The young Tauren tightened the strap around her waist again. Her leather armor gave a slight squeak and she readied herself to travel north, and into the Night Elf lands of Ashenvale. She knew they wouldn’t take kindly to seeing a Tauren, and a member of the Horde, in their lands. The danger was real, but overcoming that danger was part of the trial.
She reviewed the challenge in her mind. The place she sought was called the Ruins of Stardust. It was there she was to find a small fountain in the center of lake. That fountain contained the water she needed to bring back to Brine. She canted a short phrase and slowly her body morphed into the shape of a translucent wolf.
The creatures of the forest were dangerous, so she would stick to the road. She moved north, making a good pace. As she neared a fork in the road, she spotted a signpost. It was obviously of Elven design, but the Elf who had fashioned it saw fit to write the names in Common. The road to the east led to Azshara, the road to the west lead to Astranaar. Her destiny lay to the west.
As she moved along the road, she couldn't shake the feeling that she was being watched. Several times she stopped, looked around, listened, and even sniffed the breeze. The sounds of the quiet forest and the whiff of fresh pine met her inquiry each time. But still she could not shake the feeling; the presence she felt was watching her.
She knew that among the Night Elves there were those who were skilled in making themselves unseen. Perhaps an Elven scout had spotted her, and determined to figure out her purpose in these lands. She knew of no Tauren who could hide themselves so completely.
The young Tauren determined to make herself ready for whenever this unseen stalker might strike. She pulled her large mace from its harness on her back and spoke the words Beram Skychaser had taught her back on the Spirit Rise in Thunderbluff. Suddenly a small flame appeared and began to dance around her weapon. She then called to the Elements and they shielded her.
Perhaps seeing her command of the Elements would cause the Scout to think twice about attacking her. "Dalonige nvda asgaya." (Spirits guide me). She whispered under her breath.
Soon she would have to leave the road and head southwest.With only a vague notion of where to find the ruins, it would be up to the spirits of the Earth to guide her at that point.
She began to speak the words that would transform her body to a wolf again, but stopped suddenly when she heard the sounds of someone or something approaching her. The sounds were metallic, like metal striking against metal and metal striking against earth. She began to look for a place to hide, but before she could find a suitable spot, the machine came into view. It looked like a mechanical version of the Plainstriders that made the land of Mulgore their home. Atop this mechanical mount was a small humanoid with only a wisp of black hair on his otherwise bald head. He was dressed in midnight black robes, and had an ornate glowing staff strapped to his back.
He dismounted, and another being materialized next to him. It was some sort of bluish black apparition with glowing yellow eyes, two spindly arms, but no legs of any kind.
She had heard stories of other races that had allied themselves with the Night Elves, but she had never before seen one. If she remembered the stories correctly, this being was called a Gnome. The two made quite the contrast. The tall Tauren, dressed in leather, with small ball of lightning circling her, and a small sliver of fire encircling her weapon. The short Gnome, dressed in cloth with its otherworldly companion standing next to him.
She debated if she should lay down her Earth sapta, but feared that would been seen as an aggressive move on her part. It seemed obvious to her that this Gnome was well schooled in the arts of magic. His robes were ornate and his shoulders were made with skulls of some horned animal. Remembering the males of her own people had beautiful horns like that she hoped it was indeed from an animal.
The gnome stared at her a moment, as if sizing her up. He smiled, and not the warm smile of a friend. This was a smile of power, and of joy. Whatever the Gnome was considering in his mind, he was going to enjoy it.
"Riklath shona-nor-ala" the gnome began to speak words. She recognized instantly this was no attempt at conversation, he was canting a spell. His hands began to glow with a sickening purple. She quickly tried to summon the power of the wind against his words, but the wind was powerless against him.
She closed her eyes against the inevitable.
TO BE CONTINUED.....