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."
"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.