Mind & Memory

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Mind & Memory

Post by Fyffe on Sun Feb 24, 2013 4:56 am

Foreword

Originally I had posted this in the Nature’s Grasp forum to provide some background to an antagonistic character I had been introducing into the guild RP.
This first part pretty much gives an idea of how Hyjal has been faring since the world began recovering from the Catacalysm. As I had not planned this oneshot fully when I started, I apologise for the disjointed narrative structure each “chapter” suffers. Although this was a fun experiment with creative writing ^^

Feel free to criticize, comment on and endlessly nitpick. I simply hope that you find it an enjoyable read.



Chapter 1


The Talon spoke curtly.

“You agreed to be a part of this expedition and all it would entail.”

From across the forest grove The Claw growled threateningly.

“We agreed to accompany you in finding the Rift, and in spite of this catastrophe we have kept our word! You would have us sit around while our minds fester away in its shadow!”

Alongside him The Fang raised a hand as if to calm him, adding soothingly,

“Our Brother druid speaks the truth. You know as I do how unwise it is to take decisive action while intelligence gathering. Our best course is to return to the summit and present our findings to the Circle Council. ”

The Talon snorted derisively at them both.

“After all it took to reach here, you want to just turn back? If we can find a means of stemming the corruption from its very source-“

The Fang shook her head sadly

“Accept it. We did not come prepared for this. For...that. Please. We must leave the Dream.”

The Talon matched the looks of his compatriots. The Claw’s riled temper could not mask his fear. As for The Fang, the resignation was all too apparent on her expression. Both these feelings he had noticed in the rest of the expedition lately.
The Talon lowered his gaze, his voice calm with weary acceptance.

“If you wish to leave I will not stop you. Should you encounter the Nightmare, know that you face it alone.”

“A chance we will gladly take to abandon this fools’ errand!”

The Claw twisted away angrily and stormed back to the camp. The Fang turned to leave also, waving her hand sadly.

“May Elune’s grace protect you, Brother.”

Both vanished into the dense emerald mists that layered the forest floor, leaving The Talon to contemplate alone.



~


Cromdale opened his eyes. The green fog from his memory, still clinging about the edges of his vision, evaporated as a bright burst of magma erupted from the heaving blackened fields below. Those few caught in the molten blast either basked in its intense glow as if it were sunlight or were consumed by white honeyed magma - their screeching cries of anguish just reaching the upper tiers of the fortress.

Such turmoil was typical of the elemental plains, none more so than in The Firelands.

The Druid of the Flame moved from the window and strode across the great open chamber. The sound of his gentle footsteps echoed lightly off the smooth, obsidian walls which gleamed back multiple reflections from behind thin coatings of ash. The Kaldorei navigated around a cluttered stone desk towards a curious structure which dominated the centre of the room. Two circular formations sat side by side; One a lush, green mountainous plateau of springs and lakes, the other a floating landmass of volcanic spires and lava moats. These scaled models of Mount Hyjal and The Firelands were linked together by a pair of tenuous-looking bridges each branching out from one isle to the other. For months now one of the cross-realm portals had been in Hyjal’s control, from where they sent forces to assault the Molten Front. The other bridge came directly from the plain to the Sulfuron Spire along the lower reaches of the mountain. Thusly each faction held an unshakeable foothold in the other’s domain.

Not for the first time he cursed Leyara’s name under his breath. Had she taken his advice and allowed their elemental forces to advance in mounting waves from either portal, they would have controlled the majority of the Mountain within weeks! Instead their chief lieutenant had decided to pursue her bitter vendetta against Stormrage, and hurl almost the entirety of their reserve forces upon the Shrine of Malorne in order to trample what little resistance there was. Predictably, the defending druids had a contingency under their robes and halted the surprise assault in its tracks. How fitting that she should then have herself killed and leave this mess for him to clean up.

Feeling a slight prodding at the back of his neck, Cromdale winced as he dragged a charred, sticky feather from the ruffles of his shoulder-length dark hair, tossing it aside in disgust. How in a satyr’s beard did they keep finding their way in there? It mattered little, though it served as just another one of many frustrations which plagued him.

Take the elementals under his ‘command’. Being the essence of Azeroth’s primordial forces, Chaos was in their very nature. Had they even an ounce of discipline, they might have been marching across the rest of Kalimdor by now. Sometimes it was all he could do to simply direct them towards the enemy. The Flame Druids themselves were no better. Whether insane, rage-filled or power-crazed, they resembled the elemental forces they fought alongside with their inner fires blazing, devastating and all too swiftly extinguished. Even the realm’s new Majordomo was content to hole himself up in the spire and devote his time to experiments. As such there were very few in the ranks he could consider remotely ‘reliable’, and those he kept for special assignments.

With a slender, scarred hand the elf shifted several of the model units about the board, estimating losses against probabilities of success as he pictured scenarios with various movements and enemy responses. Not that Cromdale was expecting a breakthrough of course. Until recently, everything he had attempted while in command had only resulted in maintaining the stalemate between the factions.
His usually sharp mind flitted away from his idle tactics as he recalled his desperation only a few months ago. To think he had actually considered abandoning what ground they had to retreat from the Mountain as well as destroying both portals; if only to buy time and recuperate unhindered. Fortunately while scouring through what little literature they had at their disposal - either pillaged from the battlefield or carried over from the old Majordomo’s collection – he found his answer in a rather unlikely source.

The Order of Nature’s Grasp...

.

Fyffe

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Re: Mind & Memory

Post by Raene on Mon Feb 25, 2013 1:22 am

Hey! You touch my Order, and I'll have Raene eat your eyeballs!

Ask Ark, she'll do it!

That being said, it looks like I'm getting home just in time to crash this party and hopefully (if allowed) tag along for the events that no doubt go with this story.

Edit: No, seriously. Look into these eyes.

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She does not screw around.

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Re: Mind & Memory

Post by Fyffe on Mon Feb 25, 2013 9:43 am

Unfortunately the multiple events between and after this story have mostly already taken place ingame
Spoiler:
(The Order kicked his ass in Jaedenar. Only just),
There is however one last event to take place. A final showdown >=D

That is not to say that you will miss the chance to at least smack him in the face. If all goes as planned, you may even meet him...

Fyffe

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Re: Mind & Memory

Post by Raene on Mon Feb 25, 2013 10:29 am

Well, it's at least 8 days until I get on the flight home, nevermind get settled enough to start RPing properly again, so I don't know. Still, best of luck NG, do me proud.

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Re: Mind & Memory

Post by Fyffe on Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:19 pm

Hah! They will never *looks into the eyes* be ah, able...to...

*Cowers and throws in a new chapter to hide behind*

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Re: Mind & Memory

Post by Fyffe on Mon Feb 25, 2013 2:20 pm

Chapter 2


Wandering over towards his desk again, Cromdale glanced at one of the pinned-out scrolls. It was a revised draft of the mission plan for their last offensive; Teldrassil.
After thinking beyond Hyjal’s borders, his attention had inadvertently been turned towards Darnassus; in particular its protector guild. He recognised that many of its members had once been staunch supporters of Staghelm, who had recorded much information on potential allies for his new (if radical) cause. The more Cromdale had discovered about the Order, the more a new plan had taken root in his mind, and he soon devoted himself to an entirely new operation on the unsuspecting Night elves.

A heavy thumping boomed out from the mighty dark basalt slabs that fortified the chamber entrance. The Commander straightened up and barked back in reply.

“Enter!”

The great double-doors eased open with a rush of hot air and sulphurous fumes billowing in from the outside corridor. A hulking, serpentine monster crossed the threshold and held up a scaly claw in a languid salute. Cromdale returned it with a more disciplined motion.

“What is it Asmodal?”

The flamewaker clicked its fiendish tongue as if displeased,

“Commander. An emissary of the Twilight’s Hammer has come. He demands an audience with the Majordomo.”

“Bring him in. I will speak with him first.”

The flamewaker picked at one of his coiled horns with a smirk before slinking back out the room, hissing.

“I figured you would.”

Being among Ragnaros’ chief elemental lieutenants, it was only the kaldorei’s advantage in not being restricted to the surrounding plain that gave him superiority over the native elemental in the hierarchy; a fact that Asmodal made little effort in hiding his resentment over. In spite of this, the flamewaker was accepting of the druid’s methods and made a useful advisor.

Cromdale promptly rolled up his papers and set them aside in an attempt to make his desk look presentable. Tugging the creases of his robe, he stood to attention with his hands behind his back when Asmodal returned to settle by the door. The kaldorei’s sharp-nosed nostrils flared instinctively at the sight of the hunched figure that came skulking after the flamewaker. Rubbing his meaty, green-skinned fists the orc bowed, his suspicious eyes darting about beneath a violet hood.

“The Hour ever approaches, Commander Crom.”

He wheezed, addressing the druid in a guttural Common which Asmodal had probably directed him to use beforehand. Like most Night Elves, Cromdale had no love for the orcish race, so saw little reason to learn the dominant language of the Horde...or whatever foul tongue these cultists chose to exchange their bile with.
Cromdale did not respond to his greeting in kind, merely offering a stiff nod of unenthusiastic encouragement. The emissary continued hesitantly,

“I was hoping to consult with your master-”

“The Majordomo does not see visitors. I will answer for him. Why have you come?”

The orc seemed momentarily put out by the curt response.

“Ah, The Council has sent me to discuss the new plans for the Hyjal warfront. You and your armies are to be reassigned-

Cromdale interrupted him brusquely.

“Ambassador, I am afraid that you are no longer in a position to make demands of us. The Firelord consolidates his strength for now regardless of our efforts, and whatever Staghelm may have promised I will not condone. We have no interest in aiding the Twilight’s Hammer any longer.”

This time the orc recovered quickly from his surprise and scowled.

“You reject the Hammer’s might? Our numbers may be few now and scattered as we are, our resolve has never faltered!”

“Yet you return to slink in shadow once again while the Druids of the Flame remain strong.”

“Strong? Before you stepped in, it was the Twilight’s Hammer who stormed the mountain first-”

“- And as I understood the situation, the Druids of the Flame displaced your troops after they descended into a squabbling rabble.”

“You believe you can succeed without us then? Given your success so far, perhaps you can advise us on how we can match your own ‘accomplishments’? ”

“In the brief time we took over your campaign here, we have matched the powers of the Ancients and continue to do so. The Twilight’s Hammer, with all the powers of the Legion, the Elements, the Dragonflights and even the Unspeakables at their side, have failed time and time again.”

Over the increasingly aggravated ambassador’s shoulder the Commander noticed Asmodal, whose reptilian features were contorted in what he recognised as a questioning look. Nevertheless he continued in his deep, calm voice.

“Your incompetence is almost laughable. I see no reason to waste my limited resources on your kind.”

The gaunt cheeks beneath the orc’s cowl darkened as he revealed chipped tusks in barely suppressed fury,

“We have a common enemy you insolent fool! Surely your goals are that of ours?”

Behind his back, Cromdale’s fists clenched tightly. Although the air remained unbearably hot, the emissary would have sworn that a chilling breeze flew over him while under the druid’s long, silent stare. Eventually he answered coldly,

“Our goals are not the same. You seek oblivion. We seek rejuvenation.”

The Commander held out a steady hand towards the entrance.

“You have outstayed your welcome, Ambassador. Leave now so that you may tell your masters that what little remains of your filth will be cleansed from this land soon enough.”

The rage-trembling orc snarled viciously as stepped back to the door.

“You have not heard the last of this.”

Once the cultist had stormed out of sight, Asmodal slowly shook his head, his tentacles swaying.

“It was not wise of you to spurn the Clan. You have enough enemies as it is without taunting the zealots. They do have their uses.”

Frowning, Cromdale calmly took his seat in the draped stone armchair.

“Whatever ties they may have had with the Firelord, I will not lower myself to consorting with the Twilights again. Should we fail the world will be doomed to their ilk anyway.”

“Huh! I think you mean “Should you fail”. Pride is not a virtue we can afford in this conflict, Commander. You would do well to remember that.”

The flamewaker slithered out the room, dragging the great doors shut behind him.
As they slammed to a close, Cromdale’s shoulders slumped and he fell back against his seat with a worn-out sigh.

.


Fyffe

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Join date : 2011-08-24
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Title: Lorescribe and Illusionist

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Re: Mind & Memory

Post by Fyffe on Wed Feb 27, 2013 12:46 pm

Chapter 3
.

This He spoke. A soundless screech of triumph in The Empty Dark. His promised ascendance was close so very close.

This He Recalled. Last time was too brief. Only clipped wings and vicious exile to The Empty Dark once more. Never a chance to fly.

His return was nigh. Not to Broken World though. His Feather-Kin had failed him. No blessings of the shadow under wing or the Old blood for them. Cruel eyes gleam only for the World of Meddlers now. Full skies to soar in and lesser Feather-Kin to rule. Cast in shadow as dark as The Empty Dark to feast and fly again. None may deny him this promised birth right.

Here He roosted. Upon a scar of emerald mist in an amethyst and onyx void. Here The Empty Dark bled into where his prey chose to dream.

This He saw. A Meddler. Brazen and cool. A mind resolute yet tiring, ready to be gouged and torn apart through guile and sly tongue. Dreaming for an answer.

This He Knew. This Meddler would dream no more.
.

~

.
Cromdale found himself holding his head in his hands, leaning upon the desk before him in support.
He found little need for sleep these days, choosing instead to enter brief trances for necessary respite. While it had been some time since he had awoken from the Emerald Dream, he occasionally would still feel it – at least he assumed it was the Dream - dragging at his will enticingly. Whether it was from genuine exhaustion or the Dream’s call, he did his best to resist it. Much of a druid’s strength lay with their acuity with Nature which was sustained by their connections with the Emerald Dream. While the Druids of the Flame had drastically severed this bond with nature, they drew their own elemental brand of magic from spell tomes and crude totems, himself included. And yet none of his men ever mentioned suffering such temptation. Perhaps when all this was over, he would be able to rest.

With a sweep of his ruffled hair from his face, he moved the maps and other loose scrolls into a drawer, if only to pass the time. With not much else to do while he awaited word from his scouts, he found his trail of thought wandering inexplicably towards Teldrassil again.

He pondered whether it had been wise to involve The Order of Nature’s Grasp directly. While they could very well retaliate – indeed he had recently foiled a scrying ritual from one of their Highborne arcanists – the prize had certainly been worth the risk.
One decision he did lament was sending Narkeel to scout Teldrassil. Unpredictable and sadistic as the ex-druid of the Fang was, he was among his most loyal spies; which had led him to believe he would respect his orders to leave the locals untouched. There was enough Kaldorei blood being shed on the battlefield for more to be wasted elsewhere. Another mistake he chided himself for was not responding sooner to his scout’s lack of contact. Wherever Narkeel had escaped from his prison to, The Commander hoped he would return to the Firelands to be disciplined appropriately.
Whatever the possible consequences, the Order’s attentions would soon be irrelevant. His plan was nearing its conclusion, and Staghelm’s abomination of a ‘world tree’ would be swept away in the new wave.

Cromdale scowled as the late Majordomo came to mind. In whatever madness that had infected him at the time, Fandral had turned against everything his people valued and believed in. Did that make him a traitor? Of course it did, if only for the right reasons.

Again the same boding sense as before began to simmer in his brain, dampening these troublesome thoughts and pulling his attention towards rest. Instead of turning his attention towards to his duties as he usually did or choosing to trance, he began to focus on these thoughts for once, out of curiosity towards the increasingly unbearable weariness and brooding resentment of unstable situation.

Through Staghelm’s journals he learned that the leader’s silver tongue had led many of the weak-willed druids still recovering from the Cataclysm astray. While Cromdale hated such deception, it served as an easier method in recruiting than trying to convince others of the radical nature of their cause. He on the other hand had no reason to doubt Staghelm’s confidence in him, in spite of his other questionable choice of allies and ideals. After all, the Archdruid had told Cromdale himself that he had a greater purpose in mind for the Druids of the Flame, a plan that made far more sense to him than a mere lust for vengeance. And yet while everything had been so meticulously planned, he continued to fight against misfortune as well as the boundless, if blind valour of the worldly heroes out there, each day passing with more and more senseless waste in his surely noble quest.

Cromdale’s head was swimming now, almost unbearably so as it took all his concentration to remain on this single train of thought. Regardless he made a final effort to ask himself; Had it, would it be worth it?

A sudden knocking sent these thoughts scurrying away, vanishing out of mind and memory. Vainly he tried to recover these clear fragments, though it was like grasping for wisps of smoke. Realising that his tiredness had also strangely alleviated, he impatiently looked up at the entrance.

“Enter!”

One of the doors opened slightly as a young druid slipped her way through. The Commander recognised her as one of his chief scouts. Narice had been a Wildheart neophyte in Auberdine before its destruction. She stood to attention with a salute,

“The circles are prepared. We move out on your word, Commander.”

The kaldorei tossed his head in acknowledgement.

“Inform the Gatekeepers. We leave for Jaedenar immediately.”

As the underling retreated, The Commander briefly checked that he was equipped with everything he might need for leaving (as always); weapons, armour, water, spell book and totem. He then approached a little slab of rock attached to the wall at the rear end of the chamber. With a soft whisper, the druid summoned a peculiarly shaped ember within the palm of his hand, and pressed it against the smooth surface. With a click, the slab split to form the handholds of a pair of cabinet panels which were promptly pulled apart to reveal its contents.

.

Fyffe

Posts : 309
Join date : 2011-08-24
Location : Glaschu

Character sheet
Name: "Fyffe the Confounder!!!"
Title: Lorescribe and Illusionist

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Re: Mind & Memory

Post by Fyffe on Sat Mar 02, 2013 5:16 am

Chapter 4
.

A half-sized skinning knife, a necklace of Frostsaber teeth, a small totem carved from northern Oakwood, a Qiraj spine, a polished emerald scale; Possessions of sentimental value that had belonged to a very different kaldorei. Amongst them lay a fragile tome bound by ancient leather, the worn remains of a fiery insignia etched on the cover could still be seen from behind the glow of the enchantments that prevented the dry parchment and it’s precious knowledge from bursting into flames.

All these served as momentary distractions before he admired the prize that lay at the base of the cabinet.

It was hard to believe that such a crude stump of battered wood would be so pivotal to his plans. It had been this artefact that his latest plots had been revolved around, for the staff was imbued with the potent flames of the Dragonflights and had just the right potential for his ritual. Cromdale hoped he would not regret sparing the life of the druid who wielded it previously. Shan’do Winterwind was experienced and well-respected among his kind. Kalimdor would need such elves after his work was finished.
The staff lay across a shelf within the crook of a thorned, gnarled sickle. While traditionally used for gathering reagents, he had used this tool to carry the artefact safely. As a former druid he could not risk tapping into the volatile powers that lay dormant within the staff by touching it, lest it respond violently towards the stranger or the other denizens of the Firelands.
Cromdale reached out for the sickle and pulled the artefact away with it. When lifted, the staff twisted lazily around within the curve of the tingling blade in the elf’s hands, bound inside by protective enchantments. Striding for the window once more, he gazed upon a group of Flame Druids already assembled in the scorched courtyard. A spark of pride ignited within him as he recognised each one. Regardless of their motivations and unfortunate circumstances, they were his Elite and all had stepped forward at his request to aid him on this most crucial of missions.

With the passing of the Winter’s Veil solstice, both his fellow Kaldorei and the Ancients would be recovering from their chilled slumbers in order to prepare for the Lunar Festival. This small window of opportunity was all he needed to initiate a new warfront and turn the tide in their favour.

Ascending the small step towards the edge, The Commander knelt down and placed the sickle and staff respectfully upon the ground. Holding his arms outstretched, he uttered a single command in an ancient elemental tongue. Suddenly, plumes of flames flowed from his breast and licked harmlessly about him as the Kaldorei was enveloped by a searing conflagration. The fires rushed from arm to arm and lashed out to form wings while smoking talons gripped the sickle with its held staff tightly. Uncomfortable as this alien experience always was, to the druid it felt like every piercing feathery spine purified his body all the more.

As the screeching fire-hawk threw itself into the air with a resounding cheer from the assembled ranks below, what little remained of the druid inside whispered in reply,

By fire be purged.

.

~

.

The Talon sat cross-legged upon the brink of The Rift, gazing down into the swirling, creeping dark mass that festered within such an otherwise perfect realm.
It had been some time since the rest of the expedition had deserted the outpost. Either they had returned to the waking world by now - no doubt telling all of how he had been ‘lost’ to the dream - or had succumbed to the wandering Nightmare on their travels as reward for their cowardice.

Not that The Talon was angry with them. Like the rest of the Cenarion Circle, he could not expect his companions to understand. To see beyond the glimpses that The Rift provided. It was these ‘waking dreams’ that had unnerved his compatriots so, drifting through the fissure and brushing against their consciousnesses: Revealing memories that did not belong to them, visions of what might be, or simply unprovoked emotions that subsided as quickly as they came.

These he continued to feel himself. The moment he would allow his concentration to rest, deceitful waves would wash past to weather away his conviction. Yet for all this, he had even not come close to succeeding. Much had been learned yes, but he had expended every resource that that he could in order to glean something vital about this location. The Talon trusted that his true body would be well-guarded in his absence, so regardless of how many experiments, meditations or attempts at fending off the Nightmare it took, he would not abandon his post until he found a way...even if it would not show itself.

It was only while deep in this latest meditation when it occurred to him. Whether was brought upon by the Nightmare or brought from the depths of his own heart, a single realisation surfaced in his thoughts.


He could not succeed alone.


As this new idea gripped him he once again, desperately now, called for blessings from Elune and Aviana to grant him the knowledge to overcome the Nightmare.


In answer, tender words replied in crooning bird tongue, flowing like a cool mountain spring into the mind of The Talon.


“Steel your minds and guard your thoughts...”


The Talon smiled.


.

Fyffe

Posts : 309
Join date : 2011-08-24
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Title: Lorescribe and Illusionist

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Re: Mind & Memory

Post by Fyffe on Sat Mar 02, 2013 1:04 pm

Some semi-relevant art I played around with in Gimp.

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Spoiler:

That's right.
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Big Bird will have his revenge >=D

Fyffe

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Join date : 2011-08-24
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Title: Lorescribe and Illusionist

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Re: Mind & Memory

Post by Raene on Sat Mar 02, 2013 2:16 pm

Shame I can't view most image links here. I'll look when I'm home.

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Re: Mind & Memory

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