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Literature
The Broken Crown
The Broken Crown
Fandral's excuses for his transgression were weak, at first, but after several minutes of being berated by Malfurion, he finally snapped back, irritated, and explained himself in full. A foul substance, a metal of a dark nature, had been discovered growing not only on this northernmost continent, but on others as well. Even in Kalimdor. Against all advisory, what little there had been, Fandral had taken branches of Nordrassil, and planted them atop the foul mineral, in an effort to halt this corruption. At first, it seemed his tactic worked well, but the largest branch, now named Andrassil, had fallen to corruption, as it was on the largest deposit of the foul metal that Fandral and his ilk has discovered.
The resulting madness in the natural wildlife around the massive tree was evidence of this corruption, and after a brief council with the bear Ancient, it was decided. Andrassil needed to fall, and the druids would be the ones to fell it. It was, aft
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Literature
Kalimdor Sunders
Kalimdor Sunders
Not long after their arrival, the Ancients of Kalimdor were called into the battle against the demons. Even with the other races, they were losing ground. Cenarius, as their unofficial leader, produced a massive horn as he trotted toward the battlefield. A rumbling sound filled the air, starting low, and then increasing in potency as the note grew louder.
Every Ancient and demi-god began to glow with the Fury of nature itself, and for a time, even the elven defender's eyes shared the amber glow that was Azeroth's power. The world had been woken by Deathwing's betrayal, and her defenders had not liked what they saw, rampaging across the continent with burning, mindless, slaughter.
The Ancient host immediately charged after the Forest Lord, and a few of the refugees went with them. It was an invigorating sound, and the horns of the united host blared as well as the additional defenders hit the front lines, utterly crushing a wedge the demons had
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Literature
The Long Vigil Begins
The Long Vigil Begins
Before many of the druids even realized Ashamane had abandoned the feral druids as well, Malfurion called all of the druids to the Moonglade, and once they were all assembled, Laronar began to understand just how vastly outnumbered his fellow feral druids were, and just how out of place he appeared next to his kin. Each wore respectable robes, engraved with runes meant to draw on and combine arcane and natural magic with ease, but he remained shirtless, in naught but a kilt.
He'd grown a pair of 'spaulders' from the seeds of a herb Kota and he had used for smoking, and with time, had encouraged the leaves upon them to grow both more potent, and harder to break. They made decent armor, and when crushed and smoked, were quite enjoyable. Aside from his shoulders, everything else remained much the same, for he saw no reason to change his attire. This was a time of peace, he didn't need armor. When the peace inevitably ended, for he was realizing it must always
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Literature
Satyrs and Wolves
Satyrs and Wolves
Many long years passed as the druids experimented with taking the forms of all sorts of animals, and practiced their magic while the civilization of the Kaldorei began to regrow, primarily under the watchful eye of Tyrande Whisperwind. There was relative peace among them, but memories of the Legion remained fresh in their minds, and always the elves remembered the consequences of their actions.
More often than not, the painful emotions from the war were focused on a group of Azshara's own Highborne who had fled the capital and, with the aid of Elune herself, survived the Sundering. Despite the turmoil their arcane magic had caused, they remained convinced that it was the path the Kaldorei should continue to embrace.
Laronar himself had been approached by their leader, Dath'remar, for he had gone through the surnames of elves who'd survived the war, and had sought out former Highborne in hiding, hoping to gain more followers. At first, it was easy to sympathize
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Literature
Dream Walking
Dream Walking
After the awkwardness of his arrival faded, Laronar once more found a routine. He spent half the day teaching, half learning, and spent his nights being shown around the new Kaldorei Empire by Shandris. Though calling it an empire was very generous, several cities of marble and various trees had been skillfully created by the fledgling druids, and slowly, the elves recuperated.
What little sleep he did get during this time was either spent in the saddle or under the stars, which was another thing he had to adjust to. In an effort to increase the pace of their training because of the apparent looming demon threat, Malfurion had the druids practice during the day, just as he had.
That it all but kept Shandris and Laronar apart was purely coincidental. Cenarius had trained him by the daylight, and now his students would do the same. Having a Tauren master, it wasn't that big of a switch for Laronar, though he still preferred the night.
He had asked his fellow druids a
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Literature
The Druidic Masters
The Druidic Masters
As the pair of sabercats traveled northward, they came upon a stretch of forest nestled between the mountains, and all but hidden from the main valley. It was in this stretch of forest that Laronar decided, for the first time, to set up a home. He had little shaping experience however, but he still managed to create a passable house with the aid of his druidic abilities. On his own for the first time in years, not counting his Stormsaber of course, Laronar soon fell into a routine.
He hunted in the morning, and brought his kills home with little trouble thanks to his versatility with the animal forms. While he cooked up the meat, he would meditate, asking the wind to support him as he floated on it, and communed with the spirits. Once he was hungry enough, the smell of his dinner would draw him away, and he would eat his fill, and then save the rest using the techniques Kota had forced him to learn and re-learn so often they became more of a second thought th
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Literature
The Wild Gods
The Wild Gods
Distanced. That was the word Laronar would later use to describe his experiences with a Tauren Shan'do. Kota was always writing, meditating, or healing the scars left by the Legion. Often he would have them camp along the new eastern edge of this broken world, and the Tauren would gaze across the sea at…something. Laronar did not pry, as the war had affected everyone deeply, no matter their race.
When he did teach his student however, Laronar hung on his every word. He did indeed possess the gift for druidism, and although he found talking to nature a slow, time-consuming process, eventually, he learned how to do it at will. It never answered him as strongly as he had seen it answer Kota, but that didn't bother him.
Once he had proven adept enough at communing and meditation, Kota moved on to the Animal Totems. "My people have long worshiped those that yours calls Ancients. My clan followed the one known as Aviana, and with her blessing, it is said that my an
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Literature
The War of the Ancients
The War of the Ancients
With the return of the Well's power, and the lack of new reports on whatever was happening to their people, calm heads reigned in Eldarath. Some even claimed that it was a sign that Ravencrest's army had succeeded in defeating the invaders. What word they had received had claimed that the Highborne in the Capital had summoned an army of monsters, and were holding the Queen hostage as they made a grab for power. The people were only too glad to pin these troubling events on Zin'Azshari, for the Highborne there were, supposedly, even more full of themselves then the others throughout their empire.
Those who doubted that Ravencrest had succeeded were few in number, but they existed all the same, and their voices only grew louder as no news arrived. Sure enough, after several more weeks, the feeling of darkness and unease returned, and this time, the wildlife around the city fled. The skies darkened with foul clouds, and what sorcerers remained divined ill om
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Literature
Rejecting the Well
Rejecting the Well
Several seemingly short years passed, and eventually Laronar's pet, which he had cleverly named Storm, had to go and live with the other Nightsabers of his kind in the stables. The handler was a kind person though, and she offered to feed and house the young sabercat, provided she could use his lineage to improve her other mounts.
While Laronar had no idea what that meant, or entailed, his parents agreed. He went to the stables every day, learning how to care for not just his pet, but all the other Nightsabers as well. It was clear to anyone that the boy had an affinity with the animals, and though his eyes suggested a great destiny, a Saber Handler was still a respectable part of their society.
It seemed as though he would actually become one in time, as his lack of sorcery skill was obvious. He could use magic, and cast a spell as well as any other his age, but he never liked doing it. The spells the mages used brought only destruction, and the ones that did
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Literature
Stormclaw
Stormclaw
The City of Eldarath – West of Zin'Azshari and Suramar
A soft mewling sound echoed through the woods again. Whatever creature made it was weak, probably wounded or tired. Luckily for it, one who could hear its cries for help was nearby, strolling through the woods that surrounded the elven city of Eldarath on all sides, and only added to its beauty. The humanoid who heard the cries for help was a Kaldorei, around the age of five.
His skin was a pale light blue, like the rest of his caste, and his frame was tall, though not yet filled out with the muscles of adulthood. He was like every other child his age, though there were a few key differences that set him apart, and kept him all but isolated. His hair was a long mane of dark green, and for some reason not even his family could understand, he preferred to walk around without any kind of covering for his upper torso, preferring instead to wear kilts or leather pants, when he went wandering into the forest
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Literature
Chapter 27: The Trial of Seven Paths (3)
The Path of Light
He moved on to the next room, genuinely curious as to what it would be, now the four basic elements had been covered. He read the letters at the entrance of the next door. 'Path of Light'. That, more than anything, piqued his interest. Learning about Light energy would be invaluable. He stepped quickly past the threshold, into yet another square room. At least, he assumed it was square. The blinding golden light within seared his vision, and he brought the brim of his hat down, though it did little to help.
Eventually, the light coalesced into a golden colored ghost, who bowed to him in the Unovan style. Arceus' symbol adorned his robes where the elemental symbols had adorned the others, on the shoulders, and the front of the chest. His beard easily went down to his waist, and his ephemeral eyes were kind. "Greetings, you who would be King. Welcome, to the Path of the Light."
Alex bowed as well. "Thank you. Tell me, what must I do to…wait a minute…I
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Literature
Chapter 27: The Trial of Seven Paths (2)
The Path of Fire
"Great…" Alex muttered, as the room returned to normal. One of the walls opened, and he moved towards it. Another doorway without a door. Another inscription in the language of the ancients. 'Path of Fire'.
Within the next room, he found the red tinged ghost, bearing the mark of fire, meditating the same way he did. Legs crossed, floating in the air. Though each of the Sages looked different, this one had been the only one to have a long, thin moustache that dangled down past his chin. Long beards that would be at home on a storybook mage's countenance had been the norm with his peers.
The Sage did not waste time as Alex stepped before him. "A true King has the willpower to remain good and moral in the face of overwhelming evil. Shame, doubt, anger, fear, sorrow, these emotions will cloud your judgement, and make you susceptible to corrupting influences." He opened his eyes, and examined Alex. "I sense much anger in you, though you bury it well."
The room
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Literature
Chapter 27: The Trial of Seven Paths (1)
Chapter 27: The Trial of Seven Paths
The White Wolf looked down upon the Dakota region's capital city of Fargo as the latest blast of freezing winter air slammed into him once more. Judging by how early the winds were rising, he knew this one would be a bad one. Typical. Winter was always worst during wars, and nobody had ever really wondered why. Close as they were to Kanadia, the city was perpetually covered in snow, and the gray stone buildings made the entire city look bleak, and sketchy. Tonight though, something had changed. The streets were alight with golden beacons bearing a symbol that once stood for peace. The people rallied around these light-bearers, despite the cold.
Even in the howling wind of the year's first snowstorm, Geralt Redwood's sharp ears could hear the chanting, and it wasn't staying civil. Quickly it had gone from Arceus, to something about Unova, which involved blood. He pressed the device in his ear. "This is Wolf. You can consider the Prop
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Mature content
Chapter 26: Into the Abyss :iconpokefan1337:PokeFan1337 2 0
Literature
Chapter 25: The Long Night Begins
Chapter 25: The Long Night Begins
Lab Ein – Fornia Region
"Tell me the odds again, Ein." Caleb Pravus stared down at his prize, grinning.
The lab coated doctor would've flipped his brown hair flick, if Pravus hadn't made him cut it off. Instead, he pushed his glasses up by the brim. "Given the species' popularity, incompetent archeological skills of our race at the time, and the tectonic upheaval of the Stoney Mountains, the odds of finding an intact specimen, let alone one a Mew fused with..."
He was silent for a good thirty seconds as his brain mathed out the numbers. Finally, he sighed, his monotone voice sounded bored. "Astronomically small."
Pravus gave him a look, but let it slide. They had other things to discuss. "Gender?"
"He hasn't figured that out yet." Ein said, smirking.
Pravus rolled his eyes. "Spare me the politically correct BS, and just say 'male', or 'plug' if we must use analogies."
Ein sighed, looking down at his creation. "It doesn't real
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Literature
Chapter 24: Rise With The Storm (2)
Yavano Tribe Lands - Eastern Fornia Region
Alex and Jess had all but stumbled into the local Yavano Tribe's main camp, and after giving them a moment to cool their surprise and lower their strange metal spears, they'd used words to avoid a conflict, though, as he'd told them something of who they really were, and that they were Trainers, several of the 'red-skinned' men had grinned. Even here, there were people up for a battle.
After hearing they were from Unova, the tribe's Chief, Long-Fang, had made an appearance, and invited them to enjoy some of their Leaf. It was quite a bit stronger than anything they usually smoked, but it went a long way to easing the tension of a first contact. The Chief himself had unusually large canine teeth, but given that Alex had a fair bit of strangeness himself, most notably the tips of his ears which became more pointed by the day, he didn't comment, or stare. Jess hadn't seemed to mind either, and found his ears amusing, claiming that now, he
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Figured it was time for one of these.  It's only been what, 7-8 months? I'm clearly so active.

Funny thing is, for six of those months, everything was fine! It's only in fucking November and December that I managed to flip a car I owned for 6 days in a snowstorm (yes I'm fine, the cuts are all healed already, and hey, insurance covered all of it. Thanks Flo.) and then get fired. For 'taking a thirty minute break' and 'being out of earshot'. Even though I was working. Indoors. And was never asked, for example: 'Where were you for the past 30 minutes?' I don't usually play conspiracy theorist, but it SEEMS like they were looking for an excuse to get rid of me. Which is fine, tbh. Night shift is hell. Good riddance.

Anyways, I am now free of hell. Yay unemployment. Good news: Imma be prolific af when it comes to writing...until I end up at probably another terrible job. I also get to sleep. And stay awake when the sun is up. And enjoy Xmas. And play so, so much more video games. All good things.

Cons: I flipped my new fucking car, so that's going to drain me real quick of what little money I do have. Yay unemployment. I'd be worried about not having money for weed, but that would require having a weed guy, which is no longer necessary. And of course, without a car, I can't pick it up anyways. Woot.




Now that life nonsense is out of the way, in regards to story, I'm deciding to put up this thing I've been working on for my favoritest WoW char. It has droods, demons, droods, tauren, elves, droods, Nightsabers, and did I mention droods? So many droods.

Basically, it's what I wrote up for his backstory, turned into an actual story, that totally definitely has a focused plot. We're getting there.

I may add other things I've written, because why not, but tbh, the only other universe I can claim to know as...intimately...as Warcraft or Pokemon is Guild Wars. So if that's interesting to you, let me know. I'll...definitely have time to edit and post it. Yay unemployment.

As far as Pokemon goes, expect it to probably take a month still. Inspiration takes a while to strike, but when it does, I write a chapter in like, a day. Maybe less, now that I'm free of hell. So stay tuned, and enjoy.
  • Listening to: Piano Man
  • Reading: My own stuff eight times.
  • Watching: SVU
  • Playing: WoW
  • Eating: Buffalo chicken strips.
Who stays up till 4 am on his birthday to finish this fucking re-write?

This guy.

What can I say except, you're welcome.



It was supposed to take a few days, but who knew eight hour shifts could turn days into a month. And who knew DA would make me split six of the rewritten chapters? Yay tiny word counts.

Anyways, the beginning of the story has changed. A lot. But at least it makes sense now, and is less cringey. Now, finally, we can continue on with the main story. As soon as I find some cannabis. Stay tuned lads, because we're going full Skyrim. Visk Nau Joors!
  • Listening to: Viking Gods
  • Reading: My own stuff four times.
  • Watching: Pfft, watching requires free time.
  • Playing: lol, I wish
  • Eating: Buffalo chicken strips.
Welcome. This is where I post the majority of my fanfic, and things relating to it, like my feeble attempts to draw maps in paint.

Any feedback is appreciated.

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Alex
Artist | Hobbyist | Literature
United States
I'm a writer, living in 'murica, writing as more of a hobby than anything else. Apparently I'm good at it, so I figured I'd try some fanfiction with a universe I actually know.

If you read anything I write, you should be able to figure out what I'm into. I drop references all the damn time.

If you draw my OC trainer I'll love you forever.

I might commission something. If I ever get money. lol
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The Broken Crown


Fandral's excuses for his transgression were weak, at first, but after several minutes of being berated by Malfurion, he finally snapped back, irritated, and explained himself in full. A foul substance, a metal of a dark nature, had been discovered growing not only on this northernmost continent, but on others as well. Even in Kalimdor. Against all advisory, what little there had been, Fandral had taken branches of Nordrassil, and planted them atop the foul mineral, in an effort to halt this corruption. At first, it seemed his tactic worked well, but the largest branch, now named Andrassil, had fallen to corruption, as it was on the largest deposit of the foul metal that Fandral and his ilk has discovered.

The resulting madness in the natural wildlife around the massive tree was evidence of this corruption, and after a brief council with the bear Ancient, it was decided. Andrassil needed to fall, and the druids would be the ones to fell it. It was, after all, their mistake to correct. Once the horde of elves had gathered round the corrupted tree, amidst the bramble Malfurion had created, still full of angry, lashing creatures driven mad with senseless rage, they drew on their collective knowledge of spellcasting, and for the first time since their empire fell, wove a spell that was grand, and primarily arcane in nature.

Their natural magic enhanced the damaging nature of what they wrought, and once the outer layer of the tree had been broken, the druids to the west, guided by Malfurion, struck the final blow, and guided the tree down towards them. Thankfully, there were none who were caught under Andrassil's massive trunk, though the entirety of Northrend shook with the force of the crash.


There was no celebration once the tree was felled, no cheers, no admiration at what they had, as a united Circle, accomplished. The faces of the entirely male horde were grim, their eyes, now primarily amber, filled with sorrow.

Malfurion addressed them only once, from the edge of a broken piece of Andrassil's bark, on the now felled trunk. "This debacle should be considered a lesson. Let us never forget the danger of corruption Nordrassil's scions may suffer from without proper blessings from the Aspects. This monument to arrogance and failure shall forever be known, from this day forth, as Vordrassil. Let all druids who look upon it remember what we have been forced to do this day." Despite his words, many would soon endeavor to forget Vordrassil altogether. Breaking such an promising World Tree had been disheartening, and the general unspoken agreement was to simply not mention it.

With that, he left the druids to ponder his words, and it was not long after before word spread. Shan'do Stormrage was returning to the Moonglade. Most of the druids followed suit, though some stayed to explore Northrend, and heal the Nymphs and Taunka who had gone mad. With the felling of the tree, whatever power had caused the madness had faded, hopefully for good.


Laronar was among those who departed first from the site of the Broken Crown, and was surprised, upon landing in Nighthaven, to learn that Malfurion wished to see him. He tried to remember if he'd done anything in particular of late that might have earned him the Archdruid's wrath, for most of their 'recent' conversations had been stern lectures about how often he spent time as a cat, and how dangerous 'experimenting' with Ashamane's form was, but nothing came to mind. He found the Archdruid in his barrow den, already preparing to return to the Dream, or so it seemed.

He gave a saddened smile and a nod as Laronar entered, as shirtless as ever, though this time clad with 'pauldrons' made of tough, durable leaves, a sign of how skilled he'd become at tending to nature itself. "Laronar Stormclaw. It has been quite some time since we last spoke. Come. Sit. We have much to speak of."

Laronar did as he was bid, and the Archdruid continued, "First, I wish to apologize for the tone of our last conversation…you were right, in many ways, as I learned from Ashamane herself, within the Dream. I have tried to convince her to yet share her form, but she remains stubborn in her prideful refusal. I was hoping you might sway her decision, if only for the future druids who decide to learn the Feral Arts."

Laronar raised a brow. "I was under the impression the Feral Arts were being phased out. Most druids these days focus on healing, and spell tossing."

Malfurion chuckled. "This is true, but again I must ask your forgiveness for my previous short-sightedness. I was focused too much on the Dream, and did not take into account the importance of having druids like yourself. Your patron informed me of exactly how effective you and your fellows were during the War of the Satyr. You took down many leaders that otherwise would have eluded our efforts to remove them from command. Even the Sentinels were impressed. I was...hasty, in my dismissal of your skills. I am sorry."


Laronar's gaze shifted away from the other druid at that. He had a feeling he knew to which Sentinel Malfurion was referring, but the last thing he wanted was thoughts of Shandris distracting him in the presence of one who was all but her father. "I…I am glad you have realized the importance the Feral Arts play…nevertheless, I know Ashamane. She is proud, and she is quite furious with you for suggesting her form is lesser than a stealthy Sentinel…"

Malfurion held up a hand. "I am aware. She explained as much, and I apologized, but she continued to refuse me the use of her form. Thus, I have a compromise that, I hope, she will be amenable to." He gestured to the nearby dirt, and a small root rose from it, hardening into a stick. He snapped it, and then began drawing in the dirt. Soon, there was a passable recreation of Azeroth between them, with Kalimdor, Northrend, and the as-yet unnamed and relatively unexplored eastern continent that the elves were content to not bother with, as that was where the Highborne had traveled to.

"Consider our world, sundered as it is," Malfurion said, as he created a facsimile of the Maelstrom that was rumored to yet swirl about where the Well of Eternity had once existed. "Over the past several thousand years, since the War of the Ancients, the area around what was once Suramar has drifted east, pulled by the powerful waves of the Maelstrom. This area, known to some as the Broken Isles, is actually home to a powerful coalition of Tauren. You recall Huln Highmountain, yes?"

Laronar nodded. "My mentor, Kota, was of the Skyhorn, one of the tribes who lived on Highmountain…but I was under the impression it had sunk, like so much else, beneath the waves."


Malfurion shook his head. "I have been told that this is not the case, by Cenarius himself. His own grove yet exists there, as do, so he says, some Kaldorei who have become powerful druids in their own right. They reside in a land called Val'sharah. They even have a World Tree." Laronar's eyes went wide, and the other druid smirked at the reaction. "What they need, is teachers, and I am told that there are many on the isles who have chosen to follow Ashamane, once they recovered her fangs, and heard her voice through them. I offer this, to appease her damaged pride: the druids of the isles may study the Feral Arts to their greatest depths, in a safe and relatively isolated environment. That way, should we have another Worgen disaster, it will not infect the whole of our people. I wish you to be the teacher in charge of training these new Feral Druids."

Laronar's mouth was agape now, though he managed to shut it once the Archdruid finished speaking. "You would trust me with such an important task? Me alone?"

Malfurion nodded. "Thaon Moonclaw shall join you, as he is the only other druid I know of yet able to take on Ashamane's form. I may send some others to you, should they need a lesson in control, but there is another reason I'm picking you. Since the day you showed us these techniques, you have displayed an immunity to losing yourself to the forms you take that other druids simply do not possess. I have seen you stay in your cat shape for days on end, and return to yourself as if you'd spent five minutes. We need more like you, if I'm honest."


At that, Laronar chuckled. "Is that so? Well, I would be willing to share the secret, if you're that curious." Malfurion gestured for him to continue, and he had that look he got when something genuinely piqued his interest. Laronar shrugged. "The secret is actually quite simple. The Tauren Shamans, as you know, revere the spirits of the elemental planes of fire, air, water, and earth, however, there is a fifth they pay homage to, which is by far the strongest, and most mysterious. Only their strongest Shaman dare to call upon it, and only in times of great need."

Malfurion raised a brow. "I take it your mentor taught you of this?"

Laronar nodded. "He said that this spirit, element, or force, whatever you want to call it, was what empowered the Wild Gods, seemingly at random, or so he believed. I discovered rather recently that with the proper rituals, druids might also contact this spirit. While I cannot think of how it would apply to our other branches, for Feral Druids, I believe this should be essential…once they've chosen a favored patron, of course. It's a complex process, but through the power of the Wild Gods, they can grant a druid like myself an incredible, if temporary, boost to our feral forms. I imagine with time; the changes will eventually become more…permanent. Not long after Ashamane had me master this in my secluded grove, my…feline characteristics were greatly enhanced, as was my cat form."

He bared his fang-like incisors for the Archdruid, who eyed them from where he sat with genuine curiosity. "I would not lightly contact this spirit, however…it a vastly powerful force, and that contact alone can be…overwhelming. As can the power it grants, if it deems you and your reason for drawing upon it worthy. Without a patron's guidance, and intense focus, you risk losing yourself to the power of the form you're enhancing. If successful though, the power one attains is…impressive, to say the least, though I've yet to test it on a true enemy."

Malfurion was in the process of stroking his beard, which now dangled down to the bottom of his neck. "An interesting discovery…I have often remarked at how similar the Tauren Shaman are to us, they call upon nature as we do…though not as easily. I shall endeavor to speak with this spirit…when I have a moment. Perhaps I can find a way to grant our fellow druids a more…permanent method of retaining their forms, one not subject to the whims of a Wild God."


Laronar arched a brow. "You'd go over Ashamane's head? I imagine she'd like that even less…"

Malfurion shook his head. "Not quite…though I would hope whatever sentience this force possesses might be able to convince her to let go her grudge…with the other druids at least, if not myself. For the good of the world."

Laronar shrugged. "I will speak to her as well…let me try that first, perhaps, before incurring more of her wrath." He glanced down at the map Malfurion had traced. "Did they really find a piece of Ashamane herself?"

Malfurion nodded. "She mentioned that if I wanted to start earning her trust again, I should send you and Thaon to the isles. Hopefully, the freedom to explore her form as you all wish, with limited restriction, will ease her anger at my poorly chosen words."

Laronar tilted his head, eyes still on the faint isles the other druid traced. "And where are we to stay while we train with this 'limited restriction'?"

Malfurion nodded. "I forget, you do not walk the Dream as often as you should. There is a place within Val'sharah, not far from Cenarius' Grove, where the Dream and Azeroth's border grows thin. It is a small grove, but one of great import, and one we must defend from the mortal side of Azeroth. Ysera and her dragons thoroughly defend the portal from within the Dream itself. We must guard it well from the outside."

Laronar raised a brow. "There's a physical portal to the Dream from this grove? I thought that was impossible."

"In most places, yes," Malfurion said, nodding, "But in this area, and apparently also in the areas where Fandral placed the other branches of Nordrassil, physical passage to the Dream is possible. I figured you would like this, as you have always been reluctant to part from your body. Now, you may walk the Dream, and retain the physical skills you value."

Laronar shrugged. "I like this body. I put a lot of effort into making it a weapon sharp enough for demon slaying. If what you say is true, I will endeavor to study in the Dream, and defend it, as I know you wish me to."


Malfurion nodded, then, and rose. Laronar did the same, sensing their meeting was over. "Thaon has already departed. I hope that you and he will be able to guide our estranged kin on the isles without coming into conflict."

Laronar smirked. "Is he still sore that I bested him in that hunting contest we had, what, millennia ago now? Do not worry, Shan'do. I'm sure the isles are big enough for two master predators. We will endeavor to create students adept at using Ashamane's form."

"I will send novices with an interest to you as well. Train them, and those you find upon the isles. When they are ready, send them through the Dreamway, to Feralas. From there, they should be able to find their way home. Good luck, Laronar." The Archdruid bowed, and Laronar bowed in return, then left the barrow. With physical travel now possible in the Dream, he had an idea of how he might bring Storm with him across an ocean.

The large saber cat had fathered many, many kittens in his long years spent in Nighthaven, Ashenvale, and even Feralas. Every few years, Shandris would call on him to make the rounds to the Sentinel's viable females, much to the irritation of his master, who could do little to stop the libido of the eager Stormsaber, or the stubborn General, who definitely outranked him. He had no doubt that what was left of Suramar would also need Nightsabers, and Storm's harem would likely go far in repopulating the area.


They traveled together as a small pack south to Feralas, and had little issue finding the Dream Bough. In a few short years it had grown well above the already towering trees of the jungle. The group made their way through the portal, after a brief conversation with the dragon who guarded it, and found themselves inside the Dream itself.

The Dreamway was lovely, easily one of the most aesthetically pleasing places Laronar had seen on his brief forays into the ephemeral realm. He felt Ashamane's presence then, and knew, by instinct, which portal led to the grove they were seeking. Storm wanted to linger, but Laronar kept his friend focused. It was not yet their time to reside in this realm, nor did he think either of them was strong enough to persist here after death, as some druids and other creatures had managed to do. That would require yet more training.

The grove they came upon after exiting the Dream was a sleepy little settlement, and seemed to barely differ from the Dream they'd just left. One look at the sky confirmed what Laronar suspected. They were indeed in another part of the world, under a sky and series of stars he hadn't seen for millennia. They weren't in the exact positions they'd been in during the War of the Ancients, but he supposed that was due to the slow-moving nature of this broken land. Even as he stood there, he could feel it shifting slowly, pulled toward the inescapable maw of the Maelstrom. It would be many millennia yet before it was all pulled under, though. Hopefully by then, they would have a way to keep their shattered land above the dark waves.


Laronar let the cats do as they pleased, and they wasted no time in sauntering off into the trees and brush south of the glade. Finding a home in a place this forested would be easy for them. Laronar looked around then, and eventually spotted a shrine in the centermost area of the few buildings nearby. Within were carved statues representing each branch of the druidic arts, and the feral carving appeared to still be in the process of being made.

Among the statues were several elves. Laronar recognized Thaon Moonclaw easily enough, in mid conversation with the others. They had been friends once, as master and apprentice, but the eager elf had soon sought other teachers when it became clear that his skill was better-than-normal. Laronar couldn't argue with that, for Ashamane herself had told him she favored him as well, after his heroics during the War of the Ancients, and an incident involving a newly turned Satyr.

He was shirtless, dressed much like Laronar, though he seemed to be wearing an outfit more suited for war than teaching. Leather straps cris-crossed the impressive torso, and his kilt had apparently been blessed by an Ancient, or several, for Laronar could sense the latent power in it from where he stood, some feet away.


Thaon had been the only other Feral Druid who had, in Laronar's opinion, mastered the Feral Arts as thoroughly as he had, if not more so. His skills had made him a bit arrogant however, and that was often how Laronar had managed to best him when he yet wished to challenge him in contests with their forms. Smirking as he recalled those challenges, most of which he'd claimed victory in, he made his way toward the druid.

He was speaking to several others, and as Laronar approached, the group's eyes shifted to him. He fidgeted, awkwardly, and then bowed. "Shan'do Stormrage has requested that I join you in these sundered lands, to teach and advance the Circle's understanding of the Feral Arts…in safety."

Another druid, one he took to be the leader, if not the primary tender of this grove, returned his bow. Laronar immediately liked him, but not because he was the first to show proper respect, it was more because he had a similar pair of shoulder pads to his own, though the leaves were gold. The others, save for the scowling Thaon, took a cue from the first druid, and bowed as well. "You are welcome here, Laronar Stormclaw. Perhaps now, Ashamane's followers will be able to begin. She has kept them from advancing their knowledge, even after Thaon arrived, to wait for you. Normally I would give introductions, but the Ancient's words were urgent. She wishes all of you to meet at the sight of her fall, before her Fangs."


Laronar nodded at the druid's words, and then at Thaon, who wordlessly turned, and headed eastward. As they left the grove proper, Laronar immediately felt it. The presence of his favored patron, stronger than it had ever been before.

"Control yourself…you're purring…" Thaon muttered, irritated, before taking the form of their patron, and dashing through the brush. Laronar was right behind him, and he heard the soft growl as Thaon's eyes fell on his form. It had always resembled Ashamane, but now he had gained size as well, though he was still only half as large as Storm.

Thaon's, for his part, had a mane just as impressive, though his fur was light purple and white, and covered with stripes. He stuck out more than Laronar had, a fact the druid often suggested was the reason he was able to best his former student when it came to stealth. In the night, Laronar's form had a tendency to meld with the darkness. The two massive cats, for Thaon's own form was only slightly smaller than Laronar's, soon realized they were racing.

They bounded through woods and brush, startling several elves who appeared to live in this wild forest in small clusters, until they came to a river. A quick glance told Laronar all he needed, his destination was a raised mound of earth, surrounded on two sides by water, and one by cliff. There was only one path up, and it would require crossing the water to reach. Neither wasted a moment to pause, as they skillfully leapt across the few rocks that broke the river's current without touching the water, a stipulation of many of their past races.


They turned left up the slope that seemed to have been trod quite a bit, making a dirt path of sorts, and the black cat roared as their pace slowed on the hill's upward slant. Thaon roared as well, as he knew what his mentor was doing. Often Ashamane rewarded their roars with an increase to speed, but the brief interval between them had been enough for Laronar to pull ahead, slightly, enough to reach their destination first.

He leapt over a small crowd of druids, who were gathered before a pedestal of sorts, Thaon close behind him. Laronar resumed his natural shape, smirking at his former student who, as he too dropped the form, was grinning, despite his near loss. Laronar chuckled. "You're getting quite fast, despite your old age, Thaon."

The other druid snorted. "Not fast enough, apparently…" One of the novices from the small crowd came forward then, and coughed. Thaon sighed, and gestured at the impatient novice. "Laronar Stormclaw, meet our new students."

The novice who stepped forward bowed as he spoke. "It is an honor to meet Ashamane's Chosen. We have heard much of your skills, master. I am Delandros Shim- hey! Are you even listening?" The novice had tilted his eyes up to the supposed master druid, only to find that their shirtless, green haired mentor-to-be was focused on what lay upon the pedestal, and not him.


Laronar held up a hand. "A moment. She speaks…" The younger druid fell silent immediately. Ashamane was indeed speaking, and a quick glance at Thaon told him that he was hearing her words as well.

Take up my Fangs.

Over and over it repeated in their minds, and at the same time, the two druids reached for them, each coming away with one. A low, rumbling, yet undeniably feminine chuckle echoed through the forested area, and the pair of fangs glowed a deep emerald green that surrounded the two druids, and coalesced behind them into the undeniable form of Ashamane. She was lying upon the fertile grass, and as she appeared, shimmering yellow flowers popped up around her.

Her voice reached all of them then. At last…you are all here. The Ancient's knowing, amber eyes flared as her paws kneaded the ground before her in, what Laronar sensed, was anticipation. Now, we may begin.

The Broken Crown
I actually did the quests involving this recently, and was surprised to find that the Hierophant in charge knew next to nothing about Vordrassil, why it was planted, or how it was broken. That could just be because she's a female, and therefor a relatively new druid, but I have a feeling Fandral's influence combined with the guilt of breaking a World Tree probably kept the whole incident fairly quiet.

Next Chapter:

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Kalimdor Sunders


Not long after their arrival, the Ancients of Kalimdor were called into the battle against the demons. Even with the other races, they were losing ground. Cenarius, as their unofficial leader, produced a massive horn as he trotted toward the battlefield. A rumbling sound filled the air, starting low, and then increasing in potency as the note grew louder.

Every Ancient and demi-god began to glow with the Fury of nature itself, and for a time, even the elven defender's eyes shared the amber glow that was Azeroth's power. The world had been woken by Deathwing's betrayal, and her defenders had not liked what they saw, rampaging across the continent with burning, mindless, slaughter.

The Ancient host immediately charged after the Forest Lord, and a few of the refugees went with them. It was an invigorating sound, and the horns of the united host blared as well as the additional defenders hit the front lines, utterly crushing a wedge the demons had formed to try to break the lines in two. With renewed fury, each of the Ancients rejoined the battle with sometimes almost mindless rage, and while the destruction they wrought was impressive…many began to fall.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of the demons perished under the wrath of the legendary defenders, but it soon became apparent many would not be coming back. Not even the giant, ferocious boar with the spikes. It looked as though Cenarius too would not be returning, as those who felled the boar turned on him as well, and that was when it appeared. A giant white stag, seemingly coming from nowhere, tore through the demons around Cenarius, and the defenders pulled the Forest Lord back.

There had been an almost zealot-like respect for the Forest Lord, since he had appeared. The Kaldorei had always claimed kinship with him, and now, that faith had been rewarded in their hour of need. Their racial focus was still very much on themselves. Only with time, would they learn that he had come to save their world, not just them.


One of the elders among the refugees recognized the white stag as Malorne, though nobody among the throngs of civilians quite knew what he represented, or even who he fully was. All that could be remembered of his ancient legend was his power, and supposed fatherly bond to Cenarius.

As the Ancient tore through the demon's ranks for miles however, Laronar noticed a similarity in how he and Cenarius had fought. The more he thought it over, the more sense it made. His father had once spoken of the Moon and the Stag, but he'd assumed it had been a fairytale. Evidently not.

The white stag also used the power of the land to destroy his foes, and as the tide of the war itself began to, finally, tip in Azeroth's favor, a giant demon strode out to meet the stag in single combat. This surely had to be the one leading the army, for he was enormous and powerful. Both terrifying and aesthetically pleasing. Nothing like the demons they'd encountered so far. That was when many of the refugees began to grasp that they had no idea of what the demons were, where they came from, why, or what race led their burning fury.

Not even Malorne could damage him much, and as the refugees watched helplessly, they gasped almost in unison as the demon held the stag in a headlock, and proceeded to snap his neck. The body of Malorne was tossed amongst the demon's own ranks, but it was clear that this large one did not care that it crushed its own forces. Only then did those not on the front lines begin to understand a truth the defenders had long known. They were outnumbered, severely.


Before the giant demon could strike again however, two things happened almost simultaneously. The dragons, minus the blues and blacks, appeared again and charged into the battle. The tide turned once more as the demons perished under their breath and claws, and Laronar once more had to re-evaluate the stories his parents and grandparents had shared with him. If Cenarius was the Lord of the Forest, the dragons were something else entirely.

Older than all of them, they were true immortals, and made a Kaldorei lifespan, the longest on the planet, look like an eyeblink in comparison. Once, the elves had supposedly given them respect, as defenders of the world, and the city of dragon riders on the western coast seemed to confirm the story. In the empire proper however, they were largely seen as mysterious, powerful, but beasts all the same. Meant to be slain, not worshiped. That was yet another view the Kaldorei people would soon re-evaluate.

The demon commander could not retaliate, for his form was covered in vines that seemed to grow relentlessly. At first it seemed as though Cenarius had done it, avenging the white stag as he had so many other ancients, but the Forest Lord was still recuperating.

Word had reached the civilians of spellcasters of their own race who much aided the cause, and it seemed now that those tales were true. The one casting the vines could only be this Malfurion Stormrage, who called himself a 'druid', and utilized strange, but powerful forces, similar to Cenarius', to eradicate the demons en masse.

His power made the demon's leader flee, and once more, Laronar wondered how it was this caster used nature in such a manner. He made a mental note to ask, if he ever had the opportunity.


After the arrival of the dragons, a group of them lifted off again, and flew towards Zin Azshari, and it became suddenly clear that this war was in its final stages. The demons fought with mindless fury, not caring if they lived or died, and even the magic users amongst them now fully joined the fray. Death was everywhere.

Word came from Shadowsong that the refugees were to move back, past Suramar, and await the final word. They did as they were asked, and so missed entirely the final stages of the War of the Ancients, as the conflict would come to be known.

Several hours after their retreat, a runner reached them, and ordered their group to head for the slopes of Mount Hyjal. With no explanation as to why, they ran, and soon Laronar found himself outpacing the rest, simply because he had Storm on which to ride. That did not, however, stop him from helping.

He took a pair of siblings, two sisters, on the Stormsaber as well. The oldest was younger than him, and the other was still a toddler. Worried that she wouldn't make it, their mother had begged him to take them, and he had agreed before other such requests could find him. The elves were desperate, and he couldn't carry everybody.

Storm handled the extra weight with little apparent difficulty, but eventually, even his owner could see he was tiring. By then however, they were all but at the base of Hyjal. The climb was slow, but not too arduous as they reached the summit. They let the Stormsaber rest, and Laronar let the two sisters rest as well, assuring them that their mother would indeed survive. For his part, he went to stand by the edge of the summit, and look down the relatively bare mountain for the other refugees.


Sure enough, he spotted them, only now at the base of the great mountain, and as the earth began to shake, he gasped as, in the far distance, he saw it literally crumble away. Not that far ahead of the devastation was the army, but they managed to outpace the disaster as the very land was sundered, and brought beneath the powerful dark waves of what had once been the Well of Eternity.

A new ocean formed over the lands to the east. An ocean that had never existed there previously. He assumed then that all he had ever known, the entire Night Elven Empire, was now underwater.

"Humbling, is it not."

A deep voice came from behind the young elf, and he whirled in surprise, to behold a Tauren. He had known they were big, but never realized just how big until that very moment. This one in particular had horns like a moose, and what had to be his armor for war looked as though it had come from an eagle. Helm, spaulders, even the tattoos he bore were all in the pattern of the great birds.

How his people had ever fought off tribes of these creatures amazed him, and then, he recalled it had been because of the Well. With that gone now, he wondered if the other races wouldn't take advantage of the elve's new weakness.


Deciding that he was too tired to care, he simply nodded, looking back at the new ocean. "It is. The world will be forever marked by the arrogance of our people…"

The Tauren joined the young Kaldorei, and nodded slowly. "It will be. And no amount of mending will ever repair this…Sundering. But you can atone, young one. Your entire race can, by embracing a new path."

This got a curious glance from Laronar, "New path?"

The Tauren nodded again, "Cenarius has asked that I teach you as he taught Malfurion Stormrage. He has marked the potential within you for Druidism; however, the choice is yours."

Looking back over at the new sea once more, Laronar nodded. "I want to learn." He said, "I want to help my race atone for what we've done. Maybe with time…even this sundered world can flourish."


After that, the Tauren followed the young elf, as he still had to guide the two siblings back to their mother. By the end of the day, what remained of the Night Elven people had climbed to the summit of Hyjal, but not before the lake at the very top had been tainted. Though he had refilled their water from that same lake just hours before, Malfurion's brother had tainted it with vials of water from the Well of Eternity, now lost to history.

He managed to pour three of them in before he was stopped, and even killed several scouts after he'd been caught. Laronar had wanted to charge in to aid them, but his new teacher, Kota Skyhorn, had held him back, and counseled patience. The two simply stared as a Night Elf sporting a pair of proud antlers not unlike those of Cenarius strode forward after subduing the mad, tattooed elf with the strange, burning eyes.

Only after did Laronar realize that this antlered one must be Malfurion. He was too shy for an introduction, however, and Kota made no move to force one upon him. He had a family to re-unite besides, and only after he did so did he look around for his own, hoping that perhaps one of his siblings had survived.


He almost felt guilty for hoping his sister, not his brother, had been spared, but he saw neither. He slowly realized that, over the long months, he'd come to know those among the refugees rather well. Though there were many, it was still unnerving to him that almost his entire race was small enough to be able to be memorized. It was only once he looked down the mountain, that he saw other camps of refugees, from other directions. The demons had driven his people into the wilds, for miles, and after being called back by Archimonde, those who had managed to run quick enough had survived, and been guided to Hyjal by Cenarius' treants.

Once the two sisters were re-united with their mother, her thanks were delayed. The Night Elves stared up in wonder as three enormous dragons appeared on the summit's mount with what remained of their civilization. They promised the Night Elves a chance at new prosperity, as each of the three planted and then empowered a small sapling which, by the end of their ritual, was already hundreds of feet tall, and only looked to keep growing.

They would retain their fertility, immortality, and connection to nature, provided they guarded this tree with their very souls. There was also something about a Dream, but that went entirely over Laronar's head. As the dragons spoke and cast their magic, they flew around and openly blessed this new 'World Tree'. They claimed that it was now tied to their race, forever.


Once it became clear that the elves would be settling on Hyjal first, and spreading to the surrounding lands, Kota led his new apprentice south, insisting that they begin his training immediately. At first, the Tauren objected to Storm coming with them, but the elf outright refused to abandon his friend and companion, and so the three traveled south, away from the Night Elves, and all Laronar and his pet had ever known.

He had no idea what becoming a druid would entail, but he wished to protect the world. For all his madness, Laronar too thought as Illidan Stormrage did, for he had loudly proclaimed what the young elf knew was an inevitable truth. That the demons would someday return.

Though he wasn't willing to burn out his eyes to combat them, he knew that he had to do whatever he could to help himself, and then his people, prepare for their coming. Even if he had to teach them all alone. He doubted he would though, for it seemed that Malfurion had begun seeking apprentices as soon as they had left, and had no shortage of those who were interested.

As they headed even further south, through a shadowy and clearly ancient forest all but untouched by any sentient race, Laronar began to wonder just how his learning would differ from what Malfurion was going to be teaching. Kota was Tauren, after all, and claimed that his race had been practicing the druidic arts far longer than any elf.

Kalimdor Sunders
My apologies to those confused by the sudden jump from mid War of the Ancients to several decades after. This is what happens when I transfer a story over after 28 hours with no sleep, and with constant interruptions from le puppy, demanding love and attention. Thankfully, it's now fixed. So enjoy.


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The Long Vigil Begins


Before many of the druids even realized Ashamane had abandoned the feral druids as well, Malfurion called all of the druids to the Moonglade, and once they were all assembled, Laronar began to understand just how vastly outnumbered his fellow feral druids were, and just how out of place he appeared next to his kin. Each wore respectable robes, engraved with runes meant to draw on and combine arcane and natural magic with ease, but he remained shirtless, in naught but a kilt.

He'd grown a pair of 'spaulders' from the seeds of a herb Kota and he had used for smoking, and with time, had encouraged the leaves upon them to grow both more potent, and harder to break. They made decent armor, and when crushed and smoked, were quite enjoyable. Aside from his shoulders, everything else remained much the same, for he saw no reason to change his attire. This was a time of peace, he didn't need armor. When the peace inevitably ended, for he was realizing it must always at some point end, he would make himself armor as the others had. He expected to be much stronger, and wiser by then though.

As Malfurion addressed the crowd, he announced that the dragon Ysera was calling the druids to guard the dream, as her dragonflight did, and together, they would protect it, and nourish the natural evolution of flora and fauna on Azeroth's sundered surface. They would sleep not briefly, but for months, centuries, even millennia, perhaps. Awakening only when the natural world needed their power. The defense of the forests would be left to the Sentinels, who were now experienced in the ways of war, and would only grow more so during this 'long vigil'.


Laronar declined the offer to sit in a dirty hovel for millennia, asleep, and instead promised to train new recruits to aid in Azeroth's defense. Malfurion, for once, did not argue the point. He then explained that the feral arts were indeed better suited for guarding the physical world, while the other two branches of druidism were, by far, more suited to protecting the ephemeral dreamscape the Archdruid seemed almost enamored with.

After centuries of not bearing offspring, many had begun to wonder why the most famous couple amongst the night elven race had not yet procreated. It had taken Laronar a while, but once he realized just how often Malfurion visited the Dream, he began to understand. The druid was drawn to that realm like a fly to Nightsaber dung. It consumed his every waking thought, and though the growing distance between his Shan'do and his mate was potentially concerning, it was still entirely their business. Not his.

Laronar sat quietly beside Storm as the majority of the druids flew into the air. Almost as many simply walked to the nearby Barrow Dens within the Moonglade, while the others would spread out, so that not all of them need be awakened at once if trouble arose. The only time that should happen, Malfurion had said during his speech, was if the Legion did indeed return, as so many feared they would.


In his place, Malfurion left Fandral Staghelm to lead those in charge of training new defenders of the Dream. At first, it seemed Fandral would be much the same as Malfurion, when it came to leadership, but that soon proved to not be the case.

Over the long centuries, Laronar, Naralex, and several other druids had reached out to the Tauren. They remembered the honorable allies who stood with them against the demons, and, they'd heard from Laronar that they knew much of druidism. His skill was a credit to the Tauren's techniques.

After the War of the Satyr especially, the newly formed Cenarion Circle had attracted many Tauren, and for a long time, their presence in the Moonglade had not been an issue, for Malfurion Stormrage himself welcomed them to come and learn, or leave, as they pleased. The Moonglade was a haven for all who followed Cenarius. For a long time, nobody seemed to mind.


Things had changed now, however. Almost immediately after they sensed their Shan'do return to sleep, Fandral made a decree of his own. None of the Tauren druids had gone into the Barrow Dens, for the journey to the Dream, for their race, was extremely difficult. Ysera had tied the elves to it more than anyone had realized.

Fandral claimed that, with the majority of the elves gone, the Tauren, Furbolgs, and other sentient races not tied to Cenarius himself should also return home. Laronar had, by pure instinct, responded with what Malfurion had often said himself, "All who walk the path of nature pay homage to Cenarius. This glade is a haven for his followers. All are welcome."

Remulos, a son of the Forest Lord himself, had nodded in approval, and then offered the invitation for the Tauren to stay. There were more than a few who had been openly shocked by Fandral's statement. It was as if the specter of the elven empire's racism had returned in Fandral. In the face of Laronar and Remulos' words though, they stayed, if a bit awkwardly.


For twenty eight hundred years, almost three millennia, Laronar stayed amongst his kin, though with each day he saw his people grow more and more insular, thanks in no small part to Fandral. More and more Tauren left the Moonglade, and Naralex, being a healer at heart, began to look for a way to help their shorter-lived allies.

Though he was never public with it, Fandral's influence spread quietly through Nighthaven, a place free of Remulos' presence, as he focused on tending the wilds. Slowly, more and more Tauren left as they decided that loyalty to their tribes outweighed loyalty to the increasingly racist Cenarion Circle. In an effort to mend relations, Naralex planned to study the area known as the Barrens, to see if he could make it more hospitable for the Tauren tribes.

Throughout Kalimdor the elves had spread, and while Ashenvale grew insular, the lands south had not. Kalimdor was a wild, untamed place, and the sentients who lived there got along because they all needed to survive together. Alone, the wilds would end them. The Tauren stayed in the area known as Mashan'she, north of the primarily elven jungles of Feralas. Naralex claimed he would find a way to make the more barren lands to the east more hospitable, and hopefully that would mend relations once their allies had more space to grow and live.


One of Laronar's students, a 'Druid of the Wild' known as Thal'darah, had gone south into the Stonetalon Mountains. Having mastered all branches of the druidic arts thanks in no small part to the fact that his master had been able to focus on training him, since he had so few students, Thal'darah had established a grove that soon took the place of Nighthaven.

The Tauren were receptive, for they had long traded with the elves of Ashenvale from their mountain-top settlements, primarily for metal-forged weapons. The Harpies were a nuisance to both races, and often, the Sentinels would join the Tauren hunts to cull their numbers. They always came back, though.

Tauren from many tribes came to Thal'darah's Grove, and when Fandral learned of it, he seemed not to care. It was outside of his sphere of influence, and he was not interested in what a couple of mountain-dwelling elves and bull men did together. Laronar, who by pure coincidence lived nearby with his ancient hut and the now heavily flourishing forest he'd created by giving his own energy to it daily, was always proud of his former apprentice. If he was being honest, Thal'darah had been the kind of student who excelled because he put in the effort. His own instruction had been minimal. Some students, he'd found, simply excelled by themselves.


By this point, Laronar's student count had vanished entirely, but he didn't mind. His little grove had exploded into a teeming forest, and he found that he enjoyed hunting within it. Sometimes, he would leap through the branches just for sport. They way everything had grown made traversing them a viable option while hunting. They were also strong enough to support his cat form's weight.

It was as he was enjoying another moonless night of sport that he sensed newcomers in his forest. The Tauren nearby sometimes hunted here, but as he usually stalked them just out of their sight, giving them only glimpses of his form before roaring at them and sending them fleeing in fear, they'd come to believe the forest was haunted by some kind of massive ghost panther. For some reason, Ashamane had found that incredibly amusing.

Thal'darah, who had passed this knowledge on to his old master with amusement in his tone, had gone on to explain that the tribe's new custom would be to avoid that forest, despite the large quantity of food within. They did not want to disturb a spirit. That had left the older druid chuckling for a good five minutes.


The intruders this time, however, were a pair of Sentinels. As they moved deeper into the forest, he stalked towards them, and both immediately halted, their bodies tensed up. They could sense he was nearby. They had potential. He circled behind them, and dropped to the ground. The elder of the pair, and the more attractive, at least to his eyes, swirled, and gasped, before dropping to a knee.

The massive saber-toothed panther paused, eyeing the two. Usually he just chased other elves off. He had no interest in being forced to dream. These moved with more purpose, however. He approached the kneeling pair, for the younger of the two, face yet unmarked, had also knelt. Laronar eyed the pair of azure-haired heads, and then carved a symbol into the ground beneath them with a single claw. A crescent moon, and a small circle resting in its curve.

The elder saw it, and smiled. "You startled us, elder." She rose as he did, the natural magic of the world itself remaking him into his first form, that of an elf. He'd studied the healing arts between nightly hunts while he'd lived this hermetic existence, and this had only helped with his physical body. What scars there were, had vanished, leaving the heavily muscled, and as always, shirtless, abdomen of the elf open to the cold night air.


He hid his amusement as the younger one just stared, obviously. The elder, who had to be her sister now that he saw and compared their features, appeared immune to his natural charisma. Potential indeed. "Why have you sought me out, sisters?"

The younger one spoke up, eyes refocusing as the druid's soft, unused baritone cut through the surrounding din of the forest. "Shan'do Stormrage has requested your aid, Archdruid."

Laronar blinked. "Malfurion? He's actually awake?" He frowned. Nothing, not even his lovely mate, could draw that druid from the dream realm. Especially once he was in it. It had an almost possessive hold over him, but whenever the subject was broached he would simply insist that they too would feel the call to dream in time. Such was Ysera's blessing.

They both seemed surprised at how casually he referred to literally the most iconic Kaldorei alive, except for perhaps his mate or his brother. Laronar hardly noticed. After centuries of studying with him, Laronar liked to think he knew the famed druid fairly well. "Tell him I am on my way. My strength is his." He bowed, and the two Sentinels exited the woods, mounted up again, and begin racing back towards the shadowed boughs of Ashenvale in the distance.


Laronar took his owl form, and flew to the highest peak near his tiny little cabin. His forest was, by comparison to Ashenvale, little more than a grove. But he was rather fond of it. As he landed, his eyes moved north, as they did every night when he was drawn up here. Looming over the shadowy forest was Hyjal, by far the largest mountain on the planet, supporting the largest tree. He was under no illusions as to why his grove, and the planet, flourished. He'd seen the world's regrowth as it happened.

Millennia later, the scars of the ancient war were mostly reclaimed by nature, invisible to the eye…if one avoided the eastern coast. Many of Kalimdor's natives did. Truthfully, he was only a few hours from Ashenvale. Less, if he flew. Normally he'd take Storm, but it had become apparent that the grove Laronar loved so much was only big enough to handle one large predator's appetite.

Storm hadn't minded, though. Now, the Sentinels were using him to father strong, healthy mounts out of Nighthaven. It was rare to find a Nightsaber male that was so…dominant. He understood why there were so few naturally. Their libido was practically insatiable. It helped with preparing the Sentinel Army though. He knew Shandris visited his cat's stable often enough, but he'd pointedly avoided crossing her path for millennia.


By now she'd figured out whose word she could trust, and whose she could not. Evidently, from what little gossip he received these days, there had even been an altercation when she found out just how many lies her top lieutenant had spun. She'd tried finding him several times, and had succeeded, only to find the aged elf was a far cry from the naïve druid with a thing for cats she'd originally fallen for. The Laronar she knew had been replaced by a 'wisdom spouting pacifist who looked at plants all day'. Or so she'd termed his current studies, before leaving in a huff of irritation and lowered expectations.

He hadn't minded much, as he'd finally found inner peace. His cat form was born to the shadow, but he enjoyed healing just as much as hunting. That, more than anything, was what had kept him from flying off to join Malfurion immediately. Someone had to watch this forest. The animals had come to trust him as they would a Keeper, bringing those who were injured to his hut. The fact that he still needed to hunt for food was a testament to his healing skills. Between drying meat, and picking food from the forest itself, his food stores were fine. His role in this little hermit's paradise was culling the old to make way for the new.

He gave the owl equivalent of a sigh, and flapped back down towards his home, shifting as he landed. Normally he liked sleeping in his owl form, as the Owl Spirit was rather clever, and would often toss him a riddle to gnaw on at seemingly random times. That wouldn't be the case tonight, though.


A genuine Grove Keeper, a child of Cenarius, was waiting for him when he returned. He bowed low, and let the ancient being speak. "I will tend to your forest in your absence. You have given much to the land. It will not forget this gift, I promise you. Now go, Archdruid. Stormrage needs you. All of you."

Laronar raised a brow, "All? All of us? For what?"

The jade skinned face formed a smirk. "Ask him yourself, once you arrive."

It took a while to gather what he might need. If all the druids were awake, that meant something big was happening. Legion-returning big. War of the Satyr big. He frowned at the leather armor he'd been all but ordered to wear during the last war. He truly despised it. All it had ultimately done was limit his cat form's movement. Fighting with it had been like fighting in soggy robes. Moreover, he'd utterly failed to maintain it. Millennia of 'out of sight, out of mind' had caused the metal holding it all together to rust.

As the jerkin fell apart into its base pieces, Laronar let them fall. "Forget this…" he muttered. After speaking with, growing, and studying plant life for so long, he was reasonably sure he could craft a decent, comfortable set of tree bark armor to go with his leafy shoulders. Of course, if he was using bark for armor, only one tree would do.


Unsurprisingly, after arriving at Nordrassil, Laronar found that many druids had the same idea he did. Armor made of the World Tree's bark. He almost hadn't found enough to safely pry from the base, but he managed to get enough for a pair of gauntlets. Crafting them had been relatively simple. Getting them blessed by a Keeper, so they didn't shatter in seconds, would be the truly difficult part. Such items were not lightly created.

Hyjal was packed with druids now, on every slope, in every branch. He knew they were numerous, but he hadn't realized just how many thousands had actually finished the training. After one embarrassing greeting to a former student who evidently wanted nothing to do with his bare-chested master, Laronar stopped looking for the others. He'd almost forgotten in those long years. Being around so many druids again had been a harsh reminder of exactly where the Feral Arts were on their collective totem pole.

Many had done as he had, and shifted their fields of study. Though where he had done so more out of altruism, he found many others had simply abandoned the feral path in favor of far easier and more familiar spellcasting. It was hard to forget sometimes, that many of these elves had once reveled in mana, and used it. It wasn't all that surprising that his race had gravitated to the closest thing to a 'mage' the druidic arts could create. Nor was it surprising, he realized, that he'd saved the study of Balance magic for last. He'd never much cared for damaging spells, and indeed, even using ones fueled by nature and mana alike was too similar, for him at least, to tossing fireballs. It always brought up memories best left buried.


The low rumble of the Horn of Cenarius rang throughout the din under Nordrassil's roots, and the gathered druids slowly quieted as their Shan'do made his appearance. The horns were more majestic, the beard was worthy of yet more envy, and after a closer look, it seemed the druid had awakened recently. He still had serious bedhead, but then, who wouldn't after almost three millennia of sleeping in the dirt?

"Friends, students, druids of the Circle! Attend your ears. I've been informed that our own Fandral Staghelm has done something most disturbing." As Malfurion paused, the gathered druids murmured softly. Laronar tried not to grin, and failed. It was about time that pompous ass made a misstep. If Malfurion was awake, it had to be a big one. "In the icy lands to the north, a place the denizens have apparently named 'Northrend', he has planted branches of our beloved Nordrassil, and crafted new World Trees."

The murmurs picked up in intensity as the elder's eyes went wide, and the students and younger druids began questioning why such a thing warranted a gathering. Many were hushed, but Malfurion continued on regardless, and answered many of the questions as he did. "By doing this, Fandral has exposed the Dream to corruption. This new tree does not have the Dragon Aspect's blessing, and without it, I fear those northern lands will corrupt it. Already, word of war between the local nymphs and peaceful denizens of the continent has reached us. We are going to investigate, and if necessary, bring this tree down. Ysera has decreed it."


"We will fly to Northrend! Together!" The Archdruid raised a fist that Laronar noticed had metal claws coming slightly over the knuckles of his hand. He didn't grasp why Malfurion would need such things, as he could easily shift portions of his body to make something as simple as claws. Then, he remembered. Ashamane still felt slighted by the Archdruid's lack of respect. Evidently, she had not given use of her form back to the Circle over the long years he'd been in his forest. It was a saddening thought.

He blinked then, as he noticed druids around him taking on various bird forms, and ascending into the sky. Malfurion was at their head, in the form of a massive Storm Crow, wings alight with faint sparks of electricity as he flew higher and higher. Laronar joined the others, opting for his owl form. While Storm Crows were useful, iconic even, he knew owls were quite good at surviving in the cold.

The massive horde of birds drew attention as they flew over Northrend's mostly unpopulated lands, east along the coast. The whole trip lasted several long days, but as they entered the Grizzly Hills, they each saw what Fandral had wrought on the horizon. At first, it seemed a majestic sight, but then, Laronar spied the base of the large tree. Large figures that resembled Tauren were clashing ferociously with blue skinned nymphs, but something was off.


After seeing his share of war, he knew what a battle looked like from the air. Often, he'd been ordered into the air to find leader types amongst the enemy, and then land, stalk towards them, and take them out. The participants of this war did not fight like soldiers. They fought like animals, with little to no regard for strategy, weapons, or tactics. It was bloody, senseless chaos.

Then, Malfurion reminded them all why the legends spoke so highly of his skills. He had shifted his form back, but feathers remained along his arms, and he used them as he glided down through the stormy sky, thousands of birds behind him, hands alight with the magic of the world as he commanded massive roots to rise up, and bind the fighters in place. All of them.

With little more than whisper, and while falling thousands of feet in the air, he'd turned the massive tree's base into a painful looking bramble. Shifting back, he led the druids in a large circle around the tree, and as he flew ahead of them the bramble he'd created followed him. He ensnared those who had been brawling out of his sight, behind the tree's base as he circled the tree.


After three long circles, he finally brought the horde of druids down slightly to the north of the massive tree, towards a carving of a familiar looking bear head. Just outside of it, he spied what Malfurion had likely already seen. Several elves, no doubt whoever Fandral had enlisted for aid in this endeavor to plant more World Trees.

In front of the small group of elves was a massive, shimmering bear and Laronar knew, as he'd spoken with Ursoc before, that this was the Ancient himself. Or at least, a manifestation. Evidently, death was not permanent for those who tied themselves to the Dream. The bear made a dismissive gesture with his paw, and then nodded up at the massive horde of flying druids.

Now that they were closer, and indeed many had already landed, Laronar could see the expression on Fandral's face. That alone, was worth the three days of straight flying in freezing winds. He found a perch of his own, close enough to hear Malfurion as the Archdruid approached, and bowed before Ursoc. The bear nodded once, but said nothing. The furious amber orbs shifted to Fandral, and the Archdruid's tone didn't hide his rage. "Fandral Staghelm, you will answer me! What have you wrought!? More importantly…why?"
The Long Vigil Begins
And just like that, we're all caught up. As with my other story, this is on fanfiction.net, and has been for some time. Now that I have a plethora of freedom, expect more of this, because I'm on a WoW bender lately. That Darkshore patch is...not terrible.


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Satyrs and Wolves


Many long years passed as the druids experimented with taking the forms of all sorts of animals, and practiced their magic while the civilization of the Kaldorei began to regrow, primarily under the watchful eye of Tyrande Whisperwind. There was relative peace among them, but memories of the Legion remained fresh in their minds, and always the elves remembered the consequences of their actions.

More often than not, the painful emotions from the war were focused on a group of Azshara's own Highborne who had fled the capital and, with the aid of Elune herself, survived the Sundering. Despite the turmoil their arcane magic had caused, they remained convinced that it was the path the Kaldorei should continue to embrace.

Laronar himself had been approached by their leader, Dath'remar, for he had gone through the surnames of elves who'd survived the war, and had sought out former Highborne in hiding, hoping to gain more followers. At first, it was easy to sympathize with them, for they had lost much themselves, and carried the blame for starting the war. In reality, he'd been told, they had been forced to comply with Azshara, and her lord advisor Xavius, which was the only reason their people had allowed them to 'rejoin' them in the first place. That hadn't stopped the hatred however, and it was commonplace for them to literally be spat upon when they walked the streets of the new elven cities in broad moonlight.

The druid had flatly denied Dath'remar, for he enjoyed being what he was. He'd given up his heritage long ago, and had no desire to reclaim it, or use it as leverage over others. In Dath'remar's people, he often found aspects of what he'd disliked most about his caste, still somewhat intact. The haughty attitudes, the sense of superiority, even the flamboyant clothing. He wanted none of it, and many the Highborne leader went to had told him much the same. After learning from Dragon Aspects and Ancients as to what the right path was, the majority of the Kaldorei people followed their examples, and had no wish to deviate from the course of redemption. Those like Laronar buried their past, and embraced their future.

Eventually, Dath'remar became convinced that a visceral display of power would convince those who'd denied him to rejoin their people, and to that end, the Highborne pooled their might, and unleashed a mighty storm upon Ashenvale which was arcane in nature. Instead of aweing the elves with their might, the druids frantically tried to calm the enraged winds, and return nature to balance. Eventually, Malfurion himself subdued the storm, and once more, peace reigned. Tensions rose, as many saw the display as an attack on the elves' new home.

With the exception of druids, who used the arcane in conjunction with natural magic, sparingly, using arcane magic by itself in the fashion of a mage was illegal, on pain of death. Unwilling to kill so many of their kin, the Highborne were given naturally crafted ships, and exiled across the sea, to the other half of the sundered continent of Kalimdor. It would be millennia before the two peoples met again.


Finally, the day came when each of Malfurion's students were considered to be master druids, including Laronar, who had since mastered walking the Emerald Dream. He was one hundred and seventy years of age now, although his body had stopped showing signs of aging not long after he'd arrived in Ashenvale. The Dragon Aspects had not lied when they claimed that Nordrassil would make them retain their immortality. Their promise of survival was evidently granted as well, for in that century long peace, the elves had more children amongst them than ever before. Strangely, Tyrande and Malfurion remained heirless, but nobody commented. Life mates weren't as common anymore, but their affairs were still given privacy.

Each of the former apprentices congratulated the other, and one in particular, Ralaar Fangfire, was determined to convince the reclusive Laronar to celebrate with them, for often after training he would meditate within his cat form, and ask the spirits for stories and wisdom, rather than waste time in the inns and taverns his fellow druids frequented after long days of practice and meditation.

That night was special though, and the so-called 'feral druid' soon found himself surrounded by his peers as they made their way to their favorite spot within Ordil'aran. Once he was out of his reclusive shell, the druid who could shape shift as skillfully as Malfurion was actually quite entertaining, a fact that Ralaar and the others who preferred shapeshifting to spells had discovered the first time they'd successfully dragged him out to imbibe in alcoholic beverages. What little Laronar remembered of that night, spent drinking, feasting, and dancing upon tables whilst shifted, would help him in the many wars to come. Though he didn't yet know it, those years spent training would be some of his fondest memories.


With the word out that the first generation of druidic masters was now finally free to take apprentices, the requests to learn flooded in, as they had after Nordrassil was planted, and now it was the student's turn to understand the hell that was sifting through potential students, searching for the best, as Malfurion had done. Males, females, everyone wanted the power, and prestige, that came with being one of nature's defenders. Soon though, many found that they simply could not handle the lifestyle required. Often, training involved hours of meditation, and Laronar soon began to understand why Malfurion had chosen the students he had.

They had sharp minds and patience, whereas many of their people did not. Many did not even make it to communing with nature itself, but those who did were assigned to a master. Eventually, Malfurion decreed that the druids should be entirely male, as the priestesses were female. Given that they'd had few females even show interest in truly learning, none of the druids disagreed. Long had the women of their race held superior status. This division of power would balance them, or so Stormrage claimed, and none could find fault with his logic. Sharing power equally was a popular idea. Nobody wanted another Azshara.

Time continued to flow, and six whole centuries passed Laronar by as he trained new druids, adventured with Shandris, and honed his skills. Often he would ask Ashamane, and the other Ancients, how to improve his skill with their forms. Though pulling knowledge from them was like draining water from a stone, but what clues he did receive helped tremendously.

After seven hundred years since the demonic invasion, Kaldorei society had once more flourished under their new path and the blessings they'd been given. Being among the 'Archdruids' as he and the first generation had begun to be called, came with some measure of fame, and even political sway, in certain cases. Though he was, compared to many of the survivors, still young, Laronar's words carried weight, and he found himself enjoying when people actually listened to what he said. He did not claim to be wise, but he tried to dispense knowledge where he could, and often, his students would name him their Shan'do.


This was common amongst his fellows as well. Those who had been the first to learn had been ideal to become master druids, and it was a long time before Malfurion himself admitted that he hadn't been convinced Laronar would work with those he'd initially chosen. He was, supposedly, glad that he'd been wrong though. Given the inherently awkward nature of their dynamic, for Shandris' affections had not been forgotten or unnoticed, he took what compliments he could get from the legendary druid.

Shandris herself had been reassigned elsewhere in the budding Kaldorei territories, which spanned most of Kalimdor, often in areas that the Tauren did not inhabit. Though they were not hostile, the bull-men were not overtly friendly either, for they had no qualms about placing the blame for the state of their sundered world entirely on another race. Still, they remained friendly, and traded often, a far cry from how they'd acted when the empire yet stood. Tasked by Tyrande with focusing on training Sentinels, for she had agreed that the demon's return was inevitable, given their nature, Shandris had created a stronghold in which to forge her new warriors off of the coast of the region known as Feralas.

Like the other druids, Laronar had learned to fly early on, and though the flight wasn't terribly long, the distance was far enough for the embers of…whatever they'd had, to cool. It also didn't help that the Sentinels, much like the Sisterhood of Elune, were almost entirely female. Every move he made on his visits to the isle ended up being gossiped back to Shandris, and eventually, she'd 'ordered him to visit her'. The tone and expression of the Sentinel who'd given him that command was unreadable, and he was obliged to obey it, as it came directly from their General, who had the power to draft any Kaldorei, technically.

Upon arriving on Shandris' island stronghold, he was well aware of the looks he was recieving as he made his way to her quarters, that double as her office. He gave a bow as he arrived. "General Feathermoon..."

"Don't 'General Feathermoon' me." She said, already irritated. "I keep hearing of your 'exploits' around my Stronghold, Laronar. It's hard enough getting these women, many of whom are older than me, to listen to my orders. When my lover is breeding the medics behind my back, it gets that much more difficult..."

He could hear the hurt in her voice, though he had no earthly idea of what she was referring to. "I've only ever sold herbs to your medics, Shandris...my heart is yours. You know this."

She had her back to him, looking out the window behind her desk. She was hiding her face, but his sharp nose could smell the salty tears. "I thought I did. But it's become clear that I can't trust what you've told me. This isn't the first time I've gotten such a report. I've ignored them in the past, but I would be a fool to keep doing so. I can no longer afford the distraction our...fraternizing...is causing me. I have an army to build. This is the end of us, Laronar Stormclaw. Do not return to my island."

"I don't know what you've heard, but it's simply not true...I swear to you, by Elune hersel-" Shandris cut him off before he could finish.

"Swear by the goddess you do not worship, swear by the demigod whose form you take. Swear by my own father if you must, it does not matter. I used to like your...feral insistence, but in embracing savagery, you're tossing aside everything that could make you a respectable Kaldorei...many see you as little more than beast, Laronar..."

Crossing his muscled arms, he raised a brow, despite the fact that her back was yet turned. "And this bothers you? You've never said so before. Elune was not watching out for my mother when a Doomguard speared her through her back. She was not watching my sister when she likely befell a similar fate. She did not come to my father's aid either, when he sacrificed himself so that I might live. Ashamane has always watched me, ever since I found Storm, at least. It's not my fault your Goddess does not take male devotion..."

He saw her fist clench, and he knew he'd made her angry. That was good, for he also knew that anger would keep her from weeping overlong over losing him. He had no idea what fabricated report she'd received, and he found that he did not care. A woman who would trust a paper over his own word was not a fit mate. He'd been denying their incompatibility for a while, but now was as good a time to end things as there would ever be. "Enough..." She snarled, "You are no longer welcome on my island. Get out."

He did as he was bid, storming from her office, and avoiding making eye contact with the inhabitants of the stronghold as he leapt into the air, and took the form of an owl. He decided then that he'd had more than enough of Sentinels, and women in general, at least for a while, and focused on training his apprentices back home. Given that they were all male, romantic entanglements were all but nonexistent, as his students eventually noticed their master was, quite obviously, drawn to females, and only females.


Even though his first attempt at finding a mate failed, that didn't stop him from occasional attempts at romance over the long centuries that followed. His mastery of what the druids had nicknamed the 'feral arts' had resulted in a male form that was aesthetically pleasing, and heavily muscled. He was, by far, the most obvious example of what becoming a 'feral druid' could do for one's appearance, and as such, he had no shortage of downright embarrassing offers for coitus. Once the rumors of his 'relationship' with the Sentinel's General going up in flames had reached Ashenvale, such offers only increased.

With no reason to deny them any longer, the relatively young druid quickly learned much about women, though it was mainly physical learning. Their personalities, and rationale, continuously befuddled him, and eventually he gave up trying to make sense of any of it, assuming that when and if he found a mate, it would all simply 'click', as the druids who already had mates had described it, when he'd mentioned his irritation with the fairer sex's seemingly irrational attitudes.

What he would only understand with time, was that many of those early encounters were purely for pleasure, and being that his only experience with such things had been long-term, spanning centuries, he'd often expected them to last longer than a single night. Thus, it came as something of a surprise when the females in question would eventually all but shun him after getting what they'd approached him for.

In those days, it wasn't entirely uncommon for those without mates to bear and raise the offspring of such unions, in the name of repopulating their devastated race, and though he would eventually suspect he himself had managed to father several such children, he never received word of any. Nobody asked where such children came from, and nobody told the children in question of their parentage. For their society, it simply wasn't important. Only with time, would the focus on life mates return. In those days though, repopulating had been a racial imperative.


As with all times of peace on Azeroth, it was doomed to end with the outbreak of war. It began with strange reports. The Sentinels in Ashenvale reported burning rocks falling from the sky into a nearby valley to the east. The druids who had chosen to venerate the Storm Crow, along with Malfurion and Laronar, set out to investigate these rocks the next day.

All remembered the sight of the dreaded Infernals falling from the sky. Yet, there was no trace of them. Each druid scouted for miles around the valley they had been said to have landed in, but all they found were impact craters. No fire, no footsteps. Malfurion went as far as contacting Cenarius, and although the demigod said he felt no shift in the balance of nature, he warned that dark times were approaching.

Ever one to heed the Ancient's advice, Malfurion mobilized the elven army, what remained of the host that had fought the Legion, alongside the Sentinels and the druids. For a time, it seemed as though the rumors were nothing to worry about. Such meteors had been spied before after all, but this time, the rocks in question had indeed been what the Sentinels had suspected them to be. The green flames had given them away.

The demons first appeared not far from the Raynewood Retreat, and when they were sighted, the elven host once more rushed out to meet them in battle. The enemies they fought turned out to be Satyrs; worse, they were Satyrs who worshiped Xavius, the Highborne responsible for summoning the Legion to Kalimdor in the first place. The Kaldorei who had been advisor to the Queen herself. It was his name they cried as they met the Kaldorei, and it was in his name that they forced the elves to retreat in that first bloody conflict through their mastery of vile magic, and the relentless power of their summoned Infernals.


It was to the Raynewood Retreat that the elves went once the Satyrs routed them, and it was at Raynewood that Ralaar Fangfire once more tried to convince Malfurion to use what had been dubbed the 'Pack Form' by the few druids who had dared to take the legendary Goldrinn's form.

Like Ralaar and Malfurion, Laronar had also taken it once more, but the pure savagery of the beast within was untamable. Goldrinn had eventually warned each of them that they weren't compatible with his form, but it was Tyrande Whisperwind who, at that very moment, elaborated on why the druids could never control it.

Night Elves were the children of Elune, and Elune and Goldrinn had a rivalry that stretched back far, long before the elve's first empire. She said that, under the full shine of Elune's light, Goldrinn had gone mad with primal rage, refusing to be the noble creature Elune wanted him to be. Under the twin full moons, it was said he had felt like he was being stared at by the Goddess, judged to be little more than an animal, despite his noble demeanor, all because he refused to 'tame' his primal savageness. This had ignited the wolf Ancient's fury, and the resulting feud had lasted millennia.


Ralaar seemed not to understand what that meant, as he continued to demand the Pack Form be used against the Satyrs, Laronar however understood quickly, for in the area concerning their moon goddess, Shandris had educated him thoroughly. The Kaldorei were allegedly the favored children of the moon goddess. They always had been, for as long as any of them could remember. That was why the druids couldn't tame Goldrinn's form.

Elune's essence was imbued in their very race, the one thing that brought out the wolf god's rage more than anything else. As long as the druids followed Elune, Goldrinn's form would be impossible to master without falling to madness. The feuds among the Ancients were usually as long-lived as they were. As Laronar thought this over, the others departed Raynewood after a heated exchange he hadn't been listening to. He would always regret not sharing his revelation then, when there might still have been a chance to prevent the coming bloodshed.

After the discussion at Raynewood, a secret assault was mounted against the Satyr stronghold the elven scouts had discovered in a place the Satyrs called Xavian, and a plan was made to assassinate their general. It succeeded, but at a heavy price. Ralaar and his friend Arvell had been forced to use the Pack Form just to escape alive…but their lack of control had cost Tyrande four sentinels, and had wounded Shandris, who had returned with the reformation of the elven army. Laronar had avoided her like the plague, and though he'd felt her eyes on him several times, he ignored her gaze. She had, in his opinion, had her chance. She'd believed foul rumors over his own word.


Tyrande demanded justice, and Malfurion dealt it by letting the two druids live with their guilt. To Laronar, who had helped Malfurion rescue the others in his Stormcrow form, it was too soft a punishment for someone like Ralaar, who now seemed only to understand violence.

For all his good attributes, Malfurion had a tendency to miss or overlook the flaws in his students. Ever since he had first tried to take Goldrinn's form, without Goldrinn's permission, Ralaar had been growing more and more…feral. Little did any of the other druids know that as they prepared for the next battle in this War of the Satyr, Ralaar Fangfire had darker plans.

His friend Arvell had been killed, in his eyes, because he refused to take the Pack Form, as he had promised Malfurion. While Malfurion and the others mourned the loss of yet another druid, Ralaar and Arvell's lover were creating a weapon that should not have been conceived. They combined a Staff of Elune with an object Ralaar called The Fang of Goldrinn, creating the Scythe of Elune.

It was, at its heart, a good-natured attempt to control that which the Kaldorei could never hope to, but it backfired. Goldrinn's essence refused to be tamed, and the Scythe created the first of the Worgen. Wolf-men, who went beyond the basic Pack Form to become something much, much worse.


At the next major battle with the Satyr army, the druids who had spoken out against Malfurion's banishment of the Pack Form failed to appear…at first. Over the past week they had become the beasts that would come to be known as Worgen, and as they ran through the charging Night Elven host, they ignored them, and tore into the demon's latest fortifications.

Despite the carnage, Laronar was personally impressed by their strength, if not their savagery. As the demons fell though, the beast that was now Ralaar Fangfire attacked Malfurion, and the other wolf men followed. Malfurion routed them single handedly, tying them down with vines that, as druids, they should have been able to rid themselves of easily. Nature refused their call, however, and that proved in many druidic minds that these new monsters were no longer a druidic form, but an abomination.

The druids retreated to the ancient grove of the Moonglade, their last holdout, and it was there that Malfurion declared that the time for testing and experimentation with the druidic powers was over. That from then on, there would be an order and set practices for the druids of the future. Only those who were wise enough to know when to limit their experimentation with nature's forces would be allowed to research them in this new Cenarion Circle. A plan was then devised to rid the world of Ralaar and his beasts, for they had torn through most of western Ashenvale, attacking the demons as well as their own people. Their very bite turned their victims into monsters, like them.


The one advantage the newly formed Cenarion Circle had on the beasts was the Scythe of Elune, given to Malfurion by its creator, the redeemed Priestess Belysra, who evidently now regretted creating the weapon in the first place. Luckily, she was among sympathetic peers. A meeting with Ralaar was organized, under the pretense of Malfurion receiving punishment for his supposed transgressions.

Once the Archdruid had the Scythe however, it was over. The Worgen were banished to sleep under Daral'nir within the Emerald Dream for all eternity. With the Worgen banished and the demons leaderless and fearful of the untamed savage wolf-elves running wild in the forest, the Kaldorei regrouped and ended the War of the Satyr, shattering the Satyr power structure so effectively that they never truly recovered as a race.

The druids changed quickly after that, and Laronar watched as terms that had once been little more than nicknames became proper 'branches' of what was now called the Druidic Arts. Those like him kept the name Feral Druids, but after the war, their reputation suffered, and compared to the other branches of Balance and Restoration, they received the most limitations. No longer were they to reach out to as many Ancients as possible, hoping to take their form. No longer would they revel in the ferocity and closeness to nature such forms provided.

While Laronar understood the need for such things after Ralaar turned mad, it left those who had mastered the Feral Arts with a sour taste in their maws. What Laronar truly took issue with was the command, from Malfurion himself, to not embrace the 'savage nature' of the Wild Gods. To always keep a line between what was elven, and what was animal.

This, more than anything, crippled the new students seeking to learn, and the gulf of power between them and the first generations of feral druids became wider as what they had once freely taught was focused and diluted into following only a few specific animal totems. Furious at the sudden lack of respect and veneration, many of the Wild Gods refused to share their power at all, something Malfurion took in stride, and ultimately ignored. He was of the opinion that Balance and Healing were more important, and that many of the Wild Gods were fickle at the best of times. If they were to defend the world, they needed reliable allies.


Laronar, personally, ignored this new directive from the Circle's leader, and often argued with Malfurion over what should and should not be taught. He had more experience with the Ancients than any of them, a fact he often found himself repeating, and he also claimed that blurring the lines of animal and elf did not have to result in abominations like the Worgen. His own form was physical proof that a positive link to the Ancients could only be beneficial.

Despite his words, Malfurion's will was iron on this, and Laronar's stubbornness to change resulted in a serious decrease in new students given to him by the druids in charge of such things under the new order. Those he had trained, were watched, and over time, they too eventually bent to Malfurion's crippling edicts. That, more than anything else, was what drove the first wedge between Laronar and his fellow druids.

The new feral students focused primarily on the spirit of the Bear, and named themselves the Druids of the Claw, after the fallen Ursoc's own claws. Since Ursol himself was not all that different from a balance druid, Malfurion was of the opinion that their Bear Form was all the druids would ever really need. Sentinels, he argued, could do far more than those disguised as fierce Nightsabers in the shadows. That, was when Ashamane herself withdrew as well, though Laronar was able to keep her form, even Malfurion found himself unable to become the cat. This too, he took in stride.
Satyrs and Wolves
If you want more on the history of the War of the Satyr, there's a decent comic describing most of what I outlined in far greater detail.


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Dream Walking


After the awkwardness of his arrival faded, Laronar once more found a routine. He spent half the day teaching, half learning, and spent his nights being shown around the new Kaldorei Empire by Shandris. Though calling it an empire was very generous, several cities of marble and various trees had been skillfully created by the fledgling druids, and slowly, the elves recuperated.

What little sleep he did get during this time was either spent in the saddle or under the stars, which was another thing he had to adjust to. In an effort to increase the pace of their training because of the apparent looming demon threat, Malfurion had the druids practice during the day, just as he had.

That it all but kept Shandris and Laronar apart was purely coincidental. Cenarius had trained him by the daylight, and now his students would do the same. Having a Tauren master, it wasn't that big of a switch for Laronar, though he still preferred the night.


He had asked his fellow druids about any remaining demons, and while hunting rumors of Satyrs kept the newly formed Sentinels busy, those who still remained after the Legion fell hardly seemed to warrant a threat, at least in Laronar's eyes. The story of the war itself, something he had largely missed because he'd been so young, had been enlightening.

The portal that the Highborne had created was closed now though, and without the Well, surely the Satyrs, who he had been told were actually Highborne who'd embraced the demons entirely, could not make another. Not without the Kaldorei noticing. Even though the new 'empire' all but shunned the arcane, they had enough skill to keep wards up for detecting such a thing.


Time passed, and the young druid managed to juggle his training and his various relationships fairly well. He improved much under Malfurion's strict guidance, and that he had other students to help him along only sped up the process. Soon, it was time for the next step in his training. What that next step would be had been hinted at, but each of his peers felt that their words would not do it justice, and so Laronar had waited. Until now.

"When the dragons gave us Nordrassil, they gave us three gifts," Malfurion reiterated for their assembled group. "The Life Binder ensured our ability to repopulate, Nozdormu gave us our immortality, but Ysera's gift was something else entirely. She bound our very people to her own realm, the Emerald Dream."

He paused, seemingly thinking about how to describe it to one who had not walked it. "The Dream is Azeroth as it was in the beginning. No mortal races, no buildings, entirely untouched, and in some places, unfinished by those who shaped both it, and our world. Those who live within the dream are creatures, from squirrels to dragons, who have passed on. It is a spiritual realm that, for many, acts as a sort of afterlife. The green dragons are the ones who guard it, and Ysera, its mistress, has bid that we druids guard it as well."


As Malfurion explained how and why druids could and should walk the Emerald Dream, Laronar began to realize that the other's training in this area had been all but halted with his arrival, and the focus had been on learning to shapeshift until now. Though they still spent time practicing with their animal forms in mock combat, there were only a few, like Ralaar and Naralex, who truly enjoyed shapeshifting to the degree Laronar did.

Still, even those two could not match Laronar and Malfurion. It hadn't taken him long to see why the antlered druid was regarded with such esteem. He had all but matched Laronar after only a few months of practice, and their sparring now regularly resulted in stalemates. Their leader was, in a word, a natural.

As the others entered the dream, Laronar had no trouble falling asleep, and his mood brightened considerably as he realized that if they were to train like this every day, he would be far more awake for his time with Shandris. To the other druids, the fact that he appeared in the dream realm with a grin on his face was owed to its inherent beauty.

While it certainly was majestic, Laronar felt that it was, in some way, wrong. There was something about the realm that even his as yet unrefined senses picked up. Malfurion floated over to him as he glanced around. "What do you think?"


The area they were in was much as it looked in reality, but there was an ephemeral beauty to it that could, if one looked long enough, entrap one's gaze with it. Still unnerved by what he sensed, Laronar managed to avoid losing his focus. "It's…beautiful really, but…so very different from our own world…it feels…off, somehow." He frowned, trying, and judging by Malfurion's expression, failing, to explain what he sensed. Evidently, the other druid did not sense...whatever was bugging his instincts.

"Your subconscious has likely guided you here before. That may be why it seems strange, yet familiar. Those who live in and guard the Dream are granted many powers from it, and apparently, are even able to transcend death itself. I've yet to see if that's true, though."

Laronar simply nodded, not quite in agreement. It wasn't the familiarity bugging him, it was something…deeper. Something tied to the very realm itself. He decided to follow his instinct then, nodding as Malfurion warned him not to wander too far from them. He didn't intend to, for what he sensed was relatively close.


He moved through the Dream easily, flying through the green haze as he headed south, and east, towards the coast. Then, he saw a patch of forest that looked uncannily familiar, and as he continued flying eastward, he grinned. Though the city wasn't there, this was, undoubtedly, Eldarath. He kept following his instinct, landing near where, by his best guess, the temple to Elune had stood.

It took a long moment of focus, but eventually, he willed the world to reveal itself to his dream form, and gasped at what he discovered.

The sea did not exist in the Dream, for there, the land was yet whole, and many things that once were, still remained. As he gazed upon reality, he saw quite a different sight. It was, undoubtedly, Eldarath. His home. Nature had begun to reclaim the city, and only the white marble foundations remained after so many decades. This meant that, aside from the temple itself and a few fountains, most of the city had been burned away.

He looked towards the ocean, and that was when what he'd sensed grew clearer. It was...hard to discern what he was sensing. There was almost something malicious about it, but as he reached out to touch it, whatever it was, with his senses, it suddenly vanished entirely, as if it had never existed. He probed the seas carefully, but whatever he'd sensed had utterly disappeared.

Somewhat uneasy, he returned to the druids, who were busy studying tree leaves, and how they differed in this realm from their own. Truly fascinating stuff.


While the Emerald Dream was indeed lovely, and he felt closer to Ashamane here than he ever had on Azeroth, he did not fancy the idea of spending years in this strange realm. Nor did he feel overly fond of it. His fellow druids however, were utterly enamored. From the largest tree to literal blades of grass.

Laronar, for his part, did not see the appeal. He preferred real trees. Real grass. These strange ephemeral copies were lovely yes, but he knew he'd always find Azeroth's beauty far more appealing.

He awoke with a yawn, before the others. A sign of his eagerness. Once the group departed, Laronar shifted into his cat form, and raced off before anyone could really notice. He tracked the scent of the one he sought, and prowled around her silently, until he determined she was, in fact, not busy.

Thus, he pounced at her with the skill of a master, purring all the way, even as he re-took his elven shape, not that Shandris minded. They had often wrestled during what few quiet periods the war had offered, and once she'd challenged him again, claiming he'd no doubt gotten sloppy in his years away, they'd begun 'sparring' with regularity.

Sometimes he initiated, sometimes, she got the drop on him, but it was a nightly ritual, and one he was glad to have. While his actual hand-to-hand skills were indeed rusty, their sparring had brought his skill up considerably. There was a reason Shandris led the Sentinels. Once the spar ended, the rest of the evening was quite enjoyable, as were the ones that followed. Now that he no longer fell asleep so much, he truly saw just how far the Night Elves had come with only a few decades to rebuild. It was still, however, a far cry from what they had been, and signs of the Legion's rampage could be easily seen, if one but looked under the foliage slowly covering the scars they'd left.
Dream Walking
Those of you who've read Stormrage likely have a good idea of what our protagonist accidentally stumbled upon. Which also explains why it disappeared so easily. He is, after all, a novice at this point.


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:iconj-k-123:
J-K-123 Featured By Owner Sep 17, 2018  Hobbyist
Hey, wanna join lake valor with me?
Put me on "referred person" when joining, could you?
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:iconmrmadmaniac:
MrMadManiac Featured By Owner Sep 12, 2018  Hobbyist
Thanks very much for the watch and llama!
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:iconpokefan1337:
PokeFan1337 Featured By Owner Sep 13, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Any time
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:iconj-k-123:
J-K-123 Featured By Owner Aug 17, 2018  Hobbyist
Mind if I ask for writing advice?
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:iconpokefan1337:
PokeFan1337 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Sure. Send a note.
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:iconj-k-123:
J-K-123 Featured By Owner Aug 18, 2018  Hobbyist
Sent.
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alic1a02 Featured By Owner Aug 14, 2018  Student General Artist
Have one Llama back Llama jump by Droneguard

Llama Stamp by Mel-Rosey
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:iconj-k-123:
J-K-123 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018  Hobbyist
Thanks for the fave! I'm fixing my stories up, and I've taken a lot of inspiration from your writing style.
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:iconpokefan1337:
PokeFan1337 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018  Hobbyist Writer
Glad to be helpful lol in my experience, editing can only be a good thing.
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J-K-123 Featured By Owner Aug 5, 2018  Hobbyist
:D
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