Archive for September 27, 2010

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(( This story is set about 12-13 years ago, the year before Leafsong met Aphel in the Hyjal foothills ))

Leafsong, known as Twiglet (a somewhat cruel nickname derived from the scrawniness of her limbs), had been standing outside the Circle’s Nighthaven headquarters since four that morning. Her father had deposited there with a clip round the ear and the strict instructions not to move, not for anything, not even if a vast, flaming Legion lieutenant materialised on the tiled rooftops and began hurling fireballs. Leafsong, however, did not need to be threatened. She was, in fact, perfectly happy to stand in place for three hours on a frosty Nighthaven morning, waiting for the sun to rise. If the winter nights had not been so bitingly cold, she would have been there, waiting, from the previous evening. Today, for the first time since anyone could remember (and being kaldorei, they had exceptionally long memories), the Nighthaven branch of the Cenarion Circle was accepting several students to join a special druidic class; one that did not require years of intensive study, or an expensive course of tutoring with a certified Shan’do; or innate proficiency. It was rumoured that the Circle had introduced this new scheme to quickly replenish their diminishing ranks; others whispered about a new Legion threat. Leafsong didn’t care about the rumours, nor for the Legion’s spectre. Too young to remember the horrors of demonic invasion, she was focused entirely on the opportunity at hand.

Her family had heard, through the word of mouth that flitted through the abandoned barrow den where they resided, that the Circle would be paying their new recruits a training grant and living expenses. This, reckoned Melarian Gladefall, was the chance he had been waiting for. Leafsong, who also liked the thought of a regular salary, agreed heartily.

But, for this scrawny urchin scuffing her feet to keep them warm, there was a more personal compulsion that drove her. The first time she had ever seen a silver coin, the greatest amount of concentrated wealth she had believed there could be, was between the fingers of a nameless druid of the Cenarion Circle. Dressed in full regalia, the antlers adorned his head like a crown as he strode, his great staff striking the earth decisively before him. He had paused, looked down at the pathetic begging girl for a moment, and tossed a silver coin into her lap. This coin had bought the medicine which saved her brother’s life, and the seeds from which they had harvested their first crop of silverleaf. From that moment, she too wanted to walk the streets of Nighthaven with antlers in her hair (though perhaps not tossing coins away like a fool.) She had nurtured this secret dream deep within her childish heart, where it had flourished despite her unfortunate circumstances. And now, for the first time, a chance had arisen!

As the sickly winter sun reluctantly crawled up over the rooftops, Leafsong waited. Her eyes were fixed on the vast pair of cedarwood doors that led to the Circle’s sanctum, shut tight against the elements. They were polished so thoroughly that she could see her reflection in the gleaming wood. She straightened up slightly, some small pride glowing within her. Unfortunately she had only the one outfit, but it was clean and (mostly) free of dirt. She herself had been scrubbed relentlessly, her nails cleaned, her hands and feet appearing strangely pink and clean. Her hair had been pulled back into a long braid, and she had been given strict instructions to not smile with her mouth open, displaying her crooked teeth.

As the sun crept up, others joined her. Most were a little older than her, though a few sad individuals appeared to be in the middle stages of adulthood. Clearly, they viewed this opportunity as their last chance to fulfill their so far thwarted dreams. One of the younger candidates, a youth with a hawklike nose and piercing Amber gaze, peered at Leafsong derisively. He took in the cheap, shapeless clothing with the stains lakewater couldn’t remove, the knobbled feet wrapped in brown paper to protect them from the snow.

(( part two soon ))

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