Bloodwen: Part XIIEdit
Stonetalon’s lush crown, guarded by the night elves and druids, soon dropped away. The woods and grasses melted into barren fields of dust. A river gurgled beneath the three hippogryphs, the waters running towards the approaching carpet of green. The feathered animals circled once above the small hut, swooping through the elven ruins before touching onto the ground.
“What is this place?” Sutera asked as she slid to the grass. Though amnesia had robbed her of many memories, she doubted it played any part here.
The hut seemed tauren, with thick hides stretched over the crossed branches to form a tight cover against the sun. Various symbols were painted upon this with broad red and blue strokes. A fire pit sat outside the door, quiet and still with the blackened husks of logs protruding from its center. Further up the path, closer to the waters, rested the night elf ruins. They were small, stones crumbled away so that one pillar leaned into the others. There were no markings to indicate what they were erected for. The blood elf found it odd that the tauren would build so close to sacred ground.
There are many myths about this place, Teake thought as he stepped beside her. The mental intrusion still unnerved his companions, even with the recounting of his visit with the Great Bear Spirit. Stonetalon is a place of meeting between the night elves and my people. These mountains serve as a border between their lands and ours.
“The Talon Den is so close, though,” she said, remembering the looks of the druids as they flitted overhead, a blood elf and tauren on their precious hippogryphs. “Would they not use the caves instead?”
“Indeed they would,” Brissyr argued, giving her mount a pat as she retrieved her rifle. The beast opened its beak, giving a clucking sound to its companions. The trio lifted into the air, winging their way back through the dangerous world and to the peace of Moonglade. “There are some among my people that believe this is one of the places the Oracle may have lived and where he met with members of the Alliance and Horde in their fight against the Burning Legion.”
Sutera frowned, a tickling sensation enveloping the back of her brain. Beyond the legend, beyond the history, the name seemed familiar. Her memories teased and goaded her, but it was to no avail, for she could dredge no shred from her muddled mind. “How long ago was this?” she asked instead, searching for clues.
“Long ago. The Third War. A time of suffering and great sacrifice for both our peoples.”
Of course she knew of the Third War. So intimate were the details it was as if she lived it. Arthas and the fall of Quel’thalas. The corruption of her people by his hand or from the sweet allure of magic. They were doomed either way. The rise of the Death Knights. The loss of the night elves’ immortality.
“Dark times…dark times,” Brissyr muttered, rummaging through her belongings. A strand of green hair flitted in front of her face. Fishing pole in hand, she nodded to Teake. “Think you could start the fire?” she asked. “Sutera and I will catch dinner.”
The druid did as he was bidden. A pile of dry wood rested just alongside the hut. The fire soon roared to life, leaving the tauren time to do as he pleased. He glanced at the two women at the lake’s edge. The wind whistled from the cliffs, slapping the back of his neck with its icy fingers. The Veiled Sea lay just over the steep drop and he could hear the steady pulse of the waves as they threw themselves against the land. Giving a great, contented sigh, Teake climbed atop one of the high boulders, taking a seat to watch the sun sink.
Contrary to what he allowed others to believe, Teake was not from Mulgore. Instead, his parents had run a small farm near Silithus, growing grains and vegetables for the druids at Cenarion Hold and for those weary adventurers clawing their way through Un’Goro. Being so close to the Veiled Sea, with the salty wind caressing his coat and cheeks, he felt once again at home. He closed his eyes, imagining his mother tending to the curled vines of the tomatoes. His father would be standing near the sea, casting his line far out into the water. His brothers and sister would always row out into the deep, casting their nets and checking the traps. Being the youngest, Teake would help either of his parents, watching them with eyes full of wonder.
That seemed so very long ago. At the first hint of the Lich King’s presence in Northrend, many of the druids and explorers abandoned the Old World. Giant ships sailed past their little home with no time to stop, for the Scourge threat had reawakened. Requests from Silithus and Un’Goro diminished until there was nothing left to do. So his family had picked up and headed to Mulgore. His brothers departed for Northrend while his sister trained to become a shaman. His parents watched as the last of their children left them, Teake disappearing into the peace of Moonglade to study.
A flapping sound drew him from his thoughts. A large raven perched on the rocks, intelligent eyes boring into his. Ravens were not native to either Darkshore or Stonetalon. After observing it for several seconds, Teake looked away towards the slight bit of sun left.
You will fail.
Now he glared at the bird. He knew not what deception played with his senses. Perhaps he had imagined such a thought, for it echoed the fears that served as his constant companion.
Great bird of the sky, speak and you shall be heard, he thought, neither expecting nor desiring any response. He needed no confirmation of his doubts.
I am no more a creature of the air than you are a creature of the pasture. I am the seer of many things, and I see your failure.
Wretched bird! Why do you torment me so? Who has sent you on such a vile mission?
I answer to no one, young Thunderhorn. Listen and listen well. The path you walk will invariably lead to failure. It is preordained and cannot be avoided. When the darkness comes, call out to your brothers for help. It is only by their hand that you will be able to complete your journey.
You make no sense, bird.
I make as much sense as is needed.
Sutera watched as the bobber hit the water with a splash. Brissyr offered no conversation. She studied the night elf with her strange eyes, gaze running through her green hair, over her jagged facial markings, and down to the armor and swords. The rifle leaned against another rock, though the night elf seemed at ease here. Another fish flopped onto the soil and Sutera was quick to remove the hook and place the twitching creature in the basket.
“You told me what this place used to be,” she began, “yet you did not tell me what it is used for now.”
The night elf smiled as she gave a tug on her line. “My people and the tauren, factions aside, have always held a certain amount of respect for one another. Like we did in the old days, we still use this ground as a meeting spot between our people.” She nodded towards the cliffs and Teake’s seated figure. “Just beyond your friend there lies a path. We will take it down to the shoreline tomorrow. My ship will be waiting to take us to Northrend.” The last fish landed on the ground.
“Why do you do such a thing for us?” Sutera asked as she snatched it up.
Brissyr shrugged. “It is by my mother’s command. I do not know her reasons, nor do I care. I merely do as she asks and for that she grants me a great deal of latitude to pursue my own desires.”
“And what does she require of us once we enter Northrend? Is there some favor we are to pay to her?”
“All I know is that you are to find and speak with a red dragon. She goes by the name of Celarenstrasza. I know nothing of her, but my mother insists that she can help you.”
“And where are we to locate her?”
“That I do not know. Once in Northrend, I am afraid you are on your own.”
Moonglade. For the druids it was a place of peace, a place of serenity where one could visit and rediscover their connection with the great spirits. The wood served to protect them, to embrace them in their leafy arms. Swaddled in such a blanket of oblivion, the druids allowed themselves to fall under the spell of a false security.
The security was about to be shattered.
The fragile plants beneath his armored feet whitened as the chill overtook them. The leaves and petals stiffened, becoming as brittle as ice. When the softest wind blew, they collapsed into a pile of ash and frozen splinters. After a few seconds of observation those feet moved, whispering towards Nighthaven.
Halfway down the hill, Falais faded into nothingness.
Elder Sannra entered his home. Set on the outskirts of Nighthaven, the old night elf could watch as the younger druids moved through town. Lake Elune’ara rested below and, if he were to climb the short flight of stairs to the loft, he would have a perfect view of the tranquil waters. Instead, tired from the day’s walk, he made his way to the basin of water. Pushing aside the floating candles and flowers, he dipped his hands into the cool recesses to splash a bit over his face.
Word of Teake’s arrival had unnerved him. Not because the druid had survived, for he had prayed for such a thing every day, but because of his condition. Like the others that voted to send him into the Dream, Sannra had no idea what his encounter with the Nightmare had done. Their charms and idols had protected the pair for only so long. He remembered watching them enter the portal, then the two had vanished from Azeroth altogether.
During his absence the Lich King had only grown stronger. Sannra found himself wondering many times if that evil would ever find its way to Moonglade, for surely the vile creature would not stop to spare such a wondrous, peaceful place. The Alliance and Horde both sent their militaries to Northrend, but he feared their eagerness and past feuds would tear them asunder. Now, though, now Teake and Sutera had returned. With them came a small bit of hope.
He looked into the mirror, giving a shudder. He should have gone into the Dream, not Teake. It was he that should have shouldered the burden, but the Great Spirits, both the Bear and Cat, convinced him otherwise. He had agreed but, in seeing Teake’s metal hands, wondered if the choice had been the correct one.
He had no time to react as Falais appeared behind him, the shadows dropping away to reveal his glowing blue eyes. The dead eyes of a Death Knight.
Sannra’s head smashed into the mirror, propelled forward by Falais’s hand. Unconscious, the druid collapsed onto the floor, upending the basin of water and spilling its contents throughout the room.
“Father?” a woman’s voice called. The blue haired elf rushed into the room, robes askew in her haste. Falais grasped her by the throat before she could retreat, lifting her from the floor. Alandra Leafrunner opened her mouth to scream, but her skin paled into an icy sheen as a cloud of frost escaped her lips.
The arrow from one of the Wardens caught him in the shoulder.
Falais growled through the pain, tossing Alandra aside. She struck the floor before coming to rest against the wall, chilled and unmoving. Reaching forward, Falais arched his fingers, enveloping his attacker in an embrace of dark energy. Before the Warden knew what was happening, he lurched forward, torn from his position. Terror swept over him as he flew towards the Death Knight.
The blood elf took him by the throat, his other hand plunging the dagger just above the night elf’s sternum.
He heard more of them advancing up the hill, calling to their fellow druids and Wardens. Though he would have liked nothing better than to stay and corrupt the entirety of Moonglade, the Lich King only required one thing of him at this point. He bent, picking up Sannra’s still form with one powerful arm. Concentrating, the air split, allowing a glowing purple and black nimbus to swirl before them.
A Death Gate. Not to Ebon Hold, but to Icecrown Citadel.
He stepped through as they charged into the room.
- 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