The small village tavern
~ year: 2003 | Georgi's age: 18Unedited things the way they were in the late 90s and early 2000s
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Chapter 1 – The Very Beginning
The small village tavern, called ‘The Rune Stone’, was settled in a small valley, between the great woods of the Silvermoon forest and the Darrowmere lake. The poor light of an old lamp could not be enough to lighten up the tavern’s main hall in this autumn night. The barkeeper looked worried, for there weren’t far too many customers this night. Only two main groups of people were symmetrically positioned in the opposite corners of the pub. They were laughing and joking with one another as the hours passed. Two friends, who looked like ordinary peasants, represented one of the groups. They talked, like everyone else did, about the recent day, passed in hard work.
In that same moment the door opened, waving the dry, passive air changing it into night’s cool breeze. Everyone felt the refreshing ‘wind’ and looked at the old wooden door. A short old man went inside and sat over the two peasants. They paid no attention to him, as he ordered some beer. He kept drinking ale after ale, and kept listening to the peasants. They, however, were so absorbed by their conversation, that they even spoke of the old prophecies and myths and at one point the old man even joined the conversation. Then the two friends spoke of the ancient days and the elves. There were many, many rumors that they spoke of. Some said that the elves still live in the mountains of Quel’thalas, but no one saw them after the second and last invasion of the Burning Legion. Some said that the elves joined their old brothers – the Night Elves, and went to Kalimdor. Others said that the elves were imprisoned in Northrend by the last band of trolls and orcs. Yet, none knew the truth.
“This all in not true” the old man said deeply and confident in his words.
“I can tell you the story of the High Elves.” the man said loudly. Everybody in the tavern turned towards him.
“Leave that old man. He’s drunk” the other group of townsman looked with sympathy at him, for they all knew that many of the old man and women nowadays were crazed by the treacherous wars with the Burning Legion, the Horde, and now the Undead. Many lost their families, but when those stupid necromancers came and rose the dead … the situation got even worse. No one liked his dead relative to walk undead and seed chaos over his own kind. So it was very difficult for the elder people to get accustomed to all those horrific events.
“Silence! I am the prophet, and no one will ever call me that way!” the figure of the ‘old man’ stand up and rose as his eyes filled with anger.
“I failed once, yes, it is truth. But I think I did enough to pay my mistakes” he sat and began his tale.
“Many centuries ago, about 10 000 years, the Dragons ruled Azeroth. West of here there was an enormously huge land called Kalimdor. It still exists nowadays, but the half of it has sunken into the Great Sea. So in that same land awakened the race of the Night Elves. There are no other elfish races different to the Night ones. The others emerged later. I was one of the first to be born. Our race was developing quickly and steadily for we all were immortal. There was no death for us. We could only be killed by foe, never by the fate. No matter our glorious development we began creating powerful magiks for different tasks. Then the magic became part of our everyday life. We used it for everything you could imagine – even to just pick an object up from a distance. Foolish me, it was I who first intended to use the elfish magiks for a more important things. Yet, I don’t quite remember now, but I can tell that magiks were everywhere. I hope you get the picture” the prophet interrupted his speech and bought everyone, who listened to him, a drink. He used this short break to relax and calm down a little.
“I invented magiks that enabled world travel. You see, truth is that all worlds are connected to the world of the dead souls – the Twisting Nether. By going into the Nether, and venturing deeper into the Great Dark Beyond, you are able to visit almost any place in the universe. I did so. I’ve been to Dreanor, too. A pity it has been destroyed, indeed. It was very beautiful red world, full of ‘strange’ (for our understandings) plants and animals. That is not the point of my tale, though. It was then, when the Daemon Lord Sargeras detected our powerful magic sources. So, the Burning Legion invaded. It took us about 1000 years to fight for our land. Yet, the Dragons helped us and probably thanks to them we finally defeated Sargeras and his army. We pursued his army of fire stoned demons out of our world and far into the universe. Of course that was a battle won, but the war was still at hand and will always be. I understood later that those demons that we pursued corrupted our Orcish brothers from Draenor. This is why the war will never end. There will always be someone to corrupt the noble people, making them a grave danger indeed ” by his last sentence, the ‘old man’ wide opened his eyes, showing their bright and dark side alike.
“I’m beginning to have second thoughts about that old man. He could be one of those crazed necromancers, do you think?” a farmer asked his wife. She didn’t say a word, though, still staring at the ‘prophet’.
“So my word was about Sargeras. We entomb him west of here, not so far from the shores of Sunken Kalimdor. No matter that ‘great’ success I was banned from my homeland and send into exile. The small group of the Night Elves that helped me design my invention, who have vowed not to use magic ever again (like me) came along with me. We chose Quel’thalas for it was the only free region except Northrend to inhabit. As we traveled towards that destination we were told of the awakening of the mortal races. Humans, dwarfs, gnomes, trolls and many, many others were the first we heard about during our 6-month journey”.
Chapter 2 – The Shores of Northrend
One day, probably 2 months after we last ‘saw’ the shores of Sunken Kalimdor, Hyjal shouted from the top of the front mast. Everyone trusted him, as I did for he was my very best friend, so we all looked at the far northeast. Those were some white-colored shores. It was strange, for we all had never seen such brightly colored land … or was that land?
“It’s weird! Our priestess of the Moon has never told us of this land. It is not shown on any map. But I guess our people need to rest a bit from rowing all day and night for the last months. What do you think?” Hyjal looked worried about what I was going to say, but his face kept its usual cheerful looking mood.
“You decide whether we proceed, or stop for a day or two. It looks like we’re the next of the history writers. We found a land that no one knew it even existed, we may do other more important things in the near future. Who knows?” I replied, smiling at my friend. I then left him tell our people the glorious news and went to my room, for I knew that the next day would be a difficult one. At least for me. I laid down on my bed and thought about the upcoming great exploration of that new land. Suddenly I remembered that we hadn’t chose its new name yet. “I guess I’ll let Hyjal think of something. Hyjal. That name again. My old friend was named after Kalimdor’s sacred mountain summit. That was the place we had lived for hundreds of years after my unsuccessful experiment, until they exiled me away from my very home. Nonsense! It’s all my fault and I will suffer the consequences. Tomorrow will be a great day.” With my last thought gone I fall asleep.
As the sun rose I woke up and went outside. It was just another beautiful sunny day and we all gathered around Hyjal to hear what should we do.
“We cannot allow a full three-days rest in this land for it is both unknown and we have to proceed with our journey. We can, however, spend a day or mostly two, while our druids write down maps of this island. It is not as much time as many of us would want, but I dare to say it’s enough. As a matter of fact we’ve got an important problem to solve ahead. We’ve got to find a place to live in.” Hyjal took a deep breath and continued his speech.
“I know that many of you ask yourselves if this isn’t just the right place to inhabit. Well, it could be but we don’t know a thing about it yet. Now let’s get in the boats and raw to the shore. You got about 12 hours to rest, walk and do whatever you want. After that we’ll meet at the shore again to see what the druids can tell us about that land. Hurry up!” the crowd around Hyjal was growing larger as his speech progressed and now there were about two times more people than the time he started. Everyone looked happy and cheerful as if an elf in exile could be any joyful. “You truly are a confident person, my friend.” I thought about Hyjal and went forward to greet him.
“Did you sleep well?” my friend asked.
“You heard about the schedule, didn’t you?” he didn’t even waited to answer his first question and asked again. I saw impatience in Hyjal’s eyes. My friend looked eager to explore this land with every passing moment, so I decided not to waste his time now.
“So we got only a day? Well, I hope the druids don’t waste their time. See you later.” I turned around and went back to my room to take the rest of my equipment. “This cannot last any long.” I thought about our exile. “We have to find a place to live like normal elves. I don’t know where are we supposed to go. I will ask Hyjal later. But what if this is our new home? Or what if we go live with those newborn. With the Humans. I’d better be going or else those questions will be the very end of me. To every problem there is solution, every question has his own answer and every quest could be completed as our ancients say. Calm now!” thinking over all those topics I took my bag, some elfish food and ran away. I was the last one at the boats, so I quickly jumped towards one of the full ones and found a small place to sit down. I thought again about those new races. Our druid scouts report that there are not only new races, but the dragons had disappeared also. Strange.
“So you made it anyway!” Hyjal put his arm on my shoulder and smiled at me.
“I guess I did!” words are useless when two old friends understand each other.
“RAW” I heard from behind and prepared for the splendid view that we will probably encounter.
Chapter 3 – The Foundation of Northrend
When we finally landed on the shores of Northrend I felt weird. I was feeling that way for the very first time. The sun was high in the sky, but the air was still cold. The land was colored in white and was also cold. Nevertheless we were all happy, for we knew that we were going to discover a new land. A land unknown even to the old prophets like my self. As I thought about all those odd things we had saw this far, Hyjal lead us deeper inside a white forest.
“Even the trees are … different!” I could not hold my thought. Hyjal heard me.
“Strange are these lands and we still have no idea of what is waiting for us deeper into the tree labyrinth.” Hyjal sounded strange, but I even did not notice that in that great moment. The captain of the ship shouted in the same time.
“Hear me brothers! We shall settle a camp in this valley. You can use the time until the next sunrise as you wish. The Aran Food will be served after about 5 hours. Don’t be late or the spirits of the Nephalem will be angry.” Our most ancient ones – the Spirits of the Nephalem. They were named after the other great mountain summit – Nephalem. Tradition is that the Aran Food, or also Noble Food, should be served every three days at the sunset. That Food is represented mostly by Kalimdor bread by plants from the Hyjal foothills and fresh ice-cold water from the Nephalem summit’s highest lake. That same lake was where the Nephalem brothers saved our capital forest town from lord Auchinduin’s attacks. Lord Auchinduin was one of the Legion’s leaders. It’s a long and admirable story, but its essence is that unity is the key to victory. “Even now, 8000 years later, I feel the same proud way.” the prophet looked sadly towards the tavern floor and unexpectedly he continued his story. “Anyway, in that moment I thought not about the ancient ones, but about the camp. The place looked nice – on the east side we had a nice white forest, while on the opposite we had a deep valley. Southward was the place we came from – our ship and the Great Sea’s bay. Finally northward was yet unknown place that looked like a swamp. The camp itself was nothing but a place full of old centaur-fur tents. It was difficult to resist the chilling cold so many of us stayed in the camp as guards, others like short-range scouts and third just hid in their own tents and slept until the time for the Aran Food came. I thought that there will be plenty of time to sleep in the near future, when we finally establish a forest town or at least a small valley village, so I decided to go and study this strange land. There were pretty few warriors that chose the adventure than the warm, cozy tent. I saw those adventurers lead by the captain himself to depart in one group to the east. To the White Forest, as we called it later, for it was the first white one we saw. Elfish nature! They always choose the forests first, than any other place to explore. You should know, that even the sacred forests of the Hyjal foothills could be more dangerous even than the Swamps of Sorrow where I firstly opened the…” the prophet suddenly ceased speaking. His figure contoured in the dark tavern hall. As a few moments passed he proceeded talking about those very ancient times. “I asked Hyjal if he could come with me. I chose for my destination the ‘swamps’, because there probably would be nothing to explore in the valley. The next part is not so important about this tale. Hyjal and I went deep into the swamps, but saw no enemy. Everything was calm as if this was Hyjal summit itself. We had to be very cautious about our every little step or move for the swamp was not to be underestimated. The only thing we saw on that ‘journey’ was a deer that sunk into the swamp. Unfortunately we were not able to help it. Hyjal tried but it appeared that this place drains magical energies as good and fast as the Burning Legion’s lord does. When we saw this tragic case of death I suggested that we go back to the camp. Hyjal instantly agreed and thus we took the way back. It was about 15 minutes before the Aran Food to be served that we returned. The ritual was as normal as ever and after about 2 hours of conjuring and eating our druids told us about this land. Northrend was a small island covered with white stuff all over. They told us about the different trees and bushes and so on. After the maps had been written down our dryad scouts finally returned. Sad news was what they were bearing. Although I had no doubt that this land was inappropriate for the Night Elves to live, the dryads confirmed my thoughts, too. Sad, for it doomed us to look for another free land to inhabit. The next morning we calmly and melancholically walked towards the boats and rowed to the ship. That same afternoon we set sail to the east… Again.” the prophet stopped to take a breath. If someone have entered the tavern by that very moment he would see how a bunch of peasants have gathered around an old man, listening to him as careful as possible not to miss even a word from his speech. And so the prophet continued his story…
Chapter 4 – The Vow
“I cannot clearly tell what happened next on that journey.” The old man began. “What I can tell, however, is that we saw no land for many long days and nights. Just as we supposed there were only small islands, which were impossible to inhabit even by such a slight group of elves like us. Anyway, I used that time to let alone and think over all my thoughts. As I did so, Hyjal and the captain commanded the others. Hyjal was personally told by me to send sacred owls and Druids of the Talon to explore the sea before us. Those druids were the ones that were capable of transformation to crow form and were really fast scouts. I finally decided what should I be able to do for my people. One night as I was reading the ancient tomes of nature at the small library, I met Kul’Dare. He was one of those Druids of the Talon that were already sent to scout the sea ahead.
“Did you encounter anything?” I asked.
“No. Nothing in a very long distance, according to our maps.” he replied coldly.
“I have decided!” my voice trembled as I began “We will venture deeper in that continent here.” I pointed at the eastern side of the map in the book I was currently holding. “I know that it’s dangerous but … what could we do? There probably are no other free pieces of land in the whole world.” Kul’Dare was staring at my eyes as if he could look through them into my very mind.
“Did you tell this to Elune?” Elune was the captain of the ship. I was angered.
“Elune is no one! He commands only during our sea journey! I am the leader of this exile.” Kul’Dare did not move a bit and stood calmly as if nothing happened.
“Calm down ancient one!” he spoke to me “I meant no harm. Truly, Elune should only be told of this plan. As for me, I will follow you my old friend.”
“That’s really … kind of you. I swear now to lead our race of Night Elves in exile to a better life without even a small bit of magic! Go now, and announce my words to the rest of our brethren.” Kul’Dare left the room and I was let alone only with my thoughts in the library. Strange! I felt confident and untroubled by anything. I guessed what our destiny will be, but the vow that I made that day, I fulfilled.” with his last words, the prophet examined closely every one of his companions in the tavern. He looked deep into their hearts and seeing that they are just simple, ordinary people who mean no harm to anyone, he proceeded his story.
Chapter 5 – The Green Skins
“Yet, that day I didn’t know that the lands we were going to visit belong to the region of Quel’thalas” the prophet looked again at the people around him and after a few seconds he continued. “We, however, were not so close to Quel’thalas. Not yet. The next day after my conversation with Kul’Dare, I revealed my plan and vow to the rest of the crew. Elune seemed to be in agreement with the plan. As for Kul’Dare and Hyjal, well, I was never disappointed by them and just as I expected they stood behind me once again. Hyjal was a man of honor. All he wanted was a peaceful life. He was not of those people that ask plenty of questions or talk all the time. I liked him. Kul’Dare, on the other hand, was not so quiet person. Although he too was a man of action, he was a bit more talkative person. So, after everyone knew what we should do, I send the Druids of the Talon once again to scout ahead. For two long days there were no news from the scouts. I began to torture myself for I was who send them ahead. At the sunrise of the 3rd day Kul’Dare finally returned. I was stoned, for there was no one else with him. I send five scouts, for Elune!
“Where are the others” were the only words that slipped away from my mouth.
“Let’s go inside” said Kul’Dare and Hyjal, Elune and I went to the library.
“So” asked Elune. Kul’Dare began slowly his report.
“We flew about 14 hours to the east. Suddenly we saw a small island and decided to land and take a look. We couldn’t, though! As we approached the ground strange creatures began to shoot at us with gigantic arrows. That’s how the others died. Only Lasien survived but he too was wounded and after about 4 hours flying back he died. The only thing that saved me from their poisonous arrows was my speed. Unluckily the others were not as swift as I was” I couldn’t move my lips. I had so many, many questions that needed answers. Elune was the first to ask one of those questions.
“What were those creatures like” he asked shortly.
“Well, we saw them not but I gathered the impression that they were green skinned beings, as tall as we are, and very skilled fighters. The very strange thing was that they had no bows! They just threw away the ‘arrows’ with their own hands” Kul’Dare looked worried. Unnaturally Hyjal took his place in the conversation.
“May I suggest something master” he asked me.
“Sure, go ahead” I answered.
“If it is possible that we send a host of our people to the dwarven capital of Ironforge in the heart of the Red Ridge Mountains, to ask their elders what were those creatures. I suggest that we split in two groups. One of the groups will proceed to the lands of the northeast, while the other will go a bit southwards to visit the dwarves and gather some knowledge about the green-skins and the whole continent and its creatures as a whole. We will afterwards meet at our destination. Whatever our destination is” I hadn’t seen Hyjal in this form of speaking for years!
“This is a sound plan Hyjal” I was still amazed when I began my answer.
“I don’t know about anyone else but as for me Hyjal’s plan is perfect. As a matter of fact we will need a forest to inhabit, right? But even our ancients don’t know a thing about this continent we are about to reach and hopefully inhabit” I stopped.
“I have another suggestion” Elune suddenly said. “What if we really do so. I mean send scouts to the dwarven capital to learn about their culture and the lands, rivers, woods and lakes of the continent. Sounds like a plan! What I also suggest, though, is that the other group land on the island that lies just ahead, just to see if those green-skins are so invincible. Afterwards that group will catch up the others and we all will know where to live and what creatures inhabit this land” Elune stopped as suddenly as he started. “I am very proud of you guys when you talk like that” I revealed my feelings. “You told us a few nice plans and I guess this is what we will do. Elune, go and retell the crew your plan. Hyjal you are free, go and rest I’ll talk with you tomorrow and Kul’Dare – I want to ask you a bit more about the green-skins” I finished my speech excited. As I let out my last word everyone disappeared to handle his own task. I wondered for a moment whether we would finally find a place to live.
“You were saying” Kul’Dare asked me.
“Oh, yeah” I chased away my thoughts and turned towards Kul’Dare.