Aerdri stood on the dock at Feathermoon Stronghold. She got many odd looks from various people, for more than a few reasons, but she tried to ignore them. She once thought she would be calling this place "home" for a long, long time.
But that was before....
The sun was setting. It dipped down slowly into the crease where the diamond crested ocean pressed again the heavy sky. Turning back she watched the vendors pack up their wares for yet another day. Even though her people were most comfortable beneath the moon and starlight their recent alliance with humans, dwarves and gnomes had forced many of them to become daylight dwellers.
As the ferry set sail for the mainland she wondered about this... what the future held for her people now. She remembered those days so long ago when the other races were only known to her from stories and in books. It was a time when the kaldorei lived in peace within their forests and atop their sacred mountain. A time when the druids slept and the priestesses maintained society with their love, wisdom and guidance.
Even then though, when her world was so small and her people went about their quiet lives in seclusion from the rest of the world there was still believed to be a need for warriors. These warriors soon became know as Sentinels, the protectors of their land beneath the stars. For a long time as a little girl she thought these women were nothing more than symbols of a time long since past. She didn't know then that they actually still protected the lands from harm and invasion. She remembered when she first began her studies in the temple she would often hear stories from some of her slightly older sisters about how bands of Sentinels were often sent out to patrol and survey foreign lands. It made more sense now... now... than it did then.
Her mother became a Sentinel long before Aerdri was even born. Her memories of her were few in number but the ones she recalled were always pleasant. That graceful shining armor.... how her mother would shine it to a mirror finish, that at night, made her look like she wore the sky itself. She used to hang in on a rack in her bedroom, put there mostly for convenience, but Aerdri always looked at it as if it were a piece of art... a glimmering sculpture of beauty.
It never stayed on that rack for very long. Her mother worked long days in the city where she trained new sisters who also chose steel over cloth. During the night she would often patrol the forests and far coasts... always watching for signs. Aerdri knew that there were small tribes of furbolgs and she even once saw a tauren near one of their "border towns" when she accompanied her father on a supply trip. They were never allowed into the lands itself, as far as she knew this was the only place and it was only as a means of trade. There were never any battles that Aerdri ever heard of so her mother's use of the word "signs" always troubled her. Signs of what?
She thought of the Feathermoon Sentinels in their shiny armor. They looked just the same as they did then. Still doing exactly what they've always done... for well over seven thousand years. Always watching, always patrolling... looking for... signs.
When the boat docked at the other side she gathered up her bags and stepped off. She waited a while for the ship to leave so she could see the ocean again.
Aerdri looked down at the new book in her hands, her new journal. The cover was still pristine, she hadn't even had it labeled or embossed with anything yet. Inside she flipped past the pages she had used. When she held them between her fingers and realized she hadn't actually written much at all, not more than a couple dozen.
So slow..., she thought, too slow...
The last page that she worked on was only half finished... it actually stopped in the middle of a sentence and had vigorous scribbles from that point on. Frustrated scribbles... and a dried tea stain.
The sun was now just a sliver, the sky was aflame with beautiful reds and oranges and stars were slowly beginning to show. Looking slightly to her right she gazed upon the mountains to the north that bordered Desolace. She thought of all of the time she spent there, all of the studying...
...all for nothing.
Blinking once she looked back at the last pages.
| Twenty-Third Day - Fifth Month
The land is riddled with so much mystery and I'm not sure of any of it. Giant snakes, giant kodos, ruins, demons, dead land...
Yes, Desolace indeed.
I'm so tired.
Syl has gone silent, I argued with Cynnara... and now I'm lost.
*torn out pages*
I'm at Aerie Peak again. Agnar helped me take care of the little one. He said that I should probably leave him in his care for a while.
Why am I still writing in this thing? There's no point anymore... I can't do anything about what happened, it's over.....
Aerdri stared at the scribbles for a moment and then whispered, "It's over... because I failed. I wasn't good enough... I thought I saw the "signs". I thought I would be able to figure out what to do. I didn't know anything."
Closing the book she stroked the cover once and then, without hesitation, tossed it into the ocean. She watched as the tide slowly carried it away from her, it wouldn't take long for it to fade from view.
Letting out a long sigh she was suddenly comforted by a series of murmles and clicks in one ear. Pulling her head back and a bit to the side she couldn't help but smile. It was the first real smile in a long time and it felt good. On her shoulder sat the tiny darter. It rubbed her cheek with it's own and then licked her much like a cat would. Reaching up she stroked it softly beneath the chin with one finger and smiled wider when it stretched out it's neck and closed it's happy eyes.
From behind her head, on her other shoulder something began tugging on her hair. Turning the other direction she came face to face with a soft well groomed rat that sniffed at her nose. It's eyes glowed softly the same color as her hair.
"Yes... yes... I know. I'm hungry too... I'm... I'm done here now."
She looked back to the water once more and then spun about on one heel heading toward the road that would take her into the rain forest of Feralas.
"It'll be a while before we reach Thelsamar... I have a bit of bread and fruit we can nibble on along the way...", she paused a moment and then added with another smile, "No.... I'm afraid I don't have any cheese... but we will get some the first chance we get... I promise."
At the top of the hill she she stopped at the sign post in the road. It pointing in three directions.
Desolace, Feathermoon, and the last; south into the forest. She took a bite of an apple offering a bit to her two companions, stared a moment longer and then headed south... leaving the other two behind.