Time had ceased to register the passing moments. The leaves in their eternal hues of greens, blues, and violets continued to cast the filtered light on the floor below the majestic canopy above. The wilderness was strange and unfamiliar to any denizen of Azeroth, because this landscape belonged to another realm entirely. An ageless domain that the very air whispered its' name, The Emerald Dream.
The world teemed with life more abundant and untamed then anything ever seen by mortal eyes. The vegetation had grown so lush that the foliage sometimes blotted out the clear skies above. There were other places that the trees stretched upwards so high that the clouds gathered around their trunks concealing the tops from view. Moss clung to the bark and rocks in patches so thick and soft it was as if they were blankets of nature, places of restful slumber. Roots of immense size thrust up out of the ground in arches and twisting coils dotting the forest with sculptures of wood.
Near one such outcropping of roots and moss, in the shadow of a tree well over twenty feet across and over two hundred feet tall, sat a young Druid with his feet crossed under him and his eyes staring forward. Bare footed and alone he had entered The Emerald Dream to find peace. A place of replenishment and rejuvenation was needed to restore this druid. To prepare him for the trials still ahead, despite the trial that had recently past.
Draccus Moonsayer had begun this pilgrimage shortly after a period of time in his life that had nearly stripped him of his Kaldorei heritage leaving nothing but a feral beast raging inside and out. He was not sure how many years it had been since he had been taught and fought under the guidance of Master Icedragon in the ways of the Claw. There was a singular day in a specific place on an exact moment that he would never forget. The day he would never forget or erase from his mind was the day blood was shed on the ground and he had taken someone else's life.
He had been sparring with a fellow Druid from another group, both had transformed into power feline creatures of strength and prowess. Cats at the peak of ability and training, with minds as sharp as the claws they wielded. The troop of Druids had been taken on a journey to the deep woods of Darkshore by their Masters. This trip was meant to test and finalize these members of the Cenarion Circle in their mastery of being one with the Cat while maintaining full control.
And so on that cursed day Draccus was called out by a Tauren Druid. As was custom in allowing a challenger to pick his equal in a battle of the Aspects, anyone could call another out of equal strength or greater. This Druid's Cat-form retained an earthen color of brown with a deep red mane, as if stained with blood from a prized hunt, and most prominent of the Plains Druid's features were his horns that curved from his skull offering another deadly point to guard against. Scarrock was his earned named because he left scars on his opponents often and he hit as hard as a rock at a full charge.
Draccus had grown into his full frame as well. His body of white fur had grown to become a complete extension of himself moving with lightning speed, grace and all the agility of a nature animal of the wild. The form spoke of the lethality and quick strikes of a giant predator contained within. However, deeply hidden even from his awareness was a bond of primal fury that was the deadliest of all the attributes when unleashed.
The practiced fight had started like any other duel. The two Cats faced each other with a distance of ten feet between them, and signaling readiness with a swipe of their paws across the ground in front of them, they commenced their private battle. Stealth would normally have been an opening move, but that was ignored amongst Druids who were trying to openly prove their cunning and bravery. Quickly these two closed the space of ground, and they reared up on their powerful hind legs. An onlooker might have believed they danced the way they embraced, but there dance was a struggle of supremacy. Gladiators locked in a contest that brought to bear all their training, strength, and will power in order to emerge victorious against their foe. The dust around them stirred up as they positioned for advantage. While their forearms and paws were digging into the others' shoulders they gnashed their sharp teeth at the hopes of gripping an exposed area on their necks or face.
Thinking on his feet, swiftly weighing his options against an opponent that outweighed him by two hundred pounds, Draccus realized time was against him while trying to outlast Scarrock. Ever so slightly he shifted his rear legs by bending his knees, giving away a false message that his strength was fading, but this was just a feint. A deceptive ploy that worked in his favor, because Scarrock pushed taller and harder in an attempt to pin Draccus to the ground. In doing so their weight was pulled over, and at the last moment as they fell towards the ground Draccus surged all his strength into his rear legs again, and tossed Scarrock over and back behind him. With loud thud his challenger landed on his side and rolled to a stop.
A toss or a pin was one of the many ways a winner could be determined in a contest like this. Believing this match was concluded Draccus stood up on all four legs and walked away with his tail swishing back and forth. As he turned to leave he heard a roar of anger and rage from behind him. Scarrock had never been tossed like a child's play toy, especially against a purple skinned woods dweller. He had been shamed and outraged, and all he could think of now was pure hatred and revenge.
Turning just in time, Draccus, caught Scarrock's primal fury at full force as he rushed at him with his horns leading the charge. Speed was not with Draccus as he attempted to dodge the maddened Druid bent on making his enemy pay dearly for the insult dealt to his ego and pride. The left horn impacted Draccus's shoulder and the sensation of fire spread as the muscle was pierced and torn along the right side of his body. Pain washed his vision in an instant, and then something even more terrible occurred. He let go of all control and gave way for the ancient fury within to take over.
He roared so loudly that the surrounding woods grew quiet, and an alarm reached the ears of his fellow Druids awaiting over in the next grove. Blind rage overrode his injured limb, and now these two combatants fought with malice and harm their only intent. Honor and understanding was something left behind in the forms of a Night Elf and Tauren, what remained now was only two feral animals pitted against each other.
What Scarrock had in size and strength, Draccus had in speed and guile. These two qualities in each of them were now fully deployed in a struggle for life over death. Brutal swipes from Scarrock rained down on Draccus as he launched in and out of reach after striking the tan colored fur with his teeth and claws. Both their fur coats were matted with sweat, dirt, and blood. Draccus's shoulder continued to bleed from the wound; however, he showed no signs of slowing his attacks. The fighting rose in tempo until their was that one single moment that stopped everything in its tracks.
Life flowed in the heart and blood of each of these Druids both as transformed animals and in equally in their natural forms walking upright. The one place that channeled this precious resource in such a vulnerable spot was at the base of the neck, and it was there that Draccus unthinkingly with out regard sank his jaws into Scarrock. He held on and continued to scratch with his claws as the essence of Scarrock drained out of him.
This moment was a cruel act of violence and something only a thoughtless animal would do to another. Trapped behind the curtain of the raging Cat, Draccus was powerless to stop himself. Screaming to stop, he watched helplessly as his animal form took away a member of the Cenarion Circle forever. His regret was so great, that tears escaped his glowing feline eyes.
Looking up from the now lifeless form he stood over, he watched as the rest of the troop of Druids arrived on the scene. Still not fully in control, he growled and looked on his friends, fellow Kaldorei and Tauren brothers and sisters.
In front of them stood Master Icedragon, she had a look in her eyes of both outrage over this fight and the waste of a life. There was also a look of pity for the battle that still raged within her pupil. Stepping forward she approached the shaken white Cat, and noticing the grievous wound that still bled from his shoulder she stretched out her hand. As she began to cast a healing spell the air shimmered with magic and there sprouted a ethereal green leaf in the open wound. The feeling was like the warming of the sun after being submerged in an ice cold stream. Three times she cast the spell restoring life to the damaged flesh, and then it was as if life bloomed and there no longer was a gaping hole. The spell completed and the glowing leaves faded away like dust.
Draccus was at a loss in how to regain control, the words to transform back into his natural self would not come to his mind. So filled with conflicting emotions and thoughts, he looked for a place to hide from their stares and his Master's judging eyes. There was only one choice that both his feral instinct that still coursed through his veins and brain and the Night Elf within him could come to accept, he ran. He ran from the guilt, he ran from the regret, but mostly he ran from having lost control of a beast that was within himself.
The Saga continues with ..... Emerald Elysium- Into the Wilds