Other short stories starring Isratael
- Warcraft Short Story – A letter of a pilgrim – Link
The mountainous snowy peaks of Dun Morogh, known for the Khaz Mountains. The center of Dwarven and Gnomish culture and ingenuity. Ironforge and Gnomeregan are the capitals that have hosted thousands of explorers, thinkers and skilled crafters from the Alliance. Most inventions are brought to live in this region, built from the very same minerals that are dug deep from the quarries within the mountains.
Both the Bronzebeard Dwarves and Gnomes have been allies with one another for centuries. Now with the Dwarven clans united; the region is only threatened by the Troggs and Wendigo buried deep underground, the Frostmane Trolls that wish to control the elements and wild life with their voodoo and, lastly, Thermaplugg and his army of leper gnomes that currently reside in Gnomeregan.
With the recent invasion of the Burning Legion upon Azeroth, this region has been one of the most affected by the demonic crusade, excluding the Broken Isles. Though most has been dealt with, this story is a reminder of the events that have unraveled during the peak of this tainted avalanche of death.
Isratael, a traveling Draenei Enchantress and Jewelcrafter, who had been on her pilgrimage for more than two years at the time; was in the Dwarven town of Kharanos. The search for rare minerals and gems lead her to this town. Though her goal was to trade in Ironforge, she had heard of a fabled Dwarven miner and archaeologist that was visiting his homeland. His knowledge of this world was vast and, perhaps, he could provide her with some knowledge.
A brother’s Call to Arms
In these last few weeks, word has spread that his latest expedition was over and, once again, he returned to his hometown to share the tales and discoveries he had made about the ruins underneath the earth. With a ram packed with gifts and prospected minerals, he was ready to sell the leftovers of his excavation as well to those that desired. Isratael was one of them.
The archaeologist had made himself comfortable in his family’s house. With his vast number of cousins and uncles, he did not lacked company! However, at certain days, he was open for business in his family’s foundry. Given Galthorm’s fame, his family has been able to afford having their own modest forge and to craft their own metals out of the ore. In fact, one of Galthorm’s aunts was a Jewelcrafter, who worked alongside other Metalsmiths. Her name was Jagda Hammerstone. This was the dwarf that Isratael approached.
Jagda gladly accepted Isratael’s plead, entertainment by the thought that she would be spending time with someone that is from a race that is much more ancient than her own. In return Jagda only asked to be rewarded by the tales and knowledge that were unique to a Draenei. Of the worlds she had seen, visited. Her own techniques, as a jewelcrafter.
And so Isratael stayed, for nearly two weeks. Working alongside an elderly dwarf, creating rings and necklaces from precious and semi-precious stones. The two formed a bond rather quickly, sharing the grief of losing their spouse. In fact, Jagda’s spouse was an Earthen Ring Shaman, a Wildhammer Dwarf. Given her spouse’s connection with the Earthen Elements and her own Hammerstone lineage, she had decided to become a Jewelcrafter. In memory of her past relationship with a sturdy fool who had given his life to protect the World Pillar, in Deepholm.
In one of those cold evenings, after a day’s work, Jagda invited Isratael for a brief walk. The elderly widow still had strength in her legs, creating an healthy habit of walking around town during the night in order to not fall ill and inactive. Most of the populace was still awake, despise the cold. After all, it was still summer and the locals are used to much harsher temperatures that are brought in during winter.
Wearing a wolf’s fur-lined leather coat, Isratael accompanied the dwarf. They walked together to a more secluded area of the town, the outskirts. And in the outskirts, Isratael found herself in a small graveyard. This was not the first time Isratael was invited to visit this particular graveyard.
“I had lost hope.” said the elderly Dwarf with her comforting Dwarven accent, gazing at the tombstone that paid homage to the death of her spouse. Though she looked older than the Draenei next to her, it was Isratael who had lived for a few millennia… compared to the nearly two hundred from the dwarf. “But I’ve survived, haven’t I? I never would have guessed that, at this age, I coul’ find an’ befriend a foreign like ye’.”
“We are survivors, Jagda..” muttered the Draenei with a shiver, the shadows and chill of the night reaching to her knees. Like a spirit, the cold trespassed the holy grounds of one’s undergarments. In Isratael’s mind, she wondered how the Dwarves managed to survive on these mountains for all these years. Her coat was within her grasp, wrapping her dark purple skin tightly.
“.. Yet ya’fear the dead?” Jagda questioned, adjusting Isratael’s coat from behind. Unlike the Draenei; most Dwarves, including Jagda, were wearing their summer short sleeved clothing and leather.
“I do not. But I do fear a broken heart. There is so much that one can take before their heart turns to stone!” whimpered Isratael, deciding to turn her gaze at the moist soil underneath her hooves. “A heart that has turned into stone cannot allow the Light to penetrate its core.”
“My, aren’t ya’ a scholar? Isn’t ya’ kind gifted? What’s this talk abou’ losing ya’ faith?”
The gift of the Naaru, a gift to the Draenei from a race of angelic beings made of pure Light. A gift that allows the Draenei to never forget about their past as people, as uncorrupted Eredar exiles who did not fall for the diabolical temptations of the Burning Legion. The Draenei have every reason to be proud of their gift, to be part of the prophetic vision of an army that will stand against the fel corrupted, the Army of the Light.
Isratael, despise the memories that torment her, is aware of this. “You’re right.. Jagda. And what faith do you have?”
“I have faith that my family will live, that’ll learn from my mistakes. That they’ll take care of me the same way I do to them. That everyday I get up t’prepare our dinin’ table, with their favorite brew.. that they’ll learn what love truly means. So that they, too, can find someone that loves them jus’as much as me!” answered Jagda. Though there was uncertainty in her words, with certain hesitation.. she was able to bring her answer to a rather satisfying conclusion that brought a faint resemblance of a smile on her dry lips.
The words chosen by the elder brought a grin to Isratael’s face. Despise the shrouding mists of doubt clouding her thoughts, to the point of making her indevout; her love for her father still shined brightly. But so did the dread of losing yet another family member “You remind me of my father.. I aspire to be like you one day. Able to move on, bring hope to others.“
“Ya’ can never move on from such a burden, lass.. but ya’ can teach others how to survive and not’ta be swallowed with grief.”
As the evening turned into darkness and most of the Dwarves walked to their own houses, so did Isratael followed the Dwarven matriarch. This was not the first time Isratael heard these words. The speech and life lessons from the experienced. The voices from those who had suffered, they too have lost and continue to wither with the passage of time. Life is like an orchestra that has a climax, accompanied by the lyrics of a poet who is constantly improvising yet ends up repeating the same chorus over and over when in doubt. And we, the audience, desire to yield the baton and make the orchestra our own. Yet, like fools who never learn from history, we keep falling for the inevitable pits made by our own worst fears, like a self fulfilling prophecy. And thus the chorus repeats and the audience griefs.
Is it us who truly hold the baton? Or is it our nature that compromises our destiny?
It was during that night that Isratael had received a dire message from her brother, while she slept on the floor on top of a white furred bear rug and surrounded by a few small cushions. Her staff, enchanted and containing a complex set of elaborate arcanic runes that held a perfectly designed Aquamarine crystal, beamed with an aura that only she could recognize. Her family was trying to contact her.
Given that she was asleep, she took her time to take hold of the crystal from her staff. Activating the runes, a voice could be heard from within. It was her brother, Ytaaru.
Ytaaru is much older than her. Before her, Ytaaru had other siblings which, from Isratael’s perspective, were half-siblings from their mother’s side. Ytaaru was her only brother and her relationship with her half-siblings has always been scarce. Some of them had long died while others remained. As far as Isratael was concerned, she is aware that there’s at least two of them that decided to abandon the Light and choke themselves with the tainted blood of the Legion’s corruption.
He is a zealot, a fearful paladin. A vindicator, member of the Hand of Argus. His intimidating silhouette makes him a wall and a blazing protector of the Light. Truly a judge that delivers retribution to those who fail to prove their alignment with the vision of the Prophet. Goal driven, his faith is strong and he’ll stop at nothing to fulfill the prophecy that’ll save countless of worlds and realms from the twisted claws of fiends.
The voice from within the crystal spoke with authority:
Isratael, it’s Ytaaru, your brother. I’m sending this message to you, hoping that you’ll heed my call…
… the legion, they have invaded this world! They have already arrived to the isles. Remember your people, our people, the vision.
Do not abandon us, Isratael. Forget your pilgrimage and join us! In the light, we are one.. always remember that.
Protect our father. Do not fail the Prophet, do not fail me!
I can ask one of our mages to create a portal for you to come, since you cannot. Tell me where you are, I’ll make sure they’ll do so!
… I’m counting on you… sister!
Shocked by the news, Isratael gently placed the crystal on the rug with a trembling hand. Clenching one of the smaller pillows, tears prudently erupted on the room she was in by herself. Using the very same cheap pillow to weep, her worst fears came to reality. She wasn’t ready to face death, yet another war. Perhaps another great lost?
Many questions came to mind while she suffered. If the Burning Legion started to invade Azeroth once again, would this mean that the demons were to invade Dun Morogh? If so, should she stay and aid the Dwarves? What of her father? Why would the demons invade this world now? If she warned the Dwarves of Kharanos, would they believe and prepare themselves for the invasion? Would this town be spared? Was she to die in this town herself among the Dwarves? What of Exodar, her people?
Doubt shrouded her judgement and she could not think of an answer to her questions. Grasping her staff, placing the crystal on its rightful place, she walked outside the Hammerstone’s house without making a noise. The night sky was clear and there was yet to be a sign of a demonic invasion. Without a coat, she shivered yet she was blinded by her emotions. She needed some time to think, to consider. To ponder. Would her people, her family.. forgive her if she were to stay and protect the Hammerstone family? Would her family be dead once the invasion was over?
The snow on her hooves, on her knees, wet, ever melting for the lack of a storm for nearly a week. Her palms keeping her balance, the lack of energy. The lack of will and the most important question lingering in the air “Why me?”
A Call to Arms, yet to be answered.