With Blood & Magic – Aranal II

Aranal. Aranal Leafara!

Whatever challenges I’ve been through up until that point. Whatever the knowledge that I’ve absorbed up until that point. Whatever my skills were at that point. Soon I’d be able to put all of those to a real test. In favor of my homeland, Quel’thalas, I’d stand to face the first real test that Azeroth would throw at me.

Chapter 6

At the time, I had no memory of waking up in such a state as I was in that morning. Perhaps I was a little bit more excited about the wine than I should have been. Once I checked every part of my body that was able to move, I crawled out of the bed and into the blue robe and sandals that I wore on the day before the present one. Luckily enough, the robe was clear of any stains. I wasn’t aware of the time, but I was sure, although a little anxious, that I would not miss the encounter with my sister. You know, conjuring your own food comes in handy, so you won’t literally starve, but if you abuse these mana cakes, muffins, strudels and whatever else, it kind begins to taste like nothing at all. That day they seemed alright, most probably because I stimulated my palate with something real in the night before. Once ready to leave the chamber, I performed the spell signature and again the wall crumbled sideways, just enough for me to pass by.

Aranal 11
After this day, it would be a long while before I could step in the Court of the Sun once more.

As I was on my way to the fountain in the Court of the Sun, an Elf ran unto me and hit my shoulder. But as I turned around, it was no longer there… Then I felt a slight touch above my shoulder… I stepped forward and turned, and there she was. With grace and serenity that would melt the most ferocious attacker into being docile. Her hair was perfectly combed down as it passed way below her shoulders and as always, her strands of faint blonde hair seemed to have their own light while caressed by the Sun’s own energy. Even more so than what I remembered. “Lea… Still easy to fool you at first.” With a kind smile on her face, Roxanne’s provocations were easily forgotten just by the good energy that she emitted to the world. Even though her vestments looked really expensive, as the blue and white robes fitted her perfectly, from shoulders to feet, I couldn’t help but hug my sister tightly for a moment. “You’re still the same sister… I’m glad to see you again, it’s been a while.” I stepped back, probably in a little bit of a tantrum at the time, I don’t recall it clearly… It had been a whole year since I last saw my sister, with no source of any kind of news from her. I wasn’t about to forfeit all that time wondering and worrying about her… But that damn smile, she always made me happy with it. And on that day, that wasn’t an exception either. “Listen, Lea. Your coming to the city couldn’t be worse. There are ill tidings of events currently in development in the lands to the South.” My sister grabbed my hand and led me near the fountain where Vakrai found me. We sat side by side, her kind expression was gone. “I’m about to leave the city and travel to the human kingdom of Lordaeron.” At that moment, I just froze. With everything that Magister Rommath had told me in the day before, I knew for certain that Roxanne would be in peril. “There are strange rumors. People turning sick… Those killed by the disease, seem not to remain dead for long… Or so we’re told. And there’s also something spreading into the land itself… Turning it completely infertile… as if it is actually devoid of life.” I placed my hand above Roxanne’s and pleaded her not to go. I had a bad feeling about this… Oh, I surely had. And I wasn’t into Divination yet. “It’s okay Lea… I’ll be fine. Have you ever seen me stepping back from anything? Don’t you remember the Dragonhawk that chased you from whoever knows where? Thank the Sunwell that I was nearby to help you…” Or the Lynx mother I pestered and forced me up a tree. Or the… So many times where you saved my skin. I knew for a fact that you were fearless from an early age. But yet, this felt more like a farewell rather than a warm family reunion between the two of us, and I believe you had the same feeling as well. I pleaded once more, now not so gently. “Lea… We came here for a reason. We left Fairbreeze, for a reason. And this isn’t something I can, nor do I want to walk away from… I’m sure you, more than anyone, can understand that.” Roxanne reached a small bag located on her waist and retrieved something from there. Then she took my hand and placed hers above mine, thus holding the object there, still hidden from my sight. “You are not a fool. I can sense you did not come here by yourself. If you managed for someone to handle that chaotic magic burning within you, I’m afraid you too will be called to serve the Quel’dorei. Take this.” Roxanne lifted her hand from mine and revealed a silver ring with a small green Quartz imbued on it. She placed a hand on my shoulder and firmly said: “Put it on your finger, Lea.” While I placed the ring around my finger, Roxanne whispered some words, and I could swear I saw her eyes flaring up for just a moment. And then, I felt much more capable, healthier too. It felt like I could run for miles without gasping for breath. And then, somehow, I felt lighter. I was still worried about my sister going out of our kingdom, but it wasn’t as heavy as it was moments before. “Carry this with you at all times. I wish you’d stay out of this but… I believe everyone will be called to do their share.” She caressed my face with one hand, now showing that beautiful and kind smile of her. Her radiance was always able to calm me. Then she wrapped her arms around me and hugged me tightly. “Perhaps next time, you can tell me what kind of scheme awarded you a place in the city? I’d love to hear it.” She stood up, looked upwards to the sun and then back at me. “Once I get my things, I’ll leave Silvermoon with the others. Don’t be reckless Lea… Please.” And just like that, Roxanne walked away. Although I tried, not a word was pronounced by me. I’m pretty sure that at this time, Roxanne managed to block my ability to speak for a short period.

High_Elf_Mage-Priest

(I do not possess any physical recollection of my sister in her robes, but here’s a similar set of vestments used by the High Elf Priests before… Well, before the calamity that plunged through Quel’thalas.)

There was no helping it. It seemed like everything started to move so fast since I arrived in Silvermoon… I just needed to recollect my thoughts. Rommath’s task to study necromantic diseases and undeath, Roxanne’s mission into the kingdom of Lordaeron… This issue was just starting to earn a shape. I should do my part as well, and gather every bit of information as I could, from the books that I had at my disposal.

As I got to the last step of the stairs within the spire, I noticed a dagger pierced on the wall. In between the two, a small piece of paper.

“Apprentice Leafara,

You are hereby summoned by the Farstriders for a mission within the borders of Quel’thalas. Details will be explained later.

Meet with the officials at the Sheppard’s Gate by the next first light.

May the Eternal Sun guides us.”

How could they know of me? How could they even locate me? How would I be of help to anyone? I couldn’t even take care of myself. At the time, I was completely overwhelmed. After retrieving the dagger and the piece of paper, I waved the magical combination with my hand and I didn’t even wait for the wall to completely crumble sideways… Only after sitting on the chair and relaxing for a while, did I notice that the wall crumbled a little more than the previous times, thus allowing for a more commodate passage. The thought of my improvement did not ease any of my worries though, as I closed the passage without giving it any importance.

I’ve remained in the dark for some time, completely lost within the realm of possibility. But still, for the time that I was wondering, it did not cross my mind what would actually befall upon Quel’thalas… It was not even conceivable by then.

Alas, I was finally struck down with reason. After igniting the various candles around the room and on the desk with several snaps from my fingers, I turned the room inside out for any content related to necromancy and undeath. From its nature within magic to notorious Necromancers, from creatures normally spawned by these dark wizards to plagues and diseases, I scoured the texts to obtain precious knowledge that could be of help to my tutor, but also for my kin who would be in need of my assistance in the coming day.

There was such a rush for me to absorb anything of use, that I even forgot to eat something through the night, and ended up falling asleep in the middle of the room, surrounded by books as if a current of wind had scattered them. When I woke up, I prepared a small bag with a change of clothes from what I could find in the wardrobe, as well as some bread and pastries and a flask of water. I was tempted to bring a little bit of wine, but I thought that I should be at the best of my reflexes. I passed by the baker’s shop, then went on my way to Sheperd’s Gate across a city with empty streets at that time of the day.

sheperds gate
The Sheperd’s Gate. After the reclaiming of Silvermoon…

Once past the city’s guards, I traveled into the tunnel that would lead beyond the walls. I’ll never forget that feeling. The exciting pressure of having your life at risk just before starting a new adventure. I confess that it costed me dearly to take those steps… But once I was out of the tunnel, the pressure was gone and with it came the following words: “Ah! Our guest just arrived.” As my eyes adapted to the sudden change of clarity due to the sunlight, I noticed the group of Elf Rangers from the Farstriders just ahead. “Lea! I didn’t know you were already apt to undertake a mission of this nature!” That voice… I knew it right away. “You’ve arrived in the city and after a couple of days, all kinds of weird stuff begin to happen. I guess you do attract chaos.” That pure, joyful smile couldn’t be mistaken anywhere, as Vakrai’s blonde spikey hairs shined brightly with the first rays of the day. It was good to see a friendly face among so many new ones. We Elves aren’t known for being a welcoming lot. I greeted Vakrai with a kind smile too, and well, a brief gesture on his shoulder before the leader of this incursion presented himself. “So you and Vakrai know each other? Good. I’m Halduron Brightwing.” The blonde elf with two distinct strands of hair that went down on each side of his face, held by a green circlet on his forehead, firmly stated. As he gathered the arrows that he had been sharpening, Halduron continued. “We’re ready to depart then. Gather your belongings. I’ll fill in all the details of our task for Quel’thalas, once we set up camp beyond Elrendar river. For now, we march.”

And with a simple word, Vakrai and the other two rangers promptly followed Halduron without saying anything else. I followed right away of course… But, it was strange. Vakrai wasn’t the kind of Elf who had discipline… Everyone is subject to change, I know that know, but back then, I was surprised and slightly admired Vakrai for that.

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