Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Friend in Feralas

Passing through the Dream Bough Portal back into the world of Azeroth was like stepping through a vertical wall of water. The sensation was as refreshing as swimming in a cold stream on a hot summer day. The magical properties of this mystique doorway between Realms raced across the surface like a blanket of faerie fire.
Draccus Moonsayer opened his eyes expecting to see the lush landscape of the Ashenvale Forest in front of him. What he now looked upon was nothing like the land he had left behind. He had been transported to an ancient stone platform that was situated on a small island in the middle of a lake.
The lake was surrounded by tall cliffs and towering trees that blocked out large portions of the sun. The air was damp and heavy with humidity. The land was an enormous basin that spread out into a thick rain forest. On the shore there were clusters of undergrowth covering the ground where small creatures scurried back and forth.
This area was indeed wild, the place reminded Draccus of some the regions within the Emerald Dream. Nature here sung a different song though, but because his Kaldorei ears had been disciplined to hear the smallest of noises and pickup on the melodies of life around him, he was able to fully immerse himself in the environment around him.
“How did I end up here in this jungle?” Draccus muttered aloud to himself.
A bush nearby shook slightly at the sound of his voice and out flew a winged creature.
The teal green painting of the creature’s skin reflected the water’s surface as it hovered in place a few yards away. A prominent feature that stood out the most to the surprised Druid was the creature’s wings. Flapping rhythmically in mid air the pair of leathery wings looked almost translucent with patterns that resembled stained glass. The beautiful creature had a tail that curled and bounced behind it. Its eyes looked back at the disturbance to its perch.
Chirp. Chirp. Click. Chirp.
Draccus Moonsayer’s memory was tripped when the creature in front of him made the curious noise back at him. He had read in a tome ages ago that there were creatures such as the one before him called Sprite Darters. They had been pets to the High Borne Elves that lived in the famed City of Dire Maul.
These magical creatures possessed intelligence and a strong willed nature that made them perfect companions for Mages and Priests. Sometimes others in Kaldorei in society would take them as pets as well, but only if the owner was up to mischievous traits these creatures exhibited often. Over the centuries since the fall of Dire Maul the remaining Sprite Darters had returned to the wild and took up their playful and troublesome ways on other the animals and any passing travelers.
This curious Sprite Darter looked back at Draccus with its beady blue eyes.
Just as Draccus was about to hold out his hand to show no harm intended, another louder and bigger creature crashed through the bushes at the bottom of the ancient stone platform. This beast was easily five hundred pounds. This animal was covered in matted fur and was showing its sharp teeth from an open jaw.
This crazed bear was in a fit of rage. Thrashing his head back and forth angrily he roared a deep bellow. After spotting the Druid standing atop of the structure holding nothing but a simple wooden staff, he turned and faced his new prey. A crimson string of drool dripped from his mouth, the blood of a fresh kill most likely.
Slowly with a malicious step the bear started to climb the stone ramp.
There was little time to think. Pure adrenaline and instinct kicked in as Draccus grabbed his staff in both hands and held it out in front of him as he counter charged. Stealing the advantage of surprise and gaining momentum, he ran down to meet the bear head on.
The bear snapped his jaw shut just inches short after Draccus had collided with him bringing the staff squarely down on his nose. The stunned beast was only dazed for a second. That stolen second was enough for Draccus to sidestep the large gruesome bear and deliver another strike to the head.
Anything to buy him more time to escape was worth the effort.
Draccus Moonsayer planted his feet firmly on the ground after jumping the remaining distance to put some space between himself and the bear he had just further enraged. He angled his body forward to propel him on the balls of his bare feet. Lacking the proper armor or an edged weapon made defense a priority.
He was stopped in his tracks instantly by what he discovered on the ground in front of him. The previous target of the bear’s aggression lay on its side. A faint noise of someone gasping for breath and struggling against overwhelming pain escaped the lips of the body curled up in agony.
The prone figure was covered in soft brown fur and had hooves where normally feet would be. The pained victim was larger than most Night Elves Draccus knew. He noticed two small horns, the markings of the Tauren race.
The threat behind him was still looming closer and closer with each passing second. But in good conscience he could not leave this casualty to the mercy of this bear.
Help me.” A weakened feminine voice reached out to Draccus in his mind. “I was attacked and I am severally wounded. I would attempt to heal myself but the effort to do so might drain the rest of my mana.”
“Mana?” Draccus asked aloud, because he was confused on what she was referring to.
Reaching over to see how grievous the injury was and what aid he might provide, Draccus saw a large bite along the side where a stream of blood seeped out and where the flesh had been ripped open. Having studied anatomy in his early education he roughly placed the injury where a gallbladder normally would have been.
“Hold on friend. Let me see if I can take care of this beast and then we will find help for you.” Draccus said laying a hand gently on her shoulder to comfort her, what little he could at the moment.
Since apparently this bear had a taste for sentient flesh and had no regard for self preservation, Draccus had no choice but to eliminate the threat from causing further harm. The raging beast would be a difficult foe to defeat armed with only a wooden staff. Wondering how he would deal with this large predator an idea came to him as he looked at the lake nearby.
A stirring of magical forces deep inside of Draccus welled up to the surface, and without explanation a thick vine of thorns burst up from the ground underneath the bear wrapping themselves around his four feet halting all movement. Seeming to obey the wordless will of Draccus Moonsayer the thorns tightened against the bear’s fur immobilizing the beast further.
Stretching out a hand to the lake’s surface, Draccus called forth a typhoon like wave to grow and rush towards his trapped target. The force of the water hitting the bear smashed against him and knocked the breath out of his lungs.
The damage also loosened some of the vines holding the beast in place.
For a few quiet seconds it looked like the bear had been knocked out breathless. The atmosphere had grown quiet too see if this menace had been finally dealt with once and for all.
This bear still had some fight left in him though, because as he dug his sharp claws into the wet ground and pushed against the weakened thorns the bonds snapped free. He roared a death threatening blast at the daring Druid who had just attacked him.
Out of options and not completely sure where he had summoned up the power to cast the immobilizing roots or the typhoon wave against the bear, Draccus braced himself as he stood in between the charging bear and the injured Tauren behind him.
Just then from across the shore a volley of blasts as bright as the sun shot through the distance and struck the bear. The source of the magical barrage was a Tauren Druid in full leather armor. As this Druid finished casting one more spell a large burst of Starfire rained down on the bear finishing him off and knocking Draccus off his feet.
A scorched pile of fur and burnt bear meat was all that was left of the attacker.
Draccus stood up and brushed the dirt off his robe and approached the female Tauren still lying on the ground to see if she had been harmed. Thankfully she had not been harmed by the blast. The other Druid had aimed well. But her wound from the bear was still pouring blood and she was starting to fade in and out of the waking world.
Desperate to do anything to help her stay alive in the face of such a senseless attack from an enraged animal, Draccus reached down inside to a buried memory of his mother, Galdrian Moonsayer. She had been a mighty healer and restorer as he could recall.
There was a song she would sing while casting a healing spell that took its time to work but then it would blossom like a spring flower full of life. The spell was called Lifebloom, and only the most skilled of Druid healers could keep its magic working over prolonged periods of time. The affect of the spell was magnified three fold when the caster was able to draw on the healing properties that Druids were trained to channel.
Not knowing the specific words or having had the formal training to weave the healing spell to its fullest potency, Draccus started to hum the tune and place his hand directly over the wound. Kneeling next the Tauren he sincerely wanted to heal Draccus began to feel a sensation of the very ground offering up its energies to him to draw upon.
As he held his hand over the place where her organ had been bitten out and where the blood had stained her wardrobe his hand began to glow with a faint green radiance. The intensity of the glow increased with his humming and concentration of the healing spell.
After only mere a nine seconds of sustained focus the spell reached its peak for what Draccus was capable of at the time. Opening his eyes to see his effort, the bleeding had stopped and the skin had closed, bruised and still fragile, but at least he had ceased the immediate danger to this stranger’s life.
A wave of relief and emotion washed over him over the success of this new talent recently discovered. Draccus Moonsayer went to stand up but felt the large fingers of the other Druid on his shoulders standing behind him pressing down.
“What you have done for your sister Druid of the Cenarion Circle is to be commended. But she will require additional treatment and rest back at Camp Narche.” The Druid’s mental voice sounded familiar but since he had not seen her face, Draccus was unable to recognize who was speaking to him.
“I will need you to accompany us both back to the Horde village to explain what happened here.”
The female Tauren communicated directly to Draccus in the bond that all Druids shared. There was a language barrier unfortunately that existed between members of different races unless they spoke Common or another mutual faction dialect. This made talking within the ranks of Druids difficult across the various races. However, if one would allow the other to enter their private thoughts then they could communicate freely.
“I just recently returned from some personal time away from Azeroth, and unless politics have changed, I thought there was animosity between the Alliance and the Horde.”  Draccus responded with confusion over her request to willingly enter the outpost of the Horde.
“Actually the tension has grown much worst then it was before you entered the Emerald Dream. Draccus Moonsayer I fear the Cenarion Circle and what us Druids represent are the last bastion of hope we have to restore peace between our peoples.” The female Druid released her hand from his shoulder.
“How do you know who I am?  How do you know of my time in the Emerald Dream?” Draccus stood slowly and faced the Tauren that knew more information than most.
“Draccus Moonsayer I know who you are, or rather who you were, and how you came to be sent to the Emerald Dream.”
“Akabeko Runetotem!” Draccus exclaimed excitedly, for he had found one of the three Druids that he had intentionally come back to search for. Of all the random fated meetings, he had crossed paths with this Sister Druid, someone he considered pivotal in shaping his current condition.
“I have so much to share with you…” Draccus began to say, but Akabeko held up her hand and pointed to the other Tauren still lying on the ground.
“She still needs to receive further healing and rest, and the wilds of Feralas are not the place for travelers to find shelter.” Akabeko stated wisely, for the sounds of other creatures echoed off the cliffs and came from the depths of the jungle.
“Do you know who she is?” Draccus asked hoping to be able to give the Tauren he had fought and risked his life to save a name.
“She is a Sister Druid from my tribe of Runetotem, her name is Karegina.”
“Karegina Runetotem.”  Draccus mused to himself, but shared his thoughts freely with Akabeko. He swore when he left the Emerald Dream that he would allow himself the freedom to trust others that were worth trusting.
“Lady Anachan taught me a lot during my time away in the wilds of the Emerald Dream, but I humbly submit that I have much still to learn.” Draccus shared honestly where he was in his journey.
“If you are willing to trust me and come back to Camp Mojache with us and explain how you came to this region and the service you provided our Sister Karegina, it would go a long way to demonstrating that not all citizens of Azeroth are ready for open war.” Akabeko Runetotem offered Draccus with all the sincere conviction of her heart’s desires.
“I will also promise to reconnect you with your own people, the Kaldorei, so they can continue your training as a Druid worthy of the Circle.”
“It would be an honor to serve the Cenarion Circle and the greater good. I am willing trust you Akabeko Runetotem on this journey. Let us be on our way then.”
Just then Akabeko transformed into a beautiful large stag with antlers that spread out wide. She nodded her head towards Karegina and motioned towards her back.
Without need for further prompting, Draccus bent over and picked up Karegina and placed her gently across Akabeko’s back. He made sure she was as comfortable as possible with the clothing she was wearing. Together they made their way across the shallow part of the lake and into the jungle towards Camp Mojache.
As the trio of Druids made their way away from the stone platform that held the ancient Dream Bough Portal the same small Sprite Darter that had been startled when Draccus Moonsayer reentered the world of Azeroth settled back down on a branch and watched them with curiosity in its eyes.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Where the Waters Run Wild

The tint of the looking glass through which Draccus Moonsayer saw the world had gained an emerald hue. The shading of his perspective had not dampened the vibrancy of life around him.  The impact of his time within the Emerald Dream had instead only served to calm the inner turmoil within him, a stilling of the raging seas of his soul. He now walked on the soft, lush grass under toe with a calmness that mirrored a still pool.
He had entered the Dream as a Night Elf sentenced to serve time as a prisoner of his own making, but now he left that Realm as a Druid carrying within him a precious gift that would last forever. The Cenarion Circle Council had demonstrated to him the power of redemption through restoration and establishing a balance to his life.
That fateful night as he stood before the Council on trial before the Ceremony of Mending or Breaking he never could have fathomed how it would change him.
It was during this period away from the world of Azeroth that Draccus came to discover his foundation. A pillar of strength with which the rest of his life would be built around would be planted firmly in living by the spirit.
He was placed under the mentorship and guidance of Lady Anachan. She was noble Night Elf that had chosen to leave behind her long life on Azeroth and walk the Emerald Dream forevermore. Her centuries of experience and wisdom gave her a seasoned perspective on helping others in their journey. Along with her influential inscriptions to Draccus’s character there were three other specific Druids that were impressed upon his heart and mind. Akabeko Runetotem, Navimie Mistrunner, Lessah Wildmane.
These individual Druids each played a role that had spared his life and sent him along his destined path. Without their wisdom and foresight of him needing to find peace, he would have remained a tattered patchwork of incomplete pieces. The greatest loss would have been the wasted potential.
The earthen brown robe that Draccus wore around his frame still had the emblem of the Cenarion Circle green tree across the chest. The warm sun, the blowing wind, and the dirt from the ground had thinned the material and dulled the stitching slightly. Living outside of the creature comforts of a Kaldorei lifestyle, fine linen fabrics, well attended to leather armor, and fresh baths from the Moonwell springs had forced him to survive on a simpler level of basic necessities.
One other major adjustment that Draccus had to make was the silence and long periods of isolation. The required stillness, in resting in the moment, had to be channeled constantly. Lady Anachan had insisted on stripping away the baggage and burdens that had weighed Draccus down.
She accurately commented the first time they met, “There is too much noise and disturbance vying for your focus. You must truly learn to listen and appreciate the littlest of things.”
“How do I silence the waves crashing against my mind when their volume has been building for so long?” Draccus asked, with a sincere doubt that he would ever quiet the storm churning behind the surface for any prolonged period of time.
“First you must trust again in the guidance of others that seek your best interests.” Anachan said, but with a softer tone this time. She had hit a nerve, because Draccus had subtly winced at the word, trust. “Will you openly trust another again?”
“I came here willingly… I submitted myself to the Cenarion Circle Council’s judgment… I…” Draccus responded rashly, full of unsure emotions that tapered off. “I am not sure I can trust anyone again let alone myself.”
“Trust is an act of surrender, of letting go. It can replace your fears, if you allow it to do so.”
“You are still so untrained in the ways of controlling your mind and how you perceive the world around you.” Anachan answered. “As a Druid you must find your roots and grow closer to the forces of Nature. She will aid you when you can learn how to trust her.”
With those words of guidance, she walked deeper into the woods, leaving Draccus to ponder those truths.
He needed to realize that instead of giving over to the weakening sense of loneliness and distrust that in its place he needed to connect and embrace his purpose in the world. It pained him to admit that his life would be bonded to those in his life, to other individuals.
For days, weeks, and months the only solace he found was in his surroundings. Nature left to her unbridled whims was able to create vast expanses of forest that teemed with life. The birds of various species each sang their own distinct music that together they produced such a sweet symphony that it blessed those that carefully listened.
In learning how to listen Draccus Moonsayer came to attune his ears and match the pace of his heart with the flow of water during his time within the Emerald Dream. The measured tempo inside of him was a gradual transition. For hours on end he would simply sit along the banks and listen. Water here traveled for miles at different speeds along its course. Sometimes the water roared violently as it rushed pass the gorges and mountain streams, and other times the water seemed to stop altogether in quietness as if reflecting on its own course.
Reflection had become his daily ritual. Who he had been, where he was now, and who and where he was meant to be after leaving the Emerald Dream. As beautiful and peaceful as the Dream was, it was the waking world where he needed to return.
“You have gained a measured peace about you young Druid.” Anachan spoke to him one day as she approached him watching a enchanting river flow by on its eternal quest.
“I have learned to listen and be still. Yet see the powerful currents beneath the water’s surface for what they are.” Draccus answered as he stood, still facing the River. “I can be both a force of reckoning that carves its own path and equally also a calming balm to nurture life.”
Draccus turned to intently look in Lady Anachan eyes. “Can you teach me how to harness this duality of forces that I am coming to see, hear, and respect within myself as a Kaldorei, as a Druid?”
For several moments the Lady Night Elf just stood there looking at Draccus Moonsayer to see if he had truly come to embrace those two unique forces inside him. After seeing an almost tangible peace radiate from him she shook her head slowly.
“There are still many lessons for you to study my brother Druid. I cannot teach you what you ask of me. But those that can and need to teach you those lessons await you outside the Emerald Dream. I was only tasked with helping you find a balance and peace about what you now know.”
“Who should I seek out when I re-enter the world of Azeroth in order to continue my training as a Druid?”
“You know of the three to whom you must visit once you re-enter the world of Azeroth.” Lady Anachan answered his question knowing that the same three that had sent him to her for guidance here would desire to see the change in him.
“Just as the waterways wash away the dirt and mud of her banks, so too must you cleanse any relationships not left intact. Before you can grow fully into the Druid you are meant to be, you need to demonstrate your new self-awareness through your daily actions.”
“Thank you Lady Anachan. For your wisdom and patience with me during our time together in the Emerald Dream. I will remain forever grateful. Although I am not sure who else will help me along my journey and the adventures ahead. I will always carry a part of you with me now. You gave me a renewed belief in the power to trust others and trust in myself.”
Draccus Moonsayer kissed her hand and bowed respectfully to his sister Druid. He picked up his wooden staff and walked back to the Portal which brought him here.