I do not own Warcraft or its sequels. Blizzard does.

Chapter published 8/29/16.

A Few Years Later...

Nathaniel Havenshine

Nathan hummed to himself and walked out of school, skipping as he did. School was over! School was over! He could go and play with his toys!

With his backpack secure, he ran across the village, darting between the legs of grown-ups, until he spotted his house. It was a little... small, he thought. One story, made of stones pieced together with mortar. But he liked it! He had his own room and everything, with some books that were trasc... scrip... written based on the ones from before the Lost Year. Mom and Dad didn't like to talk about the Lost Year though, said he was too young to hear about it. Hmmph!

He ran inside, wiping his shoes as he did. "Mom! Dad! I'm home!" The inside had unpainted walls, but there were windows to let in the light and unlit candles for nighttime. He flung off his pack and slung it against the wall. He'd pick it up later.

Mom's voice sounded out from the right, from within the kitchen. "Your dad's out in the fields, honey! Come inside, lunch is ready!"

"Ooh!" he cooed, running through the doorway. There was Mom, with her hair tied up in a bun as she went around their wooden table, setting out plates filled with steamed carrots, rice, and broccoli. Yum! And it was different from yesterday's lunch of chicken soup, too! He took a seat and started eating, digging into his plate as fast as he could. After all, he had games to play!

Apparently, Mom noticed. "Nathan, slow down. You'll choke," she chided. Funnily, her face turned a little lighter when she said 'choke', like she was scared of something. Which was silly, it was just a word!

Still, he listened. "Yes Mom," he said, slowing down his eating. Soon, he was done and he pushed his plate away dramatically so she'd notice he was full. "Alright, I'm done! Can I go play in the woods?"

"You can go, just be back before supper, you hear?"

"I hear," he agreed, getting out of his chair. He ran, getting out of his house in no time!

His town, Goldenrod, was next to a deep and dark forest. A lot of grown-ups, from gnomes to nerubians, wandered about, doing grown-up things that Nathan didn't really care about. Farms grew all around them, stretching into the horizon where he heard there were other towns. When he grew up, he was going to go exploring and find ALL of them! And what better way to practice than by exploring the forest next to his house?

With his shorts, shoes and shirt on, Nathan clambered into the trees. He pushed aside branches and leaped over rocks, smiling. The sun shone through the treetops in a thousand shifting beams of light, lightly kissing his skin. He didn't like it. He never had liked the sun, for some reason.

Eventually, Nathan arrived in a more open area. It wasn't really a clearing, but it was big enough for him to stretch his arms out aaaall the way without touching anything. If he was there, he might as well practice.

Nathan froze and held out his hands, concentrating. Soon, black smoke began to flicker in the palms of his hands. Green and purple circles pulsated around the smoke, growing larger and larger until two orbs of black energy swirled around his fingers. "Alright, how did it go?" he asked himself, looking from one hand to the other. He imagined giving the energy in his hands orders, weaving a spiderweb for it to obey. And obey it did. The tug on his arms vanished and the energy condensed into two purple balls that fit in his hands. They were solid to the touch.

He giggled. He did it! Could he juggle them?

Nathan tossed one of the purple orbs into the air and caught it. Eventually he tossed both at once and caught them in the same hand. Then the opposite hand. He dropped them a few times, and whenever he did the grass smoked and died under the balls, but he quickly picked them back up like nothing had happened. Soon, Nathan was juggling the two of them well, throwing the balls up into the air with one hand, catching them with the other, and repeating the process. Ha! He was awesome!

And then the seven year old got bored.

He 'told' the magic balls to vanish, and they popped like firecrackers, turning the grass around them yellow. He also got a face full of black smoke, but he just waved it away. It smelled like something burning and he loved it.

Nathan crouched to the ground, looking for any toys. Eventually he found a few ants hiding in the grass and focused his powers on them. They started dancing around, twitching and spinning on their backs. Eventually, though, they slowed down and stopped. He frowned as they died, but oh well. Ants never lasted long anyway. A shame there weren't any chipmunks or boabears around. Those lasted a while.

He liked this. Out in the forests, with nobody to see his powers. He could practice, he could kill things, he could juggle and - fireworks!

Nathan gasped. He'd almost forgotten to make fireworks!

He snapped out his hands and covered them in his black/purple/green smoke. Concentrating, he pointed at a stone and ordered his powers to do what he wanted. And true to his word, an explosion of lavender sparks burst from the rock, soaring into the air before fading away. He giggled, and pointed at a patch of moss. The same explosion came from it, turning the moss brown. He kept pointing, summoning up small bursts of light and sound and dying plants. His breaths started to come a little harder, but he wasn't too tired yet! Nathan could keep this up for a whi -

"Enjoying yourself?" a woman's voice with a growling undertone asked.

"AH!" he shouted, instantly extinguishing his powers. He whipped around and stuck his hands behind his back, glaring angrily. Who snuck up on him?! He was supposed to be alone! Then he saw who it was and frowned. "Oh, um hi!" he greeted the red drake. Nathan was in awe; he'd never seen a dragon before, only in books. She sat on a boulder, looking down at him with a crooked smile on her long, fanged mouth. Her wings were tucked in close, probably so they wouldn't tangle in the branches, and her tail slowly swayed behind her. It always struck him as odd that dragons didn't wear clothing though; wasn't she cold?

"What are you doing here?" he asked, pretending to be nice. Maybe if he was nice he could get this stupid-head lizard to go away.

"Oh, just looking around," she said, getting up and prowling towards him. She inspected the area, taking in the dead plants Nathan had caused.

He gulped. He'd learned in school that red dragons really liked keeping things alive. Did that mean... "Am I in trouble?" he asked.

She laughed, closing her eyes. Nathan growled at her. Was she laughing at him? Eventually she calmed down and waved it off with a paw. "Oh, no no, don't worry. Though... if someone else stumbled on this they might end up asking some questions. Hang on, this'll just take a minute." The drake took a deep breath, and Nathan backed off. Once her underbelly scales stopped expanding with the intake of air, she exhaled a river of blistering, burning flame. He screamed and ducked away as the fire curled through the air, seeking out the plants he'd killed and washing over them. He'd expected them to burn, but instead the little clearing looked good as new.

He felt like he was going to puke, though.

Apparently the drake noticed his discomfort. "Yes, I imagine it would feel uncomfortable. Anyway, what's your name? I'm Sarastrasza," she said, gesturing to herself.

Nathan frowned, but swallowed his lunch back down. "Mom and Dad told me not to talk with strangers."

"Your Mom and Dad are very smart," she said. "But I'm not a stranger. We've known each other for a while, even if you don't remember."

He narrowed his eyes. Okay, red dragons were supposed to be goody two-shoes but this sounded bad. He got up. "I need to go," he said, turning around.

"I know how you feel about everyone outside your parents," she said, stopping him in his tracks. "Bunch of stupid-heads, right? You come out here because you can find all sorts of animals to play with, make them do what you want and kill them when you're done."

He turned around and gulped. "A-Am I in trouble?" he repeated with a squeak.

Sarastrasza shook her head and approached him. As she did she warped, changing and compressing until she was a grown-up woman with brown hair and eyes, and a brown shirt and red skirt. "I told you, no. I used to do those things too!" She shrugged. "Well, I didn't know I was killing things until much later," she admitted. "Anyway, I came here because I wanted to give you something! Then I'll be out of your hair." She held out her hands and, with a flash of fire and cinders, a thick book appeared in her hands. "Do you know how to read?"

"A little," he said.

"Well, that's fine," Sarastrasza conceded. "You'll learn more eventually. Anyway, I made this book. Just for you! It'll teach you all about how to use your powers. Your magic," she said, stressing the last word.

Nathan gasped. "It's called magic? But I thought magic made stuff like fireballs or ice."

"That's fire and frost magic," she said. "You have shadow magic, just like I have both fire and nature magic. Here, take it," she said, holding the book out to him.

He looked at her nervously, but what could a book do to hurt him? Nathan walked towards her and grabbed the book from her hands. "Oof!" he grunted.

"Careful, it's heavy," she said with a smile. Nathan sat down and flipped it open. He gaped. There were so many words, but there were pictures too! Colored pictures, even! He didn't know many of the words, though. "Take it home and give it a look. Try to keep it our secret, though. Even if you don't understand most of it now, I promise you that you'll understand it later." Sarastrasza shifted and warped, transforming back into a dragon. She was enormous, towering over him even though she was on all fours. She could reach her head out and bite his arm off before Nathan had a chance to do anything.

"Um," he said, looking at the book. New ways to make fireworks? New things to do? New ways to make animals dance? "What do I do now?"

"Hmm," the drake said, looking around. "Well, I'd like to see you again. How about... I swing by on the Feast of Winter Veil?"

"Alright!" he said. "But how do you know me?" he asked. "You still haven't told me!"

Sarastrasza chuckled. "No, I did not. I'll tell you when you're older." He glared at her. 'When you're older'? "I know, I know. I hated it whenever I was told that, too. But if I told you now, it wouldn't mean anything. There's a lot of things you need to learn first before you can understand it, and it's getting dark." Was it? Nathan looked around. It was still pretty bright, but the sun was starting to set and he had a long way to go back. "And besides, I have to meet up with a few of my friends in a bit and it's a long flight." She turned around and hopped to the same boulder she'd been sitting on, her spiked tail-club waving through the air. She winked a slit-pupiled eye at him. "See you around, Nathan," she said, before running into the woods far too fast for him to ever catch up.

Once the dragon was gone, Nathan looked down at the heavy book in his hands. He smiled. New ways to make fireworks? Everyone at school would be so jealous! He'd show her. He'd learn everything in this book before he even turned ten! Nathan turned around and started marching for home.

It was pretty nice of her to give this to him. Still, he was confused by how she said they knew each other. He'd remember meeting a giant dragon. Or maybe it was when he was a baby? No, he'd definitely still remember. But scary claws and 'when you're older' aside, she was nice. He really liked her! Maybe she wasn't a stupid-head.

Nathan found himself looking forward to seeing Sarastrasza again. Who knew the things she could teach him?


And so it ends.

Massive thanks to those who read, reviewed, favorited, alerted, and beta'd this story. It means more than I can ever say.

I had a lot of fun writing this. Getting in the mind of an Old God turned mortal, turned Old God, turned back to mortal was really interesting and definitely shaped my own view of morality in the process. Thank you all for sticking with me through this long journey. I can scarcely believe I've actually reached the end.

See you around.