Morning excursion

At seven in the morning, the Cathedral District was still relatively hushed. A cluster of novices were gathered beside the fountain, listening avidly to a sombre-faced, grey-bearded paladin. A stout dwarf hauled a large, covered cart behind him as he set his reddened face towards the marketplace. The last flickers of light in the lanterns were slowly subsiding as the sun slowly began to overtake the shadows, illuminating the smudged grey cobblestones.

A bead of sweat ran down Leafsong’s forehead. It trickled down the end of her long nose, slid coolly down her neck and traced her protruding collarbone before disappearing inside the grubby hem of her shirt. The paladin’s resonating lecture echoed dimly from below, his words faint as they were carried up and past her by a stiff seaward breeze. Her fingers dug deeper into the limestone crack, her lips pursed in determination.

She had been climbing for long enough that she couldn’t quite remember what had possessed her to make the decision in the first place. Couldn’t remember the thought-process which had distracted her so radically from her usual morning delivery routine. She had a vague recollection of an overheard comment, some sarcastic quip directed towards her by a fellow early-morning salesperson. Something along the lines of how well the formerly aloof Kaldorei had assimilated themselves (lowered?) into the common rank and file of the Alliance. That they were also willing to hawk their cheap wares on the street, alongside the peddlers and hawkers. That they were even becoming nicely Easternised.

Leafsong wasn’t sure why this comment had riled her so much. Perhaps it had simply added to her prior, barely-voiced concerns that Analith and Mirae gazed with awe and astonishment around Darnassus, but looked upon Stormwind with familiarity. Or that Analith’s Common vocabulary was beginning to overtake his native tongue. Nevertheless, whatever the cause, it had led to her being in her current predicament.

No-one had noticed her yet, clinging to the rear of the Cathedral’s eastern tower, perhaps near eighty feet off the ground. She continued to climb, her face set, aware only of her fingers and toes curled  like a monkey’s, digging into the cracks between the stone blocks. I may peddle my goods alongside the humans she thought to herself, her eyes half-shut against the increasing sunlight, and I may genuflect and pander to their wishes like a fawning salesman

She closed her eyes fully, and was transported instantly back to her girlhood in Moonglade, her satchel hanging from her back, her feet unclad and covered in blisters, clambering up the great trees of Nighthaven. Elevated thus above her competition, her voice carried further and attracted more curious passers-by. She remembered clambering up the dangerous mountain-route to Hyjal, forsaking the more conventional road for the quicker, nearly-vertical climb to the summit. She had marked her own route, flagged with red scraps of cloth, snaking her way across a knot of twisted roots, a five-foot gap easily crossed, a leap from one branch to a higher. She had come to know the art of ascending intimately; she knew that a slender branch could support more weight than it suggested, and that a seemingly-sturdy branch could hide a rotten core. She knew how to test the integrity of a wooden limb with her toes, her fingers digging through the cracked hull of bark to discern its fortitude.

This Cathedral is nothing more than a tree grown by Man, she thought to herself as she hauled herself up another foot, her swollen belly pressed against the sun-warmed stone. It has its study trunk (her slender fingers reached up to grip the angled, stone edifice above her) and its treacherous branches (a tile beneath her naked foot shifted an inch and her grip tensed). I can almost feel the chill wind of Nighthaven- cooler than these balmy human breezes-

It almost came as a shock when her hand came up once more and grasped – nothing. Her eyes opened, and she realised that the sensation of cold air was no illusion, but simply the product of altitude. Bracing herself, she hauled the rest of her body up and over the curved stone lip. The ledge was narrow, no more than a foot wide. Carefully, she shuffled around to sit with her legs dangling over  the edge, her back leaning against the bronze-tiled spire.

The people below were tiny, the paladin’s voice no longer audible, his tiny arms just barely visible as he gesticulated. The wind tugged impatiently at her hair, lifting her plait and ripping strands free from the black band. She reached behind to grip it with her hand, pulling it back from her face, her other hand settling on her rounded stomach. I might be humanised in more ways than I would like to admit she thought to herself, proudly, but I can still climb a tree like I’d never left the West.

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4 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Aphel said,

    One of your best works. I love how you eloquently explored the similarities between the Cathedral and the trees in Nighthaven! Such a good one, babe. You’re a very creative person and an excellent writer ❤

  2. 2

    Qirane said,

    leafsong should not be climbing cathedrels while heavily pregnant :O!

  3. 4

    Qirane said,

    cathedrals*


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