Sunday, November 16, 2008
The procession following Marshal Reginald Windsor through Stormwind drew many eyes, especially after Lady Katrana Prestor and Highlord Bolvar Fordragon's outbursts over the champion.
Melian, the druidess, led the adventurers, her long blue hair blowing in the sudden breeze, her large mace strapped to her back. Elwe, the rogue and Melian's husband, walked beside the druidess, his mask preventing his hair from mimicking his wife's. Aiwendil and Betty followed behind the pair, Aiwendil's silver hair whipping about his face while Betty's unruly bun threatened to come undone; Pandora remained in her faithful place at Aiwendil's side. Luceria, the Night Elf priestess, her long green hair caught in the wind, walked behind the rest calmly.
As they made their way to Stormwind Keep, they were all acutely aware of the avid attention of the denizens of the city, as well as other adventurers who happened to be in town. The solemn procession entered the Keep, the guards keeping out the curious followers.
Windsor and Fordragon sent the prince out of the main room as the group enters. The party watched in trepidation as Marshal Windsor confronted the Lady, speaking in an unknown tongue to reveal the truth; Katrana Prestor was none other than the broodmother, Onyxia. They watched in horror as she shifted to her true form, then felled Windsor as if he were a fly.
The room filled with black dragonkin as the broodmother turned her attention to the party. Melian immediately shifted to bear form and began to work on getting the attention of the massive blacks. The men aided in downing the dragons, Pandora helping to keep the attention of the creatures off the priestesses in the corner.
Onyxia laughed. "You pathetic mortals hope to take on me, the broodmother of the might black dragons? I will show you what your insolence will bring!" With that, she swung one of her massive claws, catching Aiwendil square in the chest. Everything seemed to slow down as his limp body sailed through the air to slam into a wall. The second he slumped to the floor, Betty rushed for his prone form. "Aiwendil! No!" she cried, pulling his lifeless body into her lap, cradling his head as tears began to fall.
Muttering seemingly incoherently, she rocked back and forth for several moments. The rest of the group suddenly kicked into action; Melian cast Hibernate on Pandora before the massive cat could join her master's fate, Luceria rushing to her friend's side while Elwe finished off the last dragonkin. Suddenly a blinding light filled the room, even the massive broodmother wincing at the intensity. A low moan sounded from Aiwendil, surprising everyone in the room.
As the light faded, they could barely make out Betty at the center; she seemed to glow brightly, her countenance surprisingly terrifying. She stood, laying Aiwendil carefully on the stones where Luceria began to tend to him. She strode toward Onyxia purposefully, pure hatred in her gaze. "You... you hurt my love. You threaten everything and everyone I care for. I will not stand for this," she said slowly, her voice resonating strangely.
She stopped just short of the massive dragon, who snorted in disbelief. "And just what do you plan to do about it, mortal?" she replied, scooping up the priestess in one claw. The broodmother brought Betty before her maw, inhaling briefly before loosing a molten blast on the tiny figure. The group against the wall watched in horror, helpless. From the smoke, they amazingly heard a voice chanting. Onyxia looked in her claw, surprise clear on her face. As the smoke cleared, a golden glow could be made out.
The priestess, encased in a holy shield, temporarily stopped her chanting, turning cold eyes on the massive dragon. "This cannot be!" the broodmother shrieked in disbelief. She eyed the human suspiciously, caught offguard when the woman said a simple word and an explosion of light expanded from her. Her friends suddenly felt renewed and energized, and Onyxia let out a bellow of pain. "Y-you..."
Suddenly, the dragon's eyes widened, and her nose wrinkled as she sniffed Betty. "Of course. I cannot believe I missed it before... You're a red! No, not full-blooded; that must be why I did not realize it. Do not think this the end, dragon; I will end you for this!" With that, she dropped the priestess before saying a quick incantation and teleporting herself from the room.
As Betty stood, whispers began. The human, a dragon? Of the red flight, no less? Could this really be true? Suddenly, as if in a panic, she turned to everyone in the room. "You cannot breathe a word of what happened here today to anyone! I do not know if it is true, but I mean to find out! Everyone nodded; after the priestess had saved everyone except poor Windsor, they certainly would not betray her. And if it turned out to be true, who would want a dragon angered at them?
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Monday, August 11, 2008
Brother Joshua chuckles softly as he hears the quiet giggles coming from behind a nearby haystack, above which he can barely make out unruly auburn curls and mess jet-black hair. “Now where could those two have gone?” he says in a voice intended to carry. He makes a show of looking inside a nearby wheelbarrow. “They're not in here...” He lifts up a small rock. “Not under here...” He smirks as the giggles grow louder. “Where or where did those girls go?” He quietly slips around the hay, scooping up the pair of squirming children, one under each arm. “Gotcha!” The pair squeal in amusement, writhing in an attempt to get free.
He sets them both down, placing a steady hand on each girl’s shoulder. “Sorry girls, enough fun for now. Time to study.” Leithian and Betty turn and look up at him with baleful amethyst and sapphire eyes. “Awww,” they proclaim in unison, although both enjoy the tutoring they receive in the ways of the Light. He smiles down at them before shooing them towards the main building.
He watches the two girls skip off towards the entrance, shaking his head slightly in a mixture of amusement and disbelief. Who would have thought that my life would turn out this way? That the small bundle on the steps of the Cathedral would affect my life so profoundly? He smiles softly to himself as he follows the energetic duo.
As he enters the small area that serves as a classroom, he watches proudly as his charge deftly weaves spells of the Light, her small cherubic face serene and relaxed. As she unleashes the gathered energy, a small target dummy in the corner spins on its post, a burn showing across its chest. She then closes her eyes and murmurs softly, a pleased smile gracing her lips as a golden glow washes over the same target.
He turns his attention to the younger girl, watching closely as she attempts the same ritual. Her petite brow furrowed in concentration, her raven bangs clinging to her forehead with sweat, she squeezes her eyes shut as she whispers softly. A smaller version of the same Smite cast by her friend crosses the dummy’s chest, and her face falls in disappointment. Closing her eyes once more, her cute features scrunching up in concentration, she weaves a healing spell and unleashes it upon the target.
The monk walks over and places a firm hand on the small girl’s shoulder. “Much better than last time, Leithian,” he says reassuringly. She turns her crestfallen face up to look at him. “B-but it wasn’t like Betty’s,” she says dejectedly. He smiles softly at her. “You are younger than she is. Give it time.” The young girl brushes a stray lock of raven hair from her face before giving him a watery smile. “O-okay, Brother Joshy.”
“Girls, it’s time for weapons training,” he says, holding out two child-sized staves. Betty takes hers and holds it as naturally as if she had been born with one in her hand, and waits while Leithian clumsily grasps hers. Brother Joshua then picks up a staff for himself, and motions for the two girls to come close. As the training begins, he starts off slowly, watching their reactions carefully; Betty easily parries his attacks and even manages to make a few of her own. Leithian sniffles as she fumbles through the exercise; Joshua never actually hits either girl, but he has to work to keep from doing so with the younger girl.
Taking the staves, he hands them one-handed maces, beginning again. His charge takes to the mace as easily as she did the stave, but, as always, wields the weapon more in the way a true priestess would than anyone more physically inclined. Leithian, however, finds herself suddenly in her element. Joshua smiles as the smaller child manages to catch him off-guard and actually nearly lands a blow on his hip. Watching her carefully, a realization strikes the monk.
“Leithian, come here, please,” he says gently. She approaches him warily, afraid she has disappointed him. “I want you to try a different spell for me, one that Betty does not know.” She blinks in surprise, her wide amethyst eyes searching his face for any sign of deception. “Really?” He nods, smiling softly, then teaches her the words to say and gestures to make. Leithian turns towards the dummy and repeats the process, a golden glow washing over her tiny form. Saying a few more words, she watches with a mixture of pride and awe as a golden light shaped like a hammer falls upon the dummy’s head, driving the stake several more inches into the ground.
She turns back to the monk, who is beaming at the young girl. “Did I do it right, Brother Joshy?” He places a reassuring hand on her shoulder. “You did very well, Leithian. You also have shown me, by doing that, that you are meant to be something different than Betty.” Her eyes well up with tears, misconstruing what he means. “B-but I d-don’ w-wanna l-leave B-betty!”
“Shh, shh, Leithian. That is not what I meant. You and Betty can still be together, still be friends. However, she is meant to serve the Light in a different way than you are. Just like how your father serves the Abbey by being a blacksmith, and I serve it by being a monk,” he explains carefully. She sniffles softly as she calms. “O-k-kay, B-brother Joshy,” she says softly, a smile beginning to form.
Betty walks over to the pair, clapping excitedly and smiling at her friend. “I’m so excited for you, Leithian! You did that so well!” Leithian virtually beams with pride at her friend’s compliments, and Brother Joshua chuckles softly as he watches the exchange. “Alright, girls, good job thus far! Let’s continue,” he says, gesturing for them to continue practicing their spells. The girls scamper off excitedly, suddenly even more eager to resume their studies.
Sunday, August 3, 2008
“Follow me; I’ll show you to your temporary quarters. Unfortunately, we’re a bit crowded and weren’t expecting you, nor your companion, so it’s a bit cramped, especially for two,” the friar said as he led them into the monastery.
“Thank you, Brother, for your generosity. Modest accomodations are all I need for the moment,” Joshua said. “Since it is my intention to stay a while, I only request that I might be able to get a separate room for the child before her third birthday; I found out last night of her gender and do not want any problems with my Brothers,” Joshua explained.
“Understood, and very astute. I’m sure we can manage to squeeze her in somewhere,” the monk said with a smile. The baby was gurgling and cooing in Joshua’s arms, endearing herself immediately to all who laid eyes upon her. “I must say, I agree with the priestess; this child is unique,” he said, gently tickling her chin. “How do you plan to care for her at the moment? She needs a wetnurse at this young an age,” he queried.
“Actually, I think a towel dipped in goat’s milk might suffice. However, if there is a wetnurse or kindhearted new mother near the abbey, I will not object; I need assistance in learning to care for her,” Joshua replied.
“There is a new mother whose husband runs the smithy for the abbey…perhaps we can speak to her on the matter later,” the monk pondered. “For the moment, I will take my leave and give you a chance to unpack and make your quarters comfortable,” he said, backing out of the room.
“Thank you, Brother. I would like to speak with this woman later, if you can help me,” Joshua responded enthusiastically.
Ilmarë yawned in Joshua’s arms, and dozed off. Joshua walked over to the cradle he had borrowed from the orphanage temporarily, and laid her down so he could begin unpacking. He thought about how different his life already felt, with this small bundle of joy only in his life a day. He only hoped he could raise her in the ways of the Light satisfactorily for her fate.
There was a squirming bundle on the steps of the cathedral! Picking up the wailing infant, he glanced at the note pinned to her swaddling; “Ilmarë Valanya,” it said. The infant quieted a little, but was obviously hungry, and most certainly cold on this freezing night, and continued to make its needs known. Joshua walked into the cathedral.
The other monks, as well as the head priestess, stopped midprayer and looked at their Brother for an explanation of the disturbance he was causing. He coughed nervously.
“I found this infant lying on the steps of the cathedral. The note pinned to the swaddling merely says ‘Ilmarë’,” Joshua explained, shifting the squirming bundle carefully.
“Why did you not take it to the orphanage across the way, then, Brother?” the head priestess queried, raising a brow.
“I…I’m not sure…” he replied, a confused look on his face.
“Bring the child forward, Joshua,” she said. He hesitantly handed the infant over to the priestess, a worried look on his face as the priestess looked the baby over. “Ah, it is clear to me why you did not, even if you were unaware, Joshua! This child is not destined for an orphanage; even now, she emanates peace, serenity, and Light. She is meant for much more; the question is, what? And how?”
“Per- perhaps there is a reason I was chosen to find the child, my lady. What if I were to teach her the ways of the Light, in Northshire Abbey?” Joshua said, almost as shocked as his brethren over what he had just said.
“Ah, yes. It feels right to me, Brother; one of our most skilled and pure monks to raise this child. On the morrow, you will leave for the Abbey with my blessing to raise the child; however, you are to return when the task is done,” the high priestess said. “For tonight, take the child to the wetnurse at the orphanage; infants need milk, and that is one thing you are unable to provide, Brother,” the priestess smirked.
Joshua blushed, bowed, and headed out the doors of the Cathedral with the infant, each step leading closer to his destiny.