September 29, 2011

Darnassus - The Black Dog

She awoke late the next afternoon confused and with a distinct kink in her neck; Kelebek had somehow fallen asleep at her desk. Bleary eyed and fuzzy minded, the little druid tried to recall the events of the night before.

Had the Malfurion Stormrage really been at her door in the early hours of morning, assuring her that he'd offer her and Taloris aid?

She assured herself that yes, it really had taken place. He hadn't given her the answers that she had come for, but they had been answers none the less. Kelebek was thankful that at least Tal's safety had been ensured, even if no promises had been made about the wood that she had called home, however short her stay in that area was.

Kelebek had to shake away the sleepy cobwebs that still lingered in her mind. Squinting, she looked out her window and tried to gauge the time of day. Alarmed that the sun had already firmly planted itself in the western region of the sky, she dressed in haste. It was past time that she made her way over to the leatherworking booth ran by Miss Mandy Bremsworth.


The little druid had to sprint, but she had made it just before the worst of the shopping crowds began their evening hunt for goods.

"Alright there 'Bek?" called Mandy over the din made by the heavy duty sewing machine she that was wielding. Kelebek nodded and went over to the little corner that had been set up for her. She pulled out her tools and began to work on mending the pile of gear that had been set near her work station.

Mandy paused in her own work for a moment so she could wipe the sweat from her brow. The majority of her mossy brown hair had been tied back into a bun, but a few strands had managed to escape. Those strands hung damp about her olive-toned face as her keen emerald eyes watched the little druid. Though she seemed nervous and preoccupied, Kelebek used her needle with confidence. Mandy, being pleased with herself for managing to snag such competent help, smiled to herself and started her machine back up.


The day passed in a blur for Kelebek. Thread, poke, pull, rotate, snip. Smile at a customer. Re-sharpen the needle. Thread, poke, pull, rotate, snip. Never had her fingers ached so badly. By the time the sun had set the druid's hands were swollen and covered in bits of cloth that stemmed the bleeding that wayward needles had caused.

"Well then, I suppose you snagged yourself the right to come back for a second day." said Mandy to the druid, eyes bright with pleasure and excitement. "I don't think I've ever seen that many pieces mended in a single sitting, and with such dedication. You've definitely earned your keep lass."

"I enjoyed it," replied the druid "at least for the most part." Gingerly she held up her bandaged hands.

Tisking, Mandy turned to look around the little shop. "Well why didn't you say something love? We have a thick set of mits to protect those hands of yours around here somewhere." She shuffled piles of raw materials, picked up finished products so she could search underneath them, looked under the work stations. Exasperated and finding nothing, she gave up. "Oh this place is a right mess, we'll have to do a bit of tidying up in the morn. I'll tell ya what, take this salve." Out of a hand satchel Mandy pulled out a sack of herbs. "You head on home, soak them hands of yours in some ice cold water that's mixed up with these and that should heal up them wounds right quick. Once that's taken care of, head down to the pub over in the Gilnean sector. The barkeep's name at the Black Dog be Arthur and he's a good friend of mine. Tell 'em that Miss Bremsworth sent ya, and I'm sure he could set you up with a drink from yours truly."

Kelebek thanked her employer and headed home under the star filled night. Though the air was cooler than it had been in the daylight, the air still hung warm and heavy around her as she walked past closed booths and shuttered houses.


Whatever had been in that little herb bag that Mandy had given her had worked like a charm. Ten minutes of soaking her mutilated hands in a chilly basin of water filled with leaves had left her as good as new. The advice on visiting the pub was still lingering in her mind though as she dried off her newly healed skin.

Kelebek was not one for crowds regardless of their location. She was even more wary about entering establishments where more often than not people were lacking a bit of judgement. However, she did agree that a drink may just be the thing to calm her nerves, not to mention that as much as she disliked the idea, pubs were gathering places. With the first part of her mission to Darnassus complete, it was high time she began the second. After all, pubs were great for listening in on the latest gossip and often told stories of the past.

Mind made up, Kelebek changed into a fresh pair of leather and linens, splashed a bit of water over her face, and ran a comb through her long hair. Feeling fit enough to venture back out into the night, she left her little room and headed to the other side of Darnassus.


The Black Dog was located in one of the more rowdy of sectors that the refugee Gilneans had taken over. The pub itself was a medium sized building covered in dark shingles. Upon entering the pub Kelebek was met by a wall of voices. Conversation, laughter, and the sound of a little band of fiddles and a drum filled the druid's ears. While the main room that made up the bar and sitting area of The Black Dog wasn't completely packed, it was still overly warm from the bodies present and from the head of the day. The air was filled with smoke that streamed from the pipes of several of the patrons. Carefully trying to avoid bumping into anyone, the druid worked her way over to the bar.

The bar itself was a gleaming piece of wood, the body of which was a carved work of art, the top a slick surface. The man who polished that surface in between serving up an assortment of beverages to various customers was middle aged, red bearded, and rather muscular.

"Oi Arthur! Another brew here." Called out one of the patrons seated at one of the many tables that were spread throughout the room. The man with the ginger beard nodded his head, poured another mug filled with what could only be the customers favorite beer, and handed it off to a largish blonde woman who in turn brought the man his beer.

Making the assumption that the man at the bar was the Arthur that Mandy had mentioned, Kelebek sat herself at the bar and tried her best to catch his attention. Eventually he looked in her direction, they made eye contact, and he walked over.

"Can't say that we get too many of you elves in here. What can I do for you love?"

"Miss Bremsworth sent me your way. She said to have a drink on her."

"Little Miss Mandy you say? You must be the new help she was going on about." Arthur busied himself with pouring a drink for the druid. "Must be one hell of a wizard with the needle. My sister, she's a stickler for detail."

Kelebek had been taking a tentative sip at the beverage placed before her, and nearly choked at the mention of the family tie. "Your sister?"

"Don't seem so surprised. Amanda's me baby sister. All the looks in the family skipped right over me and landed right on her."

Indeed they had. While Mandy had a delicate face, olive skin, and brilliantly green eyes, Arthur had a much rougher look to his face, pale skin, and dull brown eyes. She admitted to herself that she would have never seen the family resemblance.

"Anyways, what brings you to Darnassus? It's not usually locals that Mandy picks up as help."

"A couple of things really. I..." Suddenly a group of rather boisterous males burst into the pub, loud and apparently already quite drunk.

"BARKEEP!" Barked one of the new comers. "A round for me and my mates!"

"Sounds like they've had rounds enough. Pardon me, miss." With that Arthur left Kelebek to sit by herself at the end of the bar, nursing her drink.

Over the top of her glass Kelebek watched Arthur work. One of the more sober men who came in with the new group of customers was at the bar to fetch the drinks. The man was of a shorter and thicker build. He had lank,  greasy black hair, a scraggly black beard, a nose that seemed to have been broken a few times, a heavy brow, and tiny blue eyes which were set to close together. Those eyes, even when glazed over from drinking, could pierce through to the soul of  a person. He turned to look at the druid, and did just that. Kelebek shuddered and looked away.

Arthur didn't return to Kelebek's part of the bar for a good several hours. Many more people streamed into the pub as the night wore on, keeping both the bartender and his help busy. The blonde who worked with Arthur came by to refill the druid's drink once or twice during the evening, offering up a tired smile as she did so. Kelebek nursed her drinks slowly, taking time to listen in on the conversations around her. Mostly there was talk about the work people did, the on coming seasonal changes, babies that were being born, affairs that were being had, and at one point there was a little snippet of passing conversation that caught the druid's ear.

"I swear, I saw one of those stone drake things flying over the water."

"Oh Herb, you spend too much time out on that dinghy. Too much sun and too little fresh water will make you see anything." The woman giggled at her companions obvious hurt.

"You think me to be a damned fool woman? I saw what I saw."

"And you saw yourself a sea serpent as long as Darnassus is wide a week before. Stone drakes might actually exist, unlike your sea beasty, but they have no business in this part of the world."

The couple had wandered out of earshot from the druid, leaving her curious. So Aeornoss is still nearby. I wonder what he's been up to. Happy to have at least heard rumor of him, she pushed the rest of her curiosity out of her head. Too many questions, not enough answers. Baffled, the little elf shook her head and focused on the bowl of nuts that the blond had set in front of her while she eavesdropped.

The evening wore on and finally the pub began to empty out. Sensing that Arthur was a bit too tired for any sort of questioning and that she probably wouldn't glean any new information about anything from the gossip of the pub's customers, Kelebek began to ready herself to leave. As she wandered over to the old fashioned register, Arthur looked up from his mug polishing and gave her a worn smile. "All right there, 'Bek is it?"

The druid couldn't help but return his smile. "Yeah," Her head was spinning slightly and she had to lean a moment on the bar to keep from tipping over. "I think I've had a bit much though."

Arthur chuckled, "You'll be fine after a bit of sleep. Don't be a stranger now. Anyone that my sister associates with is a friend of mine." Another smile passed between the two as Kelebek paid off the drinks that didn't end up on Mandy Bremsworth's tab. "Safe journey home, love."

Kelebek smiled and turned to leave. As she did so, her eyes wandered over to the table where the man with the greasy hair and his chums sat. Most of the men were slumped over the table or each other and snoring, but those beady blue eyes where awake and locked on Kelebek. He was leaning back in his chair, obviously relaxed with his current state of inebriation. Kelebek barely suppressed a shudder as she left the pub.

The moon was bright and the breeze was light. Feeling a bit unsteady on two legs, from drink and the frayed feeling of her nerves from the evening of mock socializing and because of the fact that she was rather tired after her long day, Kelebek decided to shift into her cat form and walk back to her room that way. She took her time, padding down the now empty walk ways at a slow pace, enjoying both the quiet of the night and the faint salty scents of the nearby ocean.

Eventually she found herself back at her own door. Clumsily she shifted back into her night elf form, opened her door, and stumbled in. Somehow she closed the door again, managed to strip off her day clothes with neglecting to reapply her night ones, and tumbled into bed. Within moments she fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. There she stayed peacefully for most of the evening.

Next Chapter: Dax Grey

September 2, 2011

Darnassus - The Temple of the Moon

The temple had just released its congregation into the cool night air. Beneath the trees and stars night elves could be seen strolling; some were on their way home, others were just mulling about enjoying the evening. Kelebek walked with a purpose against the crowds.

She ducked inside the temple's doors, taking notice of the calming fountain spilling from the central statue. She began to walk up towards the ramp that lead to the upper balconies most frequented by Tyrande and her husband but before she could get to the foot of the ramp, a guard stopped her.

"Please, state your name and business. Tyrande and Malfurion are rather busy, and will only take the most urgent of inquiries."

"I am Kelebek Swiftclaw. I come to Darnassus and the Temple of the Moon on behalf of myself and Taloris Galesong. We have been battling the demons that plague Felwood, and we seek the aid of anyone who would give it."

The guard eyed the druid up and down, then said "Very well, I shall inform them and see if they will accept your audience. Please wait here."

Kelebek began to pace slowly around the grassy area that surround the large statue fountain. Her hands gripped her staff out of anxiety. She drew a deep breath, and then another. As hard as she tried, her nerves would not relax.

The guard returned and she motioned to the druid to follow her up to the balcony. Once Kelebek was abreast of the guard, the guard said to her "I recommend reverence when speaking with these two. Don't worry too much about formalities, but you will not be heard if you do not show respect. As I said before, they have no time for anything frivolous. There has been much on their minds, so try and be quick, to the point."

Kelebek could only nod as a lump raised in her throat.

They arrived to the large balcony where Tyrande Wisperwind and her husband, Malfurion Stormrage were quietly conversing tactics over a map spread upon a table.

"Kelebek Swiftclaw of Felwood to see you." Announced the guard. Tyrande looked up, nodded at the guard, and the guard took her leave.

"We just can't afford the extra forces, Mal." Tyrande said to her husband, then turned to Kelebek "Demons of Felwood, is it?"

"Yes," Kelebek cleared her throat, "my mentor and I have been battling against the demon spawns that have been plaguing the area for some time now. They're reproducing faster than we can dispose of them unfortunately. Things have become so bad that the waters there run green and putrid. Even our very homestead that we have fought so very hard to preserve is being intruded upon. We are out of our league, and request any and all aid that you could give."

"I've known about the troubles in that area for some time, but I haven't heard reports from any of the scouts sent there more recently. The news about the state of Felwood worries me. What do you believe would be required to help take it back?"

"Hunters to kill off the demons, druids to heal the forests, priests to care for them both and to consecrate the soil to prevent future invasions? I'm really not sure Priestess, I'm not a strategist. I am but a novice druid doing what she can to care about lands that mean so much to my mentor."

"Taloris Galesong."


A hint of recognition flashed across Tyrande's face before she regained her mask of indifferent serenity. The mask of a busy leader with too much on her plate. She turned back to the maps while Malfurion watched her, waiting for her decision.

"Battles in Ashenvale, naga in Feralas, now demons over running Felwood..." Tyrande said to herself out loud.

"I should probably also report the vortex that spawned whilst I was traveling through Darkshore, along with some plagued deer."

A look of concern came over the Priestess's face. "Mal, I thought you had long settled the winds in that area? And the plague in Darkshore? Impossible. The plague has never come to Kalimdor before, it was strictly an issue of the Eastern Kingdoms."

"I'm inclined to think it's nothing more than a side effect from the spill over of Felwood. If there was any other sort of foul play at hand, I didn't see it for myself."

Again Tyrande looked over her map. She closed her eyes and shook her head. She looked first at Malfurion, then back to Kelebek. "We can't spare the forces that are in Ashenvale or Feralas, and if the undead apothecaries have come to the shores of Kalimdoor, that must be dealt with before any demons are dispelled. I'd rather deal with an abundance of demons rather than the horrors of the plague I so often heard about from the Eastern Kingdoms. I'm sorry, but right this moment we cannot send aid to your wood."

Tyrande turned her back and Kelebek took this to be her dismissal. Malfurion watched the little druid walk away. Dejected and distressed, she walked down the ramp of the temple, out into the streets, and somehow managed to find the way to her door through the tears that had impaired her vision but refused to actually fall.


"Are you sure we cannot spare the forces, Tyr?"

"Where would we get them from Mal? Every trained huntress, priestess, and warrior is already employed in battle. Our forces are stretched too thin. This isn't a job for a farmer with a fork, nor is it one that our novices can take on."

"What of the druids? I can think of a few that the Dream can spare for now."

"We need them more than ever there if things are as bad as that novice stated. All the work put in to slaying these creatures here on Azeroth won't mean a thing if the druids can't heal it from within as well as out."

"I will enter the Dream myself then, taking care of things from that side and I will deploy several druids for your disposal. We at least need a few Talon scouts to check out the situation in Darkshore, and the least we could do is ensure the safety of Taloris."

"Bless and curse that old man. Always he has sought the lost causes."

"It seems this time he is over his head. It would be wise to help him, my love."

"I know it would be, but where would we get the bodies to take on such a demon force? I don't doubt the talents of your druids Mal, but they can't take on such a task on their own."

"We can always ask for help from our guests, the Gilneans."

"Ha! As if relations with our neighbors weren't tense enough. No Mal, I cannot do that. At least not now."

"Very well. Then it is decided. I will return to the Dream this very night and free up a few of the druids there. I hate to leave you at such a time, Tyrande, but I think I will be of more use there than I am here."

"Yes, my love. Please return to me soon."

Dismissed by his own wife, Malfurion left the Temple of the Moon for Moonglade. Before he left Darnassus though, he had one important stop to make.


It was a few hours before sunrise and Kelebek was still awake. By the light of a guttering candle she sat at a little desk, pouring over the images that danced across the pages of the book she had bought. A soft knock was made on the door of her room, startling her.

She carefully put the book down and tried to rub the sadness from her face. She opened the door and her eyes widened.

"Miss Kelebek."

It took a moment before the little druid finally found her voice. "Malfurion. What...?"

"I've come to assure you of two things. First, I will be returning to the Dream so that I may free up a few of the Druids of the Talon to scout the area and perhaps aid Taloris in his battles, not to mention battle the sickness of that land from within. Second, in the event that they are out numbered, the Talons will have strict orders to ensure the safety of Taloris. I cannot promise salvation to Felwood, but I can promise that we will try with what little aid we have to offer."

"I...I cannot thank you enough." The druid was trembling with both fatigue and grateful relief.

"Do not thank me yet, little one. There is much work to be done. Now rest your mind, and I suggest staying in Darnassus for a bit. I don't doubt your fighting skills as a student of Taloris, but one soul to look after in an area plagued with demons is enough. There is no time for novice mistakes."

Dejected for the second time in several hours, Kelebek bowed her head and replying "I understand. I have other business to attend to while I'm in this city, but I shall do what I can to stay out of the way." For now, she thought to herself.

"Very well then. I must be on my way now if we are to accomplish anything. Stay fierce, little one." Malfurion laid his hand upon Kelebek's brow as he gave his blessing, and then took his leave.

Kelebek closed the door and stood in disbelief as her candle sputtered its dying light.

Next Chapter: Darnassus - The Black Dog