May 21, 2013

Sea Bound

The Barrens were, as ever, unchanged. Yellowed grass covered the dusty spaces in between rocky hills which had long been smoothed over by sea winds. Even when it hung low in the sky, the sun caused the land to swelter.

Kelebek's progress through the area had been slow. The heat during the day was far too dangerous to travel in, while the nights were filled with opponents she dare not face alone. While the sun remained in the sky, the lions of the Barrens may have lolled about in the shade like pampered house cats, but at night they roamed in vicious packs. They cared not if something in their territory was a druid or fellow lion; they challenged anyone who dared to roam into what was theirs. So as it was, Kelebek found herself only able to travel in some sort of safety during the very early morning hours and those hours in the evening when the sun finally began its descent from the sky.

With night soon to fall, Kelebek crept from her hiding place among the hills and began her trek once more across the plains, dust gently poofing up around her white paws as she went. The evening air was quickly cooling and the skies were threatening with one of its rare thunderstorms. In the distance lightning danced in the clouds and the sound of thunder gently rolled to the druids ears. On she walked.

Sometime shortly after nightfall, the rains came. Onward she pressed, determined to for once travel through the night in order to make it to her destination before the sun came up. She had all the time in the world, but a feeling was pressing upon her, like as if an assailant were stalking her. The open fields were quickly turning to mud beneath the druid's feet, but the sounds of the night predators were few so she didn't mind.

On her way through the fields Kelebek passed a boar farm. Standing in the doorway was a huge male Tauren, leaning on the frame. Though the distance and drizzel tampered with her view, Kelebek thought she saw a faint grin on the bull's face as he watched his little calfling stomp about in the puddles. The cafling giggle in glee with her twin braids bouncing as the water splashed up around her. The druid smiled to herself at the sight and moved on.

Hours past and still it rained. The wind gusted but gently and the lightning remained high in the clouds. On and on she walked, keeping near the naked hills for safety. As luck would have it, she stumbled upon a rabbit as she went. She made a quick fire under a deserted stand of trees to prepare her meal. The sparse tinder she found nearby sputtered and hissed as she tried to get a spark to take. Eventually she coaxed a tiny, smoldering flame into existence, hot enough to cook her meal. She wouldn't be pulling off any stunts with an empty stomach on this night, and for that she was thankful.

Once fed, Kelebek took a moment to clean the skin and bones, then safely stowed them away to hopefully cure in the near future. She tried to waste nothing, as always. With the rabbit's remains sufficiently tidied up, and her fire extinguished, she moved on with a new sense of haste. The rains were letting up, the sky was beginning to brighten, and if she didn't hurry, she'd miss her opportunity to slip into Ratchet unseen.


A drink and a bed were the only things she desired after spending weeks traveling through the wild jungles of Stranglethorn. Talk to the fellas working the Nesingwary Safari, they're looking for skilled hunters, they said. Should be easy enough work. "I need ye to round up a bunch o' tiger pelts. About 20 o' them." All they wanted was pelts. To hell with the rest, let it all rot. Mindless, greedy murder. The whole ordeal made her stomach sour.

She had tried to convince them to use the rest of the parts. Tiger meat wasn't terrible tasting, bones could always be used for various tools and even jewelry. Old Nesingwary wasn't having any of it and threw the excess animal parts into the fire. He had smiled at her with a gold-toothed grin and handed a few claws to her once everything else was in the process of becoming ash. "Why don't ye go run along and make yerself a pretty necklace now?" Livid, offended, and sick at heart, she took her pathetically meager pay and headed south to Booty Bay.

So she had found herself at a table in the Salty Sailor Tavern, nursing a somewhat watery mead and nibbling on stale bread. Running low on gold and feeling a bit down, she had been contemplating her next move when a gruff voice rose above the quiet chatter of the tavern.

"Oi, flea bag."

Not really paying attention to the voice, Kelebek had kept her back turned to the room and pushed another piece of stale bread into her mouth. She had been dimly aware of the thunk of heavy boots on the wooden floor, and of the fact that they had been moving in her direction.

"I said FLEA BAG!" A big man, covered everywhere but on the cheeks with heavy, black matted hair, grabbed the druid by her shoulder and forcing her around to his direction. "Look at me when I'm speaking to you, you mangy, pointed eared animal." He had a hunk of chewing tobacco stuffed behind his lip and he let a wad of saliva fly onto the planks of the floor.

Irritated with having her evening interrupted by the brute, Kelebek simply narrowed her eyes and let out a deep growl.

"Filthy fuckin' animal, where's your manners? A man's speakin' to you, should pay him the proper attention."

She turned back to the wall before her and took a slow sip of her mead. A large hand came within inches of her face, effectively knocking the crude wooden mug from her hand. Again she growled and shot him a burning, irritated look.

"Is there something I can help you with? Or are you just here to upset my night and spill my perfectly good cup of mule's piss all over the place?"

"You could say that." With one hand he tossed a gold coin on the table. With the other he grabbed the area where his legs connected.

"Sorry, not my line of work." Kelebek grabbed another hunk of bread and put it in her mouth.

"Like hell it ain't. Isn't that what all you foresty hippie types are all about? A fuck to anything that offers? Hell, I'm paying and willing to pretend you don't have any sorts of rabies."

She chewed her bread slowly, methodically. She swallowed and said, "Aren't you just the Samaritan." A flat smile flashed across her face. "I think not though."

She rose and began to head into the direction of her room. As she tried to walk past him, he grabbed her arm. He leaned a face close to hers. The brute stank of booze, sweat, and old meat. "Now listen here, animal. You'll come to my room and we'll have ourselves a little fun. You won't raise a damn fuss on the way, neither."

"I think not."

She had risen her voice enough for the tavern patrons to hear. Eyes trained on the pair over mugs of beer and whine; the room had fallen silent. Irritated at the disturbance she had caused, the man gripped her upper arm more firmly and began to drag her towards the stairs.

Kelebek twisted hard against his grip, but he clung ever more tightly. She bared her teeth, which had become pointy with her partially shifting into her feral form. A growl rumbled past her lips as she took a swipe at the brute. Claws had found flesh, choice words slipped from his drunken mouth. By this point many of the tavern's patrons were hooting in amusement or hollering for them to knock off the fuss. Kelebek's assailant paid them no heed. In a roar of surprise and pain, the man spun the druid around and grabbed her by the hair. He had nearly gotten them to the foot of the stairs when the sharp click of shotguns were heard.

An older, dark skinned goblin with white tuffs of hair sprouting from his bat-like ears walked up to them and held out his hand.

"Hand ova your keys. You two ain't welcome here."

Two more goblins had been the source of the shotgun clicks; one was behind the man with the barrel of his gun pointed at his head, while the other was on the landing of the tavern's steps, barrel aimed in the general direction of the pair.

"I paid for my night..." the brute began, but the tavern owner simply scowled.

"Keys," repeated the goblin. The goblin turned his eyes over to the brute "and let the lady go."

With a violent shove the man released Kelebek, stuffed his hand into his pocket, yanked out his room key, and thrust them into the hands of the old goblin. He then stomped out the door and into the night.

"You too, lady."

Furious with how the evening turned out, the druid dug into the pocket of her vest and withdrew the key to her room. Once she had placed it into the palm of the tavern owner, his toned quieted some and he said to her "Now you best clear out of Booty Bay. We don't want trouble makers around here. Don't even think about sneaking on back, either."

With a scowl planted firmly on her face, Kelebek snatched up her pack and cloak from where they lay hidden under the table. It wasn't until after she had walked out into the night that the two goblins wielding guns lowered their weapons and the chatter started back up once more in the tavern.

Having no other alternative, she hid in the shadows of the little port town until the next ship arrived in the morning. She managed slip on board without being noticed, and in secrecy she made her way back to Kalimdor.


Three years had passed since that night, but seeing Ratchet and that vast body of water on the horizon brought it all back. The irritation, the humility, the fact that goblins have long-lived memories and kept the members of their cartels well informed. For three years she had to tread carefully whenever she meandered into a goblin city and more often than not ended up in a fight for her own pelt against the locals once they recognized her.

She let out a sigh and shielded her eyes from the morning sun's rays. No boat in port, she noted. This was a good sign for her, as it meant that the next ship due would be arriving later in the day and probably wouldn't head out again until morning. This allowed her the best chance at stowing herself away on the boat. The delay also meant that she had some time to gather supplies. The trip took a few days, and while she could in theory swipe some food while on board, it was extremely risky. Steal from a goblin and have them find out about it, you were as good as dead.

The druids supplies had been waning. The rabbit in her pack wouldn't last through the hot day, her water skin was bone dry, her rations of dried berries and the like had long since been consumed. She knew of an oasis just to the west of Ratchet, so despite her weary muscles and the rising heat of the day, she headed in that direction.

The sun was high in the sky by the time she reached the leafy shade of the oasis. Little clouds of bugs buzzed lazily in the air; various species of game drank deeply from the watering hole.

Cautiously she made her way to the water's edge. Assured that a croc wasn't about to leap out of the shallows at her, the druid drank deeply. Thanks to the rains from the night before, the water seemed fresh. Once her thirst had been slaked, she filled her water skin. Only then did she sit town with her back against a tree to take an inventory as to what the oasis had to offer.

Her keen eyes spotted several items that would be of use to her. Mushrooms, various sorts of herbs, and a few different varieties of berries could be seen. A few gazelle and zhevra mozied about nibbling the lush grass found around the pool.

She immediately discarded the idea of taking meat or fish with her. She didn't have the proper time to prepare it and with the heat of the Barrens, it'd be spoiled before nightfall. Not to mention, the scent of procured meat could potentially attract rats on the ship. Not that she completely minded the thought of that, as the rats both kept her fed and in good company during previous voyages. Still, it was better not to draw any extra attention to her hiding place.

Exhausted, she set to the task of picking mushrooms and berries. There were several species of each, many of which were toxic. Luckily Taloris had taught her well in not only the ways of the druid, but in the ways of nature. Identifying what was food and what was poison was easy for her. While she was at it, she also picked a few herbs, for both flavoring and for health.

The sun beat down through the canopy without remorse. As she foraged through the underbrush, she took large swigs from her water pouch. It seemed to her that working in the daylight caused her to sweat faster than she could drink. I'll rest here against this tree for just a moment, she thought. Within minutes, her eyes drooped and her head nodded.

By the time she came around, the sun was already perched on the horizon. She swore, startling a small herd of zhevra that were grazing nearby. Kelebek checked her pack, relieved to find that the items she had gathered earlier hadn't been spoiled or attacked by bugs while she slept. Quickly she moved over to the edge of the pool, topped off her water skin, scooped out a bit of water with her hand to wet her throat, and began her run back to Ratchet.


The bells of Ratchet were sounding, announcing the arrival of the latest ship. The night air was rapidly cooling and the moon was peaking over the horizon, fat and bright. Goblins were scurrying across the torch-lit docks, unloading various cargo and reloading the ship with supplies. As they went about their business, several passengers deboarded.

From her perch on one of the nearby shadowy hills, could make out the passengers as they came ashore. Curious and with nothing better to pass the time with, she watched them.

First came a gnome, strawberry colored hair laying fluffy and free around her shoulders. In one hand she held a scepter, the other held the reins of a skittish looking palomino pony.

Next came a pair of draenei, both dark of skin and hair. In their arms they carried what appeared to be heavy plate mail. They resembled one another, siblings or some other close relation, though the female had an unnatural blue glow to her alien eyes. While she couldn't be completely sure due to the distance between herself and the two draenei, Kelebek thought they looked vaguely familiar. Unable to pin down their identities though, she took note of the rest of the passengers.

A dark haired dwarf with a great black beard walked along the dock with a tall, pale skinned draenei female; the pair appeared to be deep in conversation. They both carried heavy packs, but seemed to be in high spirits despite the obvious weight of their travelling packs.

Preoccupied and looking thoroughly lost in thought, a white haired night elf came ashore by a giant ginger panther. His pack seemed to be weighed down, scrolls poked up through the top flap and were stuffed into its pockets.

Last came a blood elf male, with his long blonde hair cascaded well to the middle of his back and a sneer of disgust planted firmly on his handsome face. He too lead a steed across the docks, though unlike the gnome's pony, this was a horse of an exotic breed. The body was black as coal, though its hindquarters were dappled with the same creamy blonde that made up its flowing main and tail, which in turn nearly matched the shade of its owners locks. The lower sections of the beast's legs were also feathered with the same blonde hair. Its nostrils flared and it tossed its delicate head back, willfully and spirited. A fire could be seen in the eyes of the gorgeous animal, even from the distance that the druid was at.

Kelebek was intrigued by the blood elf and his steed. The man walked with an air of importance and was dressed in luxurious black robes with a rich black cape to match. The horse was wearing a fine black saddle blanket with a soft leather saddle placed on top, and a delicate bridel that had black tassels dangling from it was buckled around the fine features of the creature's face. It was rather obvious that this elf was not someone who was short on gold coin.

"Who are you, and what are you doing in a place like this now?" the druid thought quietly to herself. Generally those of wealth could afford the services of a mage to quickly get them from place to place.

As she watched the blood elf walk into the night in the general direction of Ratchet's only hotel, a commotion by the docks brought her attention back to the area. Supply-laden goblins, eager to empty their hands onto the ship, were yelling up a storm. Their complaints were directed at a diminutive orc, nobby in the legs and having a hunch in his spine, was coaxing an elderly looking mule down the ramp of the ship and towards the direction of land. The mule was pulling a cart, while nothing terribly fancy as far as carts go, was in meticulous repair. It appeared that the cart was stuffed with expensive looking luggage crates, carpets, and a large canvas bundle that the druid took to be a rather large tent. The old animal was slow to move, and the cart was wide enough to make traffic to and from the ship nearly stop.

The orc, while small for his race but still twice as tall as the majority of the goblins, began to snarl back at those who were yelling at him. She couldn't make out the words being exchanged from where she sat, but she could see that the commotion was distracting the majority of the deckhands and the nearby town guards. She smiled, silently thanking Elune and the little orc for providing an opening for her to sneak onto the ship.

On silent feet she crept towards the little town. The druid kept herself behind bushes and buildings as much as she could, and always kept herself in the shadows. To be less noticeable, she remained in her elf form and had wrapped up her long, white hair into a dark green scarf. Her eyes remained downcast so as to not accidentally reflect any light, as the eyes of the night elves often did, and her ears strained for anything that may mean trouble for her.

She could still hear the argument going on when she silently slipped into the water. Making almost no sound, she began to swim towards the portside of the ship. There she would be safe from the lights of the dock torches, as it wasn't the side moored up to the dock itself. The druid kept her face low in the water; had anyone bothered to look in her direction, she may have appeared to be a very small, pale bit of flotsam floating in the moonlight.

It took several long, tense minutes worth of swimming before she reached the side of the big ship. Thanks to its odd design, the boat had several ridges along the sides that could serve as handholds. Kelebek had to adjust her grip a few times, for the ridge along the water line was a bit slippery with algae, before pulling herself up and out of the water.

Kelebek stopped just shy of the nearest porthole and listened; the last thing she wanted to do was peek in and have the moon silhouette her in the window, showing off her presence to whoever may be in the hold. What she heard was the muffled sound of boots on wood, and two goblin voices.

"Now Gazin, did ya boys remember to grab me the basil this time?" said a woman's voice.

"Yes Cookie, we got ya your damn basil." croaked a male goblin.

"Don't you go gettin' touchy with me now. If you expect us to keep our passengers happy, they need a few more flavors on their tongue than salted fish."

"Wasted gold, if ya ask me."

"Takes gold to make gold, sweets. Keep 'em fat and happy on the voyage, they'll likely travel our way again."

Gazin grumbled. "Yeah yeah..."

There was the creak of steps and the voices of Gazin and Cookie faded away from the druid's ears. She waited a few beats and finally heard the door to the bottom hold slam shut. After a few more moments she deemed it safe enough to peek into the porthole. Seeing no one around, she slid her thin frame through the hole, gently rolling onto the floor as she entered the ship.

Her eyes scanned the hold, mentally marking the placement of the cargo. Thankfully the ship that had arrived that evening was an older one, so she wouldn't have to rely too heavily on the cargo itself for her safety. Instead, she set out to find one of the ship's many hidden compartments. Generally such compartments weren't needed, unless someone had paid the goblins a rather heavy sack of gold, which in that case the goblins were always more than happy to smuggle something across the seas.

After having found several of the compartments, she decided that this time around her ride was not taking part in a smuggling operation. For that she was thankful. What it meant was that she could hide safely, without fear of either someone needing to stow something in her chosen hiding place, or in the event that the ship was searched, being discovered by both the law and the goblins themselves.

Finally she came across a tiny hidden chamber behind the steps. It was large enough that she could sit upright, though she'd need to keep her knees up. If she curled tightly into a ball, she could perhaps lay down, but either position would leave her legs feeling cramped. The druid wasn't looking forward to several days out at see with such hiding conditions, but it couldn't be helped for she was running out of time.

As the morning's light started to seep through the ship's various portholes, the bells of Ratchet clanged once again. While the goblins began their ritual of casting off into the see, a druid settled in for a long, cramped ride.

June 10, 2012


Taloris winced as a young Druid of the Talon wrapped his broken skin with fresh bandages. Long gashes raked down the old druid's right side; his arm mangled so badly that it was a wonder that any meat still existed on the bone. The young druidess tugged on the bandages some more with her tiny, deft hands, ensuring that they were tight enough and would not slip as Taloris moved about.

He studied the other druid's face, trying to give himself something to focus on while she jerked about his tender flesh. She was small, her body resembling the shape of a blade of grass. Violet skin covered her thin frame; short, raven black hair that seemed to shift colors in the light framed her angular face in a disheveled manor. Two crows had been inked darkly onto her face, beaks facing her nose while their wings drifted down her high cheek bones. Her eyes had a piercing gaze that did not remain on one target for long, her mouth was small and sharp. In his mind Taloris thought that she may have been attractive, had he been so much younger and she one of the wood instead of one of the sky.

"Nadiena, leave us," commanded a thin and gravely voice. The druid did as she was told, melting into the shadows of the woods surrounding the camp.

"It is ever the ill omen when I hear your voice, Greywind." Taloris' own voice felt as if it had been torn out of his throat, scraped upon the rocks of an ocean shore, and roughly shoved back into place.

Tobias Greywind let a short caw of a laugh escape from his thin lips. "Our paths do only seem to cross during the storms of history, do they not?" The ancient Talon shuffled his way over to the camp fire with a hunched back and a cane in hand. His dull, beady eyes scanned Taloris from head to foot. "You seemed to have had fairer winds, my old friend."

"Your eyes grow weak, yet you still see the truth of things." The old druid drew a sharp breath as he shifted positions. "There have indeed been better days for me, but I fear this isn't the worst of it. I'm sure your crows have already informed you of how bad the infestation in Felwood has become, so what is it that you wish to speak to me about?"

Greywind lifted his eyes to the sky, watching one of the moons as she passed above the trees surrounding their camp. "Even the Grove of the Ancients seem sick with poison these days." He turned his lined face towards Taloris, addressing him directly. "My scouts have reported a thicker infestation of demons in Feralas than the likes of Azeroth have ever seen. They have also brought word of other heartbreaking events from other corners of the globe." Tobias let out a dry, hacking cough. "The plague now spreads its green tendrils from Silvermoon to the Wetlands, the Maelstrom grows ever more unstable with every passing moon tide, wars are escalating between the Horde and the Alliance, and within the Horde itself, and Darnassus fell within this very week. These are dark times, old friend. The winds grow fierce."

Moments passed in silence as Taloris stared at the flames as they licked the dry timber in the pit, lost in thought.

"Tell me about Darnassus."

"In the hours before the sun rose, a pack of dragons made its way into the city. Vile, undead things, with bleeding eyes and sagging, dead skin. The survivors say that much of the city was burned and destroyed by a lone onyx dragon, made blind by arrows. What parts of the city survived that particular dragon's onslaught was said to have been destroyed soon after by several of its smaller companions. Reanimated drakes were with them as well, and it's said that they gave chase to the survivors. They were slow, clumsy things, but felt no pain and gave no cries when they were stabbed through and had limbs hacked off. Many were missing limbs to start with. A gruesome mess they left."

"The survivors..."

"Of that, there were few. Some managed to take flight on a hippogryph, though many of those were taken down by the flying dead. Others managed to slip from the city's walls and disappeared into the forest of Teldrassil. Most were not so lucky though."

"My young apprentice, by the name of Kelebek Swiftclaw, was supposed to be there. Have your crows any word of her?"

"I thought that you may inquire about your little pet." Tobias let out his crow-ish laugh once more. "She seems to have gained a companion, or at least had one. A stone drake. A great thing he was, too."


"It was but a day ago that one of my scouts in Feralas found the corpse of a giant stone drake, half turned back to mud. It appeared as if someone had bedded near him at some point, but with the snow and rains these past few days, it was hard to say for certain."

"What are the probabilities that this is the same drake that Kelebek was thought to be traveling with?"

"You know as well as I that stone drakes rarely move from their earthly realms. Open skies do not suit them at all. Dirt snakes with claws; unworthy of wings if you ask me. We are nearly certain that the corpse is one in the same as your Kelebek's companion."

"And they have not yet found her?"

"Even as fast as the storm crow flies, we would not know if they had just found her right this minute. As of the after the fall of Darnassus, she lives. Her body was not found with the stone drake's, so we must assume that she is alive and on the move. Now, if there aren't any more questions, I have a few of my own."

The old druid went through the laborious process of seating himself on a log to Taloris' left. Several minutes of grunts and creaking joints passed before Tobias was finally seated upon his perch. From the side, Tobias's deep wrinkles stood out in high relief from the fire's light. His long, grey hair hung in thin, loose strands about his face and ears; the last few inches of his beard curled up on the dirt.

Greywind rested his chin on his hands, which in turn rested on the top of his gnarled cane. "Why Felwood? It's but an infected forest, one that's far too tainted for on old bear to cleanse. Why the girl? She's nothing but an orphan, with unknown lineage and that thus far has shown no particular promise of skill. Why these fruitless endeavors, old man? Is age taking your mind as it's taking my physical prowess?" The old Talon cawing laughter filled the air once again. "You've never seemed to be a fool, Galesong. Explain yourself."

"I answer to no man, least of all you Greywind." Taloris straightened out his back, sitting taller upon his log. "However, I'll at least give a nod to your inquiries.

"One man may not be able to save a forest alone, but his aid is better than none. As for the child, even the orphans deserve guidance. Why I chose to take her on personally are reasons of my own that I shall not share at this fire."

"Riddles are but corn to a crow."

"Then let me leave you with yet another, old friend." The old druid pushed himself up into a standing position and faced the old Talon. "But first I must thank you for the help of your flock, and announce that I must be going."

"So soon? I grow weary of traveling with a flock where my bones creek the loudest."

"I must, for does a bear not shit in the woods alone?"

The night winds were filled with Greywind's cawing laughter as Taloris turned his back to the fire and wandered off into the woods of Darkshore.

March 23, 2012


On and on they flew, through dark grey skies that continued to pelt them with icy guests. Fat, wet snow flakes whirled around the stone drake and Night Elf, obscuring vision and chilling the pair to their bones.

After several hours of miserable flying conditions, Kelebek gave herself up to a daze-like open eyed slumber. Her teeth clacked quietly from the shivers that wracked her body, thin sheets of ice clung around her eyes, and trails of frozen mucus streamed from her nose; she no longer noticed any of it, so great was her misery. The druid's gloved hands had long since painfully frozen into the clawed, clutching shape that they had formed when she gripped Aeornoss's neck spike so many hours ago. Part of her knew that it would be more painful to cease holding onto the drake than it would to continue on, though the rest of her conscious no longer cared.

Despite his wounds and the blood-freezing capabilities of the wind, the drake soared on.

Hours turned into half a day, which eventually turned into evening. The druid was subconsciously aware of the drake's flagging strength, but he continued to flap his wings, gliding and feebly trying to keep his altitude. His half-hearted attempts seemed to be in vain though, for with bit of distance they covered, the ground seemed to be growing closer and closer.

Aeornoss and Kelebek had just crossed the northern boarder of Feralas when the drake's remaining energy finally failed him. Together they crashed to the ground; the drake's legs and wings crumpled below him as his weight displaced the soil, which had only been lightly dusted by hard, minute snowflakes. The druid tumbled into a frozen heap not far from her companion's still body, unable and unaware of the fall.


At dusk the clouds finally broke away enough for the sun to shed its dying rays on the woods of Feralas. The wind had ceased its angry howls and gusts, the snow gave up its unrelenting fall. Dying rays of light danced upon the frost-kissed leaves of a forest that rarely saw conditions that caused frozen water to fall from the sky. In the distance a lone bird chirped, angry that a worm it had wanted for dinner was frozen to the ground, thus unsuitable for consumption.

With a groan, Kelebek awoke from her stupor. Her face burned, her whole body ached from stiffness and bruising. Despite the chilly air, she was sweating. Shivers vibrated the little druid's body to her very core, causing violent spasms in her already aching muscles.

She moaned again as she forced her left arm to work. Gingerly she raised her hand up to her head, gently prodding the back of her skull. What she found there was a massive lump, crusty from mud and ice. It also felt slightly damp, which upon observing her hand she discovered blood. Kelebek winced as another violent spasm of fever chills raced through her body, forcing her to fight a wave of nausea. Tears silently streamed down her face from both fright and misery.

After several moments of laying on the ground in a perfectly still fashion, the wave of nausea and chills passed. Weakly the druid called out for Aeornoss.

There was no answer.

Kelebek rolled onto her back with monumental effort, so that she could roll her head, which felt like a hot boulder, towards the drake.

"Aeornoss...?" Again, no response from the stone drake's giant form. She tried to force herself to be heard, but her voice would not emit a sound louder than a cracked, weak whisper. "Aeornoss?!"

She rolled over onto her left side so that she could see the drake properly. He was laying on his right wing, which had been crushed to a seemingly painful angle. His left wing lay draped over his body, covering much of him as if it was a blanket. Three of his legs lay casually sprawled out, while his front right leg was obviously broken. His neck was stretched out before his body, throat covered in mud from where it had slid across the ground. The drake's tail lay curved up at an odd angle, as if he had arched it above his body had he been standing. Over all the stone drake was not fallen into a natural position, nor did it seem that he had tried to correct it since the fall.

Panicked, Kelebek rolled onto her belly, fighting back the chills and the urge to be sick. Somehow she managed to force her arms to work, and slowly pulled her body over to Aeornoss' side. She put her hand on the drake's unbroken forefoot.

"Aeornoss?" Gently she shook the drake's scaly foot. "Aeornoss, wake up. Please wake up." Her voice cracked; still she could not utter more than a whisper. "We crashed Aeornoss, you have to wake up." Still the drake wouldn't move.

The little druid whimpered as a possible realization sunk in. She didn't have long to dwell on the subject though, for a fresh wave of fever coursed through her, hot and fierce. The fever took the druid back into the realm of unconsciousness, where she remained until morning.


The next day came in a severely bright fashion. Sun rays cheerfully burned into Kelebek's eyes, assaulting her tender retinas. Her skin still felt hot and clammy, but the worst of the fever chills seemed to have passed. Groggily she looked around, and slowly the previous night came back to her.

With a start she looked at the drake behind her. Aeornoss still hadn't moved from the position she discovered him in the night before. His usual green and slate colored hide seemed to have adopted a dull grey color.

"No..." Kelebek choked back a sob. A single, thick tear burned its way down the druid's face. "Oh, Aeornoss..."

Silently she grieved for a few moments, and then the rest of the previous day's events came rushing back to her. Instantly she was filled with a sense of panic.

Did they follow me? she wondered. She scanned the skies, looking for any sign of dragons. With senses that were painfully sharp, she did her best to listen to the woods around her. While she didn't hear any threatening noises around her, Kelebek felt a strong, panicky urge to move on.

Hesitation conflicted heavily with her urge to flee. The druid didn't want to simply leave the drake as he was, but he was far too immense for her to do anything for him. In the end she decided that it was probably for the best that he was left to the elements, for he and they were a part of one in the same.

Kelebek laid a gloved hand on the face of the drake. "Elune'Adore, Aeornoss." Elune be with you, Aeornoss.

Regretfully the druid shifted into her cat form, the growth of her fur was made painful by the fever, and began her journey south. After a few hundred paces she looked back on the drake, who seemed to have taken on the shape of a solid stone boulder. She let out a small, catty moan in mourning, then forced her aching muscles into a half lope. Soon the drake was nothing more than a memory on the unmarked road of an unknown quest.


Kelebek continued to move on for many hours, until she could no longer stand the parched feeling in her mouth nor suffer the hot feeling of her flesh. Once again the chills had taken over her body, causing violent spasms beneath her white fur. Her head felt like a delicately boiled egg: fragile, hot, and ready to burst at the faintest touch. Still Kelebek pushed on, trying to find a suitable place to camp so that her body could recover from its illness in moderate safety.

Eventually she stumbled upon a stream, which pooled into a little pond. The water was cool and crisp, freshly fed from the nearby hills which had been laden with show. Gratefully she plunged her catty face into the clear liquid, relishing in the chilly feeling that swept over her wind burned and fever stricken face. Slowly she pulled her head from the water, feeling the streams that left her face quickly heating up to the abnormally warm temperature of her body. Tenderly she shook the droplets of water from her face, then took to the task of sipping the ice cold substance.

She was careful not to consume too much water too fast, for the last thing she wanted was for her stomach to reject a vital substance. Once she felt that she had enough for the time being, she did little other than walk a slight distance from the water's edge and laid down. Sleep quickly took her over.


The sound of water dripping was the first thing the druid heard when she next awoke. She groaned quietly as she tried to lift her weary head from the grass covered stone bed that she found herself on. Startled by the change in sleeping environment, and by the fact that she was now in her night elf form, Kelebek sat up with a jerk. The little cave swayed in her vision, but she refused to let the temporary distortion bother her. Her eyes darted around, quickly resting on the figure sitting opposite of the cave's only source of light: a little campfire.

The troll stood and smiled at the druid. Her long white hair was braided loosely and hung about her shoulders; her green skin was pale from lack of sunlight and wrinkled around her eyes and lips. She was tall and held herself proudly, seemingly unaffected by her apparent age. The troll spread her arms in a friendly gesture and addressed the druid.

"It's about time ya be wakin' up child. I was beginning ta worry that da dream would be holdin' ya for all time." She continued to beam at Kelebek as she clasped her hands together, her greeting finished.

"Where am I? How did I get here?"

"Ya be safe, child. No harm can come to ya when you're wit old Witta. Da where and how is not important here, oh no. It is the why that you should be askin' about."

Kelebek eyed Witta warily. "Why am I here then?"

"Ah, so glad ya asked!" Witta cackled. "Isn't that alwyas the question though? 'Why am I here?' 'Who be I?' 'What be my purpose?' Doesn't matta how old or wise we get, we still be askin' da same questions." Witta's amber colored eyes bore Kelebek's milky white ones with a knowing look. "Ya be here to learn all deese tings and more, child."

"I...I'm afraid I don't follow." Confusion etched itself deeply into the druid's furrowed brow.

"For what are you in the forests of Feralas for, child? What be your purpose for comin' here?"

"I was told I could find someone in the highlands, someone that might have the answers to my questions."

"Mhmm..." Witta crossed her arms and began to slowly walk around the little fire, eyes fixed on the flames as they danced and crackled on the burning timber. "And dose questions...what makes ya tink dat dey can be answered by some hermit woman of da hills?"

"I really don't know. It was a long shot, but it was more of an idea than what I had. It was a chance I had to take, but when you mention it that way, this whole trip seems foolish."

"Foolish why? Because it was a hope on a wing? Because it cost ya your friend's life?" Witta stopped on the opposite side of the fire and looked at Kelebek over the flames, eyebrows high on her face and mouth serious. "It woulda been more foolish for you to stay dere." The troll walked around the fire and over to the druid. "Hope is never foolish, child. Never forget dat. Hope keeps ya good; hope keeps ya sane."

The old woman knelt before Kelebek and placed a warm, callused - yet soft - hand upon the druid's arm. "Aeornoss had a duty to do, and he did what he had to do."

At the mention of the drake's name, Kelebek raised an alarmed eyebrow but said nothing.

"He was a how and holds his own secrets. His whys will be answered when da time becomes ripe, but for now it is enough dat he did not die in vain. You are not dead, no child, far from it." Witta stood and began to pace around the little cave slowly, almost keeping with the steady sound of the unseen dripping water.

Kelebek was still extremely confused. "I still don't understand why I'm here though.

"Ya be here to find answers, are ya not?" The troll's face remained serious as she asked the question.

"Yes, but..." Kelebek's mental breakthrough was apparent on her face as things began to get a bit clearer.

"Ah, now ya be gettin' it."

"You're the crone of the highlands."

The old woman smiled. "Is dat what dey be callin' old Witta deese days..."

A slurry of questions bounced around in the druid's fever-battered mind, each one fighting to be the first uttered from her lips. She took a moment to form her thoughts, then started her inquires.

"How did you know about Aeornoss?"

"I know of many tings."

The troll continued to pace around, face passive but listening as the onslaught of questions began.

"Did you know that I was coming?"



"As I said, I know many tings."

"Did you know that Darnassus would be attacked?"


"And you didn't try to stop it?"


"But hundreds of thousands of people are now dead or injured, Aeornoss is one of them! The rest of my friends could be dead or dying as well! How could you not try and stop it from happening? Why couldn't you warn them?"

"Witta only mettles where people allow her to. Dere may be peace between da Alliance and da Horde for da moment, but da runs deepa den da abyss. No, da Alliance would not listen to an old troll like me."

"You wouldn't even try?"

"No, it is not my place to mettle wit the flow of time and destiny."

"So some people are destined to die."

"Oh yes child. Sometimes sorrow paves da way to happiness. It is as necessary as de air."

While Kelebek remained unhappy about the answer, she didn't push the topic further.

"Can you tell me about my family?"

"No child."

"Is it because you don't know, or because you won't tell me?"

"If I told ya your secrets, ya wouldn't believe me anyways. Ya must find your answers in your own time, in your own way."

"How do I find them?"

"Ya search. Ya ask questions. Ya keep your eyes and ears open."

"That doesn't help me! I don't know where to look. You know the answers, at least tell me where to start looking for them!"

The troll's face became blank and passive. "Careful child, Witta owes you notting. Ya must be careful and not be willing to believe everyting dat you hear, even from old Witta." She crossed her arms again, looked down at the cave's stoney floor, kicked around a little pebble with one of her big toes, then looked back to the druid. "Ya must travel to da Eastern Kingdoms. Travel nort'east from here and find da goblin port city called Rachet. Sneak in by night, 'cause da goblins be known' about ya and dey don't care for ya. Slip onto da ship, it'll take ya to Booty Bay. Slip out of da little city as quickly as possible, 'cause dem goblins, dey talk. Da bruisers of Booty Bay are worse dan da ones in Rachet, so be careful. Head nort' until you find yourself in Elwynn Forest. Poke around in da little villages in dat forest. In time, a mighty warrior will let herself be known to ya. She has some of de answers you seek."

"You say that I shouldn't trust you, yet you're suggesting that I travel half way across the world in the hopes that I'll find some warrior that will give me some answers. Why should I take your advice?"

"Ahhh, now ya be learnin'. Witta gives you a choice: ya take her advice or ya wander until ya find what you're lookin' for by chance. Ask your gut. Always listen to your gut!"

"If I don't know anything though, how can I go with my gut?"

Witta walked over to the druid, touching her forehead with a thick, calloused finger. "Because child, all de answers, dey already be in your head."


Kelebek woke up in the damp grasses next to the pond where she had bedded. Cold, persistent drizzle soaked her white fur. She looked around, confused as to how she had left the cave.

She heard a soft, cackling laugh. It's all in your head, child...

The druid smiled to herself, knowing what and where she was going next. She shook the water from her fur and began her journey once more.

January 29, 2012

Fireside Stories and Snow Storms

The night had begun to turn dark as Kelebek made her way across the city. As she moved her way down the empty, cobble-stoned streets of Darnassus, the snow began to fall faster. Heavy, wet flakes were falling thickly from the sky and stuck to the druid's long hair. The heat that her body created caused the flakes to melt, soaking through her leather gear. She moved with haste across the city not only because of her urgent visit to her employer, but out of need to get out of the weather.

Cold and wet, she finally arrived at the little house belonging to Mandy and Jimmy Bremsworth. Snow covered the little stoop and candle light flickered through the frost tinted windows. Kelebek knocked on the heavy door with three quick, light raps.

It was Jimmy who answered the door. The sleeves of his plaid, dark green shirt were rolled up to his elbows, his dark hair was slicked back. He grunted a greeting and gestured the druid in with one of his big hands, motioning her over to the kitchen area where Mandy was working the giant black pot that sat over the fire.

Mandy's russet hair was piled into a bun at the crown of her head, nearly looking brown from the sweat that poured from the woman's skin and from the house's poor lighting. She looked up from the pot, wiped her face on a cloth, and smiled at the druid. "Kelebek love, I'm glad you've gotten my message. Come sit a bit by the fire, you look chilled."

The druid did as she was told and took occupancy of a chair near the fire. It was all she could do not to physically purr as she stretched out her frozen feet to the hearth. "What news, Mandy? Who is this Natalie that sent me this message?"

"I have news and gossip plenty for you, which we'll get to in time. As for Natalie..." Mandy handed the druid a hot bowl of soup and a lump of hard bread with a bit of wine. "that would be my sister. She's one of the few rare Gilneans that have managed to earn their trust with the elven nobility or what have you around here. I knew that if anyone was to catch scent of any scrap of news that slipped passed remember me big brother the barkeep, don't you? Well, if any bit of gossip slipped passed him and it was important enough, I knew that Natty would find it out quick enough." The Gilnean woman didn't miss the involuntary flinch that Kelebek had at the mention of the bar. "Oh, there's word of that too, but we'll get to that as well in time."

"Wait...word of what?"

"Your pal Dax Grey that is." Another shutter passed through the druid that she was unable to suppress. Kelebek took a heavy swig from her wine glass.

"Don't be gettin' yourself too drunk now, Miss Bek. We have plenty to chat about tonight and you have a long ride ahead of you tomorrow, if I have my facts and notions set straight. Can't have you piss drunk, too much to talk about for you not to remember anything. Give me just a moment to finish boiling these leathers and we can get on with it."

She sat quietly, finishing her meal as Mandy fussed with the leathers in her pot. When she had consumed everything that had been handed to her, the druid washed up her wooden bowl in the little basin that was kept in the kitchen, dried it with a rough towel, and placed it back into the cupboard that held similar utensils. By the time she was finished with the minor chore, Mandy was getting ready to pull her leathers from the pot. "Bek, be a dear and fetch Jimmy, will you? We need to get this leather molded before it cools too much."

Once Jimmy had been fetched the three of them set to work on stretching and setting the leather pieces, soon to be leather armor. Quickly and silently they worked the leather, turning the pieces into bracers, elbow pads, and leg guards...simple items that could later be stitched into larger sets of gear for extra protection. For an hour they worked together with nothing but the sound of tools working and the fire crackling. Finally Mandy declared their work to be finished and set her husband to the task of placing the various pieces onto pegs and shelves that would help them dry properly while ensuring that the leathers kept their shape.

Visibly exhausted, Mandy mopped her face with a soft cloth and pushed the wild strands of hair from her face with a sigh. Once again she motioned Kelebek to a seat by the fire, fetched a warm glass of wine for the both of them, and settled into the other chair that was set by the hearth. Together they sat for a bit watching the flames dance over the logs as they sipped their beverages and relaxed their tired muscles. Several moments passed in quiet relaxation, but then Kelebek's anxiousness got the best of her.

"So what was it that you wanted to see me about? The letter said that you were worried about me."

Mandy sipped a bit more wine before replying. "Mmm, right. Well, you were in such a state when you left that I wanted to see you with my own eyes before you took off. You seemed a bit recovered from your ordeal, which is good. I couldn't have let you gone off to some far fetched region in the state that you were in."

"What makes you think you could have stopped me from leaving?"

"I would have had Jimmy rope you in or some such. Don't give me such a look. You may have not been under my employment long, Miss Kelebek, but you've already become dear to Jimmy and me. Not to mention Arthur feels awful about that whole Dax thing." Again the druid flinched ever so slightly. "Speaking of, have you heard the news?"

"What news?"

"Ol' Daxy was found bled out in his cell shortly after you'd left town."

The color drained from the druid's face. "I'm not suspected, am I?"

"Oh, no love. He was green from the poisons and the deed had obviously been done with a rather nasty dagger." Mandy chuckled softly to herself and smiled at the druid over her wine glass. "From the sounds of it you had done a rather bang up job on Daxy's manhood though. Between you and this mystery assassin, Dax looked like one of those mummy creatures you hear about down in Uldum. He was nothing but a mass of bandages when they put him in a crate and tossed him into his grave. Needless to say, you haven't anything more to fear from Dax Grey, love. I don't think even the Dark Lady would be claiming him for her army of undead."

She set her now empty wine glass down on the table that sat between her and the druid, and turned her full attention to Kelebek. "Now, I've been hearing tales of you poking about for information on your family. What exactly is this all about? Why do you think that my sister is sending you off on some wild chase to find some old hag in the hills of Feralas?"

Kelebek then proceeded to tell Mandy what she had told few others. She retold Mandy about her memory loss, the violent dreams that seemed to always have too little detail, how she often woke up with the name 'Kiya' on her lips but couldn't recall who that was. "I don't remember what happened or even why it happened. I can't bring up the names of my family or images of their faces from my memory. I try and I try, but nothing ever appears. I was found by the druid Taloris. I was wandering in the woods not far from a decimated village in the northern parts of the Eastern Kingdoms as an older child, the side of my head gashed open and I had no memory of who or where I was. I want to find out what happened to that village because no one really knows, or won't say anything if they do know. I need to find out if any of my family made it out. I need to know who they were. I need to know who I am." The druid was trying hard not to give into her frustrations, so she took another swig of her wine.

The Gilnean women took everything the druid said as a fact and statement. She offered no pity, but instead wished to offer any help she could. "What is it that you've discovered so far?"

Another sip of wine before she responded. "Not much I'm afraid. I'm not even certain of the name of the village. It was far to small to show up on any map that is printed to the masses, so all I have to go by is the location and 'that one little village that was mysteriously razed for unknown reasons.' If folks do know what happened there, they pretend not to."

Several moments passed as the women sat in silence once more. The fire was burning down to embers and Jimmy could be heard snoring in some corner of the house. "Tell me, this Taloris...he raised you, yes?"


"He found you near the village and raised you. Does he know nothing of what happened?"

"He knows of the event surrounding the demise of my village, but he doesn't know the details of what happens...or at least he won't speak of them. He claims to have not known my family, which really doesn't surprise me any. Tal isn't a creature of socialization. He prefers to stay to the woods, to teach his rare student, and to perhaps join in the occasional war if he feels that it suits his needs or beliefs. He has said that the night that village was burned, the sky had turned a violent shade of purple. A deafening roar was all that could be heard, even from the woods where he made his den. He remembers waking up in the middle of the forest to the cry of a cry. The din caused by the sound of whatever attacked that village was so great that it caused him to fall to the ground where he stood. He recalled awakening to the air smelling of sulfur, the surrounding skies were green with the fel fires that burned what was remaining of my village. He took me to the nearest shore, found us a passage to Kalimdor, and we've lived here since. He refuses to speak about any other detail that he may know of the event, so I am left to find the clues on my own."

"Demons in the Eastern Kingdoms? I have heard of the scourge and of course the horror stories of my people, but never of demons!" Mandy got up from her seat and topped both of the glasses off with more wine.

"I really wouldn't know. I haven't been back to the Eastern Kingdoms since I was a kitten. I know of the demons on Kalimdor plenty, even heard tale of the old wars on Draenor, but my history lessons of the Eastern Kingdoms are lacking."

Mandy set her wine cup down and walked over to a little bookshelf set under a rickety set of stairs. By the dim light she managed to pick out a small but thick volume. "Her lass, you can borrow this for a bit." She handed the book over to the druid.

"A History of Azeroth's People and Politics."

"Aye. That details just about every war Azeroth has seen and the politics of her people. You may not see every little demon invasion listed in there, but it will at least give you a good idea of the cultures you may come across. From the sounds of it you'll be traveling a might bit, so there may be some handy knowledge in that book for you."

Kelebek looked tiredly at Mandy and then tucked the book into one of the many pockets hidden on her gear. "Thank you, I'll read it as soon as I can."

"No matter love. Now..." The Gilnean women walked over to the window and looked outside. "from the sounds of it we'll be getting a bit of snow for the next few days. Think your drake friend will be able to fly through this?" She turned back to the druid as she asked this. "Oh, don't look so surprised that I know about it. The whole city has been a buzz about it since you two came swooping into the temple."

"Well, yes. I suppose he should be able to fly through this weather just fine. He is a stone drake after all."

"A stone drake of all things. I didn't think their kind came out of Deepholm..." Mandy began to dig through a chest that had been pushed up against a wall. "Well, I don't suspect the weather will get much better until you're south of Ashenvale. Take this jacket and cloak. Both are fur, both seem a bit warmer than anything I've seen you wear so far." The druid began to protest. "I won't hear of it. I have finer things to wear if I have to, and I can always make new things. You have to make haste and may not have time to hunt and make anything warm for yourself. Do you have maps?" Kelebek admitted that she didn't. "Well then..." Mandy rooted through another, smaller chest. "here's a map of Kalimdor, another of the Eastern Kingdoms. If for some odd reason you find yourself in the cold continent of Northrend, there is a general map in that book of yours. Most of the pubs have them mounted on a wall somewhere anyways if you need something in more detail. If you end up in that Pandaria land though, I'm afraid you're on your own. Most folk still don't have maps of that place, let alone manage to find their ways there in the first place."

Kelebek sat in her chair, arms now full of supplies. Quietly she stammered thank yous as Mandy continued to add to the pile.

"Have you a satchel? Of course you do, back in your lodging I suppose. Well here, have a smaller one. I hope it fits into your usual pack. There's some bread in this pocket, a spare water skin in this pocket, a few spare herbs here, and you can fit a few more items in this compartment if need be. I even tossed a few extra bandages in there, never know when you may need those." She pushed a few more stray locks out of her face as she tried to think of what else she could hand to the druid. "What else...what else..."


"Yes love?"

Kelebek stood up and gently placed everything onto her seat so that she could grab the other woman by the arms. "This is plenty. Thank you. For everything."

"Are you sure it's enough?" The Gilnean looked worried and tired, if not a bit delirious.

"It's more than plenty. It's more than I could have ever asked for, thank you."

Mandy then did something that Kelebek hadn't expected her to. She hugged the druid. Akwardly, Kelebek returned the embrace.

"Okay then, let's get you suited up and off. You need to be getting back and packing yet, aye?"

The druid gave a little smile and nodded in agreement. She slid on the light brown fur coat (the fur side was in, making the knee length coat incredible soft as well as warm), tied the matching light brown cloak around her neck, slung the satchel of goods over one shoulder, and gathered up the maps. Finally she was ready to head out into the night. Kelebek said a few more thank yous, Mandy kissed the druid's cheeks in farewell, and the white-haired night elf found herself back out in the night of cold and snow.


It was well after midnight by the time Kelebek made it back to her quarters. While the clothing that Mandy had given to her helped immensely, she still found herself to be shivering from the snow melt that had made its way down her neck and into her boots. Carefully she set down her staff, maps, and new satchel onto the floor near the door. She then set about the task of lighting a fire and searching for her gloves. Kelebek slid on the dark brown fingerless gloves and set to work getting together her belongings. 

She rounded up her story book about the little girl and the well, her spare quills, and whatever parchment she had and placed them into her large satchel. All of her tools were returned to her tooling case, likewise to be placed within her satchel. Spare clothing was folded, save for the dress she wore on the day she first went to visit Tyrande. She decided that she didn't have room to spare for such a fine thing and that it was best left behind. Kelebek set the pretty thing aside as she tucked the rest of her belongings into the satchel: a bone comb, the maps Mandy had sent along with her, the history book, and the little satchel of food and supplies all finally made their way into her bag. Satisfied and beginning to warm up, the druid snapped the buckles closed and set the satchel by the door next to her staff.

Her eyes combed over the room, looking for anything that may have been forgotton. Finding nothing, her eyes once again fell upon her dress. Such a lovely thing to let go to waste, she thought to herself. Perhaps I'll send it off to Mandy. Might not be the right size, but she deserves such a fine thing. Mind made up and belongings packed, the druid settled down into her bed one last time and slept for a while.


Kelebek awoke to the sound of screams and the smell of smoke. Her first instinct was to check her own fireplace, which had appeared to have flickered out during the hours of her slumber. Again more screams arose from outside of her little apartment. The little druid raced to the window, seeing nothing but smoke and snow. She raced to where her things were. Luckily she had fallen asleep with her coat and cloak on, so she only had to slip on her pack and grab her staff. Quickly she wrote a note with instructions on where the dress should end up, pinned it to the fabric, and left her room with a audible click of the door.

Darnassus was in a state of chaos. Citizens were running everywhere in panic, the roofs were of the city were smoldering, and all around the blizzard raged in a torrent of flurries. Kelebek slid her way down to the center of the city where the iconic bank built into a tree once stood. The bear-shaped bank was no longer standing in its rightful place; what was left of the building laid aflame in the water, having broken through the ice and sunk to the bottom of the shallow pond. 

In the bank's place stood a large dragon. It looked rather old, with its once onyx-black scales sagging in grey flaps. Blood oozed from its eyes that had been taken out by carefully aimed arrows. Blindly it lashed out at its elven attackers, crushing anyone who wasn't quick enough to dodge the wild swings of claw and tail. Beneath the dragon's feet was a froth of blood, snow, soot, and mangled flesh. As an elven warrior managed to sink his sword into one of the dragon's few soft spots, the beast let out a roar of pain and charged forward, crushing the warrior under its mighty claws and crashing into yet another building. In frustration the creature belched out a large stream of fire, setting several more houses and trees on fire.

Another loud roar was heard coming from this distance. This one though was recognizable. Again the roar came, but it wasn't just a bestial noise; it was someone calling the druid's name. "KELEBEK!!"


The stone drake landed heavily by the temple, one of the few areas large enough in the city for him to safely set himself down. Even from a distance Kelebek could see the blood oozing from the various wounds on the drake's body.

As quickly as the ice allowed her, Kelebek ran to Aeornoss' side. "What happened to you?"

"Dragons. Many...dragons. I was ambushed in the woods by a small one who bragged that an army of corrupted dragons was on its way. They have riders with them. Assassins. We must leave now, Darnassus will fall!"

"We must war..."

"No, we must leave!"

"But what of my friends? I must stay and fight!"

"This isn't your time to fight, little ghost. WE MUST LEAVE NOW!"

Without further question the druid clambered onto the back of the injured drake. Together they rose into the snow filled sky, where the smell of burning flesh and and stench of dragon blood was quickly singed away by the harsh, frosty morning air. Kelebek looked back in time to see a thunder of dragons with their assassin riders do just as Aeornoss predicted. 

That was the night Darnassus fell.

January 14, 2012

The Summons

It took her a moment to process everything. Slowly her fur began to lay back down and she began to chuckle as well.

"Aeornoss, it's been months!" The little druid and the stone drake walked over to each other, meeting on the other side of the little lake. "What news? How are you?"

"I'm...well enough, little one. Yourself?"

The events that took place within the gates of Darnassus flashed before Kelebek's eyes. Quickly she pushed them away.

"Well enough for the moment." She paused for a moment to collect herself. "What brings you here?"

"Looking for you actually. I was expecting to arrive in Darnassus in the morning, can't be flying in at night being a dragon-type after all, when I thought I heard a familiar voice off being carried on the winds. I wasn't sure in which direction it was from, but thought I'd wait by the water to see who would show up. Surprisingly enough it was the one I was looking for."

"Didn't realize you stone drakes heard so well."

"If the elements wish me to hear something, I have no choice but to listen to the sounds brought to me."

At this statement they both smiled at each other and let out a little laugh.

"Now, what brings you outside of the protected sanctuary of Darnassus, little ghost?"

"Well, I..."

A voice called off in the distance. "Miss Kelebek! Kelebek? Where you gone you milady? The meal is getting cold!"

"Cubical! I forgot about him. Aeornoss, come with me please."

Together they walked towards the sound of Cubi's voice. It didn't take them long to walk back to the little clearing that contained the camp fire, at the edge of which the silver haired druid stood. "I was worried your food would get co...oh! You have brought a friend!"

"Yes. Cubical, this is Aeornoss. He was my traveling companion for a short while. Aeornoss, meet my new acquaintance Cubical."

"Hello to you, good sir!" In response the drake bowed his head towards the druid and said a simple hello. A few awkward moments passed. "Well then, I suppose we should get to our meal!"


The meal was accompanied by the sounds of eating and minor chatter. For the most part the event was peaceful, filled with easy pleasantries and what minor bits of gossip they had last heard about. As Kelebek had suspected, the news about the murder of Dax Grey had managed to spread throughout the little island of Teldrassil. She did her best to center herself so she did not flinch when she was asked to report the specifics of the topic ("Well you were in Darnassus when it happened Miss Kelebek, surely you know all the details!"), but thankfully she hardly had to utter a word on the subject. She breathed an inward sigh of relief when their little group was interrupted by yet another new comer.

A young huntress road up to the little group on a great white Nightsaber, her white wolf companion not far in tow. "I'm looking for a druid by the name of Kelebek Swiftclaw. She's believed to be wandering these woods. Have any of you seen her by chance?"

"Depends on who's looking." growled Aeornoss.

"I am Analla, I have been sent by the priestess Tyrande. There has been word about Kelebek's friend, and I have been sent out into the wilds to retrieve her so that Tyrande may relay the information herself."

"I am Kelebek. What news do you know of my friend?"

The youth shook her head; her teal braids hardly jostled. "They didn't give me any specifics to relay. They only told me to tell you that there was news, and that it was important." Analla's grey toned face was rather somber. Her little mouth pursed a bit as she said her next words. "I do know that the Lady Tyrande won't be in Darnassus for much longer, she has pressing matters else where and must leave before nightfall. You'd better hurry back." The huntress readjusted her hands on the reins of her saber and looked to her wolf. "Come pup, we must be getting back if we're to make dinner."

Kelebek watched the huntress ride away. "Cubical, thank you for the lovely meal. I really must be going though."

"It was my pleasure Miss Kelebek." He took her hand and kissed it. "I hope you have a safe journey back to Darnassus."

"Thank you." She turned to the stone drake, "Aeornoss...?"

"I will take you to the temple, child. You will arrive more swiftly on my wings than you will by your paws."

With great haste the little druid scrambled onto the stone drake's back. She motioned a quick farewell to Cubical, then pair were off into the skies.


Aeornoss touched down just outside of the temple itself. There were a few shouts of surprise and many odd stares as the drake settled down onto the marble pavement. Kelebek ignored all of the commotion as she slid off of Aeornoss' back and half ran into the temple.

The only resistance the druid met was a guard as she made way for the ramp that led to the upper balconies of the temple. The guard recognized her and asked her what business brought her to the Temple of the Moon this time.

"Priestess Tyranda has sent for me, by way of a huntress named Analla. I was told that there was an urgent matter at hand."

"Very well, follow me please."

It took a good portion of the druid's willpower to not run past the guard. She did her best to calm herself as the two Night Elves ascended to the upper balconies. The mere minutes that the journey took felt like half an eternity to Kelebek.

"Lady Tyrande, Miss Kelebek Swiftclaw to see you."

"Thank you Ninyne." Tyrande fussed a bit more with the packages in front of her before she turned to the druid. "I'm happy that Analla managed to reach you in time. She's an excellent and swift tracker, but I feared that you would have been harder to find. I hope all is well with you?"

"Well enough, Priestess. I don't mean to be rude, but Analla said that you word regarding Taloris. What news do you have?"

"The good news is that Taloris has been found alive..."

"Oh thank Elune!"

"However, he is not well. He is being delivered to Darnassus within the week. The priestess here in the temple itself will be tending to him until I get back."

"Back? Wait, what is wrong with Taloris?"

"I haven't the time to explain right this moment, child. All I can do is assure you that we will be taking the greatest care possible of him." Tyrande summoned a guard to her side and together the two women gathered up the priestess' traveling bags. Just as they were about to exit the chambers, Tyrande stopped and began to dig around within the folds of her robes. "One last thing Kelebek, one of my advisors heard about your inquiries around the city about your family. She asked me to pass this message along to you." The priestess handed the druid the piece of paper, gave her a quick blessing, and quickly made her way out of the temple.

Dumbfounded Kelebek stood alone in the temple chambers, looking down at the paper in her hands. Tal is ill, I should have stayed! She tried to choke back tears of worry and regret, but a tear slid away and plopped onto the paper before her. Kelebek sniffled a bit, wiped away the wet streak on her face with her sleeve, then proceeded to open the note.

Little Druid,

I have caught wind that you are looking for the answers to your past. I have no evidence of who your family may be, or what happened to you so long ago, however there is an old crone in the highlands of Feralas who I hear is talented in the ways of finding information. She is said to live in one of the many caves in the mountains of the area. However, before you leave Darnassus in search of this crone, I advise you to first seek out your employer. She has been rather worried and would like to see you before you head off.

May Elune guide you in your search,
Advisor Natalie Bremsworth


Kelebek descended the ramp slowly, setting each foot down much more heavily than she would have normally. She was still trying to process all of the information presented to her when she finally reached Aeornoss.

"What news, little ghost?"

"Taloris is alive, but not well. He will arrive in Darnassus in a week's time."

The drake solemnly nodded his stoney head. His eyes were drawn to the white object that the druid was clenching tightly. "What is that in your hand?"

"Information about the task I was on."

"I see. What is your plan?"

"We set off for Feralas in the morning. First though I have a few things to attend to."

"Very well little one. I think I shall wait just outside of the cities walls for you. I don't think these folk take too kindly to my presence."

Kelebek was already walking away from the drake, in the direction of her employer's house when she replied to Aeornoss. "That's fine. I will see you in the morning!"

"Yes. In the morning."

The drake turned himself towards the gates of the city and took to the sky, cold air and snowflakes swirling beneath his stoney wings.

January 4, 2012

The Woods of Teldrassil

By the time Kelebek passed the gates of Darnassus she had only a sliver of moonlight to navigate by. The night air was brisk and just cold enough that each time the druid exhaled she left a little frosty cloud of mist behind. She broke out into a full sprint, paws crunching down on the frost-kissed grass, feeling the knot in her stomach loosen as the pressures of society melt away. The druid smiled her kitty smile as she bounded through the dying under brush of the woods. On a whim she sprang up into a tree, only to have the branch she landed upon break with a loud crack, sending the druid tumbling to the ground. She landed with a thud and had to laugh at herself. Away she bounded again, pouncing on little mounds of dirt as she came across them. Kelebek felt silly and giddy, punch drunk as she ran through the purple forests of Teldrassil, tears streaming down her face.

Eventually she came to a little inland lake. Feeling emotionally drained now and physically exhausted, she crouched down and began to lap up the cool, clear water. When she had her fill she sat back on her haunches to contemplate. The giddy feeling had subsided, leaving behind all of the pain and emotion that she had been holding back since the night with Dax Grey. The panic, sadness and rage, along with a slew of other unexplainable emotions, coursed through the druid as she watched the ripples on the lake's surface. The tears she had shed moments before had left little frozen trails down her face. She wanted nothing more than to let out a low pitched cry to express and relieve the remainder of her unexpressed feelings but she instead shook her head and padded away from the lake. If she was to be in the woods for a period of time, she'd need a place to den. First rule of the wilds: Survival takes priority over emotions. That was that.

The sky was beginning to get a pink hue by the time Kelebek found what she was looking for. Amongst one of the many little mountains she discovered a little dirt cave. The ceiling had roots dangling from it, but it seemed dry. The den was mostly devoid of the scents of other animals, which was a great indication that it hadn't been occupied for some time. With an efficient haste she began to mark the cave as her own. She tore at the soil with her claws, then padded it back down to make it seem as if she had bedded there before. She then rolled around in the cave a bit, making sure that it bore her scent so that if another curious animal came strolling by they'd know that the little dirt mount they had just stuck their heads into had been claimed.

Pleased with having found herself shelter, the little druid took off into the woods with her next mission: breakfast. While she wasn't terribly familiar with the wild life of the island, though she had heard a few owls while she pranced about in the night and caught the scent of a boar. The claw marks on the trees made by the local nightsabers hadn't gone unnoticed either. Kelebek wasn't feeling up to the acrobatic task of trying to catch an owl, nor was she keen on taking down a fellow feline, so she set out on the faint scent trails of a boar.

The bright pink skies faded to a cool blue. The temperature had come up some, but in the early part of the day the frost still clung to many of the leaves and grasses yet hidden in the shade. It was because of the frost that Kelebek managed to stumble upon a small trail in the woods. The foot path was cut deep into what would have been mud had there been any rain recently, made by many tiny boar hooves. A few boars had used the path that very night; the lack of frost gave that fact away clearly.

Quietly Kelebek followed the path in a parallel fashion, not wanting to mar the trail for if she traveled on it herself she may startle the boars away from using it in the future. She continued to follow the trail for quite some time, using the underbrush and shadows of the forest to help hide her white fur. Finally she heard them off in the distance, three of them, squealing and grunting as they fought over whatever root they had just dug up. Kelebek slunk through the brush, closing the gap between her and her meal with quiet urgency. Within no time her prey were all within in the druid's sight, and when she was sure of the situation she crouched down behind a rather thick bush, waiting for the right time to strike.

Muscles taut, ears forward and barely breathing, Kelebek waited. Two of the boars were rather large and had prominent tusks, not something a lone (not to mention undersized) cat would want to take on herself. The third boar however was the one that Kebelek had set her eyes on. It was a young boar, its tusks were still tiny and fur yet soft, unlike the bristly hides of his companions. She was waiting for that perfect moment when the little boar would wander by, separated just enough from the other two that when she'd strike the rest would scatter in a panic instead of turning on her. Time ticked by slowly, but eventually the little boar did just just as the druid had hoped. He wandered over into the druid's range, and as he did so she readjusted her paws in a quiet, antsy fashion, tail silently twitching. Waiting...waiting...

Just as she was about to spring into action, a large crash was heard and a ball of white fur came barreling out of the woods to the right of the clearing. The creature was large, but not too much larger than Kelebek herself; a bear. He charged at one of the boars without much premeditation, for he struck out only to miss as his would-be victim squealed and high tailed it well outside of the bears range. The other two followed suit, high tailing it into the thick and frosty under brush. 

The bear stood in the middle of the clearing, panting. His sides heaved heavily as Kelebek observed him. He bore the markings of a fellow Night Elf druid. Infuriated, Kelebek charged at the bear, head-butting hard him on the shoulder.

"You idiot!" she growled.

The bear was taken completely surprised by the attack. He stood there stunned for a moment before looking at the cat, then looking down the trail of broken bushes left behind by the boars, then back at the cat.

"Apologies milady, I didn't know that someone else was in the area. I was just having a bit of fun, I swear it!"

"Your 'bit of fun' just caused me my meal." At her harsh words the bear hung his head. Kelebek exhaled heavily. 

The bear's panting slowed and he sat his druid bear butt down right in the middle of the clearing. He regarded the cat again with his head tilted; he smiled. "What would you eat a boar for, miss? Haven't you brought any rations? What kind of Kaldorei goes off into the woods this close to Darnassus without rations?"

"The kind that'd prefer to fend for herself..." Muttered Kelebek in reply as she turned to leave the clearing.

Kelebek managed to make it partially through the ticket bordering the clearing before the bear lurched himself back into a standing position. He lumbered quickly after the other druid. 

"Wait miss, wait!"

Tired, hungry, and now rather sore from a day's worth of activity after having spent months in captivity, Kelebek debated on simply pretending that she hadn't heard the other druid. At this point she wanted nothing more than to curl up in her new found home and sleep for an eternity. She had a feeling that she wouldn't be getting that sort of rest quite yet.

"Please miss, wait!" The bear was panting again as he trotted up next to the little cat. "I'm sorry if I offended you milady. Let me make it up to you somehow."

She stopped in her tracks and looked wearily at the other druid. "Alright, whatever you'd like." She said quietly, then continued on with her slow trek back to her awaiting cave.

They traveled together for a good while in silence before the bear once again spoke. "If I may be so bold miss, may I ask you your name?"

The smaller of the two druids remained silent for a bit longer before she replied. "Kelebek."

"Wonderful name! Mine is Cubical, though most just call me Cubi." The bear all but bounced in happiness as he stated this fact.

"Cubical? That's a peculiar name."

"It is Miss Kelebek, but I like it. Does yours have a story behind it?"

"Yes," she said upon finally arriving to her cave "however, we have arrived at my den and I'm exhausted. Perhaps I can tell you the story some other time."

"Of course milady. Sleep well!" exclaimed Cubi in his cheerful manner. 

Left without much else to say, Kelebek turned into her little cave after a quick look around inside to be sure that nothing had snuck in while she was away.


The smell of cooking fish woke her up.

Kelebek slid out of her little cave and stretched her limbs under a sky that was just beginning to show its stars. Not far from the entrance to her cave sat a silver haired male Night Elf, who was busing himself with tending to the fish and fire. He turned his pink, bearded face towards her as she approached.

"Good evening milady, sleep well?"

She regarded him for a moment with her cat-like suspicion, then replied "It wasn't bad." The druid padded up next to the Night Elf and sat down. She eyed up what was in the pan that he was holding over the little fire. "What smells delicious?"

Cubical smiled as he tended to the meal. "Why, it's fish from the lake just over yonder. I mixed in some berry juice and a bit of root. I hope you will like it."

For a moment Kelebek's guard dropped and she smiled, at least as much as a cat could smile. Catching herself, she changed her expression to a more sober one, agreed that it would be a wonderful meal, and excused herself with the reason that she felt the need to wash up.

The druid took her time walking over to the lake. She lapped up the sounds of the wilds, relished in the feel of the crisp grass beneath her paws, and felt oddly comforted that there was a fellow druid not far away. While she was quite certain that her soul was still troubled, she felt more peaceful than she had in months. As Kelebek reached the edge of the lake, she exhaled, smiled, and felt gratitude towards the other druid that had so haphazardly bashed into her little episode, for lack of a better term. She allowed herself another little smile then bent her head so that she could lap up the chilling water of the lake.

"Little ghost..." The name had been uttered with a quiet rattle of a sigh.

Kelebek jumped at the sound, muscles instantly tense once more. It took her a moment to see the green stone drake standing silently on the other side of the clearing, staring at her.

The druid's fur was standing straight up in surprise and fright. "Aer...Aeornoss?"

The stone drake smiled at the little druid and gave a quiet, rocky chuckle.