their kin holding on behind them brought their steads to the edge of the mountain. Allowing the half birds to stretch their long wings a few times and prepare for the joys of soaring. With a slight motion of the hand the group was off. Over the edge they went with the talons letting go of the earth at last, the motion of gravity melted away and the rush of the wind rushed passed them. Still high above the canopy of trees surrounding the perimeter of Moonglade and with the waters of Lake Elune'Ara shining back at them, the light from the sun forced the Night Elves to shade their eyes to adjust to the brightness all around them.
Off in the distance an outpost could be seen made up of several structures. "Is that Nighthaven, the center of the Cenarion Circle Council, where the Druids are trained and where all come for rest?" Draccus asked with wonder as they continued downward in the gentle current of air.
No one replied to his inquiry. The band that had been soaring gracefully along suddenly banked sharply away from that spot on the edge of Lake Elune and headed towards a more secluded spot of ground. Once again under the cover of the massive trees a haze of mist and lime green light filtered through the canopy above. Upon their landing the ground revealed it was covered in more vegetation then they had ever before seen.
They came to rest on a grassy knoll and there they all dismounted from their flying steeds. The three elders looked once more on the younger three before them. For several breathes there was nothing but silence between each individual. A change had come over the eyes and expressions of the three older Night Elves, a hardening and almost disconnecting like air towards the unsure and younger members of their households.
"Here there are dangers and challenges that you all must face, individually and together" Farethilus said bluntly, "for you are no longer babes guarded over by the Sentinels of your homeland. Your lives depend on cunning, bravery, and most of all working together. Through these woods you must travel to the safety of Nighthaven. This is the first test you must pass and survive. In order to learn more of the ways of the different aspects you must prove yourselves worthy." And with that the elders mounted their charges and rapidly ascended through the trees and disappeared out of sight.
Left alone for the first time in their lives, the sounds and movements of the forest began to slowly shake the shock off Draccus, Lannika, and Lorenn at being dropped off and told they must survive on their own power. Gathering what meager belongings they had with them, they set off into the woods to face a new day.
|The Training Grounds of Moonglade Forest|