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Walk Gracefully and Carry a Silver Staff
#1
While braiding her hair, Soae sat pensively upright on an otherwise comfortable looking chaise lounge. Behind her a massive Frostsaber paced, stopping only to anxiously curl and release its tail against the floor. Losdir, as the beast was called, was given free reign in his mistress' company. As well as he should. His bloodline had served the night elf for centuries and both were loyal to the other; and his anxious movements mirrored her swift fingers combing through thick, damp strands of teal. The braid was as long as her as her spine and the effort it took complete it in perfection calmed Soae's racing thoughts.

The priestess had been unsure if Elune inhabited the alien moon that hung above the Terokkar Forest until two nights ago. While her Lady's gifts still proved useful to Soae, she couldn't help but feel an absence since crossing the portal into Outland. She worried that it was a lack of faith, but in the months she resided here others assured her it was simply homesickness. Eager to believe the latter she hid away her guilt and doubt, continuing her business with the Aldor. However, when letters to her father started to go unanswered she started to question whether or not it was time to go home.

This growing unease could not be calmed by prayer so Soae went into the heart of the forest, seeking out the moonlight that the neutral city of Shattrath filtered. Her new allies offered to accompany her, but she knew that they would be distracting. Assuring them that Losdir and her faith in Elune would protect her, she proceeded to leave the city alone. Within a night's ride, she found a spot beneath a canopy of purple leaves that allowed the moonlight to bathe her camp. She started a small fire in order to heat a teapot of water; necessary for her meditation ritual.

From steps learned long ago, she used the process of making a cup of tea to focus her thoughts and still her breathing. In the minutes it took to boil the water, turn the pot upright, fill her cup and mix in a pouch of herbs she was disconnected from the world around her. Her ever cautious Losder sat his on his haunches, standing guard not unlike a stone gargoyle. His eyes and ears served the priestess and he would alert her to danger.

After cupping the tea between her palms she took a single sip and closed her eyes to the rising steam. On her breath she whispered a prayer in her native Darnassae, "Mother Moon, led by your hand I have walked under a sky of stars I do not know. To where, I do not know. Your light has guided my steps, but still I do not know. " She let her prayer trail off unfinished, hoping that Elune would hear her and understand. And with what was left in the cup she doused the fire.

In the quiet of the wood, she let her silver eyes adjust to the darkness of night and patiently waited. Her breath was slow and rythmic corralling her thoughts onto one single focus-- her father. In her mind she saw him as he was the first day they first met, kneeling in the dirt outside of her mother's home. She smiled, remembering how after her death he had planted a single lily beneath the front window. The sentinel had kept a tidy, no nonesense house and a bare yard save for grass. The lily would have angered the warrior; but it brought comfort to her daughter, the priestess.

Soae's memory went further, but instead of watching herself kneel beside the druid as she had done many, many, years ago, she saw the lily wilt beneath his care. He turned to look at her, his face gaunt, his golden eyes dim. She saw in his hair decaying autumn leaves and his nearby staff was wrought with mildew. When she reached out to touch him, his body fell over like a dry husk, deceased. Before she could scream for help, she felt an enormous black slug crawl from his body to her hand. She tore at it with her other hand, desperately slinging it from her flesh. As it flew across the yard it grew a giant maw and roared; waking her to a concerned Losdir.

He nudged her back to reality, then snarled in the direction of the wood. The brush rattled and a group of decrepit lost ones hobbled around their camp. Soae could see their outlines in the darkness and hear their clumsy steps, but she could not count their number. In the darkness she pulled her silver staff to her lap, crossing the length of the weapon across her body as if it were a shield.

The Lost Ones mumbled to one another, their words foreign to the night elf's ears, but she spoke back to them in her own tongue, "If you have come for food, you may take all that I have. If you have come for treasure, I have none. But if you have come for my life, you will lose..." Her voice was stern and in the darkness she could see a few warped faces and in the event that they could see hers, she mustered a feral scowl.

One of the wretched outcasts spoke and shook a staff at her. In moments her steal resolve began to shake. Her heart raced and she felt a pulse of shadow overcome her faith, but before that dread could reach her lips, she spoke in prayer, "Elune protect me from shadows, light my path!" The shadow effect soothed and the crescent end of her staff began to glow with white light. In that light she made out three, maybe four, but she did not waste time to search for others.

She swung her staff, giving her a wide stance so that she could stand from her sitting position. Losdir swiped at the broken warlock, allowing his mistress room to maneuver. Raising her arm, she cloaked herself in a shield of moonlight. The deformed caster lept back into the brush frightened and a companion to his right growled, raising a club high above his head. For his advance, he was met by the butt of her staff and knocked to the ground.

Using the time gained, she threw herself over Losdir's back and tugged on his fur. The warlock mouthed an angry curse, and shot at them with shadow. Before it could weaken her mount's resolve she urged Losdir to run back to the main road. She left behind her camping supplies, hoping the gang of Lost Ones were only after what they could scavenge. They road fast back to city, but as they approached the gates, Lodir slowed. His movements were becoming lethargic and Soae knew he had been cursed.

She brought him to a stop and climbed down from his back, walking him the rest of the way. She whispered to him, encouraging his steps and promising him that once back in Shattrath she would find one capable of curing his curse. Though only a few minutes from the city, the walk was slow. Her feet were tired, but she led him all the way to the Aldor Rise. Once there, they were greeted by her friends that had offered to assist her, but gave no judgement in the outcome.

The acolytes of light tended to Losdir's condition and assisted the pair back to Soae's quarters. Once she was alone, she mulled over what she thought she saw. Her fingers nimbly creating a pony-tail of webbed hair, each thick braid a trail of what she could not remember. Even though the details of the dream were hazy it left a feeling she knew to be Elune's answer to her prayer. Go home.
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#2
The hour was early twilight when Priestess Nightharrow jumped the portal into Darnassus. She had appeared in the temple garden and she was thankful to see that few residents were up from their day-sleep just yet. Losdir and her things would be following behind shortly and she did not want to suffer questions about her arrival. After hailing one of the sisterhood's stable masters, she set off for the Temple of the Moon.

In the soft lantern light of the Kaldorei capital, the moonstones in her hair and jewelry sparkled like tiny wisps escorting a lady into court. But her walk was not that of one being led, each step hit the stone walkway with purpose; rolling her hips in such a manner that the long braid down her back swung side to side like a whip. Her stance was more like a warrior than a priest at this point, such was the urgency in her return. She made way for the main hall of the temple, the hall that boasted the statue of Haidene. The moonwell there served as a source of comfort for many of her order and she was not surprised to see a couple of elves dwelling at the bank in prayer.

Just as she was about to seek out the counsel of her mentor she heard her name called by a male voice, "Priestess Nightharrow?"

She did not need to turn to know who was asking after her, responding with his name in turn, "Acolyte Starbrow."

"You will not find her here tonight." The male priest of Elune removed a hand from his deep robes to motion her over to the bench where he sat. And it was with reluctance that she did.

"Oh?"

He watched her sit, then leaned close to her in order to whisper, "She is with the others of your sisterhood, keeping watch over the High Priestess' consort."

"What do you mean?"

"He has fallen ill, his unwaking worsens. Tyrande commissioned the best of your healing hands to keep constant vigil over him."


"How do you know this?" Soae also whispered, though keeping as much space between herself and him. She knew the acolyte to be a gossip, seeing him as more underfoot than a student to be nurtured. However, as uncomfortable as she was with his presence among the sisterhood, tonight she was appreciative of his lurking habit.

"I listen." His response was plain and to the point, causing the priestess to concede with a slight bow of her head. As she raised, he grabbed her hand, sending a pulse of discomfort up her arm and down her spine to her stomach.

"If you wish to find her you must go to Moonglade."
Again, she wondered how he knew this. Only a select few had been privy to Malfurion's condition and even then, Soae only knew because of her mentor. The discomfort in her stomach churned deeper and she shook loose his hand from hers.

"Do not touch me without permission, male." Her cold words were laced with more than just asperity towards his gender. The barrow dens were not a place she wished to return; even the one that housed the great Archdruid Stormrage's body. As she watched the male acolyte recoil hurt, she recalled a time long ago when her duty was to the barrow dens and the lessons she learned within.

The cave was washed in a lantern of blue light and a sisterhood of Kaldorei walked softly through the caverns. Light hooded robes veiled their faces and each spoke in unison, their prayers sounding like a low-pitched chorus. By pairs of two they tended to the bodies of those that slumbered. Their duty was of healing and protection. On at least two occasions already the group had been dispatched here to clean out infestations of tainted creatures. Therefore, the priestesses stood vigil over their brothers like a hen over a nest of eggs.

Acolyte Nightharrow, as she was then, grew tired of nurturing those she had never met. She grew weary of not knowing if she had been in the presence of her father. Unlike any period of her life she longed to be near him. In the aftermath of her mother's death, the young night elf felt an increasing loneliness. In her sadness, her rituals became rushed and her words started to lack conviction. It had not gone unnoticed by her mentor either.

"Acolyte Nightharrow, let us remember the sacrifices we have each made to keep our realm safe. Duty is what we cling to, we are honor bound by our responsibilities. Not one among us has gone unscathed by loss. You are gifted child, blessed by Elune. Do not disappoint our people."


Though the years have passed since Soae heard those words, they still weigh heavy on her heart. Even though Soae the acolyte completed her duty to the druids and grew into the priestess of the moon many seek for guidance she still relies on her own mentor to reaffirm her decisions. Without the older priestess present, Soae would have to trust herself.
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#3
-This post is reserved for Soae's part against the Nightmare Lord; I suppose since I cannot double post within my own thread do note that the story that follows happens just after the Shattering and is a separate occurence than the one intended for post#3.





The beauty of Teldrassil was not lost on Soae. It was not the wonder that was Nordrassil, but as a World Tree it was beginning to hold its own. With Malfurion's return and the cleansing of Fandral's betrayal it was surely blossoming more every day. It was a pity that the Shattering had come when it did, damaging the massive tree during its time of healing.

To assuage the fears of those who refused to settle in Darnassus, Soae traveled down the boughs of Teldrassil to one of the smaller villages. The damage done was great and most of the homes needed rebuilding, as well as the shattered faith of the citizens. It was not beyond her ability to patiently fulfill their spiritual needs, but she too was suffering from loss. To find respite from their hardship, the priestess had wandered off to find the closest moonwell. Unfortunately, what she found only added to the weight on her shoulders.

She knelt near a toppled bird bath, in her hands she held a chunk of sloping wood and she was trying to piece together what was at one time something quite extraordinary. Where once the wood had literally curled unto itself to make a living statue only broken bark and rotting leaves remained. Bringing the roots back to the surface to make repairs were beyond the priestess' power, but like a child she pleaded with her goddess nonetheless. After a few exasperated words, she went to throw the wood aside but suddenly bright light filled her eyes and she was transported some place else. It was a familiar place, yet then again it wasn't. Where proud trees once stood burnt stumps littered the forest floor. Smoke lifted from the ground and hovered over elven and orc bodies like weeping mothers over their young.

The wood in Soae's hand was replaced by her staff and although she knew what she saw was not real, simply one of Elune's visions her heart began to race. She knew the Goddess chose to share images with her vessels that were sometimes complicated guiding messages. At other times, they were a warning of impending danger. Her eyes searched the area, looking for a sign. Is this what was? Or perhaps will be?

As she stepped forward, she was greeted by a pained squawk and moments later a purple armored elf hit the ground in a heavy splat! The sentinel had been impaled by three arrows. Distinctly three Horde arrows. Startled she ran to her sister and knelt beside her, she tried to touch her, to heal her, but it was if the two were on separate plains. There was nothing the moon priestess could do. Reluctantly, she kept moving through the smoke until she came to a giant tree, one so old and notable that she could never forget it. It was a place she roamed in her youth and this tree was one her father had introduced her to.

Ashenvale!

A surge of memories hit her at once causing fear to curdle her blood. She desperately prayed that this was not what the future held for her or her people. Her desperate pleading was cut off by the sound of mechanical whirring that ended with a distinct crash to the ground. Then another. And another. And another. The whirring and crashing continued unhindered. The trees!

The revelation of the forest being destroyed sent Soae swiftly running, leaping over the fallen bodies and timber. Some claimed complacency had made the priesthood useless, but they were wrong. The sisterhood had not yet forgotten how to fight. She drew her staff and with words spoken many times over the centuries, it radiated into a magnificent energy bow. The alarm she felt towards the forest had caused her to lose sight of her vision state and in her heart she was prepared to defend the Kaldorei's lands even if she were the last one standing.

As she ran, her steps were once again interrupted by the fallen body of a sentinel to which she looked up, but was unable to see the battle raging above. The female had not been taken by arrows, her flesh had been ripped to shreds by something with large claws...but to her satisfaction, it was not long before the dead elf was joined by a dead orc. The greenskin had fallen from the sky as well and stuck in his chest was a three bladed glaive. Well done sister, but where are your mounts?

As if to answer her question, an injured hippogrypth slowly plummeted, still beating his feathered wings to brace for impact. He too had had met the same large claws that his rider had. His beak was crushed and his eyes were glossed in blood. To his back a massive shadow descended and Soae could hear the heavy flapping of wings. As she raised her bow to end the noble creature's misery, she was saved the task by an ancient, frightening maw that appeared out of the smoke and crunched the bird of prey in one bite.

Overcome by shock and fear, Soae's mouth opened and instead of a fierce battle cry, a terrified scream was let loose. She trembled and out of mercy perhaps, the vision faded. In her hands her energy bow was no more, just a simple broken root. Across the sea, Hellscream's troops began their horrific seine against Maestra's Post.
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