The friendship between Draccus Moonsayer and Wades Quickshot grew quickly. Following the days after their first encounter in the rainy forests of Darkshore, on the border of Ashenvale, they began to understand each other, on a deeper level.
On that stormy night a lone feral Druid had unknowingly stalked a stranger who would later become a friend. Under the boughs of the trees a wandering Hunter, having just come back to his native continent of Kalimdor from across the sea, reconnected with a kinsman of his heritage. These two Night Elves were both traveling in search of a moment of redemption.
Draccus sought to walk upright with dignity once again. To break free of the beast form that trapped him from within.
Wades secretly searched in his heart for a way to rejoin his race. The very people he had turned his back on, in order to travel the world. Wanderlust had made a sojourner out of him, and now there was a compulsion to come home.
Besides the skillful profession of being an Engineer, Wades was also a specialized Hunter in the field of Beast Mastery. This learned discipline enabled him to better communicate and understand creatures of all kinds. Although, sadly, he now had no pet to walk besides him, as his last combat partner had been slain in the distant jungles of Stranglethorn. The large wolf, from the dark forests of Duskwood, had been tamed by him many, many years ago. The only title that ever fit this large canine was Grinner. This was because he often had the look of an impish boy, on his face. The absence of Grinner was bittersweet, since Wades was cut off from the intimate connection they had shared; however this stillness enabled him to read the Druid, caught in feline form, more clearly.
“I see you are eager to be rid of this form Druid.” Wades commented, as he watched the steady driven pace of his companion on the road. “But have you ever stopped and appreciated the powerful frame and abilities you possess as a Cat?”
Draccus turned his head and snarled back at the Hunter. The annoyance to the comment subsided as quickly as it had flared up. Realizing that he only asked out of curiosity and from his limited perspective, Draccus looked ahead again. “If only he truly knew how powerful and deadly my abilities were, then perhaps he would not envy me. But at least he tries to reach out in friendship. I can see he has his own struggles within himself. Perhaps we have more in common then either of us knows.”
Recognizing that the road ahead would disappear behind them eventually, Draccus slowed his pace to match the Hunter’s. He had been watching a small level of anxiety increase in this seasoned traveler as they came closer to meeting other Kaldorei. This was a mystery. Something he shared a part of. He was willfully moving forward towards an uncertain future, while greatly burdened by the past.
After seeing Draccus slow his pace Wades sighed and said, “Thank you for slowing down. My boots have walked many miles over the years and my feet seem to get easily fatigued lately. But the truth is I am on a journey of my own, friend. I am trying to reconnect with my Kaldorei brothers and sisters. Could they ever accept me back within their ranks after having been gone for so long?”
Neither of them tried to say or motion a response to the others thoughts. They both yearned silently that their answers would hopefully be found from the hermit called Grayo Duskwalker. A stretch of faith for them both, but at least there was something there to hold on to.
Rumors had been told, that this Druid had once been given up for lost in the wilds of Feralas. Grayo Duskwalker had been abandoned, isolated, and left as a shadow of his former self to suffer one of the greatest trials ever, the loss of his identity. Many years later after most had forgotten him; he walked out of the woods into the village of Astranaar in the heart of Ashenvale. Here was a Night Elf that personally knew the depths of great sorrow but had also experienced the joys of full restoration.
In the pursuit of this elderly figure they kept moving. Even if they had to cross many zones to find him, the quest would be worth the reward.
The trail into Ashenvale passed by smoothly as the two party members traveled in search of their answers. The landscape was an ancient and wild place. Not wild in an untamed way but wild in the sense that there was always conflict, for those that lived within her borders.
This part of the world was constantly harassed by the forces of the Horde’s ambitions and lack of respect for nature. One of the key points of contention was a place called Warsong Gulch. This battleground had been fought over for countless generations. The victories, like a storm on the sea, were constantly being tossed back and forth, between the two sides. It was a training ground for the Silverwing Sentinels, an elite martial group of Night Elves tasked with defending the land. It was a place for enemies to clash steel against one another and wave their fleeting flag of conquest over the defeated.
“Do you hear that Druid?” Wades asked, as he slipped his trusted longbow off his shoulder and shifted his quiver of arrows to the ready. He crouched down to avoid being seen while listening for the direction of the nearest fighting. The sounds of metal clashing against metal, muffled shouts of anger, and the hum of battle reached his ears.
Looking for support, Wades turned to find the Druid nowhere to be seen. “Where did you disappear to Cat?” The Hunter asked aloud, thinking that the Druid had left him to face the approaching conflict alone.
Draccus, seeing the situation and the need for remaining unseen, shifted his body’s muscles and focused his mind on the feral abilities at his disposal. Fading into the surrounding foliage his outline was just a mirage. He was now completely in stealth mode, an invisible striking force, ready to engage an enemy should the need arise.
To let Wades know he was indeed still there he raked his front paw across the ground quietly in front of him. The extended claws dug a shallow channel in the dirt to indicate his presence. It was enough of a sign that the Hunter understood the message.
“How about we go investigate the disturbance and perhaps offer… some assistance?” Wades whispered, as he touched his short blade on his belt with his free hand.
The sounds of fighting echoed through the woods towards them from a location just ahead. Maestra’s Post served as an outpost, an isolated watchtower, between the coastal area and the deeper forests. Skirmishes were common along the borderlands between the Night Elves and the ever expanding Orcs, Goblin machines, and their Horde brethren. The intensity and volume of the noise suggested that this battle was more than a typical scuffle.
As the pair slowly worked their way to the outskirts of the clearing, they immediately saw a group of eleven trained Orcs laying siege and fighting against a small contingent of five Kaldorei Sentinels. Three of the Sentinels were holding the attackers back from atop of the tower. The arrows that rained down failed to penetrate the shields and thick armor of these aggressors with much affect. Six of the Orcs had cut down a young tree nearby and fashioned it into a crude battering ram. With this instrument of warfare, they attempted to bash down the solid oak door into the tower. Around the base of the structure were two separate groups engaged on uneven terms. For the two Sentinels on the open ground there were four Orcs divided amongst them. The eleventh Orc, withdrawn from the rest of direct warfare, appeared to be the leader of this party. He was bigger and adorned in more armor then the rest, and he seemed to be assessing a plan of attack. A veteran of Horde’s other wars more then likely.
Close quarter combat was the best option available to them. Draccus had his lethal Cat form abilities while Wades had his experience. Their biggest advantage would be surprise. Devastatingly lightning fast attacks would hopefully stun the brutes and take some of the green skinned marauders lives.
Wades Quickshot, sensing the pulse of this conflict, decided to secure his ranged weapon and pull out his short sword. He was a gifted swordsman as well as an excellent archer. A blade would be more efficient for the task at hand. Besides, the Silverwing Sentinels were already covering the air with their arrows.
Wades’ short sword had been presented to him as a gift from a Dwarf he met in his travels, while staying in Ironforge. The Dwarves were renowned for their blacksmith work and the forging of superior weapons. The steel of the blade had proven its worth in weigh of gold many times since it was first hammered out on an anvil. Although never confirmed, there was a slight hint of enchantment about this weapon. This was because whatever it struck against, no matter how hard, the edge never dulled or chipped.
Draccus knew that the time to draw fresh blood and engage in the life-death struggle was upon him again. The disdain and disgust of being another’s executioner was put aside in his mind. Here he was needed. The powers of savage fury lurking within his chest could be used to save someone. Acting in the defense of others would not be a waste. Not aiding the situation, while a curse in his eyes, would be an act of a coward. And a coward he was not.
A roar ripped through Draccus’s throat as he charged the leader of the Orc war party. The grass and small brush were trampled under his swift paws. He reached his target before the commander knew what hit him. As a Cat, the stealth enabled him to strike and leap away before the Orc could pinpoint the cause of the attack.
The leader of the Orc party held a large two-handed axe made out of bone and metal. He looked all around him for the source of the attack. The noise had suggested a wide animal had sprung out of the woods, but what animal would attack someone in the middle of a siege?
Just as he was in mid-thought, he was struck on his side again. The pain was greater this time, a deeper radiating pain. He looked down his right side underneath his arm and saw a large bite mark that poured blood. Unless mistaken, he saw a part of his ribcage along the edge of the wound. Strength and stamina were a natural attribute of the Orc race, but he felt himself growing weaker. The massive bone axe fell from his hands, but he refused to fall to the ground.
A sword pierced his chest with a downward stroke from behind, as he called out a warning to his warriors. Only a wet gurgling of blood escaped his mouth. It was an act of mercy at the hands of the Hunter, something that would not have been returned in kind.
With the Orc leader lifeless on the grass, only ten invaders were left to be dealt with.
Draccus decided to split up and even the odds for the two Sentinels fighting on the ground. The two Sentinels, Sisters of the woods, were being pushed to their limits fighting the green skinned beasts alone.
He trusted that Wades could handle the other group fighting with their swords and shields. He had to rely on his shadow striking skills for a sudden surprise, and then unleash all his energy to overtake an enemy that was better armored and armed then himself.
He slowly crept towards the three combatants nearest to him. The two towering Warriors faced towards their prey with a look of evil delight. A source of amusement to them, as they continuously swung their two-handed swords, looking for a fatal error on the part of the Sentinel.
The Warriors in their stances, protected in their various pieces of armor, revealed a small detail which Draccus could capitalize on. There was a small gap between their mail boots and the chain-mail leggings. This unprotected area showed the back of their legs just barely, but it was enough that a pair of razor sharp claws could hamstring them.
“The irony that these two Warriors would fall to some carelessness of armor discipline and the swift slicing of my paws is something I shall have to remember. Always watch your back and take care of the armor you wear.” Draccus noted to himself. “It’s time to take these giants down and teach them their fatal error.” With that thought, he sprang from the shadows into the fray.
The Saga continues with... Part 1: Gratitude Out of Grieving