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Wildshade, renounced from Fylariea Talvethren's blog

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The Temple of Elune was beautiful.


It was not a matter of objective view; more of sheer fact. None could gaze upon the oldest temples to the Moon Goddess and not be in awe of the sweeping stones that such architecture wrought. The smooth chalk that held the cobblestones in place gleamed in the moonlight, the heavens lit with countless stars that twinkled in the heavens merrily, as if part of some dance and song unique to them that no living soul might perceive in their true celestial glory.


‘Neath the starry heavens, the lush, green forests of Val’sharah persisted, as they had for ten thousand years - even shadowed as they were by the dying boughs of Shaldrassil. Usually alight with activity back in the days of the Nightmare, now only the remnant hooded priestesses of Elune, garbed in their signature silken drapes with hoods that veiled their faces, tended the gardens therein. The sanctity of the place was calming, and brought serenity to all who dared tread upon Elune’s sacred ground.


Behind, tending to the remnants of Shaldrassil’s corruption, the Druids of the Moon worked - so very intent on their task that they failed to notice what would have otherwise qualified as a miraculous sight - the voluptuously feathered form of a Lunarwing Owl, the sacred messenger birds of Elune, landing carefully upon the path that tread up toward the Temple. The Sisters did not fail their vigil, though, and several bowed their head in reverence. Soon enough, though, the form was usurped by that of an elf - a petite, tanned thing, somewhere between the evolutionary points of Kaldorei and Quel’dorei. She bore the antlers of a druid, and the signature symbol of the Lady and Child hung betwixt them, the same as the Lunarwing Owl itself. A feathery cloak was quickly drawn about her shoulders, veiling visible scales on her wrists and torso. Even at such a distance that was held between the druidess and her peers, the lamplights of her eyes burned in stark contrast, pale lilac darting to and fro as she took in the magnificence of the temple.


Above, Elune’s pale face hung in the sky, eternally watching the proceedings that ever-persisted in her light below.


The expression on the priestess’s veiled faces were invisible, but one might imagine they frowned with disapproval as they went back to their work, tending the moon-lilies with a careful hand. Not all of them, however; one of many approached the figure, offering a courteous bow and speaking in a tinkling voice, like windchimes. “Ishnu’alah.”


The druidess’s gaze flickered to her for but a moment, scanning her restlessly before she mirrored the greeting with her own, offering a surprisingly subdued smile. Any who knew her would know that such was a rarity, prone as she was to wicked grins; this shade of the wilds, Talvethren. “Ishnu’dal’dieb, sister.”


The response came not in the expected Common, but in the native tongue of the Kaldorei. “Your presence is not unexpected, Talvethren. Your reputation precedes you.” Though it was impossible to tell, one might have thought that the elf’s eyes narrowed behind her veil. “Do try not to charm our forest to rampage freely through Elune’s sanctuary, yes?”


A blush burned it’s way onto the elf’s cheeks, a defensive snarl coming to her face - but none could consider hostilities in the Light of Elune, and even at this distance from the main chamber, her power was paramount. Slowly, the elf’s features relaxed into stoic, vulcan expressionlessness. “A one-off incident, sister. I seek not salvation; merely audience. Mourning hangs heavy in my heart, and I would seek answers to tragedy.”

The sister only tilted her head for a moment. It was not unexpected; many had passed through the Temples in Teldrassil’s wake, seeking comfort from their goddess. She only bowed, gesturing the elven druidess forward as she turned on a bare heel and padded her way along to the chamber of communement. There were no guards, a fact noted by the druidic elf well. Then again, why would there need to be? None could raise weapons. As they walked, the druid noted with a wrench in her heartbeat that the grass here still grew in the shape of the fallen Emerald Aspect. The Dream still wept, here. She could feel it.


Their entrance to the moonlit room was silent, with the padding of the Sister’s feet and the gentle tapping of the druidess’s. Standing free within was a basin, filled with luminescent, cyan water; the sort one might find in a moonwell, but sanctified - holy water, this was. Along the inside of the curved chamber were benches, and upon the walls, columns and columns of elvish glyphs - an epic, detailing the mating of Malorne and Elune, and the tragedy of their parting during the War of the Ancients. Above, a stone ceiling - but it hung open, a sliding portion rather like an astronomical observatory revealing the night sky beyond. Framed perfectly in the opening was the pale face of the moon, which lit the interior well.


The sister offered naught but a single nod to the druidess, and then took her leave through the far door, presumably to return to her duties - or stand vigil outside the door until the elf finished her ‘audience’. The druidess in reference waited until the noises of her departure had faded, and then she gently took a seat in the very center of the pale moonlight that shone from the dome of the ceiling, the elf crossing her legs slightly and letting the cloak open. She came with no garments but sandals, with only the scales fused with the tan skin of her torso, bust, and wrists to clad her - laid bare, in essence, before the Moon Goddess. After a moment, one might realize that there was no cloak, but instead the feathers were a triplicate pair of massive, feathery wings - one for every flight form she’d bonded with. Nothing to hide.


She stared at the mural that formed the floor for a long while, the elf’s eyes darting over the stones as she tried to think of a way to phrase what she wanted to. She had never prayed before - but she needed to inquire of this, at the very least. She knew that Elune existed; her power was beyond denial. But never before had she been driven by the urge for communement. The drive, the question within her, it burned - so in need for an answer. Something deep in her soul burned in defiance, but soothed it was, soon enough - and for a moment, there was peace. The elf’s ears wilted as coolness washed over her, and she glanced about to check if she was alone. The feeling persisted, despite the physical glance confirming no other entities, physical or magical, near her - intensifying until she was self-conscious of even a scrape of her foot on the stone beneath her feet. Something told her to ask, something deep within convinced that she would receive her answer.


A deep breath, and the question was voiced, hanging heavy in the air - almost visible, written like words on a screen. “Why?” The breathy noise was punctuated by the elf lifting her head to gaze straight into the blazing moon’s face, pupils consumed by the silver face. A note was that her normally pale lilac irises were now a cool silver, almost indistinguishable from the whites. The question remained, but there was the nagging urge to elucidate - and so she did.


“Why… did you permit Teldrassil to happen?” Her voice trembled - with some emotion, one that none present, even the elf, could not recognize. “So much suffering, so much pain. You shone that night, so bright - Your gaze watched us as we suffered. You knew what your children endured.” Stagnant silence persisted for but a moment. “Is Your promise not at the least mercy? What sort of cruel mercy were we granted? I heard prayers, yelled to the sky. Generations between time and space, begging to You for salvation. And when You were needed most, You were not there.” The elf’s voice broke, but her gaze was still locked on the pale moon, her field of vision swallowed up by the sight, clouded by tears.


Crackling filled the air, and orange licked at the very edges of her vision. The elf’s nose twitched at the smell of smoke, and her heart quickened as she gave a quick glance about her.


No longer was she in the Temple - or so it seemed. Trees unending surrounded her, burning their crowns. About her feet, critters and animals of all sorts fled from the fire, chattering warnings and screams to their family and friends, fleeing. In a moment, the fire was upon and then past her, and those creatures that had not escaped found themselves slowly suffocated and burning to crisps in the flames, dying to the flames. The elf herself remained untouched - a perfect circle of flameless grass surrounding her feet.


Her eyes were wide with horror as she watched, but soon enough that expression became solemn as the fire began to die. She knew not how long the orange glow persisted amongst the trees, but Elune’s face still shone in the sky, the only static thing in all of this, keeping her calm, focused. Time sped up, or so it seemed. The trees were but gray husks of ash, crumbling and rotting away. Time passed as that part of the forest became a wasteland, but then - green. Grass and plants and a bounty of things she had not seen outside of the Dream sprang into being, coloring the wasteland into a clearing - and then, sprigs and bark sprouted from the ashen dirt, growing, growing again into something beautiful, something new, something entrancing. Soon enough, the horizon was hidden again by the trees, and life abounded around her. Above it all shone the pale face of her goddess, the bright, silver light almost like an embrace to hold the elf in invisible arms, like a mother.


The answer, she realized, was this. The vision, the perception - this was the answer, not the hallucination. It was spoken not in words, but the words were made manifest within herself, and she understood them, knew them to be true interpretations. Written out, like silver runes in the air - so clear she could almost see them, engraved on her eyes like afterimages. The elf’s gaze raised again to the moon as she stood there, entranced.


From even the most potent tragedy, life again shall spring. So is the Grand Cycle; all living must die, and from death will arise life again, ever-onward. This is the design; cruel may it be, but right and just.


The Answer, as it was, left the little elf breathless. She collapsed back to the bench heavily, musing over that for a long while. Sure was she that she sat there for hours on end, thinking, but the moon never got lower in the sky, as if waiting. For what, she did not know.


Images went through her head. Children screaming, elders burning. Weeping mothers holding onto their babes as she tried to usher them through the Temple’s entrance to get to the portal. The desperate route she’d carved through Darnassus to rally the survivors, the others who had done the same. The thick, choking scent of smoke and the horrid noises of the dying and dead.


“No.” She whispered, clutching her eyes tight.


Right and just.


A little elf girl clenching her teddy bear, weeping as she clung to Fylariea’s leg - but she could not stay, she needed to get more survivors. She’d sent her toward the Temple, but she had to move on.


Right and just.


A charred little corpse holding a burned teddy bear, not even halfway to the Temple door.


This is right and just.


A family who huddled together, hoping to survive the raging inferno. A mother with her baby, desperately trying to push through the throng of people to get out of the fire.


Cruel may it be, but right and just.


The image of her mate huddled over the woman and the corpse she cradled, weeping for love lost - because she was Almormi’s old wife, lost in Teldrassil. The baby’s mangled body, his guardian clinging to try and hopelessly protect the child from death.


Right and just.


“NO!” She clenched at her head, the images and emotions overwhelming her. She fought them, wrestled them back into place - lest they overwhelm her, destroy her from within because she could not act physically to alleviate. She wept and ground her teeth, until they were locked away in the corner of her mind.


Slowly, her breathing and heartbeat steadied, until she was deathly calm - save for one, little nagging nub of some emotion. But this did not burn - no, this was not an emotion that raged like fire. This was cold, sharp, and cut deep and straight - leaving lines engraved on her soul, so intense she thought her heart might break.


“No.” She said. Her eyes flicked open and then up, her gaze turning to the impassive visage of the lunar entity she had been taught to worship. The goddess she’d had faith in, the goddess she’d trusted. “That was not right, or just. You - stood by, and you let the people who loved you, the people who counted on you, -die-. They died in pain, and alone. And you betrayed them. When you were needed most, you turned your back - no, you know what? I remember, through the smoke - you didn’t even do that. You -watched-. You -knew-.”


She stood, her heartbeat picking up again. Every vein pulsed with some sensation she couldn’t describe, an electric field that made the plants on the floor curl up, like a storm was approaching. The hair on the back of her neck stood on end. Was she about to be smitten for her heresy? She did not know.


She did not care.


“No more.” Her voice was breathless, winded, like she’d been punched in the gut. Her eyes went from that silvery color to a pure cyan - not like ice, but a more… twisting, writhing color, something new. Not mana, not death - but something deeper, ever-darker, Infinite.


She’d never felt so alive.


“You are worthy of no title, and certainly not that of -my- deity.” Her voice was wounded. With a trembling hand, she reached up - taking a grip on the silver symbol of the Lady and Child between her antlers. Her fingers gripped the energy, the lunar gift that marked her so.


She tore it from between her antlers, letting out a cry of pain. Something broke within her, like she was tearing out a piece of herself, like she was ripping her own soul asunder. The light in her eyes, that omnipresent glow, flickered and vanished. She held out her hand, weeping tears that scarred her cheeks black with frost - tracing unconsciously the claw lines that her tattoos had been.


She let it fall, and fall it did - tinkling to the floor, laying there, glowing and forsaken, fully in view of the eye of the Lunar Goddess. “No more.” She intoned, one last time, and held out her hand.


A beam of pure arcane fired from her palm - something that would have been shocking had anyone witnessed it. An act of violence, in the Temple? The symbol there upon the floor shattered like glass, into a thousand pieces - until it dissolved into silvery light, light which wisped up through the open roof to adhere to the corona of the moon’s light like tendrils, before fusing with her. One word hung heavy, like an afterimage on her eyes now - a cold but mournful word.


Sacrilege.


“Yes.” She agreed. “Sacrilege. An it harm none, do as thou wilt; but an thou stand not in defense against the harm, guilty art as they.” Her arm dropped to her side again, the elf simply wrapping about her her wings once more - a cloak of feathers, hiding herself. “The Moon defies her own commandments; what greater sacrilege then that?” She closed her eyes, and took in a deep breath. “No more. I will not let devotion to you blind me any more. If faith in you is meaningless, then I will keep faith only in myself. -No more-.” Turning about, her face was hidden in shadow - leaving only the irises, slowly becoming reptilian in shape as they projected on the wall behind her. “I will be limited by nothing. Not faith, not life - not even time. The possibilities are Infinite.” There was a moment of silence, and then; “-I- will become Infinite.” With that, she turned and took her leave. She pushed past the priestess who had been guarding the door, oblivious to the happenings - shifting to her lunarwing form, though now devoid of the symbol of Lady and Child on her head, and instantly taking flight, back to the Dreamgrove. Behind her, a cloud bank rolled in - hiding Elune’s pale face in the dark clouds and rendering the night perfectly dark.


It bothered the druidess none. She was not blinded by the Light, and she was content to vanish into the shadows, leaving the Temple silent and serene in her wake, though the chamber of communion seemed to hold lingering sensations of mourning.




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By Fylariea Talvethren
Added Dec 31 '18

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