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Warcraft Short Story – Loathing Heritage

 

Other short stories starring Isratael

  • Warcraft Short Story – A letter of a pilgrim – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – A brother’s Call to Arms – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – Judgement Day – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – Stranded on a river of leaves – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – The Staff of the Virtuous Pilgrim – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – Creeper of the Soul – Link

 

 

Antoran Wastes

War has always brought the worst. Pestilence, famine and, as a reward for one’s endurance and determination, death to themselves or the enemies.
This, however, is not a tale like any other. It was the beginning of a finale, of a war that had lasted for millenniums across the Great Dark Beyond and countless of other realms. Twisted and fowl creatures, lead by a fallen Titan who sought nothing but the end of all things. A perfect being who concluded, in his infinite wisdom, that the only way to purify the universe from the maddening corruptive tendencies of the Void Lords.. was to purge all life before life itself were to be manipulated by the tendrils of deception.

Truly, the hypocrisy of the Legion knew no limits. Countless worlds had been drained and served as fuel for the Fel rituals that the demons practiced. Instead of being influenced by the whispers of the unknown counterparts of the Light, entire races and planets were instead tortured by horned devils.
Felhounds gnawed on the bones of the wizards. Sayaad preyed upon the feeble minded. Inquisitors formed dark pacts with the betrayers. Nathrezim lead and spied entire nations by the use of the most convincing ruses.
Yet, what plagued the Draenei for more than twenty millennia were the Man’ari. The true demonic Eredar who served Sargeras, the right hand tacticians and leaders of countless demons. A fractured crown, two out of three pieces offered their lives to the Dark Titan. The one piece that remained, the origins of the Draenei Eredar under the leadership of the Prophet. Each piece of the crown had been brought to the Vindicaar, Velen being the only leader of the Eredar that were uncorrupted. The Crown of the Triumvirate had been assembled, bringing the Army of the Light and their allies back to the front line of their invasion on Argus after the countless scavenging tasks on Mac’aree.

A lightforged vessel stood in the skies of Antoran Wastes, a beacon of hope and the final stand against the Burning Crusade. To finally bring an end to an old threat that had plagued the universe.

Physically recovered, mentally scarred. A broken heart that became frail after the constant reminder of a nightmare that had been lived not so long ago. The Arcanist stood, not fearing to encounter those who she betrayed in secrecy. Somehow, with the attention that she had finally harvested by a few, she was able to obtain certain knowledge. Isratael knew she wouldn’t cross with a Nomad of Tureem. A little mana ray informed her that such specific group had gone missing for quite some time. She felt no contempt for their fate, reminding herself that they had used and abandoned her when she collapsed. Yet she lamented that they did not heard of someone named Ytaaru. Nonetheless, she endured and hoped. Despise the fragments of a former self, there was a minor Light that had not been engulfed in darkness. Perhaps such shard protected her during her captivity. A faith that not even the Ethereal was able to reach and manipulate, thus the transaction that he sought. If that candle in her soul were to cease on such dire event, her destiny would had been sealed.

Given the Pilgrim’s exposure, she could no longer escape from the burden of being part of something greater than her own inner turmoil. Told to accompany a group of broken known as the Krokul, to supervise their attempt to infiltrate one of the many dimmed and damped fel riddled caverns; she had no other choice but to clop her way to a Light Beacon. For the first time, the Enchantress stood on the rugged terrain of Argus. Though she once walked on Mac’aree, this land was not preserved. It hosted Antorus, the hallowed capital of the Burning Legion. Felfire rained from the skies, Felbats dove to snatch the Lightforged from the ground. Demonic artillery, twisted metals and pools of fel-lava that spawned hundreds of imps from the womb of much larger motherly abominations.

A war that the Pilgrim did not wanted to partake. A call of duty that she had once avoided, an heavy burden that she could not handle. Yet, to find her brother, she had to brave her fears. She began to wonder if her decision was worth it. Yet those doubts brought her much more pain, doubts that she refused to accept. Instead, she had a desire. Pure as that desire was, it was the only true outcome that she envisioned. She did not lied to herself, underestimating the odds of survival for herself or her brother. Instead her mind was like a web of opportunities and calculated outcomes. To avoid the unwanted, to pursue the path that lead to happiness. Every step counted, every spell meant something, her tongue was a sword to be used wisely. Riddles upon riddles, her sense of safety on one self and the events to come lied on her ability to anticipate and feel that she was in control of her own fate; not allowing it to control her against her preferable destination.
Yet, could she truly predict the future?

 

 

Loathing Heritage

 

The broken Eredar, familiar to such crumbling world, were aware of the unlikely odds in surviving a demonic onslaught directly. Instead, cunning as they were, the group of eight Krokul brought Isratael to the rivers of fel-lava. Plenty of fissures made it possible for the Legion to turn a blind eye to the fel corrupted basilisks that inhabited them. The mutated carnivorous creatures fought for their survival by devouring one another. At times, if their overlords were kind enough to torture a mortal, the wild life feasted on fleshly treats.
As obvious at it may be, the group kept themselves close to the edges of the narrowed rivers. A spell deployed by the Krokul that hid the group in the shadows as they moved together. Step by step, not to alert the beasts who were ecstatic by the numerous Felbats and hopeless warriors from both sides that felt by accident or thrown to their demise. While the Broken were used to such sight, the Draenei couldn’t help but feel sorrow and disgust for the gore she had seen. In her mind, she questioned the fate of Draenor. Did it also hosted such twisted carnivorous infected rivers of bright green, dark rock and crimson strokes of spilled blood?

Fissure by fissure, they distanced themselves from the narrow path of death to an even more confined crack on the cliffs that provided a platform for storming Mo’arg fiends. On a line, they felt the jagged terrain on their back and palms. Even though the Broken were far more burly than the Pilgrim, the stone still abraded her dark skin. Biting her lower lip, she gazed upwards at the dim cracks, shadows blocking the light. Ash felt down, the sound of blades clashing. The agonizing slash of an axe piercing throw the tissue, ichor dripping from above, landing on top of a dark silky cowl. She could not bear to look, despise her own countless executions upon others.
Something was different, war never changes. Yet the beholder of such emotions still had to recover from the past.

Silence loomed alongside the infiltrators. They had a mission, organized as they were. Explorers on a labyrinth of cracks, challenging fate itself against the odds of survival and true destination. Yet there they were, now in a cavern. Nowhere to hide, they drew their blades and began to mutter their spells. Arcane summoned and steamed from the mana Isratael carried on her garments, enclasped in shards and crystals that clinked in harmony against the golden metals. The Serpent Eyes of a staff that were used as a beacon to unleashed a barrage of missiles aimed at the felhounds that were eagerer to draw upon the Arcanist. Blades carved from bones, wielded by the mysterious Broken Assassins, brought but a mere fragment of their vengeance upon the remaining demons. A Shaman commanded the weakened earthen elements from an dying plane of existence, shaking the caverns for their own benefit to cripple their foes.

 

Once the group reached the far end of the dastardly cavern, where broken cages were hanged on the ceiling with long chains made of empyrium; a Jailer absorbed the souls of the war prisoners frenetically. The large hulking demon knew that a group of assassins was approaching, deciding to foil their plans before the inevitable demise. Hundreds of souls were locked on a cage that they carried behind the back, forever swirling in pain as they saw their corpses being tossed to yet another pool of fel-lava one by one.
Though the demon grinned with arrogance once they saw the perpetrators, they carried on with the foul ritual. Four mortals were chained, devoid of will to live after the horrors they had suffered. One stood at the center of a crude fel rune, a hand approaching the face of a male Blood Elf. But before the soul could be separated from the body, two of the assassins stepped to the Shadow realm just to immediately back stab in a blink. The bones carved deep within the thick hunch of the red maniac who began to chuckle as they felt to the ground. Yet the very last breath was only drawn when the Shaman begged for the elements to stab the Jailer with a wide sharp rocky spike that was cut from the stone on the roof.

Squirting, the tormentor was no more. The magical bounds breaking from the four lucky survivors. Two of those were female Draenei while another was a red blooded Highmountain Tauren, besides the Blood Elf himself that gasped for air. Unfortunately, the blood elf did not survived the ritual for his body became quite drained from life. An anorexic corpse that luckily passed away without becoming victim to a crueler fate. Such is the consequence of fel magic, which life itself is the main reagent.
The large built Tauren took hold of the cage that contained hundreds of souls. The enchantment that kept the souls within weakened by the demise of the fiend, crushed by the humanoid bovine when he decided to throw it against the cavernous walls. Guiding the souls, the Shaman brought peace to the dead with a mere wave of his withered staff.

 

Though the journey back to the Vindicaar proved to be more difficult, the three victims were brought to safety. A task that was considered a success, for the Tauren was part of an order known as the Unseen Path. The bound between the Army of the Light and the mysterious order only strengthened after such display of kindness. Yet they mourned for the death of the few Draenei and Hunters from the order that were sacrificed for the greater good.

Despise the triumph, Isratael did not felt that she belonged. Part of her was glad that she had saved a few more lives. Yet again, her focus was on herself and her personal goals. Noticing the distant approach from the Pilgrim, the two suviving Draenei came to her. Besides the obligatory well mannered words of appreciation, one of them recognized the Arcanist. Perhaps in the past, both had a closer connection that meant more to the survivor than to Isratael herself.
Taking the opportunity, the Pilgrim asked for the whereabouts of her brother. Once again, she was met with ignorance on the subject. As always, when one wasn’t aware, she also began to ask for the location of the Illusionist named Mesoora. But unlike previous attempts, the two draenei knew her. They were once her apprentices, saddened to hear that she never fought alongside them on Argus.
Widening her gaze, surprised by such revelation, anger at one self was hidden under the bruised skin. Was her travel to Argus pointless to begin with? She turned her back at the two, who grew some concerned over the Enchantress’ behavior. She marched to a lonesome corner of the vessel, questions came to mind. Confusion flooded her judgement. Yet frustration prevailed at the top.

 

If Mesoora never came to Argus, did her brother never traveled there as well? A question that she could not ignore, since the answer was most likely positive.
Was her suffering in vain? Did she gained anything from the skirmishes she joined, from the nightmare she had witnessed? From the sacrifices she made and the betrayal conducted behind the preying eyes of an Lightforged army?
Emotions overwhelmed her, from the atrocities she committed to reach just as far as she had. The words not spoken, for the decisions she made. She began to imagine what others would had thought about her, given that she no longer could justify herself.

All.. in vain.

 

Thoughts came to her mind after the tears were finally contained. Sniveling, she decided to forfeit her search. Like the Draenei on the Vindicaar, the Nomads that she aided and betrayed, the Pandaren that she heavily judged.. she began to understand.

Pain comes from the past. Actions and words spoken, with the hope of tidying the shards of a former life, end in frustration and torment for the meek. One becomes desperate the more they fail, ending in hypocrisy for the goals are greater than integrity to one’s morality. The devastating realization of one’s struggle to survive in such bleakness, a dystopian self fulfilling prophecy. Hatred, frustration; pebbles being born from withered trees.
Life is not what we desire what could had been. But what we desire to be with the possibilities given in the present. Held close to heart the short comings of life, a lesson rather than a bitter end to one’s future.

A lesson that she had forgotten, given the events she had suffered since the death of her warmth.

 

Upon self reflecting on her path, she approached the nearest Lightforged Draenei. From there, Isratael was guided to the very same portal that brought her to the Vindicaar. A portal that transported her to the Exodar, to Azuremyst Isles.

Again, she welcomed Azeroth. No longer was her goal to find her brother or the Illusionist. If fate allowed, they would meet once again.

The Pilgrim only desired to forget. To travel once again…
…and so she did.

 

Déjà vu

Pages:

Warcraft Short Story – Creeper of the Soul

 

Other short stories starring Isratael

  • Warcraft Short Story – A letter of a pilgrim – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – A brother’s Call to Arms – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – Judgement Day – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – Stranded on a river of leaves – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – The Staff of the Virtuous Pilgrim – Link

 

 

Creeper of the Soul

The perfect house. Adorned in beauty, inviting for the individual. The dream, lounging for thousands of years upon the soul of a once meek Draenei.
She saw, materialized in her sub-conscious. A vivid and convincing room, with those that she desired the most. Such warmth and harmony, never had this been so clear! In Shadowmoon Valley, a modest house where vines and wooden fences protected a magnificent back yard from the preying beast and critters that desired to feast upon others’ allure. Purple light coming from perfectly cut enchanted Taladite crystals that levitated on top of ivory pillars.
On the main hall, the one that presented such yard behind transparent glimmering layers of cloth embroidered in gem chips that reached the ground like tail quill feathers of a peacock; a wooden dining table with silver lining white cloth. The cherry on top, a table chandelier that held candles for those extra cold nights. A floral scent that traveled alongside the brown wooden walls that made a defining contrast with the stellar white stone floor. A bookcase, containing an impressive collection of tales and spell books of old! On one of the walls, a Crystalline fireplace that did not drew the attention away from a smaller sample of a white clefthoof’s pelt resting on the floor. Lastly, a wide yet thin wooden drawer that held the silver cutlery and other necessary utensils for a delightful meal; a rich variety of fruits on a colorful bowl that rested on top of such furniture.

But what made the house desirable was not the beauty in the eyes of the beholder, but the youthful warmth of those that were but no longer could. The Pilgrim’s parents, sharing the wisdom of the Prophet with the children that never came to be. The passionate dialogue from a red-blooded lover of reason, talking to the willful sibling. Other familiar faces came and went, hospitality in the house of the fabled Enchantress, Isratael.
.. Yet, it wasn’t a dream.

The wind blew harshly against the neck, cloth wrapping around it delicately. It was too late! With a snap, she felt on the ground painfully.
A flash, she hadn’t died, where were the others? Something was wrong and she called for her warmth. The long breathtaking wait between each clop from the hooves that never came, a crystal shard pierced through the heart.
A flash, she hadn’t died, her father was there now. She pleaded, the house was haunted! He widened his eyes in disbelief, now victim of the fire that grew right underneath his hooves. She couldn’t save him.
A flash, her father wasn’t there, did he perish? She ran outside the house and found herself in the backyard. There was someone there, a friendly orc that attended the flowers with much pleasure. Her tusks pointing upwards, curling a smile that she wasn’t aware. Was she aware of what was happening at all? The vines came to life, wrapping the Draenei when she least expected. Gasping for air, her last breath gave birth to another flash.
Again inside the main hall, the orc wasn’t there. The children that never came to be were screaming, falling one by one from the enchanted army of cutlery. The bowl of fruit was her shield of righteous. She survived, at what cost?
Flash, she was alone with her new acquaintance, paranoia. Paranoia became her greatest ally, her senses enhanced. For a time nothing came, until it did and she felt.
Flash, the corpse of her mother on top of the pelt.
Flash, she died with her brother.
Flash, the orc was there once again, but so was death.
Flash, blood. Flash, a survivor to tell. Flash, a tale of decay.

The nightmare of a house that never came to be. There was no way to wake up from such a dread, a prison of the past and long-lived yearnings. A constant reminder that, no matter how much one believes they will reach a state of ecstasy, life is anything but merciful. It will chortle in your misery. A chortle that felt real.

Laughter came from the tunnel of light that wittingly came. She stretched her arm to reach it. And from light came darkness, from darkness a blur and a voice that became clear.

 

 

Argus

 

She was in Argus for quite some time, such became obvious to Isratael once again. She had fallen victim to the whispers that surrounded the Seat of Triumvirate, Mac’aree; on yet another mission with a group of Draenei Nomads that she had grown acquainted with.
A verbal contract she had made once again but, unlike the one made with mercenaries and traders, it was one with the only desire to find her own brother. Nomads who constantly enforced her the same mindset she had grown to abhor. Trapped in a past, never releasing the grip from something that was long gone. Echoes, demons and spirits of the past; a reminder of a former home that no longer was but a burning fel rock. She detested Argus with a passion the moment she stepped on Mac’aree, even though it did not share the same cursed landscape from the world bellow. A floating rock, a lost piece of a puzzle that once made Argus the home planet of the Draenei more than twenty five thousand years ago. Isratael was born long after the lost, she had no attachment to such adulterated planet. It was only a planet that she had heard from her parents and much older acquaintances of the past.

However, she was a victim once again at that point in time. The whispers had reached to her, everything became hazy. She had just awakened from a deep slumber, or perhaps from a mind controlling spell. Shadows talked, yet she could not listen. It was still dark, but she was awake at last. Her mind was clearing up and she had begun to feel cold and a hunger she hadn’t felt in a long time. She tried to move, but her body was not her slave yet. It did not move under her command, not even a finger could be raised. Her head was not her own either, but she felt her skin touching upon a rugged surface. It hurt her, but she could not yell or whimper. A chill came from her spine for creeping dark tendrils traveled from her back and reached for her frown. These tendrils had her under control, under their command.

 

A chuckle came from afar, making the shadows flee. Her mind became clearer, her gaze limpid, and she could finally realize that she was inside a dim scavenged Draenei house. And the shadows were Krokul melded in Void. She tried to move once again, to speak.. to no avail. Yet her senses allowed her to realize that she had been stripped from her cloth, bearing her undergarments. Dirt and bruises covered her dark violet skin. The dark tendrils that preyed on her spine and skull were exactly what she had seen and understood, the body that sat on the floor and leaned against the wall was not her own to order, but to only feel. Fortunately for her, the master had no desire for their new puppet.

A fine subject.” said the voice that came closer, forming a shadow on the entrance. Tall yet slender, sharp shoulders and male on first sight. It was the voice that mocked in her dreams, yet the one that also brought her conscious back. Isratael’s own emotions felt distant however, despise the predicament she was experiencing. Such is the Void. Yet her eyes turned, not under her desire to do so. They looked at herself, at her own flesh.
The shadow came closer, growing bigger. When approaching the door frame, her body raised from the ground immediately. Her movements were rigid and reckless for her own well being, for she felt her bones cracking. Yet her body stood, slightly hunched. Her dark purple hair, though not long, waved in front of her gaze, greased. How long had she been in such a state of affairs?
The shadow.. was of an unknown Ethereal “Good, I can feel your presence. Your mind hasn’t been consumed.

He clasped his hands, or what appeared to be hands. The wrappings gave much to desire after all. He continued to speak to her with a tone that no longer mocked, but one of a diplomat “Your conscious mind is still alive. Appreciate that, Draenei. I have no desire to see a creature like you suffer..” he paused, only to wave a hand in front of a frown that was not her own.
From that wave, the tendrils that crawled on her back vanished to nothingness. And from that nothingness came a familiar vessel that was now hers to order and to feel. Suddenly finding herself being in control of her own self, she collapsed on the ground fully conscious. The pain that she felt on her body, it made her scream as loud as she could. The agony that she felt from the hunger, the bruises and pain from a former slave owner who carelessly treated her mortal vessel quite savagely. And from the pain, tears. The Ethereal waited patiently, giving a much more needed moment for the Enchantress to recover from the shock.

 

A moment had finally passed, raising herself quite pitifully. She clumsily stumbled closer to a wall, resting both palms on it. She had grown accustomed to her own body once again, yet there were questions unanswered. She turned to face the Ethereal, her back relying on the crumbling wall behind her. “I do apologize for your attire, Draenei. Your.. tattered drapes held impressive properties that were necessary for this transaction.” finally spoke the Ethereal once again, his hands behind his back with a rather straight posture.
.. W-Where am I? Who are you and.. why.. should I trust you?” mustered Isratael behind a harsh breathing pattern and vulnerable silhouette.
You haven’t left Mac’aree. I am your savior and you may feel free to not trust me.
I.. don’t trust your kind.
You don’t have a choice, regardless. Listen to my proposal or I shall send you back to the Void.

Threatened, the Draenei muttered a few words of wisdom. Yet, to her own dismay, the Ethereal raised a single finger that pointed close to where a humanoid would usually have their lips bloom. She had been silenced, which surprised her. “I wouldn’t do that again if I were you, fleshling. Remain civil and I shall provide with your belongings.” retorted the Ethereal, lowering his finger slowly. She felt her voice cords belonging to her once again, gasping.
Now that you are aware of your plight; I choose you out of those acquaintances of yours because I found that you were the most promising of subjects.” he continued with his negotiation.
T-the weakest, you mean..” lamented the Draenei.
There were others with weaker connection to the Light, fleshling. No, I choose you because you have something that I desire. And you desire something as well.
Walking closer to the Ethereal, she kept a much more reliable stance. One of her hands wandered behind her back in search for any tendril, growing some paranoia over the Void. But no, that Ethereal was aware of something already. Of her true goal on Argus or perhaps the dream she had.
Ytaaru.. is it?” he suggested, to incite more than a mere reaction. Which obviously she did, a trembling hand reached for her own mouth to cover her shock to hear such a name from an Ethereal. A clop back, she almost felt. A faint humorous snicker from the Ethereal, in jest “The things one can learn from another’s nightmares. I could hear your voice from afar, Draenei. You seek a familiar face, yet I do not know who and where this Ytaaru is.

 

Silence settled between the two oddities. The Pilgrim was growing restless from the mystery surrounding her torturer. A frustrated sigh from the Draenei herself broke the abnormality “Be quick, Ethereal. I starve. I.. know your people are oblivious to such realities but know that I may collapse soon if I do not eat..

Very well, fleshling. I’m aware of the nature of a certain mana crystal that you had. That crystal comes from this planet. I wish to know where. I’m sure that you are also aware the implications of not providing me with such information.
I.. should had guessed. You desire something that isn’t yours already. If I do, you’ll set me free?
I’ll do more than just that. I’ll provide what remains of your inventory. Including that particular unflattering staff.

The pilgrim blinked, turning her attention at her own physique. A reminder of the price she would had to pay for not complying with the demands of the Ethereal. If she were to accept the proposal however, she would be betraying the Nomads and, of consequence, her people. Her stare once again settled on the mystical appearance of the Ethereal that hid himself on poorly enchanted wrappings and uninspiring dark yet sharp shoulder pads made of cloth. Yet, in her hunger, she felt certain repulsion for those that abandoned her that day. She began to remember that, during the conflict, she had fallen behind while the other Draenei walked without much of a glance to her struggle. She had but one question to the Ethereal that awaited nothing but the answer he desired from her “How long has it been since the day you have manipulated me?
To which he answered “Nearly two weeks. No one came searching for you, Draenei.
Then I’ll accept your proposal. They must surely believe that I’m one with the Light by now..” she lamented, turning her gaze away from the dealer. She knew the consequences of her decision, yet it was one for her own survival and made ever so lightly given the blindness of her own hunger.
It is settled, Draenei. Surely, a mutually beneficial transaction. Just as I foresaw.

 

The Pilgrim began to provide the information to the mysterious Ethereal. In return, the Ethereal ordered two Voidscarred Krokuls to bring the Draenei her own values, to which they done so. Unlike what her oppressor had lead her to believe, her garments were mostly intact. The Staff of the Virtuous Pilgrim was once again hers to wield. The Ethereal was made aware where she had gained a particular mana crystal. He did not require more than the information provided. It belonged to an Autarch of her kind, from a lineage of magi that she knew so little to begin with. A Draenei that has lived four times over the age and wisdom of this Arcanist. Ancient vaults that held secrets and power, perhaps even subtle traps and curses. He did not fear the challenge itself, for he had allowed the Void to have control over his judgement.

The Enchantress was permitted to walk away from the crumbling ruins, to which she did without much more of a whimper to the few Ethereal she saw on her path back to the Vindicaar. Her mind, though freed from the influences of the Void, it was not fully sane. She only desired a meal, aloof clops on the ground and supported by her staff along the excruciating walk. She could not bear to fully grasp what she had done that day.

On the Vindicaar, the Lightforged were quick to attend to her wounds. There was no sign of any Nomad of Tureem. Long breaths, she closed her eyes and rested for a few days. She had enough time to contemplate about the consequences over and over. Yet no one knew what she had done, a secret that she kept hidden from those around her. On that moment, her only desire was to face her own brother. Perhaps he was on the region known as Antoran Wastes, or so she believed given that was the location the Vindicaar was brought to during her recovery.
Ytaaru…

Pages:

Warcraft Short Story – The Staff of the Virtuous Pilgrim

 

Other short stories starring Isratael

  • Warcraft Short Story – A letter of a pilgrim – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – A brother’s Call to Arms – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – Judgement Day – Link
  • Warcraft Short Story – Stranded on a river of leaves – Link

 

 

Dun Morogh

A darkened cloud, carried by the wind. To purify the soul, it must weep and not be forgotten in the skies. Never ignored. The tears, toxic, causing a temporary illness. Yet a river is seen, it must be fed and be given a flow without drying. Without it, all that is natural perishes with time. But so is the cycle of life that brings a storm on the horizon and tears apart what is close to us. Life is but a cycle of destruction and light that teaches us half truths. Not because it hides, but because life is the greatest poet. Like children of the night, embracing the dim nature of the womb. Laughter is what we seek at the end.
But all need to be born. Again and again. Can mortals truly reach the promise land? Ignorance is bliss, life will tear you apart. Wake up, forge your heart before darkness consumes you.

Life begins anew in familiar lands. The womb of a matriarch from Khaz Modan, Kharanos. It has been a year since the demonic invasion had begun. Though the united force of the Dwarven clans and individuals has made this specific town safe from harm; sorrow still lingers in the eyes of the beholder. The enthusiasm from the Gnomes, a race that has endured martyrs from their betrayer, truly the candles in bleakness.
The hum of metal, cling. The strength of a hammer, clack. A clattering hymn of rebirth to one of the most well known towns in Dun Morogh. Heavily guarded, even the mountain kings have to step down from their hills to inspire their people and make sure darkness doesn’t slither.

Again, Summer resides. The snowy mountains, resisting the heat for most part. Corn snow, wet at times, snow squalls aren’t uncommon. Still, it allows the meek to wander without too much concern of freezing to death or sickly. A Draenei pilgrim, by the name of Isratael, finds herself in this town afresh. She knew what to expect, relieved to see the outcome of the local labor. A few familiar faces, reminding her of a choice she had made. One that has cost her dearly. A pain that she felt within her heart, part of her regretted her choice. Yet the face of a few of the locals that recognized her. Those who used to carry bandages, scars. They now smiled, their eyes could not hide! The cheeks, hid underneath layers of musk that tell a tale. A stoutly appearance, protected by long braided beards. There was something charming and endearing when witnessing a Dwarven male genuinely smile. “Was this the right decision”, the Draenei thought to herself through mutters.

After leaving a golden vale of sorrow, to experience the death of an outcast by the hands of their enemies; she couldn’t help but feel sympathy for the lone Mogu. Truly, blind hatred. She expected much more from the Pandaren, after being in their continent for a while. The tales and their philosophy, hospitality, their cuisine! If there is someone on Azeroth that one could trust to make the wisest of choices, it must be a Pandaren. Yet what the Draenei saw was hypocrisy. It betrayed her, tricked her. Toyed with her weakened soul. Her hope, to abandon her previous life and to be reborn anew, to walk a new path along the people of Azeroth. Her family was shattered, most pieces were broken while others were left to wander.
Is such faint desire truly fiction from the mind of a troubled wayfarer? Was it fate, to be a shadow of a former vessel that didn’t beat so violently within the embrace of an ivory palace? Pause, the beat skipped, what is this feeling? It is empty, yet also everything that one feels. Pouring in so vapidly. No, not vapid. It’s intense! Is it too late for the Draenei to scream? To beg? Her mouth hastened, yet it was too late. A weak sigh was all that was transpired from yet another moment of despair. The culmination of a being that has lived for over ten millennia. The same sound one hears from the whispers coming from the most ancient of fauna, a sough.

 

 

The Staff of the Virtuous Pilgrim

 

The Hammerstone family.

Again Isratael had decided to visit them. Haze shrouds the path of faith, lacking direction. In haze, Isratael could only think of an elderly matriarch, Jagda Hammerstone. A Jewelcrafter that she had met, in a family of diggers and a few metalsmiths. After the bulk of the Legion’s army upon this world, the family took the opportunity to enlarge their foundry in the extremity of the town. Their family name was known for their explorer, Galthorm Hammerstone, not for their prospectors and crafters. They had to compete with more prevalent names in their society.

 

After trudging on top of the recently built stone paths that connected the town with prosperity in mind, her hoof had clopped on the foundry. A familiar sound to some of the family members, turning their heads to see the Draenei that had saved them. As she expected, much like the very few commoners that recognized her, their grin lighten up more than the flames that rested on the furnace. It is as if a hero was walking among them. She could not bare to look at them in the eyes, forcing a smile that was buried in the shade cast by her lilac embroidered silky cowl. A gift from another friend of hers, a fabled Pandaren Jewelcrafter from the Greenstone Village, Jade Forest.

Brought to the matriarch, blissfully preparing a feast for her loved ones, with the aid of her grandchildren on the comfort of their own house; the family allowed a moment’s rest from the two. Of course, as tradition demanded, Jagda had brought the pilgrim to the silence that only the death could bring. It was still an afternoon, never completely in solitude. The sun provided enough warmth to make the Draenei finally unveil her hair. She had allowed it to grow, though it yet had to reach her shoulders. It no longer carried the fragrance that was familiar to those that knew her a few years back. Rather, it was sweeter. A contrast to an expression that carried melancholy. If anything, it burden the matriarch to see such a noble creature to be saddened.

Lass..?” the dwarf questioned. She was not expecting to see her friend and champion mourn after what happened. Little did the Dwarven widow knew about the death of Isratael’s father. A planned omission from the Arcanist that did not desire to tell of her sacrifice when she had reluctantly decided to stay in Kharanos. It wasn’t that day either that the Draenei would decide to tell this Dwarven friend about it. Instead, the pain within was finally released after another skip from a dying beat. Though the graveyard did not contain a single tombstone of her fallen loved ones, she felt on her knees and wept. Toxic tear drops in the soft snow, an illness that was contagious even to the Dwarf. The elderly kept her close, no words needed to be told, not this time.

 

Once the canals began to dry, Jadga held the silky cloth in her hands. Soft, delicate and of fine quality. She shared her opinion on it, trying to cheer the pilgrim. It matched her silver garments and purple cloth. A proper armor for a lone traveler, adorned with enchanted azure shards and gems that produced their own melody, an Arcanic aura that gave them a peculiar reflection of reality itself. Yet not even such flattery cheered this Draenei. The darkness started to creep on the Dwarven’s heart, but she resisted. She spoke, afflicted “Isratael.. it pains me t’see ya’ like this! Is this how ancient legends feel when they have lived lon’enough an’ have suffered from fate?

Are you asking if.. if it is a curse to live long just as I have?” the Draenei finally spoke. Her speech slow, weightless. Almost carried by the wind and lost to the ages.

The dwarf knew what those words meant. A Dwarf would never live long enough to experience the wisdom and a wide range of shortcomings throughout life like a Draenei would. Not even an elf could. How many generations of Dwarves has Isratael outlived for? Perhaps most Draenei are older than the entire legacy of the Dwarves as a race! A Dwarf could never fully understand a Draenei. “I.. am because I don’know..” her voice trembled, realizing she was facing an ancient creature that knew much more about life itself than her entire race.

“I ask the same question now and then.. and not even I know. I do not know if I should envy you or..” she paused. She knew that her trail of thoughts would lead to unnecessary drivel.

“Then why have ya’came here? Why are ya’not with yer’ people, pilgrim? We’re more mortal than ya’..” the Dwarf argued, perhaps in desperation in face of a deep desire to assist her friend. The sturdiness of her kind being heavily rooted within her wrinkling facade. Hiding a much more dire truth, a truth that she found to be guilty of as well. Quickly she took a step back and apologized for her outburst.

Yet a truth that Isratael was familiar with. One that was too late to avoid and to reach out with her own voice “To mourn..

 

 

The sky had turned orange, a few shades from the Dark Beyond covering a clear sky. Fully exposed was still Argus, a reminder of the demonic influence of the Burning Legion upon Azeroth. Both widows talked to one another, the venom already tainting the graves of those who are no longer among them. If the dead could hear and speak, the secrets they would tell of every orphan that had bled their soul! Yet the dead, like silent escorts to one’s sentiment, can no longer be adulterated.

 

Both returned to the matriarch’s house, surrounded by the blissful warmth of one’s crib. Deep down, the Draenei felt envy on that moment, for this is what the Draenei truly desired for herself and the warmth that she dearly missed. Another crack on her vessel, a silent one at that. Still, she could not help but set aside her bitterness for now and delight herself in the company of those who only wished to please her. Isn’t that all that matters?

However, when the meal had been prepared and joyfully feasted upon, Isratael was later met with a proposal from one of the crafters of the family. Some of the members of this family wanted to offer the Draenei a gift, an artifact to be crafted by Dwarven hands. After all, the Hammerstone family had a foundry and a tale to tell for countless of generations to come.

The tale of the Virtuous Pilgrim. A tavern tale that was brewing within town, of one of the many saviors of Kharanos:

It tells of a powerful Archmage that traveled the Great Dark Beyond, that predicted the arrival of the Legion which craved to enslave Azeroth and spread darkness upon the mountains of Khaz Modan. That three powerful fel twisted six horned rams were to take over the three thrones. That among the heroes of Kharanos, a Pilgrim, as docile and innocent as a sheep, stood against the demonic rams and their army of wolves. Despise the appearance, the pilgrim sheep stared directly to the soulless, adorned in blue velvet to signify their alignment with the Alliance. The wisdom that the sheep carried made the wolves eat the very snow that their own paws carried. Truly, the determination of a wizard from the Dark Beyond.

Isratael, despise the looming darkened tar that had yet to be purified from all the muck accounted from ten thousand years of pleasures taken away; couldn’t help but find some amusement in the method used to describe the events that took place one year ago. For the Hammerstone family, it meant their life, which Isratael agreed to accept the reward from it.

 

On the following days, a peculiar staff was crafted. Carrying the head of a sheep, bathed in gold. Gems adorned the stone wool, giving a feeling of royalty. And from the spoils of Pandaria, brought from the travels in Pandaria, two serpent eyes symbolized the wisdom that the Pilgrim Sheep carried in their vision. Blue cloth formed a bound between a wizard and the Alliance. Enchanted, to serve as a focus to one’s evocation of the Arcane. And from a staff, new golden attires were forged and blue cloth was sewed by the hands of a tailor among the family. The silk that the Draenei carried was painted in dark and blue shades, embroidered details preserved yet turned into gold.

And thus the artifact known as the Staff of the Virtuous Pilgrim came to exist, to be held by one of the Saviors of Kharanos, the Lost Sheep from the Dark Beyond.

 

Eager to be reunited with her brother, to explain what she had given in exchange for the life of their father, Isratael was determined to find him and Mesoora. To finally drain the impurity of her heart on one last family reunion and to forge a new life on Azeroth. Never to look back in grief. For Azeroth itself, as a whole, was her Valley of Eternal Blossoms. To Argus she went. But the question remains, is Azeroth really the promise land she desires? Or did the light provided to her spoke in half truths?

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