I have walked the lands of Azeroth for over seven and a half thousand years. In those years I have seen much pain, much death, and much darkness. But also in those years, I have seen much courage, much beauty, and much light. As there must be, in all things, there has been a balance however uneasy.
I was born into this world when our beautiful World Tree was still young, as trees go, while our society was still rebuilding itself from the ashes it was reduced to. My childhood years were relatively happy and peaceful. From the day I was born, I spent nearly every waking hour with my dearest friend, Daenara. She and I were born on the same day, and our families had been close all of their lives. We were often left to entertain ourselves, and spent much of our time together exploring the wild lands, or sitting amongst the elders of our race, listening to the stories of old. From them we heard tales of Azshara and her betrayal of our people. We heard of the ferocity of the Burning Legion, and the terrors unleashed upon the world. We heard of the sundering, and near extinction of our people. But in those tales of darkness and sorrow, we also heard of the bravery of Malfurion, Tyrande, and those who stood behind them. At a very young age, I held them both in awe. They were my heroes then, and even now, they hold my utmost respect. We also heard tales of the wisdom of the dragons, and their gift of the World tree. Sadly, we heard all this from our community, and not from our parents.
My parents, as well as Daenara's, were highborn themselves, and proud
of their heritage. They did not speak out against Malfurion and Tyrande,
at least not at first, but it was not they that they held in high regard.
It was not the dragons that they thanked for the gift of our tree either.
It was Illidan, the betrayer, they thanked for the gift of the new well
of eternity. They were foolish, but they were also kind parents, and though
when I was old enough to understand what had happened, I disagreed with
them, I loved them just the same.
The years passed, and sadly, the time came. There was more and more unrest between the highborn and the rest of the night elves. They began to speak out against Malfurion, and call him foolish, weak. They felt that magic was their birthright, and could not see Malfurion's wisdom in prohibiting what had he had seen become the downfall of not only his people, but his dear brother as well. When they were not heeded, a great storm came down upon Ashenvale. A storm my parents and the rest of the highborn were behind. Shortly thereafter, as Malfurion could not bear to put so many of his people to death for their treason, they were banished. My mother and father begged me to go with them, but I could not. I was not part of their society, no matter how hard they tried to pull me in. I was struck to the core at their betrayal of their people. I felt pity for them, for their addiction to magic. I had watched it eat at them all of my life. In my eyes, however, it did not warrant an attack on their own people. How they could be so blind and foolhardy, I do not understand to this day. I embraced them one last time, as they boarded their ship, Elune's light glinting off the tears streaming down our cheeks. My father took my hand and placed an object in it, curling my fingers around it. Cold metal bit into my palm, as he turned his back to me and took my mother's hand, walking into the shadows of the cool night. After that night, I was never to see my parents again.
That day, I was curled up alone, in my family's house, cold, scared, and alone. I missed my parents terribly already, and knowing that I would never see them again broke my heart. I wept into my pillow, cradling in my hand, my father's gift. It was a finely wrought silver pendant, a full moon disk, polished so bright it seemed to shine like Elune herself, set into a background of the night sky made of blue and white gems, and crowned atop with a stag's horns. Laying there, I couldn't help but feel the emptiness in our dwelling. What was a tiny home, just big enough for three, felt as big as the temple of Elune. In that stillness and emptiness, I started at a sound. Just a drop of water hitting the stones of the floor, but it was out of place somehow. I then felt a soft hand on my shoulder and the wetness of a silent tear on my cheek. I reached up and took the hand of my lifelong friend, and pulled her close. She had suffered the same loss that day. I smiled a little, through my tears, and wrapped her comfortingly in my arms, thanking Elune that she had stayed. With her by my side, the world did not seem so empty. We lay together that night, and found solace in each other's company. From that day forward, we were each other's family, each other's life.
The betrayal of our own families hit us hard. Disgusted with the corruption, and with society's trappings in general, we sold off both of our families' homes, and moved further out into the wilderness. We had a small home, and lived fairly self sufficiently. We kept in loose contact with some of the elders we counted as friends, but otherwise we were content to live outside of society. We learned much about living with the land, and nature, and after many years, healed, and became content and happy. Many wonderful years were spent in that home, deep within the forest. Some of the happiest years I was to ever know.
We had friends in the dryads, and in all the living creatures around. We both felt a deep kinship with nature, beyond even the kinship that our people are known for. Daenara became a keen tracker, and a friend to the animals. She was forever bringing home injured animals for me to nurse back to health, and I did so happily. She also practiced hard with her bow, and was determined to protect us and keep us safe. Myself, I spent my days learning of the plants and animals of the forest. I learned to make use of my knowledge of those plants to heal, and cure sickness. I spent much time in communion with nature, and without really thinking about it, found myself in conversation one night, with the elder tree near my home. From then on, the world was even more alive. I would sit, when Daenara was out hunting, and speak with the laughing wind, or listen patiently to the long tales of the trees. Not long after, when I was walking with Daenara, gathering fruit and vegetables for that evening's meal, we came upon a small grove. Both of us knew the trails well in our beloved forest, but never had we seen this place. For a moment, I thought we had walked much further than we had thought, but Daenara, who knew the trails of the forest, and nearly every creature by name, assured me we had not. The trees around us were ancient and stately, and they welcomed us younglings (though we were at least six thousand by then) warmly. The breeze caressed us, and held in it a calming, peaceful touch. I was in awe of the place, and completely overwhelmed. It was not until I felt Daenara start beside me, and her hand go for her bow, that I noticed the movement in the trees. Out stepped a creature, much like our beloved dryads, only male, and larger than any we had seen. His antlers brushed the lower branches on the ancient trees, and his hoofbeats echoed through the glade. As he entered, the birds sung welcome, the trees bowed to greet him, and flowers sprung up at his feet. When he spoke, his voice was deep and gentle, and had the wisdom of the whole world in it.
"Calm yourself, Daenara," he chuckled, "and put down your bow. I mean no harm to you, or Veleda." We both jumped at hearing our names, and then we finally realized with whom we spoke.
"Cenarius." I whispered in awe, bowing my head.
"Yes, young one. You are correct. I am Cenarius, and you needn't bow."
"I am sorry, great Shan'do," I said, straightening up, and
beaming as brightly as Elune on
He laughed, and the world laughed with him, "I have watched you both for many years, and have found you to be true friends of the forest. Many of my animals have come to me with tales of your kindness. For that, I thank you, and I welcome you. You are both welcome in my grove from this day on. You may come and speak with me whenever you like, and perhaps, when you are ready, learn from me."
Daenara and I both thanked him gratefully, and never forgot our first meeting. We came often to his grove, and spent time in conversation and friendship. We learned much in those years, much about patience, the workings of the world, and of the importance of all things in it. He taught us many things that would be very important in the years to come.
One fated evening, Cenarius was late to meeting us in his grove. When he finally did arrive, his demeanor was troubled, and the whole grove took on the feeling of the calm before the storm. The wind hushed, and all was still and dark, but there was that heavy, oppressive weight in the air, of something ready to break. It was that night, he told Daenara and I that we were ready to begin training.
"There is trouble brewing again, dear ones," he said to us, "and soon a time will come when every hand is needed to protect the world. You both will be needed to play your part, however small. Veleda, you shall come to me, as I instruct, and I shall teach you the ways of the druid. You will not learn enough to be of use in battle. Sadly, the time is coming too soon. However, your skills in healing will be in great demand. Daenara, your skills lie in the lay of the forest, and your kinship with, and understanding of the creatures in it. Your training shall be with your own kind. But do not worry, you do not have to go back to civilization," he chuckled at her concerned expression, "There is another who is a friend to the forest, who lives how you do. I shall introduce you to her later."
For the next few months, Daenara and I saw little of each other, except for when we came home to sleep. Daenara's training, however, is a tale for her to tell. Myself, I spent many hours learning how to manipulate the forces of nature, how to petition them to help me, and how to turn them to my will. In that basic understanding, I learned to heal minor wounds, and how to wield nature's wrath when threatened. My time of training was not fated to be long, however.
One day, when Cenarius was teaching me how to manipulate my healing to slowly heal someone over time, he broke off from his patient explanation, and stared off into the distance for some time. A feeling of wrongness and fear struck me at that moment, and I caught bits and pieces of the trees carrying a message, a cry for help. Cenarius' eyes flashed angrily, and in response to his anger, thunder rolled in the distance, and the wind rose, screaming and lashing out.
"We leave for Ashenvale, now. When we arrive, you and Daenara are to stay back from the fighting, she shall protect you from danger, and you are to heal all you can. Do not leave her side." He instructed, his voice holding in it both anger, and fear.
"Yes, Shan'do," I replied, shaken by his words, but determined
to do whatever I could,
"I'm sorry I could not brace you for that, Veleda." Cenarius said quickly, "We needed to get here as fast as possible. Remember what I said."
He then let out a bellow that shook the earth, and pawed the ground.
From all around the forest, his sons and daughters came to his call, armed
and ready. I felt a hand on my shoulder and spun around to see Daenara
there already, looking a little pale, but grim and determined. I started
to explain to her what Cenarius told me, but she cut me of gently, "I
know. Now, follow me, I've been told where we are needed."
The battle went on for many hours, and when it seemed that we were to be overcome, Cenarius led one last charge of his kin. I watched that terrible charge, and what took only moments, seemed to take days. Cenarius and his kin took out many of the remaining warriors, but it was not enough. The orcs were more powerful than any mortal creature should be, and just kept coming. Cenarius battled long and hard, but as I watched, I saw the stroke coming that was to fell my Shan'do. When it hit, I watched him fall in slow motion, as if the whole world focused only on that moment. I cried out and focused all I had left of my energy in an attempt to heal him, to keep him alive. I fought to control and pull all the energy my body could take, but his life bled out faster than my meager skills could heal. I fell to my knees, overcome, and all I could do was weep. Without him, we were lost. In my grief, I felt a gentle breeze brush the tears from my cheeks. On that breeze was that gentle familiar voice. I looked up to see if I was wrong. Had my Shan'do not fallen?
"Be calm Veleda. You did all you could, and you have made me proud. Do not let your heart break, for they have but slain my mortal shell. I am not mortal remember, and will not fade from this world so easily. I will be with this world in spirit still. We have lost this day, Veleda, gather those who survive and retreat, but know this is just the beginning. And yes, for their deeds, these orcs shall feel our vengeance. But there will be more battles to come, against foes more fearsome than this..."
With those last words, the breeze rose to a zephyr. As it blew by me, and through me, I felt renewed. As it blew through the ranks of the orcs, I heard them bellow in frustration as it pushed them back just long enough for a few of our ranks to escape.
The next eve, the defenders of Ashenvale were called to speak with Tyrande Whisperwind. The few of us who survived went, and were informed of the situation. Ashenvale was lost, but not to the orcs. The orcs we had been fighting were a splinter group, corrupted by the Legion. Ashenvale now belonged to the Legion. They had come again. Tyrande went on to inform us that every able hand was to be called to this war. She was even going to attempt to wake the druids. Everyone was needed to push back this evil. We were each assigned at task in defense and began our part in the war. Daenara was to join with a band of scouts, and be the eyes and ears of the armies. Myself, I was to join with some of the awakening druids, and the priestesses of Elune, in the infirmaries, taking care of the wounded.
After many grueling battles, and with the power of the newly awakened Malfurion unleashed, we managed to push the Legion back, but not without so much loss. I heard whispers that the Legion now turned its eyes on Nordrassil, the World Tree. If they were to be successful, it would be truly, the end of our world. Because of this, the Horde and Alliance struck a truce, and all the races of Azeroth fought to safeguard the tree. In this time, I learned much of the races that, in my seclusion, I had known nothing about. I learned of the fiery and loyal humans, the intelligent and curious gnomes, and the brave and true dwarves. I also learned of the noble, and earth revering tauren, and the trolls who ranged everywhere from friendly and laid back, to savage and cunning. Beyond all, however, I was most surprised by the orcs. I had thought them savage, bloodthirsty, and brutish, by what I had witnessed. To be honest, I held hatred for them in my heart, for the evils they did my people, and for killing my Shan'do. I learned however, that they were much different than I had seen. The Warsong orcs, that had attacked Ashenvale, betrayed the rest of the orcs by giving in to their bloodlust, a curse upon them given when they were once tricked into allying with the Legion. Their attack was provoked by the Legion, and not by the orcish leaders. For the most part, the orcs I cared for in the infirmaries were gruff and proud, but fiercely loyal, and held to a strict code of honor. Truly, they were more noble than they had seemed.
The day came that the Legion was almost upon the tree. Every hand was
called forth to strengthen its energies in any way they could. I fell
to my knees along side many of the druids, and worked with them to petition
nature to grant all the strength and power it could to the tree. Malfurion,
tapped into that primal power, was able to unleash it upon the Legion.
The fury unleashed was incredible, and shook the very earth down to its
roots. It succeeded in destroying the enemy's leaders, and turned the
tide so utterly, that the remainder of their forces were easily overwhelmed.
However, that miracle came with a price. The tree was destroyed. Every
one of the Kaldorei felt it down to the core of their being, no matter
where they were. With the destruction of the tree came the loss of our
immortality, and struck a great blow to our connection to the world's
energies. I cannot begin to describe to you what I felt at that time
I shall not even try. To this day, there is still a part of me that feels
hollow in its absence.
The tenuous peace between the Horde and Alliance has become strained. The humans, fiery and quick to move as always, sent a fleet to Kalimdor, landing on the orcs' doorstep with ill intent. Strangely, the very daughter of he who was set to attack, stood with the orcs to repel them. I'm not sure I will ever understand humans. Now, raids come frequently on Astranaar, as the orcs are angry with us for our allegiance to the Alliance.
Daenara and myself are trying to rebuild. We have continued our training and have come far. I have focused my energies on becoming a strong healer and protector. Daenara has focused her skills on taming the beasts of the wild to fight alongside her, and in great feats with her bow. Our once tranquil home is lost, but we have found some peace in our wanderings of the world. We spend every day trying to rebuild and protect our world, and have made many friends along the way. The brother dwarves, Braedor and Darac, we met in our travels shortly after the war. Since then, we have become close friends, and are always there when the other is in need. They are kind and jovial folk, always quick to help in a fight, or to share items of their trade, or items Daenara and I need for our trade.
In my years of training, I have also focused on learning alchemy to a greater extent. Potions are always a great backup to healing powers, and I have found much need for the elixirs I can make. One evening, I was in Ironforge, the capital city of the dwarves and center of trade for the Alliance, plying my wares. I was contacted by another night elf, a priest of Elune. An easy and comfortable conversation was struck up over the mana potions he wished to purchase from me. We found a kinship with one another quite quickly, and spoke for quite some time. During the conversation, he spoke of the guild that he led, called Providence. He said it was a small guild, a group of people who focus on taking care of each other, and who think of others before themselves hence the name. He invited me in warmly, and told me there was a place for me there if I wished it. Daenara and I had been lone wolves for so long, it took some time to decide, but after a few days deliberation, we decided to give it a try. Since then, Providence has become our family, the first family we have known besides each other in many, many years. We have grown fond of each and every member we have met, and are proud to be a part of such a wonderful group. We have found some semblance of peace, in our new family, and it has gone a long way in healing our wounds.
As I travel, I find we have not flushed the evil completely from our
lands, and I feel that there is something else brewing, though I know
not what. For now, however, I work along side my dear one, and my newfound
family to bring peace and healing to this world, now that we have found
peace and healing ourselves. Yet we always keep an eye on the horizon