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“It’s done. The deed that so many wished accomplished is over with, and Arthas is dead. Though he is gone, the Lich King persists and may yet have a place in all of this. The worst part is, I can openly talk about what happened up there.”

Lodur gazed out across the frozen plains of Northrend through eyes that were not his own, grasping the railing of the balcony with hands too slender to be his own. Even after two years he wasn’t used to the feelings of this body. The sensations were always so strange to him, and it always felt like something was off, like there was a dissonance between soul and form. A small hand worked it’s way hunter one of his hands and squeezed.

“Aye, ah know ye ain’t be likin’ it, but this be for more important thing than either price or valor.”

Yeva leaned into Lodur, the fire haired dwarf let out a sigh of contentment as they took in the view. Dalaran had afforded them all the comforts of a lavish home, hailed as heroes. The view of the frozen lands from this high up seemed so much more beautiful, the distance wiping away the scars of plague and death with the soft brush of blues and whites.

“Besides, ye got ‘nough of a story to be told from when you faced down the Lich King to save me. tis enough valor in that for generations to come.”
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Savior

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.”

New Faces

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.

Shatterpoint

Continued from Into the Fjord

Lodur stared at the face of death, the Lich King himself. Should he run? Should he attack? He was certain that any outright aggression would be his end. Before he could decide the Lich raised his hand and Lodur flew towards the Lich, his throat in the demon’s hand ripped right out of the spirit realm. .

“Shamanism has brought you here… Its scent permeates the air.” he laughed “I was once a shaman.”

The Valk’yr turned to the Lich King “Shall we prepare it for you, my lord?”

Never removing his gaze from Lodur “No, minion. This one is not ready. Do you feel it, mortal? Death seeps through me, enveloping all that I touch. With just a snap of my finger your soul will languish in damnation for all eternity. But… It is not yet your time to serve the Lich King. Yes, a greater destiny awaits you. Power… You must become more powerful before you are to serve me.”

He turned to the winged harbinger at his side,

“Now watch, val’kyr. Observe as I apply pressure. Can you see that it is not yet ripe? Watch as it pops and falls lifeless to the floor.”

Power ebbed from his gauntlets enveloping Lodur. It felt as though every fiber of his being was on fire, burning through the very core of him. The Lich King let go and Lodur fell with a thud. There was darkness here now, creeping in at the sides of his vision. As he lay writing in agony, he could feel the Light being ripped from him, draining him of his strength of his very essence, until nothing was left but a shell. He wanted to scream but could find no voice. As he lay there crippled staring into the darkness, there appeared from the treeline five figures. The form of a Talbuk, the spirit of the hunt accompanied by the shades of the elements strode forward to surround his body. The Talbuk reached down and touched his forehead and the approaching darkness was replaced by a blinding light.

Lodur gasped as he felt cold air fill his lungs once again. Coughing he rolled over to his side. The pain was still there but the fire had been doused. The Lich King took notice of this and laughed. The haunting echo of the sinister snicker pulsed through Lodur. He shook as if he had just been hit by a wave.

“Persistence or stupidity? It matters not. Let this be a lesson learned, mortal!”

The Lich King pulled out the cursed blade Frostmourne. Lodur was now on his back staring up at the vile villain, watching as the blade was brought to bear just a few short feet over him. Lodur’s pain redoubled he could see his soul begin to leave his body, tendrils reaching for the blade. It was then he felt a cool comfort begin to flow over him. The totem Nobundo had given him began to glow and pulse slowly. Warmth began to flow back into Lodur’s body. Noticing the resistance the Lich King growled and Frostmourne flared. The swords carved eyes staring hungrily at the soul just out of it’s reach. It was a battle of wills, and neither were Lodur’s. Slowly the strength was fading from the young shaman when the totem around his neck began to draw his essence to itself. Lodur’s eyes began to swim the darkness now returning. The last thing he saw before he lost all semblance of consciousness was the briefest glimpse of a diminutive figure charging towards the Lich King from the line of the homes nearest the trees of the village. Then Lodur knew darkness.

Lodur could not see, but he could feel. He felt the warmth of fire, the coolness of water. he could feel the push of the breeze and the softness of the earth. Then there was light, soft and warm, inviting. He could see the four elements here, the spirits earth water fire and air surrounded him. They were silent and for a time simply watched him, then in time they too faded. No words or emotions shared. Again he was in Darkness. Shortly after that he was in pain again, excruciating and mind searing pain. He felt once again as if he was on fire burning from the inside out. It ate at him, slowly consuming his consciousness.

Lodur woke screaming at the top of his lungs, it was several moments before he realized the pain was gone. He opened his eyes expecting to see the harsh angles of the Giant’s buildings, instead he was greeted by the warm glow of crystals and the soft hum of power. Rolling his head from left to right he saw the muted blues and purples of the Exodar surrounding him. Had it all been a dream? He certainly felt still mostly asleep. He sat up slowly, closing his eyes he placed his head in his hands trying to shake the cobwebs. He looked up from his hands and stopped. Standing in front of him was Nobundo, and next to Nobundo the Prophet Velen himself, a ring of Peace Keepers behind them. Nobundo walked up to Lodur

“How do you feel my boy? Well I hope.”

Lodur tried to speak but found he had no voice. he closed his eyes and shook his head trying to shake the last bits of haze still clinging to him.

“It’s ok Lodur,” Nobundo said putting his hand on his shoulder “Look inward and center yourself.”

Lodur closed his eyes once again, willing himself to calm. He found his center and held on to it, trying to pull himself back to normalcy. It wasn’t long before he felt the haze begin to fade. He opened his eyes and looked around again. He went to stand up and looking down to find his footing saw hands that were not his own…feet smaller by far than his own, and a chest that protruded far beyond where his own should be. He tried to stand quickly and turn to face Nobundo but fell flat on his face. Two Peace Keepers surged forward to help Lodur to his feet.

“What…. what has happened to me!?” Lodur gasped as he heard a voice that was not his.

Nobundo walked forward once more, slowly.

“I think my boy, it is time we explained some things. Please sit and I shall do my best to impart the tale of what has transpired. ”

Lodur complied and sat down with the assistance of the Peace Keepers.

“What is the last thing you remember? ”

Lodur thought about it, “I remember feeling like I was being drained, and then I thought I saw my Dwarven friend Yeva running in to try and save me. Oh no! Yeva!”

“Relax yer horns ye dolt. Ahm right ‘ere.”

Lodur saw the Dwarf standing next to the Prophet, looking a little worse for wear but otherwise alright. She smiled and nodded for Lodur to pay attention to the Seer.

“When you came to me with your vision, I feel that you already knew what it was about. I did confer with the spirits of our ancestors and sought guidance. I learned of what would happen. I hope you will forgive me but there is much I could not tell you. You could not, and still cannot know the extent of your role in the chain of events to come. It is one part of many pieces to be laid down. We could not risk that your actions would change so we kept it from you. There is still more to come that again, we cannot share and for that I’m sorry. Here are some hard truths, secrets that we keep from general knowledge, but the time has come for you to know.”

Nobundo nodded to Velen, and the Prophet dismissed the Peace Keepers. They were at the back of the Crystal Hall, no one would hear them here and the Peace Keepers would make sure none ventured into the hall until the meeting had concluded. The Prophet, Nobundo and Yeva all sat down around Lodur

“There are many things that we hide from the light so that things do not get misunderstood. Take for example the totem I gave you. It is a spirit vessel, carved from the wood of the world tree. The magic warlocks use to create the soul-stones to fuel their dark arts is a perverse version of something Shaman have done for a long time now. A spirit vessel allows for us to carry the souls of the departed to their final resting places. In your case it fought to contain your soul so that the corrupter could not bend your essence to his will.”

Lodur looked at him stunned. That was something no one knew for sure, and he could understand why they kept it secret.

“I sought aid in watching you. Farseer Umbrua in Stormwind suggested that we contact Yeva here. I hired her to watch over you, and when the told time came that your soul resided in the vessel to return to me at all costs. She did just that. I’m sure by now you’re wondering what happened to your body, yes?”

Lodur gave himself a looking over. Smaller hands, smaller hooves, breasts. Yeva handed Lodur a small hand mirror. Yup, he was now a she. Lodur sighed and slumped down slightly. Nobundo continued with his explanations.

“The new body is something that combines an old Shaman practice with the power of the light. This is where the Prophet has helped us.”

Velen bowed slightly smiling.

“Shaman have always been able to speak and commune with the spirits, to gather advice from our ancestors. In times of dire need we have even been able to invite their spirits to coexist within ourselves for a while. Giving them a body for loan so to speak. We took the soul vessel and coaxed you into the body you are in now. Velen then performed a redemption of the light, allowing your soul to permanently reside within that body. This… is very similar to the spells that Ner’zhul and Teron Gorefiend twisted and warped to create Deathknights. The Lich King as he is now with the knowledge of Arthas does this so completely and effectively all the while warping their essence and tying it to his own to control them. The body you inhabit was a warrior of the light. She fell in the first siege of the Wrath Gate. She died in the tents there. Before she died she asked to keep fighting the scourge, to keep fighting for the Alliance. Her only desire was to protect this world from what happened to our own. She was brought here her soul shattered and no longer able to be resurrected. She has found final peace but through this action of ours, she may in some way keep fighting on. Unlike a Death Knight though, you are not undead. You will breathe and live as you did before, albeit in a different form…for that I am truly sorry, but it would not do to force you into the body of another who may yet return to it. I do hope you understand, we are truly sorry.”

Lodur mulled it over, he was alive that was a bonus. He had faced the Lich King in the eye and not begged for his life. He could fight on as he did before it wouldn’t be so bad.

“What happened to my real body?”

Yeva stepped forward “tha’ ah be havin’ ahn ahnswer to. When you wen’ down ahn yer soul was scooped into the totem one of them winged banshee swooped inna yer body ahn snatched it. There was no way we coulda’ recover’d it, it’s part of the scourge now. Ahm… Ahm sorry”

Lodur tried to stand again and fell flat on his face once more. They rushed to help him back up to sitting.

“This…this is going to take some getting used to.” Lodur looked at the trio before him with eyes that were not his own. “thank you, all of you.” He looked at the Prophet “I would bow sir and show proper respect to you, but I fear I may crack my skull.” Give them all a quirky smile

Velen smiled, nodded to them and then made his way back to the Halls of Light. Nobundo clapped Lodur on the shoulder one more time

“There is much more for you to do my student, we all have our parts to play in the events about to occur. I have played mine, but know I’m always here if you need advice.”

Patting Lodur’s shoulder the Farseer turned and made his way back to his corner of the Exodar. Lodur looked at Yeva, still there staring at him.

“Well,” she exclaimed “Ah think ye be needin’ me around for a weee bit more. Ah’ll just stick ’round till yeh get your hooves back.” A huge grin stretched upon her face.

Lodur leaned forward and gave the Dwarf a huge hug, he didn’t let go right away.Yeva hugged back. there were no more words to be said.

Fin Chapter 1.

Northern Bound

Continued from Bumps in the Night

Lodur sat at the bow of the Northspear, his cloak pulled tight against his sides and hood pulled close. The trip from Darkshore to the Wetlands took no time at all, there were no incidents this time like the trip to Darkshore. The Druids of Auberdine declined Lodur’s request to speak with the spirit of the well citing that they feared any diminishing of the spirits attention from keeping the newly sighted blight at bay. Lodur graciously accepted their decision, and let it be at that.

Their time in Menethil harbor was short, Yeva had dropped off her satchel of spoils with a local guard and aspiring magus and kept a very modest amount for herself.

“Ah never be takin’ more than Ah need to be gettin by. Twouldn’t be fair with all the people cold and hungry out there. They be need’n it more than Ah do” she said when she saw Lodur look at her sceptically. They ate a small meal and drank ale at the inn while waiting for the Northspear to arrive. It was about this time Lodur realized how much he honestly missed company.

Yeva talked a great deal about… well everything. She asked questions about Lodur’s people and a lot about Shamanism. Seems it was the first time she had encountered one long enough to discuss things with. Lodur happily regaled the stories of his people and their adoption of Shamanism. Lodur in turn asked about the Dwarves. Yeva was all too happy to oblige. She told him the tales of a race hewn from stone, children of the earth or “groundlings” she refered to her people. She stopped after the war of the three beards. Something about that time weighed on her, Lodur could see it in her eyes. She didn’t dwell on it long enough for him to press the issue so he let it go for the time being.

When the Northspear pulled into dock to resupply Yeva was out the door of the inn like a shot from a cannon. Lodur paid for the meals and ale and walked out after her slowly. As he approached the giant steam vessel’s dock he saw Yeva leap off of a pile of crates and on top of another Dwarf. The pair wrestled around on the dock for a few minutes with Yeva winding up on top, and the other eating his beard.

“SLAGG!” Yeva shrieked “Ah told you yeh sorry sack o’Dwarf meat that ye’d never be getting the best of yer older cousin!” she gave the Dwarf locked below her a hearty punch in the shoulder.

“AH YEILD! AH YEILD!” the man tried to yell through the whiskers he almost swallowed.

Yeva sprang off of Slagg and then offered him a hand. When he was on his feet the two embraced in a bear hug that only Dwarves could give one another. Lodur smiled at the sight. With so much evil and wrong in the world, genuine affection and happiness was in short supply. Yeva broke away from her cousin.

“Been a dogs age since ah be seein’ ya. Heard yeh be tendin’ hands on the Northspear here.”

“Aye cousin, but not fer long. This be me last trip up north. Ah’ve joined up to be part of The Skybreaker’s crew. They be needin skilled mechanics, and me two hands be itching for something new”

Yeva’s shoulders slinked downwards and her posture deflated some. She looked fiercely into Slagg’s eyes.

“Ye promised ye’d never do somethin’ so stupid. Ye promised yer mother, Tyr Modan rest her soul, tha’ ye wouldna put yerself inna harms way more than ye needed.”

Slagg shied away from her penetrating stare

“Ah know, but they promised it ‘ill be only a scoutin’ run, tha we be seeing no combat..”

“BUT IT BE A SCOUTIN RUN ROUND THE DEMON’S SEAT!” Yeva cut Slagg off, her grip on his shoulder tightening, creasing his leathers.

Lodur walked up behind her and placed his hand on her shoulder lightly. He could feel her shaking. Whether is was rage or pain he didn’t know, he didn’t dare ask. She would tell him when the time was right. Yeva let go of Slagg’s shoulder and choked down the beginnings of tears.

“Well…enough o’ tha’ then. Me friend and Ah be needin’ passage to the Fjord. Ye’ll get us on the boat this run.” It wasn’t a question or a demand, but a simple statement. Slagg still avoiding her eyes nodded and turned back towards the ship, hustling to leave the scene. Yeva squeezed Lodur’s hand and then shrugged it off. They walked towards the boat in silence. Yeva’s normal demeanor returned by the time they reached the gangplank and they could see her cousin wave them on board. They walked up the ramp and Yeva immediately disappeared below deck. Lodur thanked the captain and Slagg and made his way to the bow of the boat. This was his destiny and he would watch it come head on.

The trip to the North was longer than Lodur had imagined. He sat in his place unmoving under the night’s starry sky. He was meditating when he felt a presence lower itself next to him on the bow. He opened his eyes and saw Yeva plopped down in a thick fur coat and woolen boots. She looked up at the sky and sighed.

“Ah’m a bit of an outcas’ among Dwaves ye know. Me blood is mixed, an there be some who be thinkin’ it enough to keep me on the outskirts.” She sighed again and propped herself up. Looking around making sure there was no prying ears. “Me mother was a WildHammer and me Father was a DarkIron. Back when all were united under the high king Modimus Anvilmar, they fell in love. The king died and then came the war of the clans, kinsmen set against kinsmen. Me father was killed trying to wrestle me mother to safety, the clan Wildhammer thinkin he ha’ turned to kill ‘is wife. Me mother dinna know I was in her belly. When I was born the High Thane of Clan Wildhammer kept me father’s blood secret from the rest to keep the peace. Until one o’ ‘is court found out and demanded me blood. Me mother stole me away be’for they could do annathin’ to harm me. The Thane helped her Ah’m told. She made it to Iron Forge be’for she fell ill. The Bronzebeards ever intent on Uniting the clans again welcomed us. They didn’t tell annaone wherein we came from. But made sure we were cared fer. When me mother passed, a family took me in. Slagg’s mum and father. ‘is father died when the first horde came. Grief crippl’d ‘is mum. Be’for she passed she made Slagg promise ta be stayin’ outta the front lines. He swore, the lil’ bastard swore to her he wouldna. An’ now he is. I guess I should’na be upset, Ah know he be wantin’ to help more. Ah just pray to the shapers he be as lucky as he is hairy. At leas’ then Ah be knowin’ he’ll be alright.”

Yeva chuckled weakly at her attempt at a joke.

“Ah don’ have friends, and he’s the closest Ah gots to family. Jus’ dinna want him to be dead… or worse…” She sighed heavily ” I dunno know even why Ah’m tellin’ yeh all this. ”

Lodur reached into one of his pouches and pulled out a small piece of paper folded neatly, two tin cups and a water skin. Yeva watched as he poured some water into each cup and then carefully unfolded the paper, revealing an amount of Swiftthistle. He placed a small amount of leaves in each cup of water and folded the paper back up. After replacing the water skin and the packet of leaves he handed Yeva one of the cups.

“Cold tea Ah dinna think will stave the chill here”

Lodur smiled “Trust me” he said evenly.

He reached to his side and pulled one of the totem markers out, Placing it on the deck of the ship he willed it to life, up sprang a totem of fire. It’s warm ruddy glow casting a pale orange and red light over the pair. He smiled and placed his tin cup between two of the prongs at the top, motioning for Yeva to do the same.

“I understand Swiftthistle is used to recover ones energy quickly, and increase aggression slightly. That is of course in its concentrated form. When used lightly it has a calming effect. Helps keep ones body moving at a singular pace. Head, Heart and Soul can be brought to reign with just the right amount. ”

He looked over the tin cups and then back up to Yeva

“I’ve been told Shaman give a sense of confidence to those near them. Similar to how being near a warrior of the light brings you comfort and makes you feel safe. People tend to naturally feel more bold around us and they tend to be more open about things they normally wouldn’t be. Don’t worry I won’t repeat anything of what you’ve said. It is between us and the elements.”

He picked up both cups and then called back the totem to his side. He handed one cup to Yeva and took a sip from his.

“I have seen many things. Families torn asunder, loves lost, unimaginable horrors wrenched from the Twisting Nether. I never really got to know my parents either. My family was destroyed when the orcs marched on Shattrath City. My father, or so I’m told, was a Warrior of great virtue. My mother the kind of hero that fought with bow and beast. They died defending their people, while they died what many would be considered a hero’s death, I pity every day that I did not get to grow up under their tutelage. When I was old enough, I sought out Nobundo. I knew the Shaman could speak with the spirits since past this world, something my people have been doing in honest for a long time. He said he saw a spark in me, a connection to the primal spirits of life itself. He said he saw the same spark in my mother. He asked me if I wished to study the ways of the Shaman as one of his pupils. I accepted and from then on I was forever destined to walk this road. I can feel my parents looking down on me, I can feel the love they have even now. The hope they have for me. I can feel them even now, and I can assure you Yeva that your ancestors, that your mother and father watch over you as well.”

He sipped his tea feeling it warm his throat on the way down.

“You should rest now. You’ve had an eventful day, and tomorrows light brings us to the Fjord. Grand adventure awaits us!”

Yeva smiled honestly and downed the rest of her tea.

“Ye know, fer an overgrown goat yer ok”

She laughed a little and handed Lodur the tin cup. Back below decks she went, Lodur turned back to watching the rolling seas. Tomorrow he would step foot in Northrend. Tomorrow would bring him one step closer to destiny. There was a certain comfort in that.

Bumps in the Night

Continued from Onward

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.

Onward

Continued From: Resolve

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.

Resolve

Continued From First Steps

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?

First steps

Continued from Epilogue

Lodur guided the Gryphon through the trees of Terrokar Forest and over the walls of Shattrath city. The once city of Light had survived siege many years ago, but was still a shadow of its former glory. A pang of loss coursed through him as he flew towards the mage portals.

They landed lightly in the Terrace of Light, Lodur had taken the scenic route and it was late afternoon. He hopped off the Gryphon and reached to give him more dried meat before sending the avian off. As he strode towards the portal to the Exodar, Lodur saluted Khadgar and Ad’al not wishing to interrupt their conversation. He stood before the portal to the Exodar and stared at it for a long while.

Lodur never liked traveling by portal, he preferred more natural means. Exhaustion from too many shortened nights sleep added to his anxiety as he looked at the swirling blue space of arcane magic. Unfortunately there was no better way to traverse worlds that he knew of other than a ship like the Exodar or the Dark Portal, and he was well aware how those ended. He took a deep breath and stepped forward into the portal. It felt as if his body was being dissolved spreading everywhere in the cosmos, almost as if he could touch infinite awareness. Then slowly he felt himself being pieced together until eventually he was standing once again in the Exodar trying to shake the feeling of cold that had settled in the center of him.

Lodur looked around the Vault of Lights, not much had changed since he last was here. He walked slowly towards the Seat of the Naaru and hung a lazy left heading towards the Crystal Hall. The hall always made him smile. It’s warm rich colors welcoming him home. Striding casually forward he made his way to Farseer Nobundo’s space. Lodur could see the Farseer and a few young pupils eagerly hanging on every word. He could hear the tail end of the lesson as he approached

“Your journey begins with these simple words….” Nobundo said “Everything that is, is alive.”

The pupils nodded and were dismissed. Lodur met the gaze of his mentor and walked up the shallow steps, the students only stopping long enough to marvel at the lightning crackling against the pauldrons of his armor before shuffling off eslewhere in the ship. Nobundo smiled;

“You’ve come a long way to see an old soul young one” the smiled warmed Lodur’s very core.

“No distance is too great to seek words of wisdom from ones teacher, regardless of age” A smile formed on Lodur’s face. The two clasped hands and then embraced the way a father and child would.

“You’ve not come for a long time, I trust this isn’t just a social call.”

Lodur’s smile widened, Nobundo always had a way of cutting to the root of a problem when he wanted to.

“You would be correct. I seek your guidance. I’ve begun to have… dreams of a fashion, more to the point one dream that continues to play in my sleeping minds eye. It has never changed aside from growing in intensity and clarity… I fear I do not know it’s meaning.” Thinking back on the dream, the smile disappeared

“Perhaps it is rather that you are afraid you do know it’s meaning? You believe that I may be able to shed some light on the visions sleep has granted to you? Very well then, sit and let us talk” The old shaman motioned to a series of cushions on the ground. Lodur picked a modest one and lowered himself down waiting for the farseer to do the same “Tell me of this dream my student”

Lodur relayed the events of the dream making sure not to miss anything that might be important. When he finished he observed the old shaman gazing through him pensively. He waited a long time for the Farseer to respond.

“My student there is much that is left unclear I must ask the spirits about this, you may retire for the evening, I shall have more for you by the light of dawn. O’ros will make sure you rest well and that this dream shall not plague you so you might get some duly needed rest.”

Lodur noded he understood that there was likely a complicated chain of events that would lead up to and beyond his dream, and it might take some time for his mentor to find out what those events were.

“Thank you Farseer, I shall see you on the morning’s light”

He stood and made his way back to the Seat of the Naaru and headed off to secure a bed at Caregiver Breel’s Inn for the evening. Answers would come with the dawn he resolved, but for now he would take his master’s advice. Lodur said a quiet thanks to O’ros, sleep was quick to come to the weary shaman.

Epilogue

The dream was always the same. He could feel the Light being ripped from him, draining him of his strength of his very essence, until nothing was left but a shell. He wanted to scream but could find no voice. Truly when the Light was torn from him, it took with it all that made him who he was. As he lay there crippled staring at the night’s star less sky, there appeared from the treeline five figures. The ghost of a Talbuk, the spirit of the hunt accompanied by the shades of the elements strode forward to surround his body. The Talbuk reached down and touched his forehead and the approaching darkness was replaced by a blinding light…

Lodur woke with a start, no matter how many times he had the dream vision it never got any easier. For several months he had been having the vision. It started shortly after he aided in the downfall of the betrayer, Illidan. He had momentarily touched the skull of Gul’dan, and the dreams had plagued him ever since. It always began with intense pain, and ended with the blinding light. All points before and after remained shrouded to him. Lodur stood up slowly, gathering his wits about him weary and exhausted from too many sleepless nights.

“I should talk to the Farseer soon” he spoke aloud to the early morning’s pre light. His voice holding more uncertainty then he cared to admit.

Gathering his belongings, he reached into his backpack for the stone that would summon his mount. It was a smooth, small stone etched with a single rune. He held it in his hand and spoke the command word. Now he waited. It was only a few short seconds after he finished donning his armor and securing his shield that a golden Gryphon landed lightly in front of him. The avian creature cocked it’s head to the side as if to regard Lodur with a sense of irritation. Lodur smiled at the creature and offered it the remnants of the dried meat he had made dinner, and now breakfast out of. He patted the creature’s flank;

“Come my friend,” he said with familiarity in his voice “we have much to do.”

He lept onto the Gryphon’s back  and the duo climbed into the air. It was time to see Nobundo.