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by Pook

Altea Starsong leaned against the pillar of the Moonwell, brushing her aqua-blue hair from her face. Motes of light danced in the air, charged with the power of Elune, swirling with power around the Moonwell's guardian as she...

Fished a handful of dead leaves from the pristine water.

For some reason she'd imagined this job would be more glamorous. But at least it was something to do with her time, such that it was. She glanced towards the Barrow Dens, where the male Druids were sleeping the decades away. It could be worse, she supposed. But somehow, when she had won the admiration and respect of the Druidic elders, of the representatives of Shan'do Stormrage himself, she'd pictured herself taking a more...well, a more active role in things. But, as always, the men were the more public face of the Druids, sent out to battle, protecting the Dream and the forests.

She sighed, and slogged another handful of leaves off into the grass. She glanced through the bustling Elves towards Night Haven and wondered if she should make a trip into town for supplies. Over on her side of the lake it was a more functional place for meeting and for worshipping, but on the other side was probably the most dense population of Kal'dorei anywhere, which was she supposed not saying a lot, as they tended to live spread out all amongst the woodlands of Northern Kalimdor. As such, her Moonwell, the largest in the glade if not anywhere, tended to get a lot of traffic.

She blinked, startled, as she heard a bawling child on the other side of the water and hurried across, not bothering to undo the tie on her dress between her legs to keep it from getting wet. She saw a little girl, open mouthed and purple faced, sitting in the water as two boys beat a hasty retreat when they saw Altea approaching.

"It's all right, it's not deep, stand up," she said with a concerned frown, helping the girl up. "Are you all right?"

"Th-they called me a FURLBOG!" The little girl wailed, rubbing her eyes with a balled fist.

"Well...are you a Furlbog?" Altea asked, tilting her head. "I have to say...for a Furlbog you're quite lacking in fur..."

"N...no..." the girl sniffled.

"And you don't SOUND like a Furlbog. They tend to go more like, Grr! Grrr!" She held her arms high, growling in a passable imitation of Furlbogness.

The little girl, despite herself, started to giggle. "I'm NOT a Furlbog, though!"

"See! So why do you care what they say? They're just stupid boys anyway. Someday when you grow up to be a High Priestess or the head of a unit of Sentinels and they're just dumb guards or merchants, you'll have the upper hand, won't you?" She said with a grin.

The little girl nodded, and then shouted in the general direction the boys had run off in, "You can't push around Amara Nightwalker! I'm gonna be a Priestess and kick your butts!"

Altea stifled a giggle as the girl took off running after them. She supposed she would make an all right mother, someday, and finally get her father off of her case. After all, her sister Velinde was so absorbed in her job as a Sentinel in Ashenvale she likely wouldn't give him grandchildren anytime soon and while her other sister Ifanne was now in training as a Priestess, she was still very young. And it wasn't that she didn't want to or anything, but with her own training and the Moonwell to take care of and everything else going on she just hadn't managed to meet--

There was an explosion of shouting, a clash of weapons across the lake, in the city. The surrounding Elves who had been passing through or milling about quickly headed over to see what the commotion was, but as always Altea was stuck at the Moonwell. She shaded her eyes with her hand, trying to peer across to see, but after a while the shouting grew more spread out and groups of Sentinels could be seen searching the area. A patrol came down the pathways to near where she was and she hurriedly caught up to them, her bare wet feet leaving tracks along the way.

"What's going on?" She asked, trying to keep pace with the women on their Sabers.

"Intruder in the city," one of them replied, glaring out from under her helm searchingly at the surrounding treeline. "Keep an eye out. It appears to be a Quel'dorei agent."

Altea stopped in her tracks, letting them go on...One of the Exiled Ones? Here? But why? And how? It had been thousands of years...

She returned to the Moonwell, but stopped in her tracks as she saw a trail of red blooming in the water, leading behind one of the massive pillars itself marred with a bloody handprint. She sidled closer, her hands swirling with white power, ready to call down a column of Moonfire, but her expression immediately softened as the other Elf came into view.

The Quel'dorei man was leaning against the pillar, hardly standing and obviously in great pain as he clutched a deep wound on his side. His eyes glowed a soft blue as he looked at her with alarm, making a gesture with his hand and what looked like a glowing blade of light appeared in it, but flickering and weak.

She didn't know what it was, or why, but she felt a surge of emotion welling up in her, one of protectiveness. "Shhh..." she said, holding her hands up to him in a supplicating manner to show him she meant no harm. "Be still and come with me, I'll make sure they can't find you..."

The man blinked at her and then narrowed his eyes suspiciously, his light blonde hair hanging in his face as he tried to stay on his feet. "Why would you do this?" He spoke with an odd accent and his words were rearranged in places, but overall Altea found that his language was mostly the same as hers. "Harbor a dangerous spy?"

"Would you rather I didn't? Come with me, hurry," she said, reaching out to press her hands to his side, sending a surge of green healing light into his body. Healing wasn't exactly her strongest point, but she was sure she could at least keep him alive while his body mended itself.

She slipped under his arm and helped the bewildered man hobble to the nearby stand of houses and buildings, ducking against a wall to wait for the passing of the Sentinels before she pulled him into her house, closing the door after them. It was small, only the one room, and she eased him down onto her narrow bed before she started tearing linen cloth up into bandages.

"You won't be able to stay here long without being discovered, we'll have to move you to a shelter out in the forest of some kind," she said, sitting on the edge of the bed and starting to remove the armor on his chest, but he caught her hands, peering at her in confusion.

"You do realize that our people are enemies, don't you? And that I'm most likely not here with the best of intentions? Why are you aiding me?" He asked, looking her over.

"You need help, don't you? So let me help you. Let me shield you," she said with a slight frown, not really understanding the impulse fully herself. "Besides...what kind of Druid would I be if I let someone who needed my aid die in my own house?"

"I am the Lightblade, and I do not need...would you stop?" he said, his grave words rather ruined in effect as he tried to bat her nimble hands away from the fasteners on his armor to avail. With a sigh and then a swift hissing breath drawn through clenched teeth he let her pull off his chestplate and then the torn chainmail underneath and start bandaging his wounds.

"The way I see it, you can let me help you, or you can die. I'm fairly sure that you're not going to choose to die, so just relax, all right?" Altea tilted her head, blowing a lock of her hair from her face in annoyance, and he settled into a confused, distrustful silence as he watched her.

"You're a crazy woman, you know that don't you?" He said as she finished, arching a long icy blonde eyebrow.

"So I've been told," Altea said, her lips starting to curl into the hint of a grin.

"And you realize that by aiding me, you're risking your life?" He asked, his tone softening a bit as he regarded her.

Her gaze dropped and a slight blush colored her cheeks as she nodded. "I'm aware."

Seeing her blush he cleared his throat slightly, looking away himself. "Well, I...I suppose I could allow you to aid me for a short time...but after that I have responsibilities that I must return to, as I'm certain you do as well."

She nodded hastily. "Yes, yes, responsibilities. Pressing and, um. Urgent." She rubbed the back of her neck, realizing that her dress and her hair were still tied up and she was smeared with muck from the bottom of the Moonwell. "We'll just get you back on your feet and on your way, ah...Lightblade? Is that your name?"

"My...hmm?" He said distractedly, having been watching the way the light from the lone window fell on her lovely blue hair. "Oh...oh no, that's what I am. I suppose it's a long story...Daltrien. My name is Daltrien Dath'serrar," he said, wincing as he attempted a half-bow.

She pressed her hand to his shoulder, easing him back to make him rest with a shy smile. "It's nice to meet you, Daltrien. My name is Altea."

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