Part 1 Edit
The green of the land remained. The forest itself seemed unending. How long had they walked? Time here seemed to stretch on into an abyss yet at the same time everything passed in the blink of an eye.
As the two of them walked she let her mind wander. Visions of life passed over her like a trickling stream. She saw everything as it was, could have been and also as things might be. Those were the images that she held on to most... the mights. For she felt that if she forgot them some of those mights may never be and the others that she did not wish to see again may in fact come to pass.
The further they ventured on the brighter the growths in the foliage above seemed to glow. Larger crystal like formations now sprouted from many places along the ground and let out a quite humming, not constant though, quite erratic actually. The forest wasn't so silent now. Up ahead she could hear a pulse, maybe that was just the sound of her own blood but she doubted that. Her father remained silent and a few paces ahead of her, he didn't appear to be tiring at all.
When she looked to him again she noticed that they had finally come to a rise in the land. A steep hill, that she was sure wasn't there before, rose up out of the mist obscuring what lay beyond. She stopped out of instinct rather than fear or hesitation. Her father continued on along a well worn path toward the crest.
"What is up there?", she called out.
Without turning he replied with one word, "Everything."
Always cryptic, always a riddle. But over time, when she had actually believed that she had known him, she came to accept these vague words of his as truths that had been reduced to their most basic meaning.
A moment... a millennium... and then she followed.
A wisp-like thing flew at her out of nowhere, fluctuating spasmodically both in size and intensity. It paused briefly before her as if studying her being and then zipped pass her head regarding her with little concern. When she turned to watch it go, she saw nothing.
"Come on now little spark. Come see your answers." her father called from above.
Shaking her head she blinked twice and then continued her ascent.
M ore of the tiny ethereal wisp beings appeared as she climbed and faded away just as quickly. The buzzing from the forest floor below grew quiet and the sounds above became clearer now but not distinct enough to make out what they were. It was a truly hollow sound, similar to the wind blowing through cracks. The pulsing sound became a warble and seemed to stream upwards into the sky, pushing at the air like the ripples of raindrops on a puddle.
As her line of sight crossed over the edge of the precipice a feeling that would change her forever, and had changed her before, grafted itself into the back of her mind like hammer and nail.
A massive valley sprawled out before and below her. The wisp things were everywhere and only seemed to vanish as they neared the very edges.
It was a battle ground and she had seen it once before...
This battle was at the summit of Mount Hyjal.
Spinning around to face her father, who looked down upon the chaos with silent eyes, she made to question what any of this had to do with why she was here... her being here again. Instead she was cut off by sounds coming up the inner hillside. When she looked she saw a dark cloaked figure wearing a cloth mask to cover her face, obviously a night elf leading another kaldorei, this one frail and gasping for breath. Both were women and about the same height but the differences seemed to end there. Where one was desperate and fleeing the other was full of determination and confidence. One near the brink of defeat, the other full of wisdom and clarity.
Aerdri remembered this, it was a shadowy memory but it was not forgotten. She remembered it because when she looked again to the exhausted woman she saw.... Aerdri saw herself.
It all seemed so long ago, in truth only about 6 years had gone by and that was a blink or a heartbeat to the unending life time of her people, but even yesterday seemed far away to her now.
"Father, why have you brought me here? Of all the places you brought me HERE."
"No little one, this was all you, within you... from this point on there will be a turning. You knew it would begin here again just as it did before. It began when you did not die."
Turning back to him again, a defiant and confused look welded to her youthful features and challenged this... this new riddle from her father.
"Enough! I'm no longer entertained by your words. I never was. I could never get a straight answer out of you, I always had to dance with everything you've ever shared with me... I...."
He brought a casual finger to his lips and motioned with a movement of his head back toward the two behind her.
The women now seemed at odds with one another she couldn't hear them over the sounds that filled the air but she still knew what was said because this event had actually happened to her. The mystery figure shouted in a familiar yet disguised voice. She told Aerdri how it could not, will not, end here. That she must flee this place and seek her own path. She was reluctant to just run away but when the dominant woman grabbed her by the arm and pulled her toward the path she said something that Aerdri would never forget... "You will see me again... and when you do... you will come here again to this place and know just how necessary it was for me to force you away."
Just as she remembered those words the scene around her flickered and returned as something else. The battle was over now, in fact what it became was not even Mt. Hyjal anymore nor was it a valley, it was more forest, completely different from the trees she walked past earlier. In fact she saw four distinct types of flora now and all of them she saw before. Ashenvale, Feralas, Duskwood and the Hinterlands all of them intermingled and even over lapping. At the center was a large circular gateway that rippled and appeared to bleed a darkness, thick like oil. It crept from the opening and whatever it touched shriveled and died.
Her mouth opened to speak but she remained silent and the scene changed yet again.
No longer were she and her father outside, they were in a stone chamber that sent shivers down her spine. She was wrong before... this was the place she never wanted to see again... but she knew, deep down she knew, that she would return here.
In the far corner she saw herself. Bloody and bruised. Exhausted and silent. In her otherself's hands was a book... his book, her book, the book. The silver skull on the cover was glowing but she knew that at the time she was actually in this place it had not done so.
"That book...", her fathers words startling her, "That book has secrets little one. I was unable to fully decipher it all but I will tell you what I know."
The visions around her froze and with a word and a gesture from him the book floated free of her other's lap and moved to the center of the room where it hung ominously.
"It is an ancient text, created when I was young... young and naive. It belonged to one of our kind. He was one of the Moon Guard, kaldorei who both practiced the arcane and protected our land. I was one of them... or so I believed... in truth, I was a mere student who was only just beginning to comprehend the language of magic... and the secrets of the Well."
Part 2 Edit
The room had grown dim now, the walls had receded back into the depths of shadow. The only light came from the pages of the open tome gently bobbing in the air before them.
The glowing reminded Aerdri of the moonlight cast out over the sea like diamonds but also like the sea it felt just as cold as the deepest recesses of the blackest water.
"The script itself is unfamiliar to most," he finally said, "but if you could sound out the words properly one would soon see that the entire thing is written in a form very similar to Thelassian. They, the elders among the Moon Guard, used this to hide their work in plain sight."
Her father walked up to the book and with another gesture the pages began to flip by quickly. Past rune laced pages, past drawings and lengthy descriptions. When they finally came to a halt they revealed one page with elegant silvery words and jagged black scrawls. The opposite page contained a shining violet circle lined with blocks of carefully constructed text.
"I saw this before", she said gazing at the design and tapped the page, "I stared at this one in particular for quite a while but just like all the others I couldn't understand what it was."
Vinicus smiled and then did something Aerdri had never seen him do before... he winked. It was one of those winks that said A-HA! and You've made me proud.
"This one is a bit different", he finally said, "And it does not surprise me that your mind would migrate to it in particular. You were always a gifted student, my little spark, much more so than I ever was. If I had been there, if I had had the courage to share with you, you may have become something quite different than you are today... you see things, feel things that..."
"No father", she closed her eyes, "Even if you had, I never would have taken that road. I would be lying if I told you that in years gone past I had not wished I could have done more... but never would my desire to help, to make a difference, have been overtaken by..."
He put his hand up telling her that he understood. "Let's not stray too far from the task at hand." Then he turned his eyes back to the book and ran a hand over one page. The silver inked letters broke apart like dry leaves and moved about the surface, blending back together like molten metal. Now the words became evident. Aerdri had only just begun to learn Thelassian, the native tongue of the highborne, but like her father had already said; she was a "somewhat" gifted student, and this wasn't much different from the modern tongue.
"This particular enchantment is one of seeing and also one that very few kaldorei have ever fully grasped. And those that had unlocked its potential were hesitant to ever use it."
She was staring at him now, waiting for him to delve deeper into what he meant. She sort of expected him to leave it at that but he didn't.
"The power that this draws upon is consuming. It lashes out and fills ones head with whispers and confusing visions. I have seen powerful men reduced to idiocy after only one attempt to control it..."
"And you... you were one that had success?" Aerdri questioned as she viewed her fathers profile. His eyes closed tightly and for a moment she thought she caught a glimpse of pain. Not a physical attack but the pain recalled from loss or embarrassment.
"Yes and no", he finally said in almost a whisper, "I was defeated by my visions in a different way. I saw them clearly but like the fool that I was I dismissed them as only trickery and nonsense...", he wiped at the far side of his face that remained hidden to her and then quickly raised his hand to his brow as if lost in thought.
"Father", her voice became a solemn one as she gently took him by the arm and hugged it, "the past is gone now."
"Mrmm" he sounded in agreement but then continued, "Aerdri child, if I had acted on what I saw, things may have turned out very different. That's why this page lay open before you now... so you can see... and make the right decisions."
Even though she was tall he stood at least a head and a half above her. She looked up into his eyes that swam in thought, "Father, you know that even now that I can understand these words I can not delve into meddling with the arcane... no matter what the cost." He looked down at her, and although there was still pain in his face she saw his eyes wander over her as the corner of his mouth twitched slightly.
"Child, you have already been delving into it whether by choice or not. For all these years that I've been with you you have been intimately connected with both the forces of nature and the power of the arcane... and I'm sorry if that disturbs you but it is truth."
"No, that can't be...", she whispered, but then he put his finger softly upon her lips and guided her sight back toward the book.
"It does not matter now little one, all that matters is that you do this, just read the words aloud and trace the glyph with a finger... I will do the rest." He wrapped an arm around her shoulder and moved her in place before the words.
She lingered over them for a moment unsure exactly what to expect. At last though, after another forever, she managed to begin forming the first words... in her minds eye to begin with and then they started to flow from her. They were harsh sounding at first, her mouth struggled with the proper sounds and little by little they began to pass more freely until she felt as if she had spoke it her entire life.
"Fando re'endunan. Dath dur e t'ishura, t'mar'ar fal amare do isera isera isera. E'thus lah ethala mush'al dath dur turus."
"Fando re'endunan. Dath dur e t'ishura, t'mar'ar fal amare do isera isera isera. E'thus lah ethala mush'al dath dur turus."
"Fando re'endunan. Dath...", she repeated them over and over, increasing the tempo, letting them flow from her like a melody made for her long lost flute. Her chanting soon took on a song-like rhythm and her voice became a soft caress... like the touch of a lover.
Then, like when she used to see the colors, the world around her just faded away. The darkness came at her... it came soaked with heavy voices and fleeting dreams. Spinning, whipping, singing, clashing. Running, gripping, soothing, slashing. Swirling, slipping, melding, feeding. Kissing, wishing, blasting, bleeding. Through the beyond she flew with the grace of a dove and true like a spear. Passing it all, becoming one, becoming love, and hate, and envy, and free.
And like her song, it embraced her with a lovers touch. She felt exhilaration and ecstasy. Light as a feather, heavy as stone... never fear, nor sorrow, nor cold and alone. She swam with a current that took her far, far away and yet all the while it was all around her and within her.
Then the stream of consciousness came to an end. She burst forth into the air that both was and was not.
She simply closed her eyes and fell.
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Next: XIII. Plethora