Join Date: Dec 2008
Thousands of years later.......
The sun danced on the ripples of the Mystral Lake, ripples caused by a young Night Elf as she flicked the cool waters daintily with her toes. Aartemis Istra Meleth basked in the light as it filtered through the purple leaves above and accented her pale pink skin with purple shadow; her pure white hair nearly spilling into the crystal pool below. As every other chosen by the temple, she was “without blemish,” her skin spoiled by only one mark now: that of the temple. The location of the mark indicated many things, but this knowledge was not common. For Aartemis, the elegant star shaped mark rested just over her heart, the center of life, and was barely visible above the neck line of her night robes. This mark informed all others of her sanctity and she was to be treated in accordance to specific rules, especially in times of war.
The rumors of an enemy coming to the forest had alarmed only those old enough to remember the last war before the Druids went to sleep. Everyone else was confident in the might of the Sentinels and mighty Cenarius, the patron Demigod of the forest. This confidence had comforted Aartemis' worst fears: that this new enemy would do the impossible. It was hard to imagine anything wanting to destroy the perfect serenity of Ashenvale; but the tales of the demonic invasion in ages past haunted the communal dreams of the Night Elves.
"The sun has risen, it is time for bed child," the clear voice of Priestess Heartsong interrupted with a hint of reprimand. The High Priestess stood tall and stately above Aartemis; her regal form draped simply in a silken robe as light a purple as the leaves.
"I was just enjoying the moon setting," Aartemis explained, adding a laughter that mimicked the nearby stream running over stones, knowing full well it would disarm her grim-faced caretaker’s anger. Aartemis did not fear the reprimand; she had been deemed special by the high priestess and, although punishable, she was granted leniency so that her magic could grow. With a smile she rose to do as her High Priestess bade, her naturally agile form effortlessly moving to her room and sleep.
When Aartemis awoke, it was to a blaze on the rooftops and screaming from all around. A green devil with bright red eyes clutching an axe and torch leaped through the window with a roar; cleaving her bunk-mate as she rose from bed. Calling on Elune (who was weaker in the day) Aartemis focused the power into the beast, knocking him over and giving herself just enough time to run out of the building. Lifting her hands to shield her eyes, the sun blinded her momentarily, but as her vision cleared she saw the horror of what was happening. Everywhere the beasts ran-- some red, some green, some in various stages of a shift in skin color-- all slaughtering her people. The defenders fought valiantly, but they could not stand up to the strength and ferocity of the attacks in the day. Some of the remaining novice priests darted for the temple in hopes that Elune could save them. The remaining defenders followed close behind, leaving a trail of their own blood mixing with the dark red of their enemy’s.
Inside the temple, Aartemis was once again confronted by the horrors of war. Strewn everywhere she saw the blood and the bodies of her friends and family, twisting at odd angles with contorted expressions of fright and pain on their faces. Aartemis stumbled through the room, her bare feet slipping in the still warm blood that was turning the earthen ground to mud. Her voice caught in her throat as an Orc fell from the floor above; landing skewered on his half moon sword, his face smiling with the joy of the kill. Aartemis watched in awe as Priestess Heartsong followed casually, several Orc's in tow under her power. There was a glow about the woman as she descended the stone steps, a fiery radiance like Aartemis had never seen before. Immediately Heartsong sent the mind-controlled enemy rushing forward to help the beleaguered guardians just as she approached Aartemis.
"Child, I had hoped it would not come to this," was the only explanation she gave as she gripped Aartemis’ hands tightly in hers. Aartemis could feel the warmth of the Elune radiate from her grasp.
"To what, my priestess?" Aartemis asked obediently, bowing her head in a motion so practiced that it could not be stopped. That is when she saw that the warmth she felt was from the High Priestess’ blood covering her skin; that she was in fact bleeding from several places. "My priestess," Aartemis gasped, "You must be healed."
"We do not have time and we cannot waste your precious energy," Priestess Heartsong replied, using a tone that carried the authority of her years and position. She began dragging Aartemis up the stairs to her private quarters. Several of the defenders fell back to guard her retreat having heard the silent issued command.
"Block the door and let no one through if you can," The Priestess commanded the defenders as the pair entered the barren quarters of her office. They headed directly for the idol of Elune in the corner, offering absolution quickly. They could hear the death screams coming from all around them as the various hold outs around the village fought bravely on.
"This is your time and mine child, Elune chose you and I for a purpose and that was to defend her people. She provided you with incredible spirit and me the knowledge of how to use it. This is our only hope. I only regret that I must ask this of you so suddenly,” The High Priestess was gathering together items as she spoke, tokens of the like which Aartemis was not familiar, “There exists a ritual with which we can stop this massacre but it will destroy us both." Right then the noises from below changed from battle to massacre. The soft features of the priestess held fast in grim determination, her emotions allowing a single tear to fall down her light purple cheek.
"I will, my lady, make any sacrifice that you ask of me," Aartemis whispered, feeling the fear of the guardians as they used what little furniture there was to blockade the door. She tried only to focus now, but she seemed to sense every life before it was stripped of its soul. The knowledge was overwhelming.
"Good child, my minions have broken the bond we must make haste." The sound of axes on wood echoed in the room as the High Priestess began chanting. The room grew dark and Aartemis could feel Elune whispering in her ear; as each word of the chant was recited, the whisper grew and all else faded.
When the door broke inward under the brute force of the orcs shoulders and axes, Aartemis could not hear it. As the Guardians were slain, one by one, she could not see it. When the Orc leader, fiercely clad in a wolf-head helmet and a tabard bearing The Grinning Skull, dragged his bear-claw fist weapons across the throat of Priestess Heartsong, all Aartemis could feel was Elune shaping her, all she could hear was one word repeated over and over..... VENGEANCE.
When Aartemis awoke, the sounds of battle were gone. She could feel the gentle hands of a night elf lifting her in their arms, carrying her away, but she was too weary to open her eyes or speak. The next few hours were a blur as the survivors described her transformation into a Spirit of Vengeance at the hands of the high priestess, who, she learned, had once been a warden. They described the retaking of the town and the surrounding area. They spoke of how shortly thereafter Aartemis had awoken, for Elune had graciously given her life and branded her forever with two scars, twin lighting bolts of vengeance along her smooth, young face. As Aartemis listened to it all, she felt sensations ebb into her consciousness as they slowly returned-- all senses but one. With panicked breathes, Aartemis realized she could not see.