- - by Bronil
Induction by BattleEdit
My journey back home was delayed today, and it was indeed a strange twist of fate. Right as I was stepping on the boat to Teldrassil, a messenger flew into Darkshore trying to rally forces to help defend our bretheren in Astranaar. Something pulled at me in Ironforge not to leave my armor in the bank, and in hindsight, I am glad I heeded it. As soon as a hippogryph could be readied, I was en route to Astranaar.
The initial assault was weak, and was likely just a few scouts probing the defenses. Soon, they brought their reinforcements, and there was nothing we could do to stop them, except hope that the messengers sent to other areas were able to gather reinforcements of our own. Eventually, through sheer numbers, the Alliance forces were able to push the Horde from Astranaar, and went so far as to take the fight to the Crossroads. I do not know how they fared there, as I did not join in the retaliation; it is not my desire to spill more blood. My efforts from that point on were to patrol the road from Astranaar to the border, to ensure any stragglers were sent on their way.
It was during this time that High Ranger Moonrider was up and about. I contacted her through hearthstone and told her of the situation. Apparently, we were due to induct two new members into the Rangers. She changed the induction location to Astranaar, and requested the new recruits attend in their battle armor. After the attacks had settled down, we began the induction.
The two recruits were Druidess Listen, and Mistress Willexise, or Willie as she seems to prefer to be called. Inducting them into our ranks after battle was a grim reminder of our duty as Rangers, I feel. They seemed to take their new roles seriously, and I expect they will turn out to be fine Rangers indeed.
(As an aside, I was reminded of the High Ranger's surname, and can now address her properly. To my shame, I had since forgotten it when I was first inducted into the Rangers, and was thus reminded of it when she introduced herself to the new recruits. I had thought ask her her surname many times before, but was too embarassed at having forgotten in the first place)
High Ranger also used the induction to inform us of the results of the missive she sent to the Horde. As can be expected, most of the replies were of contempt and mockery, but not all. A reply sent by one Master Kormok seemed to hold some promise, but the High Ranger would not elaborate. In any event it is good that there is promise in the replies (and perhaps that there are even any replies at all). I would be most thankful if this matter could be settled through words, rather than blood.
For now, I begin my journey home again. I recently recieved a book from the vaults of the Rangers that will apparently help me further my skills. It my understanding that I have Mistress Nyidi to thank for this. I shall have send her a note of thanks some time soon.
With luck, I will be home in moments after writing this entry.
The weather was pleasant as Bronil stepped out of the Temple of the Moon. Elissa Dumas seemed to take Torgal's fate in stride. If she was at all troubled by the news, she did very well to hide it.
"Now the only one left is in Silithus." he said quietly to himself.
Having no more business in the city, Bronil began the trek back to Dolanaar where Celesst was likely busying herself with the entries in his journal since his last visit home. The journal had actually proved to be something of a safeguard, and was fulfilling what Ayanna Everstride had in mind when she first recommended it. Jocaste also believed the journal was important to Bronil's training, which she claimed never stopped. In effect, the journal kept him grounded in the knowledge that his sister would want to read the new entries when he next came home; which meant he would have to see to it that he would make it back home.
The journal also kept him from becoming like the demons he hunted. Jocaste had warned him constantly about that possibility ever since she learned of his chosen path. Drahliana had spoken to him about it as well when she had learned. She told him that many who hunt demons often lose themselves in the hunt, and forget what they originally fought for. She went on to say to hunt demons, one must have something that serves as an anchor to reality. For Bronil, his anchor was his promise to Siang, and his journal; both of which were tied directly to Celesst.
He could not help but smile knowing that should he ever fall from his path, there would be friends there with an outstretched hand to help him back up. One of of which now crossed his path in Darnassus.
"Hail, Nightwind." Jocaste said greeting him.
"Well met, Jocaste." he responded, a small smile still on his face from his previous thoughts.
"If you have time, I'd like to speak with you about something."
"Will I need to hide my armor?"
Jocaste turned on him swiftly, ready to berate him. Seeing the grin on his face though told her he was only jesting about their last encounter.
"For the sake of your welfare you may want to bring it" she replied with a grin of her own.
A Different PathEdit
"Never. I trust Kodrak with my life. He's bled for me on far more than one occasion, and is a far better weapon than blade and bow." The question was extremely odd, and sounded almost rhetorical, but Jocaste did not ask it in a tone of rhetoric.
"I do not doubt it, Nightwind. There is great strength in the bond you two share, but that strength can be exploited." Jocaste kept her tone calm. In truth, she did not expect this would go over well with her student. All in all his mind was relatively open to new ideas, but there were some areas where he felt his convictions strongly, and would not budge from them. Kodrak was one such area.
"So I should abandon him then?" Bronil tried to keep his tone calm as well, but what she was suggesting bordered on madness.
"Now you are putting words in my mouth. I am not asking , and would never ask, you to abandon Kodrak. I am merely asking you to think about the vulnerablities the bond presents."
"The ones you hunt. They are able to infiltrate such things and kill their prey from within."
"Kodrak and I have faced them time and again, and still we stand."
"If a nightsaber cub were to rip out your throat, would you be any less dead? Just because something has not happened yet does not mean that it will never come to be. Experience does not beget invulnerability."
Many counter arguments formed in Bronil's mind, but none could defeat what Jocaste had laid plainly before him. In truth, he realized, he had never even considered his bond to Kodrak to be a weakness. To the contrary, he had counted it as his greatest strength. But for all of the strength it granted, it presented a weakness. He remembered well the fate of Trey Lightforge in Felwood, who was tortured and broken by agents of the Shadow Council to the point where his spirit attacked one of his best friends, and Bronil who had helped rescue her from that dreadful place.
Images of himself attacking Kodrak appeared in his mind, and he quickly pushed them away. Could he even live with himself if it ever came to that?
"What would you have me do?" Bronil asked, breaking the silence that had come into the conversation.
"I would have you consider strengthening your skill with other weapons. Blade and bow, though not as powerful as a bear perhaps, are quite lethal in their own right. You can realize their full potential just as you have with Kodrak."
"Your bond with Kodrak will not vanish. It will merely become dimmed," she answered before Bronil had even asked the question. "The decision, as always, is yours to make. By no means do I intend to force this on you."
Silence fell as Bronil considered the offer. . .
Bonds Old and NewEdit
Under the guidance of Jocaste, I began training again. The bond with Kodrak is lessened now, though not by as much as Jocaste had intended. It would appear that the bond is strong enough to resist even one as experienced as my teacher. As a result, my skill with the bow has improved significantly, but not so with the blade. Furthermore, the bond is not content to remain in its new state. I can feel it trying to come back to its former strength.
For now, I will keep the bond in check. It may turn out to be for the best, it may not. I will have to wait and see. Still, this "new" bond is unsettling; as though I am wearing armor that does not fit properly.
The early morning air of the Hinterlands was cool, and the sun was just beginning to rise. There was not much warmth as the nearby campfire had died out in the night. With a few more twists, the rope would soon be off of his hands, and he could be out of this mess. For awhile there he almost thought he had met his match; but almost only counted in throwing dynamite. He would not be defeated this day. Soon, his hands had finally slipped through his binds, and the rope fell to the ground.
"Damn elf couldn't tie a rope to save his life." Murdan muttered in victory. Once he had collected his belongings, he made his way out of the campsite. At least, he started to, and made good progress until he ran into a very familiar bear. The bear looked at the dwarf for awhile, and then advanced. "Oh boy. . . not good."
"Then it is fortunate that I tied the ropes for your benefit, and not my own." Bronil said, his eyes still closed as he sat up against a tree trunk with his arms folded comfortably across his chest. Murdan whipped his head toward Bronil, startled that the elf was awake, and smiling. "Now that your binds are removed, Kodrak thinks you want to play."
"Damn elf." Murdan grumbled, walking reluctantly back to the campsite.
"I have a name, Master Stonehammer."
"Aye, so do myself, and it ain't got 'Master' in it! It's Murdan *the* Stonehammer. Ye call me that, and I'll call ye by yer weird elf name."
"Certainly you aren't the only Stonehammer dwarf in Azeroth."
"Ah'm the only one that counts."
Bronil shook his head, and let out a chuckle at this dwarf he had met. It was unfortunate they could not have met under better circumstances. "Well now that the three of us are awake, we should make for Wildhammer Keep. After that this damn elf will be out your hair."
Murdan's eyes went wide, "Ye're turnin' me in?!"
"You stole from me. What other option is there?"
"But I gave the coins back!"
"After I caught you."
"So we're even."
"No, Master Stonehammer. You have done something wrong, and must face justice. These are not my lands, so your justice will have to be dealt out by the Wildhammers."
"But ye can't turn me in!"
"Because. . . it'd be mean! Yeah, real mean. And ye seem like a nice elf. Ye wouldn't want to be doin something mean now would ye?"
Nice elf? I suppose that is better than damn elf. "Mean?"
"Yeah, mean. Ye see, ah'm kinda. . . known to Wildhammer justice. My sentence would be harsh and unfair. They're gunnin' for me I tell ye!"
"Why am I not surprised. . ."
"Look, tell ye wot, ah'll do whatever ye want, and ah'll even call ye Bronil. Just don't hand me over."
"I doubt there is anything you could do for me. There is only death and fighting where I walk. Even if you were a better fighter, I would not have you needlessly risk your life."
"One o' them adventurin' types, eh? Well ye're in luck! I used to be an accountant for. . . well, I used to be an accountant. Surely ye gotta a lotta loot from all that death an' fighting. I could help ye manage it."
"An accountant you say. . ."
"So we got a deal?"
"I believe we do, Master Stonehammer." Bronil replied with a grin.
A New AccountantEdit
I was recently in the Hinterlands in an attempt to grow accustomed to my newfound abilities. The trolls that had taken residence there were hostile to say the least, and I had made a promise many months ago to assist the Wildhammer dwarves in their plight against the trolls. It seemed a good opportunity to settle in to my new abilities, whilst at the same making good on my word to the Wildhammers (which was far too long overdue).
It was during this expedition that I met a dwarf by the name of Murdan Stonehammer, Murdan "the" Stonehammer. Unfortunately, we did not encounter each other on the best of terms. Master Stonehammer had stolen some coins from me, and it appears I am not the only one who has met him in such a manner. He was easy enough to track down, and had not ventured far. My initial plan was to turn him over to the Wildhammers. However, it appears that Master Stonehamer would suffer any fate to avoid the Wildhammers. He also mentioned being an accountant. I soon decided on a new course of action that will hopefully help Master Stonehammer as much as it will the Rangers.
Of late, Priest Nishael (the quartermaster for the Rangers) has been somewhat overwhelmed in managing our supplies. As Master Stonehammer has skills in accounting, I decided he would make a good assistant for Priest Nishael. Yes, I know; it seems foolish to place one who has stolen from me in direct contact with gold and supplies. Yet, I do not believe Master Stonehammer will attempt to steal from the Rangers. For all his thievery, it seems he has something of a moral code that involves not going back on one's word. Furthermore, despite his grumbling about "babysitting elves and their gold", he seems. . . glad to be an account once more. I suspect there is much more to this dwarf than meets the eye.
Besides, he will be working from Darnassus. Even if he were to elude the Sentinnels, to where would he run?
The Arch Druid has me concerned. In my efforts to have my armor upgraded, I had to journey back to Feralas. When I arrived at the inn in Feathermoon, the innkeeper informed me that a colleague of hers, Druid Jonespyre, wished to speak with me about the morrowgrain I had collected for Arch Druid Staghelm. After talking with him, I now question the motives behind the Arch Druid's requests for morrowgrain. According to Druid Jonespyre, morrowgrain can be used for curses.
The obvious implication is the Arch Druid wishes to use curses on someone or something. However, there are other possibilities. Perhaps the Arch Druid wishes to use the morrowgrain to counteract the curses it can create. It could be that he wants the morrowgrain for something other than curses; after all, Druid Jonespyre said that curses are only one of the uses of morrowgrain.
I am sure there are many kaldorei who would believe the initial implication. It seems that public opinion of the Arch Druid is unfavorable for the most part. While I do not admire him, I do respect him. He has a great weight on his shoulders, and his. . . personality. . . is likely a result of that weight. I want to believe that his intentions are good, despite outward appearances. Yet, even I cannot ignore what has been laid before me.
Quite understandably, Druid Jonespyre has asked that I keep this between us (and I suspect there are others he has enlisted in a similar manner). For now, that is my only real option. I will simply have to wait and see the results of his research. Though I pray this all proves to be a misunderstanding wrought from mild paranoia.
Memories From FeralasEdit
Being back in Feralas brings about mixed feelings. It has been quite some time since I have made my home in the wilds. Of late, Ironforge has been where I rest most nights; and it has started feeling more like a cage, than a home away from home. Out here in wild Feralas, I feel at home, and much more at ease. It is refreshing.
Yet, it is also haunting. My last visit here was not one of my brightest moments, and is burned into my memory as my worst personal failing ever. I do not deny that the ogres on that day needed to be dealt with. They were not open to words, so force remained the only avenue. Yet, the way in which I went about killing them was wrong (as I have previously written in more detail). I now come to Feralas to kill ogres once again, albeit for different reasons. I am much more restrained this time; however, each ogre that falls before reminds me of that terrible day.
I want to stay in Feralas, and yet, I also wish to leave as quickly as possible.
To Build a World of PeaceEdit
My time in Feralas has been cut short. Word of the attacks on Lady Proudmoore and Arch Druid Staghelm has finally reached Feathermoon. I pray that the priests and druids working to revive them are successful. There can be no doubt that the Rangers will take action, and I must now make for our headquarters in Ashenvale. Normally I would not even bother writing an entry, and head directly for Ashenvale. However, I am not the only kaldorei at Feathermoon who wishes to make haste towards home and meet with loved ones. Because Feathermoon does not normally see much traffic, the Flight Master did not have enough hippogryphs to meet the sudden demand. Now I must wait for one to return.
Writing in this journal is the only way for me to keep sane and calm until that time comes.
For a long time I have heard that my desire for peace between the Horde and Alliance is a fool's dream. For a long time, I have withstood that criticism, never loosing sight of a world where those I care about will not have to fight as I do now. Not against demons or the Horde. For a long time, that hope gave me the strength to face down any opponents that crossed my path.
Was it all for naught? Am I truly a fool? Is that world I dreamed of destined to forever remain a dream?
I believe so. The cycle of hatred has already begun. It was ended years ago by the invasion of the Legion, and started to begin a new. It was again ended recently by the invasions of the Silithid and the Scourge. Now with the deaths of Cairne, Proudmoore, and Staghelm, the cycle has regained much of its former strength. Words cannot stop it, nor were they ever able to. It is regrettable that peace between Alliance and Horde can only happen in the presence of a common enemy. And that is the sad truth of it all. I am not going to Ashenvale to discuss how the Rangers will respond. I am going to discuss our plans for battle.
As for my dream of a world where those I care about will not have to fight? I still hold to it. It will never stop giving me strength and hope. However, it appears that it will not come about through peace as I originally dared hope. Instead, it seems that if I want a world where Celesst, Tyron, and their children will not have to fight, then I will have to slay those enemies here and now. I will have to build their world of peace on the blood of my enemies; perhaps even my own.
So be it.
Crossroads at Sun Rock: AftermathEdit
Bronil walked into Astranaar weary in mind and body from the events that had taken place that day. The hunt for the assailants was unsuccessful, with only one of them turning up, and he proved to be too elusive to kill. Bronil had walked from the Stonetalon Mountains, to the town of Astranaar. He could have summoned Windracer, but being so lost in thought, he did not even have the mental capacity to ride his nightsaber. Thus his legs moved on their own with little direction from his mind.
There is no turning back now. Despite his resolution to kill any who threatened those he cared for, a part of Bronil still mourned the loss of a peaceful solution. Upon orders from Drahliana, the party of Rangers and their allies infiltrated Sun Rock Retreat and killed Braeyln Firehand and the flight master. They had also killed the few guards who resisted, or tried to.
Never again could Bronil ask for peace with the Horde.
Shadow, on the other hand, walked alongside Bronil with no troubling thoughts. The panther enjoyed putting an end to the guards and the flight master. He would have also enjoyed killing Firehand, but Drahliana saw Firehand as her responsibility and allowed no one else to kill the elf other than she. The only regret the panther had was that more could not have been killed.
Before he even realized it, Bronil was checking for mail. He had not visited the auction houses in quite some time, so the only thing ever in his mail were letters of thanks from those he had helped in his travels. Yet on this day he had some mail that had weight to it. A familiar weight that he knew well.
He had left it at his home in Dolanaar when he flew in from Feathermoon to see if Celesst and Tyron were alright, as well as check on any other damage the assailants might have caused. In his rush to rendezvous with the Rangers, he had apparently forgotten to take his journal. Again. Looking at his journal, Bronil noticed a folded piece of parchment sticking out of the pages as if it were a bookmark. Turning to the page it marked, he saw his last entry. Unfolding the parchment revealed it to be a letter.
As I write this to you, you are likely in battle with the Rangers. I pray to Elune that you live to read this. While you are off fighting, I am here reading your entries. I know that you must do as you must, and that our safety is always on your mind. I would not dream of stopping you. However, I would ask something of you: Live. Do not lose yourself to despair and rage. I read your last entry and was filled with sadness. If I were to lose you, my world would grow dark. I would not be alone as Tyron is here, and will always love and support me. Still, your death would create a hole that I could never fill.
If you feel you must kill to give Tyron and I a world of peace, then that is your choice. But know this. Such a world would be meaningless if it came at the price of your life. I would rather live in a war-torn world knowing that you are alive and fighting for us with all of your strength, than live a world of peace without you.
I look forward to the next time you bring your journal home. Elune keep you safe until then, brother.
Your sister, Celesst Moonshadow
Bronil stood there for a very long time staring at the letter his sister wrote. He had not been fully aware of it before, but after reading the letter he realized that he was ready to die for this "world of peace"; even if it meant he would not return from the Spirit Realm as he had in the past. It was not until something large brushed against him, that he snapped out of his mental state, and again paid attention to the world around him. He found Kodrak staring at him, as though sensing his mood and offering sympathies.
Looking around him, Bronil could not find Shadow. Once again, the panther had lived up to his namesake and disappeared without a trace. Folding the letter back up, and placing the journal in his bag, he continued walking through Astranaar. His walk continued until he arrived at Auberdine and waited for the boat to Menethil.
I have recieved word from Night Warden Sylvansong that the Temple of the Moon has been attacked, and High Priestess Whisperwind lies dead.
It is ironic that I write an entry on this day, for there are no words in either of the tongues I know to express what I feel. 'Anger', 'hatred', 'rage'. These words only begin to scratch the surface. Where words have failed, I have found my actions speak very accurately. I constantly find myself in the Gulch, the Basin, and yes, even the bloodbath that is known as Alterac Valley. I once held sympathy for the Frostwolf clan. That sympathy is gone now. They give the Horde weapons and armor for fighting in the valley. Weapons that in turn are used against the Alliance. Against Proudmoore. Against Staghelm. Against Whisperwind. Against my home.
No longer can I look at the Horde as a collection of individuals. For the safety of those I love, I must view every race of the Horde as a barbaric enemy that will kill me if I do not kill them first. It is not out of rage that I force such a blanketed view upon myself. No, there is much sorrow behind this decision. I know that not all Horde agree with the actions taken by Succession. I know that there are those among the Horde who wish for peace. But I cannot afford to make those distinctions now. Today, it is Succession. Who will it be tomorrow? If I were to put an arrow through the heart of everyone of those assailants, more would rise to take their place. Am I then to simply wait for the next band of savages to come along whilst I busy myself deciding which of the Horde are friends, and which are foe? Only Darnassus has been hit thus far, but how long until Dolanaar see its sons and daughters lying dead in the streets?
I will never allow it to come to that. If I have to kill every member of the Horde regardless of whether or not they wish me ill, then I will not hesitate.
The Beast WithinEdit
It has been over three weeks now. Still, I cannot stop killing. I cannot rest. The battlefields of Warsong, Arathi, and Alterac have become a second home to me. It seems I am drawn to those places. After every battle, I do not rest and mend my wounds. I immediately sign my name down on the next military expedition heading out. The Alliance approves of such behavior. They have even gone as far as to promote me to Sergeant Major.
Something else has happened. Amidst the chaos of battle, I have lost my connection to the bow. Taking its place, the bond I share with Kodrak has once again attained its full strength. I have returned to being what many have termed a "Beastmaster". The warnings from Jocaste of the dangers of being a Beastmaster are still in my mind, and I have even tried to suppress the bond. This, I do to no avail. To be one with the bow requires a state of serenity, a connection with the environment around you. In battle, I find such a state unattainable. I cannot detach myself from the hatred inside me. Everytime I see a Horde soldier, I am reminded of the pain Teldrassil and its inhabitants have suffered at the hands of the Horde. The memory of that pain infuriates me, and the only thing that will quell my rage is to kill. Yet with every kill, I can find no satisfaction. The memory comes again and again, and so I kill again and again.
I have now stopped trying to attain that serenity, that oneness, for it is futile. I am what I am.
"No!" a voice cried out.
The cold wind of the valley swept northward, with only closely bunched trees and the caves to ward against its bite. The wind passed over the bodies of the fallen, both Horde and Alliance. Along with its cold bite came the smells of war. There was no other sound in the valley aside from the wind, which meant that battle would soon be joined.
Bronil hardly registered any of it, for a minute ago he was not in the valley. He was in a nightmare. A nightmare worse than any he had ever encountered in his sleep. If his hand had held Celesst's throat a moment longer. . .
Sitting up, his eyes closed tightly, his fists clenched, and his teeth gnashed in an effort to wipe the image from his mind completely. Try as he might, the image would not leave, as if emboldened by his attempts to destroy it. A tear streamed down each side of his face, leaving two wet trails. His right hand now clenched the hilt of one of his swords, and perhaps, if he could strike his head hard enough with it the image might finally die. Before he could put the thought into action however, a familiar nose brushed against the left side of his face in sympathy. His body relaxed, and he sagged against Kodrak.
"For once, you have awoken before me." Bronil said with a slight chuckle, and a sigh of relief. The image had gone for now, but it would be back when he next went to sleep.
Suddenly realizing that his voice had made considerable noise, his body and mind fell immediately back into that of a hunter. He felt the world around him, paying attention for any attackers his abrupt 'No' might have attracted. His hand removed itself from the sword and lay still at his side, ready to nock an arrow at a moment's notice.
The thought came from Kodrak, not Bronil. He could not explain how, but the bond with Kodrak had changed since he went on this vendetta with the Horde. Kodrak had always been able to "speak" with him, but it was on a emotional level, transmitting feelings, instincts, urges and the like. Lately, Kodrak had started communicating by sending images, which Bronil was able to translate into words; though he did not understand that either.
In his attentive state, Bronil heard a noise from far off. He couldn't place it exactly, but it sounded like something of a yell. More damn Frostwolf most likely. Before the thought was even finished, he lept on Windracer and took off towards the noise. If their numbers were small enough, then he would kill them himself. If not, then he would stay out of sight, and report the party's whereabouts and strength to nearby Stormpike forces.
Windracer bounded through the snow, chasing after the noise. . . no it was more than that. They were screams, but no screams that the nightsaber, Bronil, or Kodrak had ever heard before. Soon, their eyes recognized what their ears could not.
An orc child ran for its life, screaming in what Bronil assumed was Orcish; the syllables were too stressed from fear for him to be certain. Close behind the child was a pack of wolves, though the child was likely only aware of the one immediately behind him for its packmates followed on the flanks under the cover of trees. It would only be a matter of a single moment and the wolves would have their meal.
What in Elune's name is a child doing out here? HERE?!
Before the thought was completed, Bronil found himself running towards the wolf behind the child. He would have fired an arrow, but there was a decent chance he would hit the child. Besides, there were far more dangerous enemies in the valley than wolves; he wouldn't waste arrows on them. Understanding exactly what Bronil was attempting, Kodrak ran towards the packmates on the child's flank.
With both blades drawn, Bronil barreled into the wolf, sending the two of them into a roll. The wolf wasted no time in attacking its new target. Bronil was ready however, having faced wolves many times before. He kept his gauntleted forearms locked in a "X" in front of his throat, where wolves normally aimed for. Sure enough, the wolf's jaws snapped repeatedly around his arms, trying to get to his throat. With careful timing, Bronil's arms lashed out, each blade cutting deep into the wolf. With a yelp, the wolf quickly moved away from Bronil, who offered no further pursuit; the wolf would bleed to death soon enough. Bronil also aimed for vital areas in combat.
Looking around, Bronil saw that there was no more need to fight. Two wolves lay dead at Kodrak's feet, and the rest were already retreating. Further inspection revealed the child standing in silence, staring at Bronil. For a brief moment, he wondered why he even bothered saving the child. There was nothing to be gained. The child would grow up only to hear even more stories of the filthy Stormpike and their Alliance friends. He might very well end up trying to kill the kaldorei who just saved his life. Bronil should have just let the wolves have their way. . . yet he did not.
A child is no enemy of mine. If he grows up pointing an axe at me, then he'll join the rest who have done so. Not until then.
"Elune-adore, young Master."
With that, Bronil turned and gathered up the wolf carcasses, carrying one across his shoulders and placing the other two on Windracer. The Stormpike forces could use the meat, and maybe even the hides. Even if they couldn't though, it was not good for a hunter to let a kill go to waste.
The orc child watched the night elf walk off back towards the north; watched the bear and the big black cat follow him. He was not sure what to make of what just happened. The Stormpike weren't supposed to have any honor. Dogs had more honor, or so his father said. Why did the night elf save him, then? Was his father wrong?
No, that was impossible. His father was strong and wise. He had seen the wounds his father had recieved in battle. He often heard the horrible sound of orcs dying when the Stormpike would come to the keep. They had to be bad. That elf probably just didn't know how bad the Stormpike were when he joined them. If he saw him again, he'd find a way to tell him how bad the Stormpike were; maybe through the wind. His father always said that the wind could talk to anybody. However, his father also said he wasn't allowed outside of the Keep.
The child hurried back, hoping that his father was busy healing the wounded with his totems.
Sitting around the nighttime campfire, Bronil pulled his black cloak tight around himself; a vain attempt to ward off something that would never stop assaulting him it seemed. The campfire offered no comfort. The Stormpike and Alliance privateers gathered around fire offered no comfort either. They had decided that the night elf was beyond help. All but one.
"Ishnu-alah, Nightwind." a voice greeted. Bronil looked up, his weary eyes falling on one of the druids stationed at Dun Baldar.
"There is no good fortune for me, druid." He would normally not have been so cold in greeting someone, especially a druid, but he was not in the mood for pleasantries. He wanted nothing other than to be left alone.
"So I have seen," the druid replied, taking a seat next to Bronil, "They say you fight the Horde like some vengeful spirit full of Elune's wrath. They praise your efforts, and the death you have brought."
"The Horde brought this on themselves." His weary eyes now picked up the unmistakable glare of anger and hatred.
"Perhaps, but they are of little importance right now. I am much more interested in you. You have slain many, but I feel your spirit has taken a blow for each death."
"Their deaths are nothing to me. Do not pretend to know what ails me!" his voice was low, full of tension.
"I do not pretend to know. I simply know. Your dreams cause you great pain," Bronil turned his head to regard the druid, his attention now focused, "These dreams, do you wish them to cease?"
"I do not wish the impossible."
"Very well then," the druid stood up "if you do not wish it, then I cannot help you. But know this, Nightwind: very soon you will want it. I have seen men, elves, and dwarves in your condition before. You do not suffer from mere nightmares; your dreams cut much deeper than that. Soon they will cut into your sanity and you will beg for death. When that time comes, travel to Moonglade."
The words struck Bronil profoundly. He almost beckoned the druid to tell him more, but was too filled with shock. How did this druid know so much? What was this "condition" he claimed Bronil had? Before he could ask these questions and more, the druid started walking off to rejoin the other druids.
I now travel to Moonglade, at the behest of one of the druids I met in the valley.
Something is wrong with me, I can feel it. I think Kodrak feels it as well. It feels like I am not myself, like something inside me dictates my actions. In facing the warriors of the Horde, I thought to escape whatever it is, and at the same time avenge the innocents slain by the Horde. I have failed in both. This feeling has only grown with each battle, and no matter how many enemies I kill, I cannot attain a feeling that the fallen have been avenged. I am told I can find guidance in Moonglade, though from what or whom I do not know.
My only hope is that I arrive before it is too late; I do not know how many more times I can endure going to sleep.
Who Needs Sleep?Edit
Lake Elune'ara sparkled in the moonlight, its waters moved by the gentle night breeze. It was a comfortable sight, seen only by a few who weren't druids. Moonglade itself seemed to give off an eternal feeling of peace and tranquility; it was easy to see why the druids would choose to make a home out of it. Bronil's eyes slowly began to close.
They opened back up immediately as he gave himself a stab from his skinning knife. The stab was enough to draw some blood, the mark it left sat beside three others just like it on his thigh. It was enough to keep awake, and that was all that mattered. Kodrak continued the slow breathing of sleep, and as he was sitting up against Kodrak's flank, Bronil felt every breath. The bear had tried to stay awake as well, wanting to comfort Bronil, but sleep eventually settled in.
Bronil did not know how, or even if it was possible, but he swore he would never sleep again. The nightmare that visited him every night had reached a new level. In previous nightmares, he had only hurt Celesst. Now, he had finally killed her, strangling her to death. He killed Tyron as well. Citizens of Dolanaar who had heard the screams came to see what was the matter. Each was slain by an arrow from Bronil's quiver. Next came the Sentinnels charged with the protection of the town. Their moonglaives lashed out at Bronil, but none ever found his flesh. In response, Bronil lashed out with his own blades, each strike killing another Sentinnel. Finally, Kodrak and Shadow charged him, only to meet the same fate as all of the rest. Sheer bloodlust flowed throughout his body as he walked onward to Darnassus, where the Moonwood Rangers awaited his arrival in their battle gear. All of the warnings he had recieved from Jocaste and Drahliana had turned into a reality; the demon hunter had finally become that which he hunted.
And then he would wake up, his scream upon doing so often waking up others around him.
The druids of Moonglade had heard of his plight before Bronil even reached their doorstep. They had tried to help remove the nightmare, but to no avail. Thus, he now sat near the banks of the lake using the only remedy he could think of. It would not work for much longer though; he knew sleep would eventually come. Still, he refused to give in without a fight.
"I would say good evening, but it would seem that this evening is by no means 'good'."
Bronil looked at the wounds on his leg, which he knew Loganaar was looking at as well, "Yes, it certainly would seem that way, Druid Loganaar."
"I bring a message from the Circle, Nightwind. As you have seen, we have been unable to effectively treat your ailment. After much deliberation, the Circle has decided you are not ailed; you are gifted." Loganaar braced himself for the reaction he knew would come.
And come it did. Bronil's eyes nearly turned to daggers, his hand clenching tight around the skinning knife, "If you think for one minute to call this damn thing a gift. . ."
Patting the air with his hands, Loganaar attempted to defuse the situation, "Yes, I realize you are in terrible agony, and do not even pretend to know what you are going through, but I can assure you that it is not a disease or any other maladity which ails you."
"Then what would you call it?"
"There are certain individuals whose dreams are more than just dreams. They are. . . indicators, visions if you will."
"Visions? Are you telling me the horrors I have seen will come to pass?"
"Not necessarily. They are not necessarily predictions of future event, sometimes they are mirrors of. . . flows. . . in the present, sometimes they are something entirely different. The exact nature of this 'gift' is not known. It resembles the Emerald Dream in a way, but not fully. It is an issue which has always been a mystery to the Circle."
Bronil could only stare in confusion, trying to classify what his nightmare was according to Loganaar.
"I suppose I should do away with trying to explain something that is largely unknown. Let me put it this way: you do not require treatment, you require training."
I can no longer run from the visions that haunt me; I must confront them, horrible as they may be. I know this is what I must do, and yet, I find myself filled with hesitation and doubt. This battle is unlike any I have faced before. Here, my enemy cannot be defeated by blade and bow, not even by magic. For in this battle, the enemy is myself. Fortunately, I have some experience to draw upon for this. I have fought for my sanity before when I trained with Demonslayer in the heart of Felwood, and I won that battle; I conquered my drive to hunt demons. Now I must conquer my dreams.
In this endeavor, the druids of Moonglade have offered to guide me along the path. My training begins today, and there is no telling when it will end. I am told the training will end when I am able to safely control my dreams. I have no desire for more restless nights, and so I will concentrate every effort on my training. It is time to put an end to the madness.
A Clear VisionEdit
My training in Moonglade has been completed, and I have much to write about (not all of which pertains to my time in Moonglade). First and foremost, I am no longer haunted by the nightmares. I have learned to control them, and to an extent, figure out their meaning. To make a long, painful story short, I have changed my recent perspective on things.
I was not a fool to dream of world of peace where my loved ones would not have to fight as I do now. Rather, I was merely naive as to the hardships involved in chasing such a dream. True, that dream may never come to pass, but that is no reason to stop the pursuit. I learned something on my many expeditions with Alliance forces to various battlefields: without a drive, you are doomed to fail. There were many times where, in battle, it was my drive for vengeance that kept me alive. That particular drive is behind me now, though that is not to say I do not regret it; I regret terribly the lives I have taken, regardless of whether they have been revived or not. When the time finally comes, I will answer to Elune for every single death blow. For now, all I can do is carry on with a new drive, or rather, a deeper understanding of a drive I previously abandoned.
Speaking of abandonment, I left a note pertaining to my recent absence from the Rangers. While am certainly better for it, it was irresponsible (at best) for a Lord Ranger to leave without any contact whatsoever. If High Ranger Moonrunner seeks to reprimand me in some way, I cannot say I would object.
On a different note, my dreams have repeatedly shown me the Dark Portal. At least, I assume it is the Dark Portal. I have only read about it in a few books, and heard about it from others; I have not yet seen it with my own eyes. . . something I will soon rectify. I do not know how many, but others I have spoken with also claim their instincts point them to the Dark Portal as well. I suppose the world will know in time whether these instincts are correct, or if this is some form of paranoia being spread by mere rumor.
As I have stated I have more to write about, but I must stop for now lest I grow longwinded.
The Kalimdor Reindeer RideEdit
The Alliance has awarded my participation in battle with a new mount, one much faster than Windracer. As such, I have opted to name him "Wind". Windracer has served me well, but I can tell that she has grown weary (in body, not in heart or mind) of bearing me. It would be best if I left her in Celesst's care. Being trained for war, Wind is much better at carrying an armored rider, and is more suited to someone such as myself.
Strangely enough, it was not long after I recieved Wind's reins that I heard news of a ride from High Ranger Moonrunner. Apparently, the Rangers have a tradition of sponsoring an annual ride of goodwill throughout Kalimdor that takes place around Winter Veil. In light of my recent absence, I felt it would be good to help make ammends by attending.
It was quite an experience riding from Tanaris to Darkshore. This year, we invited the Horde to come along as well. Thus, I finally met Master Kormok, who is spoken highly of by the High Ranger. I would never doubt the High Ranger's judgement, but in this case I'm not so sure of this orc. He grins a lot and wears a robe (yes, an orc in a robe; I almost thought the desert sun had begun to decieve my eyes). Still, he has shown no sign of hostility yet, and Kodrak never even growled at him. Perhaps I was just merely on edge from a previous fight with an orc who was attacking Auberdine earlier that day.
In any event, the ride was a success and I look forward to next year's ride.