Bloodwen: Part XIEdit
Tauren and night elf alike walked the town of Nighthaven. Peace came easily to those here, for many had fought side by side against the undead and demons in the past. Neither Horde nor Alliance affiliation was recognized, for too often those loyalties devolved into violence. There was only one allegiance. The Cenarion Circle. Any druids or visitors forgetting this important rule were summarily removed from Moonglade.
The hills and waters of Moonglade enveloped Nighthaven in a lush blanket. The druids made every effort to build their town in the least obtrusive way, resulting in a near seamless integration with nature. While they found the results serene, many of their visitors were left with an eerie sensation. They were accustomed to guards and fences, stockades and walls, all meant to clearly delineate the civilized from the beasts. Such a wanton openness to the forest - even allowing the cats and wolves to roam their town - set many at unease.
Brissyr Whisperwind was one of these. With the exception of the Wardens and, much further away, the Dreamwardens, she was one of the few sporting bladed weapons. These swords rested on her hips, within reach of her nervous hands. Her rifle rested on the table, a stark contrast to her mother’s quiet bow. Despite her lineage she had few friends here, preferring the wilds of Northrend or the forests of Azeroth. Umber welcomed her sporadic visits. Then there was Dargon, of course.
“Your usual?” the night elf asked as he approached. “Some nice bean soup and kimchi pie?”
She smiled. “You know me too well.”
He had no time to fulfill her request, however, as a brilliant glow permeated the center of the room. Neither gave it much attention, for druids teleported here all the time from as far away as Outland. They did take notice, however, when the two figures emerged, as did the Wardens. The Tauren and night elves took up their weapons, rushing into the building.
High elves were always unwelcome. Their thirst for arcane power had led to disaster and none of the druids wanted those dark times repeated here. By escort or by death they were removed. Yet this elf was different with her golden eyes. They seemed to radiate warmth and life. The lust for power was absent. Her feline companion shared her gaze, for one of its orbs was missing, replaced with a glowing light of its own. And the Tauren…
“By all that is holy,” Dargon exclaimed from her side. “Teake has returned! But what…?” The question died on his lips, for his attention was now riveted on the strange, metal hands of the druid.
“Sutera Bloodwen accompanies him.”
Her brow rose as Teake wrote something to his companion. The druids kept no secrets from one another within the glade, but his actions seemed to run contrary to that notion. Sutera gave a nod, her companion exiting the building to step into the forest. After a moment’s pause, the strange elf patted her cat, sending him bounding in another direction. Sutera was alone, taking her seat at another table.
Brissyr rose, picking up her rifle.
From overhead it looked as if a spectral fire floated from the ground to the treetops. Blue, the wispy tendrils snaked their way around the trunks, caressing each leaf before disappearing into the ether. Within that nimbus a figure lumbered, claws leaving nary a scratch upon the earth. Indeed, squirrels and rabbits only watched as the figure moved amongst them, fearless of the apparition.
Something pulled at the edge of her senses.
The bear stopped, head swiveling towards Nighthaven. There, just over a nearby hill, approached the figure. His appearance brought her great joy, for it had been many moons since his departure. As he neared, however, lines of worry creased her furred forehead. His metallic hands were unnatural, and the Tauren walked now with a wilting gait, the wind driven from his sails.
Her voice rumbled from somewhere deep within her thick chest, but her mouth did not move. The words enveloped him in a warm embrace.
Teake Thunderhorn, my favorite student. What blessings bring you before me?
He scribbled on the parchment.
Great Spirit. I am honored to be in your presence.
Why do you not speak? What ailment has befallen you?
He opened his mouth, showing her the result of his painful encounter with the Lich King.
Surely we must speak as friends without this wall between us. Open your mouth again, young Teake, and you will be able to speak with me for a short while.
He did as he was bidden, tears threatening as his rich, bass tone erupted from his throat. It had been so long since he had heard his own voice! He had nearly forgotten what he sounded like. Overcome, he lapsed into silence after thanking her, sinking to sit upon a log.
“It has been many years since you first entered my glade, fresh-faced and full of hope. Do you remember?”
The blue wash around her deepened as she took on a wistful expression. “I taught many before you. I have been here since the beginning. Your mentor, Hamuul, was the first of your kind to ask for my blessing. Even Malfurion.”
“I know all this, Great One.”
“Perhaps." She approached, nudging his metal hands. “You think this is your weakness.”
“I have suffered much since accepting my task.”
“Your suffering is of little consequence.”
Teake stared at the giant head. Though he felt anger worming its way through his body to find some outlet, he could not summon the strength to respond. Her words crushed him as surely as the Lich King’s blade or the dreadlord’s interrogations. He was so very tired from his ordeals. Through the Dream, fighting the Nightmare, imprisonment and escape from the Maelstrom…
“Your bodily wounds are not the source of your weakness. All that is lost can be found.” She looked to the hill where, so many years ago, they had first met. “What two things did I require of you when Hamuul sent you to me?”
“Strength of body and strength of heart.”
“You demonstrated both with a fervor that surpassed all others. I saw in your mind a desire to aid the druids, to not hide in fear like your mentor. I saw a great sadness from the atrocities you had witnessed and those you read about. Your desire was to heal Azeroth. Such iron resolve prompted me to send you to another, one that no druid had conversed with in over ten thousand years. The Great Cat Spirit. He gave you a gift.”
“What have you done with that gift? Have you set about healing the world?”
Teake threw up his hands as he stood. “I have done nothing with it! The gift was wasted on me, for all I do now is watch over Sutera. My mission was to guide her through the Dream and protect her until her true purpose was revealed. The mission has not ended! It was meant to be a quick…”
“Was it? Do you think your destinies are so far removed from one another?” She gave a toothy grin. “Do you think the choice to send you, above all others within the Circle, was a mere coincidence, a twist of fate? Elder Sannra, whom you so respect and admire, has more years beneath his belt than many that walk Nighthaven.”
“Are you saying that someone manipulated the Circle into sending me?”
“I am saying that you were given a gift. Because of this gift, the path you walked led to your inevitable nomination.”
Teake thought for several minutes, chewing over her words. She stood silent, reading his every expression with perfect clarity. At length, the Tauren gave a great sigh, a wretched breath lifted by hopelessness and frustration. “You are correct, Great Spirit. It is not my body that is weak, rather my heart. My way seemed so clear after the Cat Spirit granted me the gift, but I have lost my way. Healing Azeroth? I feel that path has become obscured. I know not what I fight for.” He frowned. “I have seen Sutera’s power. Beyond that, I know nothing of her purpose or why my vision has ended.”
“Ended?” The blue light around them shifted, swirling through the clearing. So thick was it that any druids approaching would have had to turn back, for they could not pierce the fog. “Do you not know what happened at Light’s Hope Chapel?”
The wall of blue light glimmered and he saw the Plaguelands. Rimblat Earthshatter, one of his friends, stood near the entrance to the Chapel. The Tauren did not see the wall of darkness approaching, for the cursed land gave them no warning. Teake watched as an army of thousands descended upon the little settlement, Horde and Alliance alike scattering to the four winds in a vain attempt to escape. Rimblat and his night elven companion, Rayne, held their ground, as did many of the knights. They fought against the swarming undead, repelled the charge of the Lich King’s Death Knights.
Teake saw that the battle was going badly.
He gasped as Tirion Fordring revealed himself. He watched the Ashbringer come to life. The Lich King brought all his might against the Chapel, ordering his Death Knights to charge. With their giant allies and legions of undead, even the Ashbringer would stand little hope of surviving the onslaught.
Then, he watched with disbelief as the Knights stopped their attack. It was as if some invisible hand reached out to them all at once. Confused, they milled about, until a seething anger enveloped them. Rather than raze the Chapel, they turned on the Lich King.
Teake shook his head as the vision faded. “That is not possible,” he whispered. Through his studies he knew the hold of the Lich King was absolute. In fact, there was only one time he had lost control of his Scourge forces, leading to the freeing of the Forsaken and their Dark Lady. But even this had come about by great magic wielded by Illidan, a potent swath of energy that greatly wounded Ner’zhul.
The Lich King was more powerful than ever after joining with Arthas. The Ashbringer itself did not have the power to break his will. Only one of the immortals, maybe, or someone of such immense power…
“Do you know where Sutera was just prior to this battle?”
Teake did not answer. He already knew.
The Great Spirit read this. “The magic you once wielded still answers your call, young one. No hands of metal will change that. The gift bestowed upon you remains. Though I can grant you my ability to communicate, there are some wounds that even I cannot heal. It is your heart that has weakened and that, dear Teake, that is a burden only you can overcome. Rest assured, however, that your original path still lies before you.”
Minutes later Teake made his way from the glen, eyes staring into space as thoughts and emotions spilled over him. In Nighthaven Sutera waited with Brissyr, daughter of Tyrande Whisperwind, ready for the night elf to lead them to Northrend. The Great Bear Spirit watched him depart, hoping her words had provided some hope. The fate of so many rested not only in Sutera’s hands, but also his. He knew nothing of the cycle he was chosen for, the birth and rebirth. Should he prove successful, however, she might finally find some peace of her own and drift off into eternal slumber.
- Bloodwen: Part XII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXII
- Bloodwen: Part XIII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXIII
- Bloodwen: Part XIV: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXIV
- Bloodwen: Part XV: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXV
- Bloodwen: Part XVI: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVI
- Bloodwen: Part XVII: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVII
- Bloodwen: Part XVIII - Finale: Frejya/Bloodwen_PartXVIII