|Register||FAQ||Members List||Calendar||Search||Today's Posts||Mark Forums Read|
||Thread Tools||Display Modes|
Join Date: Jul 2007
My 2011 Writing Contest Entry: Guardians of Hyjal
So, here's my piece. Expect grammar errors, rushed parts and cheesy dialogues. I wrote it in 3 days, the 3 just before the deadline. Still, I'm pretty proud of it. I should try writing another one with more time and dedication (I started to write Anachronos series, but I need to think too much stuff for that one's plot, and I change my mind about it too much... I'll try to retake it these holidays, and I hope to be able to decide which story to follow).
Well, here it goes :
The druids were gathered at the roots of Teldrassil, not far from Rut’theran Village’s original location. The cataclysm had nearly destroyed the coastal town, but luck -and quick action by the Cenarion Circle- had saved the night. Still, focused as they were on preventing the collapse of the very earth under their foot, they were unable to hold the town in place.
The view stirred Malfurion Stormrage, host to the gathering of druids. Like Rut'theran's defenders, strong hearts could shield off most of the damage, but they could not prevent the passage of time, less the sheer brutal force of the shattering of Azeroth. Rut'theran was now an island, not far from its original coastal location, but others, like Feathermoon Stronghold, weren’t lucky enough, and were shattered into pieces and later slowly swallowed by the sea.
However, no matter the situation, both settlements had managed to move forward, and brandish their right to live above anything and anyone else. Like them, Malfurion and the circle of druids had to move forward now, too.
The cataclysm had shattered the very foundations of the world, tearing valleys apart and drying lush swamps to sand. Weeks after, the aftershocks were still usual.
The Cenarion Circle were the biggest and greatest organization of druids of Azeroth, and even them were unable to heal the land properly. This day, the night elf Malfurion Stormrage, their leader and guide, had called all of them in hope of making a better stand against the tragedy, together.
And he put a lot of emphasis in that last part, "together", for today night elves and tauren weren't alone anymore. The twilight was fading into a new day, and some of his partners couldn't avoid yawning. The night elves were a nocturnal race, but their older tauren partners and their new guests weren't. This small sacrifice was one of a series to make their welcome as warm as possible.
All late druids had already arrived, and it seemed more would not be coming. Another night elf at his right, a female with a long, green braid, gazed Malfurion with eyes of shared worry.
"No news about Naralex?" he asked.
"He wasn't done on the Wailing Caverns, not yet. I would be as worried as him if... if I was responsible for what happened there to him and his druids of the fang, but I fear he may get trapped once again if he obsesses over the matter too much." she answered, displaying a flash of sadness in her face.
"He won't fall that easily again, Lilliandra. Don't worry. As an archdruid, he was important for this meeting. I hope everything goes well without him."
"Well, you still have Rayne, Gaivan, Hamuul, Ysiel, Omnuron and me. We'll handle this fine" she smiled.
Only six archdruids. More other than Naralex wouldn't be coming today, but for different reasons. Elerethe Renferal, the leader of the druids of the grove, was violently murdered by the Twilight’s Hammer, servants of the same dark forces behind the cataclysm. Hamuul at his left was with her that day, and was the only survivor of the massacre. Fandral Staghelm, his right hand, had gone insane by the Nightmare Lord, another servant of the dark forces. Now he was locked under Mount Hyjal and kept imprisoned by the watchers, lead by Jarod Shadowsong's chosen, Saynna Stormrunner. Broll Bearmantle, who was to replace Fandral, was missing on a secret mission against the same enemies. Lathorius wasn't back from Northrend, and maybe he wouldn't ever, not alive. Navarax, from the Emerald Circle, at the demon infested Felwood, hadn’t answered, either.
It was obvious they were a target for the cultists of the Twilight Hammer and their allies, but that didn't frighten Malfurion. In any case, the fact they were considered such a menace made them work harder. He himself had been trapped in the nightmare for years, escape impossible, and even then, he managed to defeat his enemies -with help by her love, Tyrande.
Not wanting to make his comrades wait any longer, he took a step forward and started speaking.
"We are here today, together, with our differences set aside for the good of all of Azeroth, united against Deathwing and his followers, who threaten to destroy us all in behalf of their insane dark masters." In this, no one disagreed. What came next what was worried Malfurion. If Tyrande managed to welcome the Highborne back into night elf society, this shouldn't be hard.
"During this meeting, I hope we'll be able to divide and organize our forces in the best way possible, healing the land in the most efficient manner in mind. The shamans of the Earthen Ring are doing a great job, but nature isn't their realm, and we’re the only ones prepared for this."
"But, first of all, we are honored today with the attendance to this meeting of two ambassadors, of two young druid organizations. Zen'tabra, from the Darkspear tribe, and Celestine of the Harvest, from Gilneas. I want you all to test their skills, as well as their hearts, and deem their peoples worthy or not of joining the Cenarion Circle".
Tyande Whisperwind, leader of the night elves, was dreaming. Or rather, having a vision. She was not sure. She was the high priestess of Elune, and her goddess blessed her with visions whenever something important was about to happen.
This vision was particularly awkward. She was atop Hyjal Summit. But, when? It wasn’t too long ago. Probably during the Third War, or after. Some night elves were trying to remove some white thorns at the base of Nordrassil, the world tree; only that they weren’t thorns, she realized. They were the bones of Archimonde, the eredar commander of the Burning Legion. So yes, after.
The buildings around her were being rebuilt, but there was something… wrong. The place didn’t show “peace”, like it should. They seemed to be readying for war, or some kind of catastrophe. But they were too slow, and they didn’t seem to be prepared for an attack of any kind.
She kept walking across the workers, while they ignored her. So it was a vision, indeed. She raised her head, and noticed how the sky looked amiss, too orange for a normal twilight. She had been walking for a good while, and twilights weren’t that long at Mount Hyjal. There was smoke in the horizon, too, to the south.
She heard a familiar voice. Turning around a corner, she saw her mate, her love, Malfurion. With him stood Thrall and Jaina Proudmoore, leaders of the New Horde and the Grand Alliance during the Third War.
Then, suddenly, everything exploded.
Jaina was shattered, broken into pieces like a crystal, her face trapped on each of them, screaming. Thrall was tortured by invisible strings, tearing his very soul apart on one of each of the four primordial elements.
And Malfurion was burning, like Nordrassil, and like the entire world around her.
As Lilliana said, everything went fine. Only a minority of night elf druids raised their eyebrows, but the two females, troll and worgen, showed they were more than experienced in the druidic arts, no matter their lack of interaction with the circle all of this time. Their hearts were noble as well, showing responsibility instead of confronted patriotisms. They wouldn’t have problems achieving the honored status of archdruids once he took them under his mantle.
They were being congratulated by the different members, when another green-haired female night elf approached Malfurion. Someone else could mistake her with Lilliana for their similar hairstyles, but the elder druid wouldn’t, for she was the unmistakable leader of the most rebel group within the circle.
“What do you want of me, Leyara? Is there something amiss with our new partners?” he smiled. “Nothing at all, shan’do. In fact, they’re much more skilled than I once imagined… they may prove useful after all; but it’s Ashenvale what worries me most, we think-”. “Our priorities right now are different, Leyara. The circle is neutral, and we can’t interfere, leaving our tauren and troll allies alone against the ravages of the cataclysm. The Sentinels have enough soldiers already, as well as a handful of our druids.”
“But the Horde, they will ravage Ashenvale if we don’t send more druidic support against the orcs! You would see our homeland burned to ashes rather than risk your precious neutrality!” she replied, anger present for being interrupted. “Enough! I won’t have this discussion again. You and your friends can leave the circle whenever you want to assist the Alliance, but don’t return if you do so” he spoke, loud enough for some heads to turn around. Before she was able to articulate any answer, he had already turned and walked away.
“So feral and so impulsive” he thought. He saw one of the worgen, howling to the sky, and remembered the old times, when the council was founded. “I already lost Arvell, my only apprentice, to rage, and I won’t see anyone else, not even Leyara, fall to the same mistake. No one else”.
Zen’tabra and Celestine finished talking with the rest, and their troll and worgen companions joined the rest of the circle and started sharing experiences with the night elves and the tauren. The two leaders approached Malfurion. “Honored ta fight with ya, mon. We will show ya all dat Darkspear druids be strong and wise” Zen’tabra said. “We are honored to join the circle as well, my lord” replied Celestine.
“There’s no one more honored by your presence here than me, my fellow druids. If you wish, I would love to finish this ceremony with a ritual to commune with Teldrassil, the giant tree upon whose shadow we stand”.
“It would be an honor ta be taught de ways to de Emerald Dreem”, “me and my people are honored by your offer as well” both replied. “Is it true, de night elf capital, Darnassus, lies up, in da crown?” asked the jungle troll. Celestine laughed, and nodded his head. “Teldrassil is proof of what experienced druids can achieve, but also of what responsibilities they hold. This isle was called Kalidar once. When Teldrassil grew, it lifted the island to the skies” replied the elder druid. “Incredible, mon, and… terrifyin’, in some ways”.
The ritual was simple, and it would help strengthen the bonds formed today. The most powerful archdruids took groups of other druids, and they sat forming circles. Malfurion took Zen’tabra and Celestine, as well as a night elf and a tauren, Mardant and Gart, as a reward for acting as ambassadors and making these new bonds possible in the first place. To his left, Omnuron, the archdruid of the talon, took another four of each race, and to his right Ysiel, the archdruid of the Cenarion Expedition, did the same. The remaining four archdruids followed them. Leyara took a spot in Hamuul’s group.
Malfurion sensed his spirit and those of the four in his group entering the Emerald Dream. Teldrassil welcomed them, and their spirits touched the great tree. But, something wasn’t right. The essence… Malfurion tried to return to his body, and he found he couldn’t. Someone left a trap for them. All the leaders of the Cenarion Circle had been trapped together.
And outside, while the desperate awoke druids tried to wake up the dreamers, the earth started to tremble, and the sea started to roar, in something that, should any of them have paid enough attention, seemed like a maniac laughter.
Tyrande waked up suddenly, the horror of the vision burning through her veins, like if the very fire of it was as real as the glaive she had just unsheathed by pure instinct.
She didn’t need a lot of time to forget about the fire, for the entire room was shaking, like if a titan had descended from the stars and hard started chopping Teldrassil in half. The al’dorel plant, a present from Shandris, her adoptive daughter, flew across the room, and she was merely able to grab it before it crashed to the ground.
Suddenly, as it had started, it stopped.
“Praise the moon goddess, what the fel has just happened?” she asked loud to herself. The tremors went low after the first, most destructive waves of the cataclysm, but this one felt like one of the first earthshattering ones. This was terrible.
She was about to take her robe, but saw her armor and took it instead. She found her frostsaber friend and mount, Ash'alah, nervous, waiting for her at the entrance of the lodgings she shared with Malfurion. “Mal… The meeting to accept trolls and worgen into the Cenarion Circle was today. This can’t be a coincidence. Elune, please protect him” she prayed.
Ash’alah was a fast mount, but fast wasn’t enough for Tyrande. Malfurion would have to wait. The possibilities of this last tremor destroying half the continent were plenty, and she would need to gather the entire priesthood and send aid wherever they were needed. She ran across a glade where owls rested, and whistled. Some meters later, her owl scout, Dori'thur, was flying above her. She would need the owl if the worse was to come true.
Shadowy clawed hands tried to old Malfurion in place, but he easily dispatched them. They were only a distraction, and he knew it. They were the minions of the nightmare, but they were weaker than the last time they met, when they started invading reality, and nearly succeeded. This incarnation was no trouble for any experienced druid, but still, they didn’t let him leave the Emerald Dream.
Ysiell, Hamuul and Lilliandra reached for him. The first screamed to him over the yells of the shadowy creatures “Take the rest and leave, we’ll hold them! There’s something wrong outside, you sensed it too, didn’t you?” “We’ll take you back, I swear!” said Malfurion. “Leave now, and may the Earthmother smile upon you!” “Don’t worry about us, make sure the trolls and the ambassadors are safe!” replied the other two.
The three archdruids focused their efforts together, and the shadowy limbs took a step backwards. “Now!”
Malfurion’s spirit returned to his body the very moment a wave of salty water splashed his face. “Thanks god, you’re awak-.” The young tauren, named Kayra, was struck by a bolt in her leg before she could finish her words. The shot missed Malfurion’s chest by sheer luck when she knelt down. She would survive, but he would have not if it hadn’t missed.
The entire group saw it, and they transformed into different animal forms or unsheathed their weapons. The air stood quiet, except for the raging sea and the panthing from the wounded tauren.
And suddenly, behind one of the many waves clashing against the coast, a regiment of naga myrmidons appeared, weapons in hand, sliding toward the druids.
“Naga! We’re under attack!” yelled a night elf male by the name of Lethyn, hammer in hand, smashing the skull of the first myrmidon to reach the group. “To me, druids of the claw!” Gaivan Shadewalker ran in bear form across the group to Lethyn’s right, and tore open a myrmidon’s chest with his claws, while he snatched another’s head with his maws. The naga struck him twice, but they would need to strike more to pierce through the bear’s fur.
Everything was going on so fast Malfurion nearly had no time to react. He saw sirens behind the myrmidon group, channeling their energies into a new spell, and called the thunder to thwart their efforts. Some stopped the spell and raised their shields at time, but others were slower, and would feed the crabs tonight. He saw Leyara, entangling another siren with roots and asphyxiating her.
Omnuron was directing his druids now. “Druids of the Talon, strike them from above!” the storm crows descended over the sirens, busy shielding from Malfurion’s strike, and two of them fell. “Thisalee, Morthis, Choluna, Arthorn, Borun, follow me!” the six storm crows descended over the myrmidons surrounding the bears and the nightsabers, and distracted them enough for their brothers to finish them off.
“This is too easy” screamed another archdruid, Rayne, at Malfurion’s left. Another wave clashed against the coast, and the naga retired. Rayne took the opportunity and commanded the druids. “Laina, Tavgren, Telessra, Galrond, to your left! Isla, Thiah, Korrah, Nordrala, to your right!” the bears and nightsabers left an open space, perfect for the moonkins to have clear targets. “Deldren, Galandria, Mahuram, Timeon, shoot!” the myrmidons were already back to the water, but the moonfire struck in their backs. Some of the storm crows launched towards the naga, transforming into sea lions before touching the water, and rendering the lizards apart.
In their place, dozens of smaller forms started to advance. The female archdruid’s face turned into an expression of disgust and hate. “Oh, no. No, no, no. Not murlocs! I hate murlocs!” a druid at her left summoned some treants and sent them towards the murlocs, clashing against them. “Charge!” Rayne and her fellow druids shapeshifted into stags, and ran across the murlocs, stomping and thrusting them.
“There’s too many of them!” Malfurion cursed, the murlocs too close for him to cast any spell without injuring his comrades. “Ta battle, my comrades! Fend off our enemies! The trolls and the worgen, led by Zen’tabra and Celestine, joined the fray and reunited the group of nightsaber and bears with the stags and treants. “Theresa, Garil, Jordan, Kristoff, Marl, Selyria , swift to worgen form and teach them a lesson!” ordered Celestine. “Yes!” the six worgen sliced through their foes easily, striking fear into their enemies. “Zen’vorka, Zen’Aliri, Zen’Balai! Dey not be learnin’, show dem de strength o’ de Darkspear!” the trolls assaulted the murlocs in their animal forms.
The naga survivors were retreating, but the last siren had a final message for Malfurion. “You won’t avoid death forever, archdruid! Neither you nor your false queen!” the witch turned back once again and disappeared under the waters.
Their surprise attack was a total failure, but still, they had been too near. “By Elune, what was that?” asked Rayne. “We get locked in the dream, the earth trembles again and the naga attack us. Too many coincidences.” She was right, this had been planned thoroughly by their enemies. “Report! How many wounded?” Malfurion shouted. “Less than expected, archdruid. They were no match for us,” answered Gaivan. “Minor wounds, only seven have serious wounds, Balren, Shayana, Tiala, Amithiel, Turak, Galrond and Kayra, and there’s still some trapped inside the dream.”
To all, Malfurion said “Take all the wounded and move to Moonglade’s capital, Nighthaven, immediately. We’ll discuss our course of action later, when everyone has recovered. Clintar, Ithis, fly with me, we must reach the temple and see if the tremors have affected Darnassus or any other town”. The two night elves shapeshifted into storm crows and followed Malfurion upwards, to the crown of Teldrassil, where Darnassus laid.
Tyrande literally jumped off her frostsaber when she reached the stairs of the Temple of the Moon. “Wait me here, brave girl, I’ll be back before you start missing me” she told her. She rushed the stairs, and smashed the doors open.
The priestesses were already gathered under the statue of Haidene, at the center of the temple. Some sentinels were around, too, no doubt worried by the security of the temple, but there didn’t seem to be any heavy damages. As the protocol ordered, all of them were ready to leave wherever help was needed.
“High Priestess! By Elune, what did just happen?!” asked Merende, one of Tyrande’s most trusted. “I don’t know, my sisters. Still no reports about the damages?” she replied. A night elf arrived just after Tyrande. “In my way here I didn’t see any severe damages to the city, my lady” replied Belysra, breathing fast. She was in charge of the worgen refugees, and that was in the other side of Darnassus. “I was in the gardens, and the temple is intact, sister” said Aquinne, a green haired novice. More priestesses and some sentinels came to the temple, worried about what was going on and the state of the sisterhood’s headquarters. “I was at the gates of the city, and they hold well” said a sentinel named Elanaria. “Tradesmen’s Terrace is intact, too” said a purple-haired sister named Lasara.
Three storm crows burst in from a window, and transformed into three night elves before touching the ground. “Tyrande! You’re well?” asked a fatigued Malfurion, accompanied by other two druids. “Don’t worry about me, what has happened to you? You’re stained on mud and blood!” replied him.
“It’s fine. We were attacked by some naga after the land trembled. Some were injured, but we reacted quickly and repelled them at time. They were waiting for us to enter the dream to attack” panted the archdruid, while Tyrande and other priestesses examined them, checking if the blood was theirs or not. “What happened with the meeting of the circle?” asked the priestess. “Both trolls and worgen were welcomed successfully. I told them to fly to Moonglade and recover. We’ll discuss the movements of the Cenarion Circle later, when everyone is safe and healed”.
A high ranking priestess came running. “Everyone! I bring shamans!”. “Shiromar?! Elune bless you, where did you find them?” answered a slightly surprised Tyrande. “They came to me, high priestess. They… they have news.”
They didn’t take much more time to arrive. A dwarf and a draenei. “Good tae find ya so fast, ma’am,” said the male dwarf “Gavan Grayfeather at yer service”. The wildhammer dwarf was short, but he compensated for it with width of pure muscle. His armor was the perfect representation of the earth’s fury, and he had a long white beard. “High Priestess,” bowed the female draenei. “We have taken a portal here immediately after we sensed the tremors, and we are here at your service, to help wherever we are needed.” Her robes were simple, but the look of her eyes was strong, indicating she was as powerful as the dwarf to her left.
“You are more than welcome, shamans of the Earthen Ring. I’m surprised you were able to come this fast” said Tyrande. “We were recruiting younger shamans at Azuremyst, so it wasn’t hard to find skilled mages near. Master Leena, the apprentice of the grand shaman Nobundo, sent us personally” replied Krelna “She left to send word to The Exodar and send more help”. “We don’t have good news, unfortunately”. All the priestess had assumed the worst, so they were prepared for it.
“Ye must know, the tremor itsel’ was strong, but its area small. Only Darkshore has been affected, but the damages are terrible, terrible! Aye, the entire coastline is probably shattered in pieces, an’ while we talk here, the entire zone is being engulfed by the sea. If that wasn’t bad enough, there’s a terrible storm above the zone, and in its center, a huge whirlpool that it’s goin’ to swallow what’s left of land on there!” Gavan’s face was serious enough for everyone to believe his words.
Malfurion took a step forward. “I’ll handle the situation. The land will split in two and Darkshore will disappear, swept into the ocean, if we don’t do anything. I sense all shockwaves are converging on the zone, and I know how to prevent the catastrophe. I depart now. Clintar and Ithis, inform the rest,” he told his two druid companions.
“Wait, you can’t handle it alone! Bring some of us with you,” retorted Tyrande. “No, the storm is too dangerous, and there’s still naga out there. I must go alone, undistracted by others in risk.” Some nodded to Malfurion’s words, but Tyrande didn’t. “If the naga are out there, they’ll try to kill you again! You can’t go alone!” shouted the priestess. “The naga want you too, don’t you understand?! I forbid you from following me!” the druid leapt into the air, becoming a crow once again, and flew away like a thunderbolt.
Tyrande couldn’t believe his words.“Furion! Furion! Only Elune may forbid me anything! I’ll follow you even if I have to swim all the way to Auberdine! Damn, he’s going straight to the maw of the naga.”
“But, my lady, there’s no way we can catch him up, and even if we mounted hippogryphs all the way there, the storm would strike us down. He’s the only one able to reach Darkshore and save it.” replied her Alathea, a golden dressed priestess.
A shining aura surrounded Tyrande, and she replied the people around her with determination. “No he’s not. We’re priestesses of Elune, and our duty is to protect our people. We may not be able to call nature to hold the land together, but we can save all the people trapped inside the storm. We can, and we will.” Her words strike all the hopeless people around her, giving them strengthened vigor.
“But, how?” asked Alathea. Tyrande looked at the newly arrived shamans. “A portal! You,” she pointed to the mixed group of priestesses and sentinels at her right “come with me. The rest, stay here and calm the population, and get ready the help to leave for Darkshore when the storm calms. Shamans, we’ll need your help too. Leave what you don’t need and follow me!”
She ran outside, and mounted Ash’alah in a leap. “We’ll need one or more mages for that, my lady, and it won’t be easy finding any!” Alathea was already behind her with other mounted night elves, and carried the dwarf behind her. The draenei was mounted behind Shiromar at their left. “Don’t worry, I know the perfect person in the perfect spot” Tyrande smiled, and she ran away across the Temple Gardens into the city streets.
The Highborne encampment was slightly far from the rest of Darnassus, but they too seemed to have sensed the tremors. At least two of them were outside their dwellings, sitting on the ground, meditating or focused on some spell. Tyrande had no time for contemplations, so she shook the first of them to attract his attention. In any other normal situation, she would have secretly rejoiced at his face, usually arrogant in his kind, but now inhibited before the identity of who was interrupting him.
“High Priestess?” replied the highborne male. She recognized him as Estulan, one who had previously spoke with her about opening an arcane school. The other one, a female, should be Vestia Moonspear, a priestess that left the sisterhood and joined the mages after losing everything, home and husband, when Feathermoon Stronghold fell. Tyrande shared a part of that pain, for her adoptive daughter, Shandris Feathermoon, the general of the sentinels, nearly died there, too. Shandris was far south now, building a new Feathermoon Stronghold, but she wish she was here now to organize the aid. She would need to trust the novices she left behind in the temple.
“We were conducting a complicated spell, we believe these tremors ar-” she raised a hand, “Our shaman friends will satisfy your curiosity about the consequences of the tremors, I need to see the archmage immediately, where is he?” interrupted him. “When the tremors subsided, seeing the damages weren’t very serious, most returned to bed, but I decided to stay with my apprentice to check the effects beyond Teldrassil-“ replied her, before she interrupted him again “Straight to the point, please: the archmage”. “Ah, yes, sorry, that door, but-“ she walked towards the door not letting him finish, the archmage her only priority right now.
Before she was able to knock the door, a white haired highborne opened it. “My lady?” Mordent Evershade, leader of the Higborne of Eldre’Thalas, came outside of his residence followed by two other mages. “I guess this visit has nothing to do with how our conversations with the Kirin Tor of Dalaran are going on, has it? What do you want of us?”
“We need a portal to Auberdine, immediately. The latest tremors have affected Darkshore, and no matter there’s already help on the way, the sooner we arrive the better and faster we can proceed on helping the injured” she answered. “I understand, I will prepare everything as fast as possible, only some minutes will be necessary” replied the archmage, before turning back and heading for whatever he needed for the spell.
Estulan, the mage Tyrande had previously interrupted, spoke to her again “My lady, it may be dangerous. Before you interrupted me, I was scouting the northern area of Darkshore. I don’t have the skills of a shaman to commune with earth like they do, so I was observing the zone in a more direct… manner. I didn’t reach Auberdine, but there’s something that should worry you”. “What is it?”, she asked. “Trolls, my lady, dozens of them, and armed. They were advancing south”. “We know there’s jungle trolls in the mountains to the north, but there’s never been hostilities between our two peoples", she replied.
Suddenly, Vestia, the other meditating night elf Tyrande hadn’t interrupted, waked up from her trance and started screaming. “Astranaar! Astranaar is under attack!”
The land was shattering around Malfurion. He had landed at the middle of a small hill near a road. If he didn’t do something soon, the grass he was standing on now would be underwater in mere minutes.
He focused his mind, touching the trees around him. They were too confused, and they wouldn’t be of help until the storm was over.
But he had an idea.
Summoning all of his forces, he pulled the air of the storm around him. A tornado started to form around where he stood, absorbing all the energies of the earthquakes and gales across the coast.
The earth at his foot started to split and tear aside.
“Only a bit more”.
He fought against the wildest forces of nature, but the storm was starting to calm, and his efforts were getting stronger. He only needed to hold. The tornado grew and grew, and the earthquakes stopped. The storm’s fury lessened.
Darkshore was safe, for now. He would need to control the tornado now, or the energies he had just contained would unleash across the forest in a worse terrible manner. He focused on slowly liberating the energy, but a maniacal laughter distracted him, nearly making him lose control and concentration.
He recognized the form of naga sirens at the other side of the wall of wind. A taller naga stood in middle. The voice had changed since the last time they met, millennia ago, but he instantly recognized it.
“So you dare oppose Queen Azshara, archdruid? You will soon beg for a swift death, one we won’t grant you, less your beloved priestess.”
“It's over, Azshara! You and your naga will return to the bottom of the seas where you belong! Darkshore is safe now!”
“Ah... Malfurion Stormrage. I'd hoped to keep you occupied for a little longer, but seems you keep surprising me. However, my only goal was to keep you away from Hyjal while my allies attacked. It would seem I have succeeded, after all.”
The repercussions of her words struck Malfurion. Mount Hyjal. The heart of druidism, and a place of unlimited power, for the second Well of Eternity, a source of pure arcane magic, lied atop its summit, protected by the first world tree, Nodrassil.
Shall their enemies succeed where Archimonde and the Burning Legion had not, they would wield a terrible weapon against Azeroth.
“I've no need to fight you, for it appears I've already won. You cannot stop our attack on Darkshore and save Hyjal at the same time!” she laughed, with the same maniacal laughter he had heard before.
Malfurion unleashed the last of the tornado’s energy, and got ready to attack, but the naga weren’t there anymore.
“Elune help us” he praised.
“Damn Garrosh Hellscream!” Horde troops must have taken advantage of the situation, and move forward through the outposts to attack the night elf supply lines. The tremors must had not affected their territory, or if they had, they sure have preferred invading western Ashenvale rather than helping their own people. Hellscream’s Horde was more ruthless and more merciless with each day. Their new leader, Garrosh, was a savage, but he had proven to be a good tactician too many times.
“From what the apprentice tells us, it’s a small group, so I don’t think they’ll be able to advance too much, priestess.” said one of the escorting sentinels. “What worries me most is the damage they will inflict before they can be stopped, or if they can be stopped at all if the tremors have already affected them, Thyn’tel.”
Mordent came outside again. “The portal will be ready soon, high priestess. We can teleport someone to Maestra’s Post or Silverwing Outpost once we recover, too, so they are warned beforehand of the Horde’s advance.” “Thanks, archmage. Commander Denea will need all the help we can lend. Stillbough, stay with the archmage, and be ready for being teleported. Dalia, prepare some owls and send warning messages as fast as possible”, she ordered. “Yes!” replied both, though Stillbough’s face didn’t show too much happiness for being left alone with the highborne. Dalia’s warning messages were important, too, for Stillbough would only be able to warn one of the outposts, and the mages would need rest before teleporting anyone else.
Shiromar took a glance a Tyrande, one she knew well from before. Discreetly, both moved away from the group, and started speaking. Shiromar was a veteran from the War of the Shifting Sands, both the first and the second conflict. That experience made Tyrande suggest her as a member of a “special” group of people, which had feel forced to grow their numbers considerably in the wake of the cataclysm.
“Is it about the New Council of Tirisfal, the Council of Thramore, or whatever you call it?” asked Tyrande. “We don’t give it any name because it’s supposed to be secret, but yes” she smiled back. From her previous expression, Tyrande knew making the veteran smile, if it was just for a bit, would be good for what was to come now. “We have been… investigating the activities of the Twilight’s Hammer cult, and we fear the bulk of the elemental armies is readying for an invasion, allied with their previous jailer.” That jailer was Deathwing. Once called Neltharion, he was one of the primordial dragon aspects, and leader of the black dragonflight. But, during the War of the Ancients, he went mad and betrayed the other aspects and their flights. The Elemental Planes were part of his duty, and thus they were left unchecked, which lead to occasional elemental invasions of Azeroth, but nothing like real armies.
“The fact the archdruid and the rest of the circle were attacked today, just the same time the tremors assaulted us… I fear I don’t believe in this kind of coincidences, not with our particular enemy. The tremors must have been specially “strong” to be sensed from Azuremyst. Leena, the partner of the shamans that came to warn us, is one of my companions in the council, so her intentions were double when she sent them here. One of them gave me a message: Leena wasn’t too explicit, and she just said to… beware the fire.” A shivering went all over Tyrande after hearing these words. The vision. She had forgot it after the tremors and the preparations for sending help to Darkshore. She hadn’t warn Malfurion. If what Shiromar’s companion said was true, she needed to tell Malfurion and get ready for whatever was to come. She prayed there was still time left.
“Anyway, I’m sure the archdruid will be safe, Bearmantle probably warned him before of our discoveries.” she tried to calm Tyrande down, her face probably showing her thoughts for a while long enough for Shiromar to notice.
“The portal is ready!” shouted the archmage, “Delaris, Tarelvir, Dyrhara and Daelir, take your positions!”
The portal shone bright with pure arcane energy, and flashed each time a night elf crossed through it. Tyrande had used a few of them across her life, but this was the first time she used a highborne one. Looking at it thoroughly, she didn’t see any major difference with human, draenei or gnome portals. The process was probably the same, even more now the highborne had started making contacts with Dalaran, the city of human mages. Speaking of Dalaran – “So, contacts with the Kirin Tor are going well, archmage?” she asked, taking Mordent by surprise “Eh, yes, my lady, Daros and Aranhir are doing a good job.” “I’m glad” she smiled, before entering the portal.
And emerging into what could only be described as a nightmare.
Auberdine was one of the major harbors of the night elves. Some years ago, Nendis, another harbor, covered the eastern part of Kalimdor, but during the Third War it was destroyed by the naga, and with it the major hold of Darnassus over the already orc invaded eastern Ashenvale and now goblin-occupied Azshara.
Since then, Auberdine grew into one of the bigger towns of Tyrande’s people. The town had been affected by the cataclysm, but they were able to rebuild and keep with their naval activities.
Now, the town was all ruins, earth split in half across all directions, and water slowly swallowing the entire coastline south and north.
A terrible storm was razing the forest with thunder, rainfall and wind. Two sentinels shouted each other above the roar of the unleashed fury of nature. A priestess pointed east, and Tyrande cursed at the sight of the giant whirlpool the shamans had mentioned, swallowing unstoppable towards them.
“The archdruid is winning! The storm is losing power, we won’t need to worry about it anymore!” screamed Krelna, the draenei shaman. “Aye, me lady! Focus on the wounded, we’ll be keepin’ the storm at bay!” continued the dwarf.
“Let us make haste, my sisters!”
After the first aftershocks of the cataclysm, the people of Auberdine had built a refugee camp not far to the east. The sisters made sure all survivors headed there as fast as possible. The coast wasn’t collapsing anymore, but the area wasn’t secure in any way. There were far too many corpses, but they would have to wait for the survivors to be safe. Dori’thur, her owl scout, was circling above and howling sadly. The animals, even their war-trained nightsaber and wintersaber mounts, like Tyrande’s Ash’alar, couldn’t stand cold against all the destruction around them.
Tyrande saw Belysra kneeled over a dead sentinel. “Deathwing will pay for this, I promise you, Elissa”. Everyone had lost too much during this war, be it against the Twilight Hammer or the Horde. “Selarin, Tysha! You’re no use if you can’t stand up by yourselves. Follow the others to the refugee camp immediately!” Tyrande saw their faces of impotence, but the two sentinels of Auberdine obeyed and left. Tired as they were, they would only kill themselves between the rubble. “And only come back after you’re recovered!” She ended.
A storm crow landed in front of her, transforming into her beloved archdruid. “So, you came anyway” he smiled. “Our highborne friends provided a fast and secure transport”. The evacuation is nearly done, and the priestesses are moving the heavily wounded to the refugee camp” she replied.
“I didn’t tell you before, but I had a vision, a vision of flames, where the world burned under a terrible, evil fire” Tyrande told him. I feared losing you when you left alone. “The naga taunted me with your death when I was attacked, too,” he replied. “I was sure you would come anyway, though” he smiled.
However, things are worse than we thought. This was a distraction. I confronted Azshara herself, and she told me the truth. Mount Hyjal is being attacked by the fire elemental armies of Ragnaros, the firelord. I sense it now, but I fear it may be too late. They’ll burn the entire mount and Nordrassil with it.”
“It’s never late for hope, my love,” she looked him into the eyes, “may Elune bless you and the rest of the druids. Your duty lies within Hyjal and the defense of the world tree. I’ll take care of our people.”
“I’ll be back, I promise. Be careful with the Horde and the naga.” He told her. “I will. Before departing, you should know, they have attacked Astranaar. We have no news yet, but I fear the worst. You should tell the druids, no matter how wrong some will react. News have probably arrived to Nighthaven already.”
“I’ll tell them.” Some wouldn’t react well, that Malfurion knew, and he would fight to make them stay with him and the defense of Hyjal. The Cenarion Circle got new allies today, but their enemies made sure they lost some as well. He only hoped Leyara and the others would listen to reason and not suicide themselves at the war on Ashenvale. If Astranaar had been attacked, they probably had lost familiars.
“Fandral would never have allowed the Horde to attack our home! And who did you send to defend us? No one! Fandral was a true leader. You are nothing more than a desperate dream, missing when your people most needed you! You haven't the strength to lead anyone, you hear me?!”
Leyara was the embodiment of fury and rage. News had arrived to Nighthaven before Malfurion, and Istaria, the daughter of Leyara, was reported to have been killed by the orcs. With her, Leyara had lost her entire family, the only one alive the father of his dead husband, Fandral Staghelm, insane and imprisoned.
Leyara wasn’t the only one. They weren’t too many, but every hand was necessary. Malfurion would miss them, no matter their methods and their attitude.
"After the Plaguelands and Northrend, I didn't think that we would witness anything more horrible. If what you tell us about Hyjal is true, then I was wrong, once again," lamented Rayne.
“Mount Hyjal is under attack as we speak now, yes, but we’re the Cenarion Circle. We will defend Kalimdor, and we will defend Nodrassil. I want you all to join me in a new group, one with a new, shared objective in mind. We’ll fight back Ragnaros and his fire elementals, and make him retreat to the Firelands to never dare exit them again. We’ll be the Guardians of Hyjal. Are you with me?” asked Malfurion.
Everyone nodded in approbation, not only night elves and tauren, but trolls and worgen, too. Together, as united as their shared goal to stand against the evil, all the guardians shapeshifted into storm crows, and flied south, towards Hyjal, and towards their destiny, as druids and as protectors of the world.
Whoa! You did it! You read it all! Or maybe you just skipped the entire wall of text. Whatever, feel free to give opinions, feedback and criticism, I welcome all of them .
Metzen: They are one of the ancient races of Northrend that we haven't spoken of before... because we hadn't made them up before. (laughter)
~Main: Expansion theorycrafting, Expansions list, The Age of Nightmare, Empire of the Tides (coming soon)~
~Fan ficton: Anachronos Journey: The Timeless Heir~ ~Geography of continents series: Old Kalimdor (original), Pandaria~
~Locations as zones series: Azjol-Nerub, Barrow Deeps, Zul'Aman, Demon Hunter zone, Caverns of Time~