- - by Naiama
Prayer to the Great Mother Edit
The Kaldorei came down the stairs from her bedroom in a plain robe and her normal belt, fit with her favorite knives. She stood before the hearth and reached for the simple candles on the stone mantlepiece. Taking two in her hand, she held one up and looked over it. It was halfway burned, but the other one was all but a stub of wax. She didn't exactly have a choice.
"No choice?" she asked herself aloud. She stared at the two candles. "I have a choice, and I choose the better," she assured herself and replaced the bum candle on the mantle.
When she walked to the kitchen, she spied her old, black journal on the table. Hesitating at what she was about to do, she looked up to the ceiling. Sprigg was in Naiama's room while she sensed Py'amus in the guest room. And there was a rat somewhere in the roof, much to her annoyance.
The elf sighed and went to the stores in the corner of the kitchen. She looked down at the container of salt, hesitating again. Finally she grabbed a cloth, dipped it into the salt and wrapped it up. Should have bought more salt for tanning, rather than resorting to this, she thought, but she had not done any leatherworking for some time. She had not hunted for some time.
A few minutes later and she had carved a crescent moon into the base of the candle with her skinning knife. Before crossing the threshold into the evening air, Naiama grabbed the journal and matches along with the bundle of salt and the candle. She made her way down the path on the hill, and, when she reached the forest, smirked to a blonde cutpurse who widened her eyes and slinked off behind a tree. There may have been advantages to being the only white-and-blue-haired elf in the kingdom. With daggers.
Naiama glanced at the cerulean sky between the treetops and made her way down to the shore of Mirror Lake. She sat down amidst the brown pebbles and waited silently for the sun to set.
When the first stars were visible, she stood and waded shin-deep into the water. Uttering under her breath, she sprinkled water onto the candle. Now, she knew she was no priestess, but some instinct had told her what to do, pulled from the depths of herself. She returned to the shore and wiped a hand dry on her robe before opening the rag with the salt. Then she grabbed a handful and walked in a circle, dropping the salt into the sand, making a circumference large enough for her to sit.
"Salt is the earth, the pure earth. Pure as old white father Malorne."
What isss thisss?
Naiama did her best to ignore the quiet hissing in her mind, though she couldn't answer that question consciously anyway. She sat cross-legged in the middle of the circle and pushed the candle into the sand before her. She took one of the matches, placing a thumb over its tip, and struck it against her belt. It flared with a noxious smell, then the fire spread to the black wick as she brought the match to the candle.
"Great Mother of nighttime and light, so long has it been since I felt you," she started in the elvish tongue. "Grant me protection from this evil in this circle of earth, white as the moon, white as Malorne's hide."
Naiama chewed on her lip, gazing at the solitary candle, whose orange lit spilt to the ripples on the lake. Eyeing the reflections of the sky in the water, she was crestfallen to see a cloud covering the stars.
"I beg you, Mother Elune...cannot She of the Dreaming also save me from my torment?" she whispered desperately and put a hand on the black journal by her side.
You dare! You dare call --
The elf shut her eyes in dismay, but the deep hissing cut out abruptly. She peeked out from under an eyelid to see the cloud moving in the reflections, and when she looked to the sky above the pregnant, glowing orb was there. Filled with a relief and a reverence she hadn't felt in a month, she exhaled with watery eyes and opened the journal she had started a year ago. Naiama began to read it.
Black: “So Many Jumbled Thoughts” Edit
“The Lady just accepted the membership…Elune, she angers me...She would not promise me last night…I meant to write of the dream I had a few weeks ago…I don't know, they're all mad…I know, I should have visited Father…It feels as if my past is a closed chapter in the book of my life…How careful shall I have to be around him?... When I first began training with bow and arrow…Last night was far too complicated for my tastes…I believe he thinks himself a wolf…write of my dream…It's all idealism…Once again, there is too much going on in my head…Demon Wolf approached me again today…Everywhere around me is the corruption of humanity…So we fled Stormwind…I remember vividly where I found the Exile's brand…
Did he have no inkling of what he did for me? A shard of my soul, a piece of it gone astray like a falling star in the empty night...and without him I would not have recovered it, for I did not see where it landed, only the arc it made across the blackness. For The Calling of the Distant Wind, I will never forget…
so many jumbled thoughts…”
Remember the Coils Edit
Until, from the abyss, a long shape came spiraling upward. It made her dizzy, looking down at the endless movement. An eternity passed as the ribbon coiled up and up. It finally came closer to her eyes, red in appearance. The color of lifeblood. The ribbon shone with rippling muscles.
Closer and closer it spiraled forever up toward Naiama. She tried to focus on its beginning, but there was none. She couldn't understand it, no beginning, no end, yet she could make out a head biting its own tail. Red scales, red as blood...
Suddenly she felt wrenched away, the sound of bones clattering all around her. A man's voice calling her name... Nai..ama, Nai...ama...
She looked down at her hands. Heavy gloves fit tightly on them. She felt the weight of metal upon her; the dress of battle. A heated wind blew around her face and blonde hair swept in front of her face. She looked up. Massive foliage and vines hung all around her, and the dense humidity and smell of wet leaves hit her. For a moment she stared up at the giant tree canopies. Then...
A sharp noise hit her long ears, she looked up. And there before her...
She stood up straight, confronting the beast ahead of her. A giant, winged serpent. Red as blood, eyes yellow as the day sun.
Naiama heard her name again, that familiar man's voice...then again, the hissing.
She put out her hand to the serpent. In opened its jaws wide, displaying long fangs. She kept her arm out to the creature. It came forward, flapping its wings. Then it began to wrap itself over Naiama's arm, working up its length until it reached her shoulder.
The serpent hissed again, but not in a threatening manner. It flicked its tongue, and suddenly Naiama felt yellow feathered wings sprout from her back. She shrugged her shoulders oddly, looking at the serpent on her arm. It flicked its tongue and their eyes locked.
The elf turned her head, her arm still outstretched with the coiled serpent. She was staring at Alkan, and the jungle around her faded.
Black: “My One Heart” Edit
“Thoughts wander to Creel…we traveled to Mulgore…the ambush…refuses to be dead for long…
To My Dear Child, My One Heart, Naiama,
I can only hope you find this last act I do in this temporary life.
You took care of me when I lie dying, though your duties were in the east. Your devotion to all you loved was never failing, Naiama. Never think otherwise. You may think you have made a great many mistakes, but your path is one of honor by your intentions…”
Alkan looked at her from across the table below the deck of the noble’s ship. "You have the same soul. I don't know how I know this."
Enter, Trinity Edit
"Let me go!" she screamed in her native tongue. It wasn't very much later when the saytr threw her against a hard surface. It was marble. She landed harshly on her shoulder with a sharp pain. More satyr crowded around her as she tried to stand up like a wounded deer.
Kethinal was defending her. Brave beast; her very heart. In anguish she watched as a blue satyr took Kethinal from midair. "No!" she rasped. The demon mercilessly snapped the serpent's spine. Agony immediately shot through Naiama, tears brimming in her eyes. Kethinal was still alive. She vaguely felt the serpent fall heavily upon her, flapping his wings in a lopsided manner to move closer; everything below the mangled point couldn't move. When he reached her face he shook his feathered head arduously and touched her forehead with his nose.
Light erupted from everywhere. The surrounding creatures snarled, spat,
cursed, and shrunk back shielding their eyes. A sensation she had never felt
before struck her body. Immediately she felt distant, but she assumed she was
convulsing. There was no control. No lifting her hand, no opening her mouth to
shout in terror. It felt as if her spine was being ripped from her, but then
again, where was that? What was that like? The pain of her broken ribs was so
distant. She felt herself floating upwards. She could see her own body, sprawled
like a ragdoll across the ancient, broken marble. A red ribbon, broken at one
end, was zigzagged across her mail armor, making a beautiful and macabre
decoration. Red ribbon.
Spinning toward her, forever and ever. Red, the lifeblood. Red, red was the color of the circle of life that surrounded her in the blackness. In the nothing. Spinning away, torn away....
A soul. A wisp. A being in the twilight of reality, forever wandering the ancient forests and that peculiar shoreline. She was. She wasn't. Sometimes she felt a previous life. Sometimes she remembered her battles and her family. Her love. She was and she wasn't.
Remember the Nothing Edit
That is what she heard.
That is what she saw.
Red. The life-blood, coils forever spinning.
Downward. Down, down, down.
Down to the bottom, down to the depths, where there is no sound, no sight, no thought, no time.
The serpent head bites its tail. Brilliant blood red scales gleaming in the nothingness.
Only memories. What do they reveal?
Before servitude, during servitude.
Freedom. Where was the freedom?
Devotion. When was the devotion returned?
Love. What was it made from?
So little of the life she lived, yet it took so much. A year? There is more to the life than this.
There was a time...a time when...
A blast of sharp, blue light.
That is what she heard.
That is what she saw.
Remember the Dream Water Edit
Eyes of shadow-water, eyes of well-water, eyes of dream-water...
The ancient elf in the young body inhaled as she stepped gracefully forward over the dirt and leaves with bare feet. She looked down at the white egg below her. A rumbling echoed through the forest, and behind her was the subtle chanting of the human shaman's voice and his clacking totem beads.
Blue suns, green whirlwinds, birdbeaks of light pecking open pomegranate stars.
But tell me, burnt earth, is there no water?
Only blood, only dust, only naked footsteps on the thorns?
The rain awakens...
She tilted her head up to the canopy of thick greenery and flowering vines, silver hair slipping over lavender shoulders.
We must sleep with open eyes,
we must dream with our hands,
we must dream the dreams of a river seeking its course,
of the sun dreaming its worlds,
Her linen dress grew dark spots as the drops fell from the sky. Whispering in her native tongue, she spread her arms upward, waiting.
we must dream aloud,
we must sing till the song puts forth roots, trunk, branches, birds, stars,
we must find the lost word, and remember
what the blood, the tides, the earth, and the body say,
and return to the point of departure...
A sharp, blue streak of electricity shot down and struck the elven body. It collapsed from the force...rain falling all round the small hill in the midst of the dense forest.
The body stirred, gasped. Eyes fluttered open to reveal their glowing insides while drops rain fell upon a cheek. It had changed; it was not the same. It was sapphire and silver together; it was daughter and mother.
Cracks had formed on the egg. It was splitting open. A feathered blue head poked out of the shell.
Naiama opened her eyes and blinked at the twinkling stars. She realized she had somehow managed to lie face-up outside the circle of earth. Just as she scrambled to her knees, the hissing returned. The voice sounded absolutely livid.
YOU HAVE DEFIED ME FOR THE LASSSSSST TIME, CHILD OF THE SSSTARS.
In a moment of adrenaline, she sat up and screamed, “Bandu thoribas!” She spat on the ground and swore, “Auta miqula orqu!”
The Soulflayer laughed.
I accccept your challenge. I will be coming for you.
Naiama slouched and dropped her head for a moment. Had he ceased?
She crawled over the sand to the ruined circle and delicately closed the black journal. Her glowing eyes fell to the coiling winged serpent up in the tree overlooking Mirror Lake. Kethinal turned his head to meet her gaze. For a moment they were locked together, understanding forming around them.
The memories were there, the dream was there. The blank spot was filling up.
She reached out a hand toward the windserpent. "Distant Wind," she said strangely in Darnassian, "I know you now."
((8/9/06 for August 7th, 2006.
Note: I couldn’t resist putting in the elvish there. Unfortunately it’s a mix of different kinds. One says: “prepare to fight,” and the other is an insult: “Go kiss an orc!”))