Despite the happy atmosphere, Kelebek felt her skin crawl.
The markets crawled with merchants bringing in their goods from their fields. The cities din contains that of ware cries, haggling, and livestock. Bodies pressed in from all sides, trying to score the best of the seasons product for a sweet deal.
While the druid was by no means unaccustomed to the idea that one must purchase and collect goods for the snows ahead, she found the near gluttonous nature of the market to be most unbearable. The noise, the excess of purchase, the waste. Not for the first time since she had walked through the city's portal Kelebek found herself standing in place with her eyes closed, wishing to be no where else other than in some woodland area or running across some dune.
With herself feeling a bit more centered, Kelebek ventured on. While most of the market's activities made her feel uneasy, much of it also drew her curiosity. She had sold off many of her meager wares earlier in the day so she had a bit of coin in her pocket. Her intent wasn't to purchase anything, but what girl could resist looking at pretty trinkets when the situation presented itself? Stall after stall was filled with one or two business folk yelling out their goods. There were fine silks, weaponry, every type of food and beverage one could wish for, trinkets, baubles, souvenirs depicting the bank of Darnassus. One stall contained a collection of shiny rocks, another had archaeological finds, yet another boasted old relics for sale. There was a section of the market dedicated to children; balloons, dolls, little silk ribbons, toy train sets.
Under a large tent a portly worgen mage sat tending to his books. At these Kelebek took a moment to browse. Rarely had she seen so many books in one place. Some where bound in leather, others were nothing but paper held together with reeds. Research books on the Old Gods sat next to novels which resided next to old transcripts translating the common language to that guttural speak of the Horde. The scents and stories of all that paper tugged at her heart as she browsed through the topics. She ran a finger across the many sizes and textures of the bindings, looking for something that would catch her eyes. The search didn't take long.
Stuck between an old, thick leather book and what looked like a manuel to some sort of gnomish contraption was a thin little gem. Its cover was made of a light tan hide, the inside pages contained vivid images of a little blood elf girl, the story seemed to be both sweet and sad from what Kelebek could make out from her quick skim. She felt a tug and felt the need to give in.
"How much?" The druid asked, holding up the thin volume so that the man could see it.
He cleared his throat before responding; hrrmphhrumph. "Well," the mage took his tiny specs off his face and began to rub them clean with one of the many folds of his billowing robes "what you have there is nothing but a bed time story tale. It's not worth much if you ever expect to resell, but definitely a story that your daughters will beg to have repeated for years to come." He smashed his glasses back in front of his beady eyes as he held out his hand for the book. "Yes, yes. The Well. Tells a story about a little blood elf who loses everything, wishes into a well, happy endings and all that. A gold piece and thirty silver. Would you care for a bag?"
"No, thank you though. I'll just slip it into my satchel if you don't mind."
Kelebek was thrilled to have paid so little for something she was so drawn to, so after paying and thanking the man she returned to the crowded isles of the market with a faint grin on her face.
She wandered for a bit longer until she headed to the stall that she had been saving for last. On the farthest end of the market area stood the booth that sold crafted leather working goods. She could smell the rich oils and the scent of tanning before she even saw the products. Good natured laughs were being had as a Gilnean lady showed off the items to the interested. Kelebek walked up to the items hanging on the walls of the make shift booth, immediately in awe at their quality and craftsmanship. She reached out at a chest piece, running her fingers delicately over the smooth leather, relishing in texture.
"See something that you like there, love?" The woman running the stall had deep green eyes, shoulder length russet hair, and a sassy smile that was both friendly and filled with pride.
"I'm enjoying your products here. Did you craft them yourself?"
"Aye. My husband does the skinning though, but he leaves the cuts, stitching, and oiling all to me."
"You make quite a team. I haven't seen work as fine as this save my own in some time. I don't see a nick or stress mark anywhere."
"Fancy yourself a crafter, do ya? Well then, let's have a look."
Feeling a bit foolish at having said anything about her own craftsmanship, she began to show off her own work. Thankful that she had mended the damage on her gear the previous night and cleaned and oiled everything that very morning. She pointed out her stitch work and went over cutting techniques. Apparently her handy work impressed the woman.
"I think you have quite an eye on you lass. Jimmy love, come over here and take a look at this work, will ya?" The lady's husband, a hulking fellow with dark hair and deep sea blue eyes lumbered over after setting down a fresh pile of cleaned skins.
With a critical eye the man called Jimmy began to look over how the armor had been cut from the beast. Long minutes passed; Jimmy barely moved as his eyes scanned over Kelebek's armor, looking for any flaw in the cut. Finally he stood back and said in a gruff voice, "Aye, 'tis good work. Not a dent nor misplaced cut." With his eye brows were raised, his eyes bright, he gave a little hint of a smile before turning his back on the druid and returning back to his skins.
"Well then, ya wouldn't be happening to look for a job now, would ya? Me and Jimmy, we get a bit busy this time of year. The snow will be getting on soon enough and folks aren't looking for gears with holes in them. Mending by the fires all find and dandy, but most like their gear a bit sturdier this time of year. What say ya love?" The green eyes danced in excitement.
Just like that Kelebek found herself to be employed by one Mandy Bremsworth. She wandered back to her room through the strengthening heat of the day in bewilderment. A day of days it was turning out to be.
Later that evening she had plans to head down to the Temple of the Moon. Word was that after the evening services Tyrande and Malfurion sometimes mingled with the congregation, taking in the gossip and concerns of those in Darnassus and its outlaying areas. Kelebek had hopes of catching the High Priestess and her husband that very evening to ask them for what aid they could lend.
First things first though, the druid needed rest after her outing. Despite the many good fortunes of the market her wanderings had left her stressed out and drained of energy.
Kelebek made sure that her dress - a cheap yet elegant sky blue number that she had found in the market earlier that day - was laying out in such a way that it would remain without creases for the evening. After fussing with the folds a bit, taking a moment to run her hands over the delicate embroidery of the dress's neckline, she took the little book that she bought earlier out of her pack and settled onto the bed. Between the vibrant images displayed on the pages was one of the saddest tales she had ever read.
There was a little girl. She lived in a little village with her little family. She had a little dog and had many little dreams in her head.
One day a not so little demon was set loose on the town. The demon set fire to the roof of every building and lit every field ablaze.
The girl just so happened to be a little mage. Her dad went out to fight the demon while her mom ran her to safety. "Port yourself to Silvermoon City, find your Aunt Lena. Daddy and I will be there as soon as we can." The little girl did as her mother told her, and ported herself to the house of her mother's sister.
News of the demon and the havoc it created for the little town reached Silvermoon; the girl's parents did not.
Months passed, the little girl grew. Her Aunt Lena moved them both out to the country side where they had a little farm of their own.
The girl got a new little dog to go with her new little life. The pair explored every bit of the farmstead that was possible within the daylight. One day the little girl and her dog came across an old well. "I heard that a magic carp lives in the bottom of an old well somewhere. If someone asks nicely and gives the carp some food, he grants a wish. Let's find it some food!"
They searched high and low for what a carp might like to eat. The sun was setting so soon the pair had to give up. The little girl asked Aunt Lena what carps like to eat. "Bread bits and worms, my darling." So the next day the girl took a bit of bread and set out to find a few worms. The girl and her dog set out to dig in the fields. Soon her little cup was filled with dirt and crawling creatures.
To the well they went with their offerings. Carefully she picked out the worms from her can and tossed them in, then crumbled up the bread and sprinkled that in as well.
Offering made, the little girl stuck out her lower lip as she thought of a wish. She looked at her puppy and then looked back to the well. "I wish for my family and my other dog to come back to me."
She waited for a moment, but nothing happened. No magic carp appeared, her family wasn't by her side. Saddened that her well wasn't the one with the magic carp, she called to her little dog for them to head home.
As the pair walked away, a little golden head appeared in the well...
"RUN KELEBEK!" Yelled a young woman. "Take Kiya and run!"
She whirled around, her hand tight on the hand of the young girl next to her. They began to run, and then everything went painfully black.
Kelebek awoke with a start. Her skin was cold and slick with perspiration. Her breath rattled as she inhaled, her hand shook as she tried to wipe the damp hair from her eyes.
The name felt so familiar. She was sure that it was the name of the girl in her dream, but she wasn't sure who exactly the little girl was or what she meant to Kelebek.
The druid shook her head, perplexed. Noticing the time of day she decided that it was time to ready herself for the hopeful meeting with the leaders of the night elves. She washed her face in the basin of water provided for her, brushed out her long white hair with a bone comb that had a broken tooth. She slipped on the delicate dress, taking care to mind the buttons. Kelebek then carefully painted her tattoos to make them a bit more prominent, put the one silver bracelet that she owned onto her wrist, and slipped on her delicate white sandals.
Never had she looked more unlike herself in her life.
She picked up her little walking staff from beside the door, took a deep breath to calm herself, and walked outside.
Next Chapter: Darnassus - The Temple of the Moon