Lodur and Estherras were enjoying each other’s company once again. Thanks in great part to the Dwarven companion Yeva, Lodur had come to really enjoy traveling with company. The two swapped war stories back and forth as they made their way towards the airstrip to the north, reminiscing about their narrow victories and they glorious deeds. Indeed if not for the fact that this was an Elf and Draenei the two could have easily been mistaken for Dwarves celebrating their many laurels.
The two wound their way across the plain it’s land at constant odds with itself. To the left was ice and snow freshly fallen, to their right lay hot springs and lush growths. The contradiction of elements did not detract from the beauty of the area and Lodur smiled content. About halfway to their goal the pair noticed figures collecting around a hot spring. There seemed to be some fevered movement as those at the camp bustled about. Without a word Estherras brought her weapon to bear casually while Lodur gathered a well of power. They had already been jumped once on their trip today, a second ambush was not unlikely. As their path carried them closer Lodur noticed what appeared to be an Elf clad in feathers, twigs and leaves. It appeared that a small group had set up camp around one of the springs on the plain, and now that they were closer Lodur could see they were tending the wounds of an animal. Lodur gave Estherras a quick look and the two made their way towards the camp. They made no move to mask themselves and it wasn’t long before the large Elf adorned with what appeared to be a Druid’s garb noticed them.
“Fandu-dath-belore traveler” Said the Elf as he moved towards the two, “state your business here.” He spoke with authority clearly born of his station among his group.
“Well met brother druid” Lodur hailed back. “our business is simply traveling through your land here. We are on our way to Fizcrank Airstrip and we mean you no trouble, we simply saw that you were tending to a few injured creatures and I thought I would offer my assistance.”
“Ah, you are a healer as well then?” the druid eyed Lodur and Estherras as they dismounted. “I am Arch Druid Lathorius, this is a camp of D.E.H.T.A.!”
Lodur looked at the druid quizzically
“You have not heard of us or our noble cause? Very well then. D.E.H.T.A. is the Druids for the Ethical and Humane Treatment of Animals. We have come to Northrend to preserve that which the vile tyrant Hemet Nesingwary! His hunters have placed traps all over the tundra and these poor animals suffer for it!”
Lodur looked at the druid “I am Lodur, shaman of the guild Unpossible and student to Nobundo. While I have not heard of your cause before this day, I will lend what aid I can in mending these creatures.”
Estherras shifted uncomfortably a little. “Tell you what, I’ll scout around a little bit and make sure they aren’t laying anymore traps.”
Lodur nodded and Estherras disappeared into the plain. Shortly after Lodur set to work healing the mammoth calf inside the camp. They were back to full health and baying for their mothers in no time. Lodur smiled and stood up. It was honest work and the tundra would see these calf growing and thriving, as long as the Lich King was taken care of that is.
“Well done shaman, your heart is in the right place. While we clean up here I wonder if I could ask you to go forth and check for any more animals caught in the traps out there.” the Arch druid flashed a smile at Lodur.
“Certainly, though I suspect my companion will have cleared them out already.” Lodur turned and set about checking the plains for traps. Most were broken and tattered although she still had to smash a few with rather large rocks to disable them. After freshly smashing one Lodur heard a faint sound. She stood slowly and stilled herself. Looking around she could just barely make out a slight movement. The sound almost like a chirp could faintly be heard. Lodur headed in the direction of the sound carefully. It wasn’t long before Lodur was upon the spot. In a trap was what appeared to be a Gryphon hatchling, it thrashed about and locked eyes with Lodur.
Lodur knelt down carefully and spoke calmly to the creature. “It’s ok little fella, I’m going to get you out of there and get you healed up.” Lodur called to the spirit of the hunt to lend his words meaning the animal. “Calm yourself little one before you injure yourself further, I will help.” The creature calmed still staring at the shaman. Lodur reached down and carefully opened the trap. Scooping the hatchling up she placed the avian in her lap. Speaking the words of mending she summoned the spirits of water to tend to the animals wounds. Slowly the bones mended and the skin healed, and in no time it was taking a few tentative steps on it’s paws. When it realized it was fully mended it immediately charged into Lodur nuzzling her. “you’re awfully young to be on your own, where is your family? The Aerie peak is a long way from here.” The hatchling let out a small cry. “well it is not safe for you to be out here on your own. Come along, we’ll go back to the druids here.” She placed the creature on her shoulder where it perched happily.
In short order they were back at the camp. Estherras has returned but remained on the outside of the camp. Lodur strode in and informed the Arch Druid that the traps had been dealt with. “I found this poor fellow in a trap, he’s quite a long way from home. Do you think you could care for him for a time?”
The druid stroked the feathers of the Gryphonling “I am afraid we cannot, we have enough to handle here and the mammoth herds mostly tend to themselves once we heal them.” he looked at Lodur. “Perhaps you can take him with you, he already seems quite fond of you.”
The Gryphon bounded between Lodur’s shoulders. “Perhaps that would be ok. I am headed to Dalaran after all, maybe one of the magus there can help get him home.” Lodur scratched under the creature’s beak. “well, with that settled is there anything else I can do to help before we depart? I fear we may have tarried too long as is.”
“No, you have done enough. May the blessings of Malorne and Cenarius be upon you shaman. Be safe in your journeys.”
Lodur inclined her head slightly forward and turned back to Estherras.
“About bloody time! I was waiting for them to realize I make a profession out of being a hunter. What’s that you got there? A souvenir?” Estherras pointed to the hatchling.
“You would have been fine, besides helping the animals didn’t take too long.” Lodur fed a few scraps of dried meat to the Gryphon, “I found this one in a trap. I’m going to bring him to Dalaran and see if someone can help see him back to the peak.”
“Ah, fair enough. Have you named it yet?” Estherras and Lodur summoned their mounts and began their northerly trek once more.
“If I name him then I’ll have to keep him. I don’t think Andor would be too pleased with that.” Lodur chuckled.
“Yeah but if you don’t name him it will get boring when you yell at it ‘hey you get out of my provisions!’ at least a token name would be appropriate I think.”
Lodur looked to the sky thoughtfully. “Ahonan.” She looked at the creature. “What do you think little one? Do you like it? Shall I call you Ahonan?” The animal chirped happily. “Well then, it would seem that is settled as well. Shall we continue on then?”
“Let us! I’m eager to get to Dalaran, it has simply been too long since I’ve made fun of Zabos and I’m starting to hit withdrawal.”
Lodur pulled the cowl of her cloak down obscuring her face further in shade. She Patted the neck of her Mistsaber, as they made their way slowly from Valiance keep towards Fizzcrank airstrip. The undead assault on the keep had slowed enough to allow a few travelers to move beyond the basalt walls. The winds were wicked and Lodur could feel the bite of the frost upon her face.
The Mistsaber slowed and a began to rumble a guttural growl. A rough noise replaced the sound of the wind. Lodur looked up to see two Orcs before her. Rough armor filled with spiked adorned their mantles. They smiled toothy grins as they dismounted their wolves and walked menacingly towards Lodur, speaking in a tongue she couldn’t decipher, but the intent was clear… violence.
“Ark’ehnan poross” Lodur voiced as evenly as she could in common “I wish no trouble I am simply passing through.”
The two eyed the figure atop the large cat, not halting their advance. Lodur looked up, her blue eyes glowing from beneath the darkness of the hood. The two exchanged a quick set of words in a gutter language Lodur recognized as the orcish tongue. She stepped from her mount and with a quiet word undid the magic that bound it to this world. Turning towards the two orcs, Lodur began to gather power around her. The assailants stopped now, sensing that their prey was not as timid as they had hoped. Lightning crackled between Lodur’s fingers and her eyes. The two green-skinned creatures smiled toothy tusk filled grins and charged.
Before Lodur could react, one of the charging creatures hit the dirt, the other oblivious to the fate of his companion. When the orc was only a few yards away from Lodur she unleashed the gathering energy in a small storm of electricity. The assailant was flung up and back. It hit the ground hard and before it could get back up a great white cat was on top of it, the orc’s neck in its teeth. Lodur released the last remnants of the power held within and looked around. From thin air materialized an elf that walked over to the first fallen orc, and pulled an arrow from the creature’s neck. The elf then padded over to the cat and speaking a quick word in what Lodur recognized as Darnassian, the cat released the corpse from its jaws now looking for it’s master’s approval.
“Ah, miss. It looks like I came along just in the nick of time!” said the elf, the voice calm and enchanting. “although it does seem you are not without your defenses.”
The elf turned to face lodur, dropping its cloak to reveal features that were both fine and hardened at the same time. It was a face Lodur recognized very well.
It had only been a fortnight since Lodur’s body was snatched by the Lich King. No one from her guild knew about it and no one aside from Yeva, the prophet and Nobundo knew that inside this female shell was truly the essence of Lodur.
“Thank you for your assistance, though it was not required. I would however suggest we move somewhere else, least they become missed and any friends they have decide to go looking for them.” Lodur said with a smirk.
“That is not a half bad idea, perhaps I should ride with you for a while.” The elf summoned her mount and Lodur called back the Mistsaber, and the two were off.
“I’m Estherras by the way. What brings you up this way? Looking for adventure? Just taking in the scenery?”
Lodur looked over to the elf.
“I am Lodur.” she stated plainly, and then turned back to watch the road they traveled.
“hmm. I have a guild mate named Lodur. He’s much larger than you are though. Never pegged Lodur for a woman’s name”
“It’s not.” Lodur smirked again.
Estherras stopped her mount. “Wait a minute. What is that supposed to mean?”
“You never were quick on the uptake. Makes me think of the time I had to yell at you in the Black Temple, reminding you that fire was bad. ” Lodur chuckled.
The hunter’s jaw hung loose, “No way. No damn way! Lodur? What the hell man…er…woman? well.. this is something isn’t it? What the hell happened?”
“I’ll tell everyone at the guild meeting in a few days. A lot..” Lodur paused looking down at her new body. ” needs to be explained.”
“I’ll say. That better be one hell of a story or I’m going to be sorely disappointed in you. So where are you headed anyways?”
Estherras had caught back up to Lodur and the two were riding side by side again. Lodur glanced over to the hunter.
“Fizzcrank airstrip. I have a friend up there trying to secure a flight into Dalaran for the guild meeting. I’ve never trusted those mage portals, so I’d rather fly. Sadly Andor is not strong enough to fly in the cold winds up here yet, so I seek other means.”
“Fair enough. Mind if I tag along then? You seem to always have great misfortune that ultimately leads to highly entertaining adventures… or fleeing. One or the other.” The elf laughed and Lodur chuckled as well.
“Alright, you might be useful after all. You’re taking my new body rather well, honestly I’m a bit surprised.”
Estherras shrugged “eh, We’ve traveled through time, beaten down a titan. Stopped a madman from dominating the world. twice. Defeated a few beings classified as gods and ultimately survived to tell the tale. This is by far not the weirdest things we’ve been through. Surprising, sure I’ll give you that, but not the strangest thing. ”
“At that you have a point. ”
The two continued riding at a casual pace through the tundra towards its northern border and the gnomish airstrip.
The sky was clear and full of stars. Fireflies were just waking from their long days slumber.
“As the lights of the heavens dance above, so does the light of mortals dance below”
Lodur said, watching the fireflies beginning to bob and sway. He walked down the dock and towards the Inn that lay at it’s end. He had stayed here long ago after the Exodar first crashed. He remembered it as a peaceful place, someplace a person could unwind and spend a restful evening. The dock was clear tonight, there would be no more charters to Menethiel until the morning.
He strode into the inn and up to the counter. The inn keeper, an Elf who had not seen the ravages of war and still bore innocence in here eyes took his coin for both a bed and meal. His meal was a healthy serving of Sand Crawler stew and fresh Moonberry Juice. Lodur ate it happily, a home cooked meal was just what he needed after his boat ride here. After he finished his meal, he stacked his bowls and cups and thanked the inn keeper, leaving a little extra coin behind for her. He made his way up to the top level of the inn and found a bed. With a contented sigh he fell upon the bed. The sound of the waves and the gentle sound of the night’s insects was beginning to lull Lodur to sleep.
Lodur was startled awake by a crash no more then a few feet from his bed. Quickly he leapt from the bed at the ready, brandishing his shield and mace and drawing the power of earth around him to shield him. He had arose so the bed was between him and the ruckus, at the ready he scanned the room. Seeing no immediate threat he lowered his shield and mace, but kept his Earth Shield up.
“Oi! Ye damned goat! Dinna ye eva see a Dwarf stook on ‘er back b’for? ‘lil help be appreciated!”
Lodur looked down on the other side of the bed and saw a Female Dwarf stuck on her back with a pack nearly three times her size pinning her down. If not for the constant stream of obscenities flowing from her mouth Lodur mused it would be a cute and comical scene. He dropped his shield and bent over to help the Dwarf onto her feet.
“Thanks, but dinna ye get any bright ideas abou’ me owin’ ya! Ah ain’t that type of lady!”
She brushed herself off, dropped the bag and sat heavily on a bed close to Lodur’s.
“Don’t worry,” Lodur said in a calm and even voice “I don’t have any bright ideas involving you,” he looked at her and smirked “you’re simply not my type.”
The comment earned a snicker from the diminutive figure
“Ah see yeh have a sense of humor, tha’s good. Names Yeva, me friends call me ‘V’, tha’ be if’in I had any friends.”
She offered her hand, Lodur shook it politely.
“My name is Lodur, My friends call me…” He paused thinking of some of the more… colorful names his guild had referred to him as over the year “well… just call me Lodur. Packed for a long journey I see.”
Lodur motioned to the pack next to the bed. Yeva looked at it and snorted
“Tha’? Nah, it’s me bag of spoils.” She opened the bag to show bits of cloth, armor, weapons and coin. ” ’bout once a fortnight I sneak inna Black fathoms an’ rob those cultish bastages blind.”
Lodur narrowed his eyes, he was not fond of thieves and cutthroats. Noticing the shift in his demeanor, Yeva quickly responded
“Dinna yeh worry her pretty lil’ horned head. Ah dinna kill any o’em and Ah give most of me spoils back to the alliance for the war relief. Ah ain’t a front line fighter, but Ah still be likin’ to help.”
Lodur studied her features for any tells, any sign of the lie, but found none. She seemed genuine enough and didn’t break contact with his eyes when they locked. He relaxed a little then. He watched as she tore off her soft soled boots, stretching and wiggling her toes
“Ah’ma headin to the wetlands in the morning. They be wanting to check the goods makin’ sure there ain’t no Horde magic on it and such. Apparently had a nasty scare when a lowly rogue brought back a rune stone thinkin’ he done good, only for Stormwind ta be findin’ a demon at their door steps. Yeh might have heard of it, Doom Lord Kazsomethingorother, tweren’t pretty.”
Lodur sat back down and dropped his earth shield.
“Yes I heard about that. Unsavory business, details are still unclear as to whether he was beaten back or just got bored. I’ve… dealt with him before. Resilient even by demon standards.”
Yeva nodded and then flopped down onto the bed, laying on her side to look at lodur.
“Well, looks like we be bunk mates t’night. Where yeh headed?”
Lodur eased back propping himself up against the headboard letting out a sigh and release the last of his tensions. He could tell her his plan so far, there was no harm in that.
“I’m heading to Northrend. My guild is already up there. I want to join the expedition to bring down the Lich King.”
Yeva yawned sleepily.
“Northrend eh? Canna say ah’ve been up that ways. My cousin’s a ship’s hand on the Northspear though. I could get yeh a ride up north ways. Hell maybe ah’ll tag along, yeh look like yeh could use the company, and ah’m right bored down ‘ere.”
Lodur set his mace down and reached into his pouch to grab the totem that would act as Sentry for the night.
“Sure,” he said as he turned back towards Yeva “wouldn’t mind the compan…” Lodur’s voice trailed off as he heard the snoring coming from the bed next to him. Lodur smiled and stood up, pulling Yeva’s blanket up over her shoulders and then settling into his own bed, setting his Sentry Totem down next to him.
Been a while since I’ve had a travelling companion, Lodur thought to himself, but I still don’t know if she’s on the level. One day at a time I suppose.
Lodur drifted off to sleep, in the morning he would be one step closer to Northrend.
Lodur stepped off the boat and onto the docks of Dark Shore. He turned and waved his thanks to the crew of the vessel before continuing on to Auberdine at the end of the docks. On the deck of the ship a young sailor nodded at Lodur, the scar across his chest showing clearly through his ripped shirt.
A freak storm after leaving the dock at the Exodar had kept them busy most of the day trying to get here. Lodur had helped as much as possible, but he was no sailor. After a few failed attempts to help secure various parts of the boat he decided to just tend wounded and stay out of the way. A wicked wind had snapped a rope that flailed around like frantic snake. The young sailor had tried to secure the line but it only served to knock him down at an odd angle, and onto a dropped sword on the deck. There was a pool of blood that did not seem like it would end until it had coated the entire deck.
Lodur had gone to work immediately. He slid to the side of the young sailor and turned him over carefully, fear bright in the eyes of a man who knew his death was fast approaching. He ripped the sailor’s shirt open and examined the wound. Lodur reached into a pouch at his side and pulled out a bright green colored gourd. He poured the contents of the gourd, a slightly opaque liquid, onto the wound. The man screamed with such blood curdling force it could be heard clearly over the howl of the wind. Lodur placed one hand on the mans head and the other just about the wound. He began to speak in a whisper almost lost to the gale.
“Spirits of water and air I ask you lend me your strength to mend the wounds of this man. I beseech you to lend me aid”
The wound mended shut slowly leaving a nasty scar across the sailor’s chest. The man passed out from shock but was breathing normally, Lodur carried the man to the bunks and set him down, going back to tend any more wounded that might be there. The storm broke shortly after the incident and the rest of the journey was uneventful. The captain had nodded his thanks to the Shaman as they pulled into the dock.
Now that the boat had arrived in Darkshore they would make repairs to their boat and re-supply. Lodur turned from the boat and faced Auberdine. He had stayed here shortly after the exodar had crashed. He remembered the elves and dwarves here to be good natured and friendly. Perhaps he would spend the night and make passage in the morning. It was quite peaceful here and the effects of the Lich King’s Plague were still far enough away that one could enjoy a quiet evening in the dock side town.
Lodur grabbed the empty gourd from his side and looked at it. Maybe he’d have time to talk to the Druids of Auberdine and ask permission to speak with the spirit of the moonwell and see about replenishing the contents of the gourd. First, lodur thought he would fancy himself some Sand Crawler stew and Moon Berry Juice. The Inn was just at the end of the dock, and he could secure the hot meal and a bed for the night.
Putting one hoof infront of the other, Lodur began to move down the dock and towards the Inn. A smile formed on his face, he had done good this day.
Lodur awoke in the early hours of the morning, but unlike before he felt rested. True to the farseer’s word O’ros had gifted the tired shaman dreamless sleep, and for that he was truly grateful. As Lodur shook the last grips of sleep he was startled to see Nobundo sitting on a stool next to the bed. The old shaman had his eyes closed and a totem held between his hands. A glance around the room told Lodur that they were alone, even the caregiver was nowhere to be seen.
“I see even Breel gives the Farseer wide berth when he makes a house call” Lodur noted a smile forming on his mentors face “but that usually means bad news, doesn’t it?”
Nobundo opened his eyes and regarded Lodur with an apologetic look;
“I regret that you are correct in your conclusion. My news is not that which I would choose to bear. I have spoken at length with the spirits trying to find all before and after your dream. The path however, is blocked from even the oldest of our ancestors. There is naught our efforts can do to pierce the veil.” The Farseer shifted uncomfortably on his stool and placed a hand on Lodur’s shoulder “I’m sure you already know, your dream is a portent to the future. It is an event that is immutable… the dream is the event of your death.”
Lodur had that thought shortly after the dreams began. He had hoped it was just some trick of the skull of Gul’dan, but deep down he knew what it was. He regarded his mentor now, a look of fierce determination about his features; “I do not fear death. I helped slay the Demon General in his own lair, I have walked the gate of time and defended the World Tree, I have paced through the halls of The Eye after dethroning the Bloody Prince of Lies. I have cleansed the temple of our people from the foul stink of the Betrayer and defended the Sunwell from The Deceiver.” Lodur stood slowly. “I have done much good with my time I believe. If I am to die I shall meet it honorably and shall join the line of my people back to the beginning.”
Nobundo stood as well and locked eyes with Lodur “That my boy, is more than most of us can say. You have done much to defend the balance and it has not gone unnoticed. The spirits will watch over you in your journeys. Your ancestors and the essence of all things living will be there with you.” Pride shone in the farseer’s eyes “The only question that remains my pupil, is what path will you choose from here?”
The young shaman stroked his chin thoughtfully; “I hear there is an expedition headed to Northrend. The alliance will surely need healing in the cold wastes of the north. They seek to bring down the Lich King and I’m certain I can lend them a hand and hoof.” the smile of a man with purpose slowly crept onto Lodur’s face “I feel that is my destination. It feels… like the right choice.” Lodur clasped arms with his mentor “Thank you teacher, whether in this life or the next I shall see you again.”
Nobundo nodded and then handed Lodur the totem he had been holding onto. The farseer didn’t say anything, he just patted Lodur on the shoulder, and then headed off to his little area to begin the lessons of the day. Lodur watched him go and then looked at the totem. It was intricately carved and made out of a wood he had never seen. It looked as though all the elements were carved into it, all blending into one another. An object lesson perhaps? He put the totem in his relic pouch then grabbed his backpack. Lodur walked out of the Exodar and casually made his way to the docks. It was time to head to Menethil Harbor and secure passage to Northrend. After all what better place to begin the hunt for the fallen son of Lordaeron?