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Old 08-27-2016, 09:28 AM
DarkAngel DarkAngel is offline

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Join Date: Sep 2010
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BattleTag: Samael#1487

Tome of Experience Kalea

With the success of adapting Destiny Unknown as a portfolio piece, I began to wonder if I might as well put up another. This one was actually written a year ago when I was asked to prove I could still do WarCraft in my current style. I made use of a story idea I'd been holding in reserve for when The Falconbridge Chronicles is completed someday (which I still hope to do). It's a prologue of sorts, which serves as an epilogue to Falconbridge while still leading into the story of Kalea Trueshot, Kalin's mother. I always felt like her side of the story needed to be told.

The interesting part of all this is the way it turned into an exercise in introductions that have to assume some readers haven't read the previous story while not dragging for those that have. I think you can tell from this what all the characters are about -- and what time period they're in -- without having to say anything directly. It's all there in the descriptions and dialogue.

* * * * * * *

The sun rose slowly over Stormwind City, which was just as well. Its residents were equally slow to rise. Everywhere, the streets were strewn with broken glass and shattered roof tiles—reminders of the great dragon’s wrath. Some tried to sweep them away, others tried to ignore them, but all sought the return of life as usual. Little by little, the streets were being cleared. More shops were open now than yesterday—and more still than the day before. So what if molten claw-marks still marred the city gates? Life had to go on.

Among the few venture out in the shaken city was man with long, golden hair. With his slight build, some might mistake him for an elf at a distance. His ears, however, came to blunt points, not the graceful fins of true Thalassian stock. He was followed closely by what appeared to be a human girl. While her chestnut ponytail and simple clothes seemed ordinary enough, her iridescent green eyes suggested the truth they concealed. She crunched on what remained of a Tigule and Foror's cone—yet something about the position of the tasty treat didn’t quite match with her hands.

The half-elf looked around the Cathedral Square in dismay. It was strewn with large boulders that had once been part of surrounding buildings. “How are we ever going to get this out of here?”

His companion didn’t even break stride. “Maybe we shouldn’t, Arias. ‘Regular people’ could use some reminders about the dangers out there.”

“‘Reminders?’” Arias asked incredulously. “This city was razed by the Horde, rebuilt only to be terrorized by the Defias Riots, forced into hiding by an undead invasion, and now set upon by a giant dragon. I think we’ve all been reminded quite enough of the world’s dangers.”

The girl finished the last of her ice cream. “Fine, have it your way. Not everyone is upset about the new landscaping, though,” she added toward the children swarming over the largest stone.

The half-elf eyed them warily. “True. Perhaps we should keep moving.” The pair passed through the square’s western gate out to the canal beyond.

“Do you think Kalin will be upset about the park?” the false human asked. She nodded to the far side of the canal. “Lord Falconbridge did keep a house for him there. Certainly nothing to brag about, but…” She let her voice trail off.

Arias waved dismissively. “Unlikely. He only ever used it as a storage locker. If I know Kalin, he’ll be happier sleeping in the woods anyway.” The half-elf moved to a bench looking out over the water. “This should be a good enough place to wait for him. He’ll have to come this way.”

“Are you sure? The shortest way is to cut past the Stockades. He won’t know he can’t get through.”

Her golden-haired companion smiled as she sat. “Kalin doesn’t like mages any more than you do, ‘Susan.’ I’ve never quite understood why, though. I guess night elves have an aversion to magic.”

“Barbarians.” The girl pulled a small paper from her pocket and began studying it intently. It was obvious, if one looked closely, that her real hands were far smaller than the appearance projected over them.

Arias leaned closer. “Naiva, may I ask what that is? You’ve been spending every spare moment staring at it.”

Her expression soured. “It’s a letter from Narmiel, if you must know. She wanted to make sure I’m okay after our visit from the Destroyer. She actually paid to have it teleported.”

The half-elf raised in eyebrows in astonishment. “Really? That’s not cheap.”
“Not only that, she paid to have my response teleported back—if I write one.”

“She must be really worried. You’d better send something.”
Naiva gave a non-committal grunt. “Maybe. Narmiel’s joined the relief efforts in Darkshore. It sounds like they had it much worse than we did.”

Arias straitened. “They got hit too? How bad was it?”
The false human tapped a place on the page, sending her illusory finger briefly protruding through the paper. “She mentions a tidal wave and an earthquake strong enough to reshape the coastline. Somewhere called ‘Auberdine’ was completely destroyed.”

He looked down. “Auberdine? Oh no.”
Naiva turned. “What? You know the place?”

Arias shook his head. “I’ve never been there myself, but Auberdine is—was—the primary port into the night elf lands. They’ll be cut off without it.”

A shadow fell over them, prompting both to jump to their feet. Kalin Trueshot stood behind the bench, a heavy traveling pack slung over one shoulder. “All right, I’m guessing you two lovebirds are waiting for me.”

Naiva’s hands were inside her illusory hips, looking for daggers that weren’t there. “You’ve got that right.”

“Kalin, Lord Falconbridge wants to see you immediately,” Arias said as he regained his composure.

Kalin rolled his eyes. “Tim wait until after I drop off my stuff.”
“Well, that’s just it,” the half-elf pressed. “As you may have heard, Deathwing attacked the city four days ago and—”

“Yeah, I was going to ask about that,” Kalin cut in, leading the way over the canal. “You weren’t in town when that happened, were you? Because that’s exactly what you needed: one more thing to have nightmares about.”

The illusory human glared. “Hey! I’m doing better now. I’m down to one a month since we started sleeping together.”

Arias help up a finger to stop her. “That’s enough! It’s strictly a matter of comfort,” he added quickly. “There haven’t been any immoral relations.”

“You don’t have to justify it to me, kid. Just keep the door closed.”
“Kalin, don’t assume things that aren’t—”

All three of them stopped when they reached the gatehouse to what would have been the park. Beyond, there was nothing but a yawning chasm where the city’s one nod to nature had been torn from the cliff by the dragon’s fury. Kalin let his pack fall to the ground and shook his fist at the sky. “That damned dragon blew up my house!”

The illusory mouth smirked. “We did try to tell you. To think, Arias here said you didn’t want it.”

“I don’t,” Kalin said curtly.
His companions exchanged confused looks. “Wait. What?”

“That’s not the point! It was mine. Now, it’s gone. Whether I wanted it or not is irrelevant.” The tracker sighed. “Fine, let’s go find out what Tim wants.”

“If you’re in a bad mood, we could stop and get you some ice cream on the way back,” Naiva suggested coyly. A silver coin protruded in and out of the illusion as she expertly rolled it across her fingers.

The half-elf looked as though he’d been slapped. “Where did you get that? I thought we agreed I was going to handle the money.”

Her teasing look quickly turned to one of embarrassment. “Well, McKeever had a jar of cash just conveniently sitting there, and…”

Arias massaged his temples. “That was the tip jar! By the Light, can’t I take you anywhere?”

Kalin just rolled his eyes. “Come on, you two. Let’s go.”

* * * * * * *

There would then be a second scene of the prologue in which Kalin visits his benefactor. Tim wants to see him because Shandaria Moonleaf is basically camping out on his doorstep, demanding to see Kalin. She tells him that his mother (who should under no circumstances be confused with Cailea) is dying, and this is his last chance to go see her. The remainder of the story is a gigantic flashback about who she was and why she did what she did.

The final scene would've had Kalin visiting a grave, ending, ironically, with the very first sentence I wrote back when Falconbridge was still in progress:
"Kalin wept, crying for a woman he'd never met -- not because he'd known her, but because he hadn't."
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