With Blood & Magic – Anaria Shola

Anaria Shola.

Speak your business! The life in the city is a lot more agitated than in the country, even by High Elven standards. Everyone is focused on their duties and delights, always in a hurry for what to do next. It was… breathtaking at first, but I managed to accommodate myself to the routine. The buildings and spires are so close to each other, and there are so many elves roaming the streets in comparison to the village where I lived… Of course someone with the experience I had at the time would feel as if the city was swallowing you whole. It is funny though, it did not take much time until I ran onto some familiar faces.

Chapter 4

I’ve left the room where I was for some time and descended through a stairwell until I reached the surface level. There were more levels above the room where I left, but below that one there were only two before I could exit the spire. It seemed that I had spent too much time without a natural source of light because by the Sunwell! I was blinded by the light of midday. I’m certain I heard some giggles as other elves passed by me while I had both hands covering my face. Once my eyes got accustomed to the luminosity, my hands could only drop a little more to keep my lower jaw in place. That place was magnificent! The Court of the Sun is a wide and open area surrounded by countless spires and tall buildings, which only pale in comparison to the one and only, Sunfury Spire, where our king, Anasterian Sunstrider, reigns our civilization for longer than two millennia. In the middle of the court, there is a huge fountain divided into two layers. The one above has a statue of three female elves holding a stone bowl from where the water poured. In the layer below, fish carved from stone expelled the water from their mouths, each stationed at a corner in the square pool.

The Court Of The Sun. Silvermoon still has its touch.

There’s a difference between conjured water and water from a real fountain, so I headed to the fountain, sat beside it and, who am I kidding, I dove my entire face on the water and drank my fill. I won’t lie, my manners at the time weren’t ladylike in any department. I could definitely sense some stares as my people walked across the Court, but I couldn’t care about them. It had been a while since the sun graced my face with its warmth and I was up to enjoy that moment undisturbed with my eyes closed, while drops of water still ran down through my cheeks. Until…

“Lea? Lea is that you?!” Can’t I just enjoy a moment of free time? I opened my eyes and placed a hand to block the sunlight, currently blinding me. “It is you! What are you doing in the big city uh?” The image began to unblur, and I saw Vakrai with his open wide smile and his short blonde hair. I couldn’t help it, I hugged him right away. “Wow! Slow down Lea, it’s ok…” And just like that, I pushed him off a little. How can he disappoint me so much with just a sentence. Vakrai always had this “special”… Talent. Great energy, great looks, but when he opens his mouth… Ah, why do I even bother with this guy? He frowned a little, what a surprise Vakrai, did you actually think I could be expecting a little more than a slowdown? Whatever… “What are you doing here in the big city? You didn’t even announce you were coming.” Vakrai was wearing a green shirt and leggings that matched almost perfectly and look at what he was saying to me… He didn’t even bother to write anything to me when he arrived at Silvermoon in the first place! You should see how he swallowed a gulp of air once I said it to him! “Well, I tried, really…” As he evaded my eyes while saying it… Yea sure, very convincing. “As you can see, I’ve managed to join the ranks of the Farstriders! I’m quite happy about it, we’ve been honoring our skills and we’re soon to leave in our first mission within Troll territory.” At that moment, my heart sank just by imagining him delving into the woodlands, but I would not dare change his mind, much less try to stop him from chasing his dream. So I asked and even teased if he could already wield a bow properly. I swear he couldn’t wield a bow any better than I could back when we lived in Fairbreeze. “Haha! I know, I know. In your eyes, I’m not the most trustworthy Elf with a bow and arrow, but I’ve been practicing a lot. Also, believe it or not…” He unsheathed a dagger which he carried by the waist on his back. “My merits have already been recognized by some high patents within the Farstriders.” He showed me a carefully crafted dagger with the sigil of the Quel’dorei, which contained a Phoenix with its wings spread, imbued in the hilt. At first, I even considered that Vakrai had stolen that weapon, but he isn’t capable of that. He’s kind and humble, too much for his own good if you asked me at the time. “One of my tutors granted me this. Although I still require a lot of training with bow and arrow, I managed to win a sparring session against Lieutenant Halduron. I think he was proud of me and gave me this in advance of my first mission with the Farstriders.” Vakrai wasn’t an Elf that would brag about his deeds, contrary to most of our prideful kin. If Halduron had granted him that dagger, then Vakrai had shown some potential. I praised him for his feat, thankfully I was not the only one getting somewhere in this boring kingdom.

A Farstrider initiate, trianing at the Farstriders’ Square. PS: Not Vakrai.

This encounter was so sudden that I thought of seeking refuge with Vakrai right away. I admit, my priorities weren’t that well defined as they are now, but… It was understandable at the time, I felt the solitude during the entire time I was stuck in Rommath’s room. Vakrai sheathed his dagger, placed a hand on my shoulder and gently forced me to seat on the stone wall that contained the waters of the fountain Then he sat beside me. “Are you here to study with the Magisters? I didn’t think you would be able to come so soon! How long have you been here?” I explained to him how Rommath came to my parents’ workshop and how strange it felt to have him, alone, coming over there to treat state business with my parents and in the middle of nowhere… “Who knew that your parents had such connections… I mean, Magister Rommath is usually seen with Halduron during state business, at least, from what I’ve seen during my training. Could it have something to do with our incursion within Troll territory?” Well, that’s an interesting purpose for such armaments, but I doubt the Trolls had earned any new magics over these years and their shamans aren’t anything compared to our Magisters in a level that we would require to improve ourselves. There had to be another motive than the Trolls and their constant, yet weak, threat to Quel’thalas. “What you say makes sense Lea. From what I’ve heard from my seniors in the Farstriders, the Trolls mostly rely on ambushes these days. They refrain from open combat and it has been quite a long time since a report contained anything related to a sign of Troll magic, much less something used during a skirmish.” So there’s something else out there… I doubted we could figure it out at that moment. But then again, when one coincidence happens, so too may others occur…

They live in houses made of wood. Were we seriously considering the Trolls to have worthy magic casters among them?

“Well, well. What a surprise to see the youngest of the family hanging around Silvermoon without a word of her arrival.” I knew that voice… But… It seemed so distant yet so close at the same time. Vakrai noticed that I was being absent from the conversation and questioned me right away. “Are you listening to me? Lea?” He asked bluntly. I waved my hand while I looked around, trying to find whoever was talking to me. “Here Lea… At the other side of the fountain.” I placed my eyes on the direction that the feminine voice mentioned and I noticed a group of hooded priests and priestesses, walking past the fountain and heading into one of the city’s spires. Vakrai placed his eyes in the same direction as well, clueless at first as to where I was looking. Then the voice spoke again. “It’s me, sister. I’m surprised to see you here, in Silvermoon… There’s much we must talk about, but I’m afraid I must attend to other duties. Tomorrow at the same time, meet me where you are. Love you… Roxanne.” And the voice faded alongside the presence that I felt within my mind. That was the first time I had someone invade my mind and it felt as if I was exposing all of my secrets unwillingly. It wasn’t… pleasant. But then again, my sister always had a special talent to leave me uncomfortable. “Ah, the Priests of the Light. They walk among the terrace almost every day from their chambers near the Traders’ Market to one of the spires here in the Terrace, where they attend their classes and so on…” Vakrai seemed hesitant to continue, so I looked back at him and nodded so that he would proceed. “Well, I don’t know if your sister has told you, or your family, anything but… Since she arrived here, Roxanne became obsessed with the Light and how she had witnessed a revelation towards her fate in the world.” He brought his hand over to his forehead and looked up to the sky. “Lea, you might find a different sister here, than the one who left Fairbreeze Village some months ago…” At the time, I had no idea what Vakrai meant by those words. The Light never called to me. I’ve only briefly read about it and the powers it could grant an individual. Even if I had some more knowledge of the Light, it still wouldn’t prepare me for my next encounter with Roxanne. I was left wondering what Vakrai’s words meant for a while, in silence. “Tsk… It’s time for my afternoon practice Lea, I’m already late…” He stood up and kissed me in the forehead. “I’ll see you again soon ok? Silvermoon looks huge in the first week, meet me at the Farstriders’ Square when you can past midday, it’s almost certain that I’ll be there.” And he dashed off, and after a few seconds, I lost track of his blonde hairs as he ran amidst the people walking across the Court.

What a curious set of encounters, just as I arrived in the city uh? Not like I had too much on my plate as it was… In any case, I chose to assimilate what had happened and decided to return to the spire where Rommath’s study was, hoping that my time outside had not been too long for his return. But even if it was, I had devised a countermeasure to earn me some time. How much time it could grant me, now that’s a question to which the answer would vary very much according to Magister Rommath’s skills and current mood…

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