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"My destiny is of my own making." Speech.
"I remember the time..." Flashback speech. Spell-craft.
"When your people huddled in caves I was there." Greater being speech.
"█▄██▄▄█▄▄█▄" Inarticulate roar/scream etc.
A/N: Further Author Note is at the end of this Chapter; please read as it concerns what happens.
TheBlackCatSwordsman: It's been a while since our last update but we remember that we said if someone could accurately guess the redacted words from the last Chapter that we would give a character a name of your choosing. Well you got it right; so we did. Your character name that you provided has been introduced this chapter and will be seen in the coming events.
"Be patient. Do not fear your past but grow stronger because of it." He continued, pushing gently but firmly back on Harry's shoulders, forcing the Elf to stand on his own without his grip supporting him. "Grow strong Har'rin Whisperwind. Grow strong according to your own Will and desires. Stand taller and greater than you were before with the knowledge of where you came from."
Harry's eyes brightened as the confidence of his Shan'do filled him. The faint spectre of Hakkar that had been sneering at him from the corner of his eyes fading as the words of Cenarius reached deep into him.
"I am now and forever more proud to have taught you as long as I have Har'rin. What path you take know and remember this forever more. And do not forget-"
Cenarius smiled widely, seeing the spark of returned confidence and vibrancy return to his dear student.
"-whatever path you take. It is never alone."
The Great Arcane Academy of Suramar. The most prestigious institute of the entire region; boasting a library that dwarfed any other outside of the universities of Zin-Azshari itself. This place of learning accepted only the high tier nobility of Suramar, those endorsed by nobility or the children of the revered and beloved Priestesses of Elune.
As the son of one of the Temple's higher placed Priestesses; it was a simple matter to have Harry enlisted there, regardless of the lateness of his enrolment.
With the guilt of not following the path of his mentor, his Shan'do Cenarius lessening over time, Harry had delved fully and deeply into the study of the magical art.
It had been an astonishing change to consider. That compared to before when he had felt shame at abandoning the path and calling of the being he looked up to so much, and now that he had the support to go forward; his progress in study and learning was phenomenal.
But even then it took him a great deal of time to advance within the Academy. Not because of any difficulty. No, regardless of how long he spent in the academy he was leagues above his younger classmates. After a century of study; when his fellows all graduated it was still widely considered amongst them that the reclusive and studious Har'rin Whisperwind was by far their superior in both power and skill.
It was his method of study and the rate in which he progressed through the levels of the Academy's curriculum that saw him remain as a student two hand a half times longer than any other. The learning course within Suramar's Arcane Academy was set to be completed over the course of one hundred years. In that time a prospective Mage would learn everything they needed to know to understand and be able to tap into the Ley Lines of Azeroth, learn of the various schools and arts of Arcane Magic; choose one and study it very near to the point of mastery where a Kaldorei Mage did not need to consult spell books and scrolls prior to active spell casting.
Harry defied expectations and tested the patience of more than one Master within the Academy. He took his time. Spent longer hours learning what other students did; not simply satisfied with reading and memorising the subject; but preferring to assimilate and understand it completely instead. It was for this reason why his power was far beyond any of the other students of his class; his grasp of the existence of Ley Lines was greater as was his ability to pull from its flow.
He did not choose to learn from a single school of arcane magic. Not limiting himself to learning only a single element such as Frost, Fire, Earth, Water or Ether or focusing on the more abstract arts like warding or enchanting. He learned them all.
As far as Harry considered it; he entered this Academy for the purpose of learning Arcane Magic in its entirety, not simply one small fragment of it.
Two hundred and fifty years.
That was how long it took Harry to complete his education to his standards.
And it was still not enough.
Harry was dissatisfied upon his graduation. He had learned everything that the Academy had to offer; read every book, attended every lecture and conference that had been hosted there; even been fortunate enough to sit in attendance to a lecture on the Well of Eternity itself by none other than the Lord Xavius; the High Councillor that served under the Holiest Light of Lights; Queen Azshara. It had been a humbling experience for the young Whisperwind. He had been astonished to feel the sheer magical power that wafted off of the powerful Elf in waves.
The source of Harry's dissatisfaction, despite all that he had learned; all the spellcraft he had studied and brought into his possession; was connected to the true source of a Mage's Arcane power.
The Ley Lines.
Harry found it to be very reminiscent of a Druid's connection to The Emerald Dream. In that just as a Druid called upon power from the endless realm that was the Dream to fuel their strength and Druidic arts; a Mage called primarily upon Azeroth's Ley Lines to fuel the spells that were cast.
Harry had turned from the calling of Druid life because he had been unwilling to depend on a third party to provide the power he desired. And now he had learned that in order for any mage to truly grow and become powerful; one had to develop and further their ability to draw upon larger and larger quantities of Ley Line magic.
It was because of this that Harry did not stop or even slow down in his studies and fervent passion of gathering knowledge. He wanted more. Magic had grown to be a fond love within his life soon after focusing his passion and mind to its learning. Where delving into and learning the natural power and mysteries of Druidism had been a peaceful joy, the Arcane was a burning fire deep in his belly that filled his veins with warmth.
He had never been bored learning under Cenarius, but learning Arcane; even from books, had him eager to learn more and more with every word.
The Mages that graduated Suramar's premier Academy, that graduated from Nar'thalas, from Mennar in Western Kalimdor, even those of the Highborne that attended the Universities of Zin-Azshari; they all focused on a single field of magic and in that field made their mark. Harry would not. This was not something he was interested in only for the career; the gold and glory he could attain as a result of it. He wanted to satisfy his thirst for knowledge and understanding for his own, personal sake.
Tomes and scrolls on elemental magic, on wards and enchantment. Runes and glyphs, Celestial theory and even some reading into Kaldorei speculation regarding the Zandalari's savage practice of Voodoo. The journey of knowledge that Harry had undertaken to not only discover the means to become truly independent of Azeroth's Ley Lines; but to also learn Arcane Magic in its entirety filled his personal quarters to such an extent that he had been forced to be rid of his bed and simply make do with a bed roll.
The direction of Harry's studies had led him into spell creation in time. Not truly for the sake of creating genuinely unique and never-before-seen spellcraft. But more for the idea of creating every spell that already existed specific for the situation that he required it. The inspiration for this had come from interesting enough the understanding and learning of a simple lighting spell from his time at the Academy. A small orb of glowing light that was used to provide nothing more than illumination. It could be brightened or dimmed accordingly and float overhead independent of the caster's body.
But Harry found that it did not provide uniform illumination to a satisfying level. That casting such a spell in a room would still leave pockets of shadow and darkness depending on the shape and layout of the room.
But what if this small, insignificant spell was uniquely crafted and cast with a specific room layout and design in mind?
However coming to the decision to develop a field of study that involved the, technical, creation of each and every spell for the on-the-spot situation was one thing. Putting it into practice was another entirely.
Harry was coming across a number of blockages and problems. When a mage casts a spell he first uses the mana within his own body to create the 'husk' of the spell. The arcane circle that would hold all the aspects of the spells function; its form, effect, duration and aftereffect. Everything was contained within that single array that manifested according to the will of its caster. Once the husk was formed the Mage would then tap into the Ley Lines to fill it and complete the spell. With the Ley Lines providing the power to fuel the spell the circle would activate and the spell would be cast.
Regardless of his ultimate goal to not be dependent on Ley Lines for arcane power, Harry still tested his initial progress with the inclusion of Ley Line sourced power. For no other reason than to be able to determine whether or not he was on the right track.
Given that the methodology he was working on had extreme difficulty allowing Arcane power from Ley Lines to interface with his most basic prototype hinted at one of two possibilities. One; that his direction was flawed and that he needed to go back and start again. Or two; that his research was simply too incompatible with Ley Line power and therefore unable to be fuelled by it.
Further testing went ahead initially with Harry hoping that it was the latter of the two issues; that what he was developing was simply incompatible with the natural magic of the world. That his experiments into custom situation based spellcraft was too flexible, too fluid for the Ley Lines to be properly contained. This left the hypothesis that in order to progress he would need to both craft and fuel the spell completely on his own. Not exactly a bad thing considering it was what he ultimately intended, but in the developmental stages it did make things more challenging.
Especially considering what happened when he first tested his prototype on his own.
Given that the inspiration for this line of research had been from a simple spell of illumination, Harry's first prototype was a ball of light that was specifically crafted to direct a beam of light that would shine vertically.
It very nearly killed him.
The spell worked technically. He was able to succeed in creating an orb that directed its light straight up in a single beam. But the orb was barely the size of his thumbnail which flickered like a flame in wind before being snuffed out after five seconds. That wasn't the issue. The issue was that simply creating that barely there spell had completely drained his entire, sizeable in its own way, font of magical power completely and come very near to drawing on his very life force to completely fuel the spell.
When the spell cut off, Harry had been left gasping for breath and completely bathed in sweat; as if he had just surfaced from a swim in a lake.
His heart had pounded like a drum in his chest and he could practically hear his blood rushing through his body.
Then he passed out.
When he awoke, having been unconscious for well over a half day, Harry had to now address a rather important concern. Power. His creation; however early it was in its development and readiness for proper usage, was far too costly. Even with a template that would be crafted and modified and filled in to properly construct the specific spell in place, the cost for building a unique spell and then fuelling it completely independent of any external source of magical power was far too taxing for a mortal Mage.
He imagined of course that the likes of Lord Xavius or even the Light of a Thousand Moons; Queen Azshara herself might have been able to use his craft to cast a few minor cantrips without suffering the aftereffects that he had discovered, but most certainly nothing of any real magnitude.
It had been a week since that first attempt. In that time he had made it a firm point to hold off on any further practical testing until he was able to develop a theory in reducing the cost his spellcraft required or some means to drastically increase his own personal reservoir of mana.
Something that was steadily growing to become an incredible source of frustration for the now eight hundred year old elf.
Knowing that he needed to maintain a clear head for his research; lest he make mistakes and further put himself and potentially others at risk, Harry set aside his books and magic in favor of some fresh air and a chance to stretch his legs.
Maybe some time away from his studies would help him?
Mother was attending to her duties at the Temple and he didn't wish to disturb her or the other Priestesses so Harry chose instead to wander the streets of Suramar.
To visit and smile with an absent fondness at the sites where he had once played as a child. To laugh quietly to himself when he saw the little secret routes and openings that had been discovered and used to sneak passed the city guard whenever he sneaked his way out of the city to visit the Grove of Cenarius.
Eventually Harry found his way to one of the cities quieter, more out of the way Moon gardens; places within the city that had been left to nature but blessed by the Priestesses of Elune so that, even in when the sun was at its peak, the light of the moon and the crisp air of the night was prevalent.
These places were always peaceful and quiet; out of respect both for others as well as for the Goddess Elune herself.
Seating himself on one of the gardens marble benches that overlooked a pond that, under the moonlight; seemed to be more like a shimmering well of starlight, Harry let his body relax.
Letting his shoulders drop and his body lean forward as he allowed the tension and stress of his studies drain from his body.
"Another that has come for the comfort of his Mother's light."
Harry turned his head at the sudden voice that had spoken up; surprised that he had not noticed another so close to where he had sat down.
"My apologies child. I did not mean to startle you."
The speaker was a powerfully built Elf to be sure. Even clad in rich robes of blue and green, powerfully large muscles could still be seen hidden beneath; larger than that of the normal muscular form of a regular Kaldorei male. Short black hair was swept back in waves framing a clean shaven face and the man's eyes glinted with the silver light more akin to steel rather than moonlight was was more commonplace amongst the Elves.
"It's alright, I should have realised I was not alone in the first place." Harry replied with an easy smile, waving off the apology. "You are right though."
Harry looked away from the other Elf to gaze up at the celestially enchanted night sky and the moon that shone overhead in spite of the midday sun that truly ruled the sky at this time. "In this place, it really is the comfort of our Mother Elune that brings us here. The garden truly is a sight to behold. But it is the gentle warmth, that soft touch of Her light that is felt most keenly."
The other Elf nodded in agreement to the statement. "As true and real as the earth beneath our feet child. Permit me to introduce myself. You may call me Mardrin Shadowmantle."
"A pleasure Master Shadowmantle." Harry responded with a respectful bow of his head. "My name is Har'rin Whisperwind. Harry to my friends."
Mardrin nodded. "Tell me young Har'rin, what brings you here to this garden? I saw you enter; you looked, troubled."
Harry frowned. While not as cut throat as he had heard it was in Zin-Azshari; the community of Magi within Suramar was still well enough within the realm of 'survival of the fittest' to engender mistrust. He didn't know this man, he didn't know what, if any, motivation or agenda he had.
"I am in the middle of some, magical research." He finally admitted, figuring that he could censor his words enough to still keep the extent of his studies secret in the event that this stranger intended to make off with his work. "I'm attempting to do something with magic that as far as I have determined from my time at the Academy; is all but impossible."
"And what is that if I may ask?"
"I am trying to discover a method to use Arcane magic, to perform the craft of a Mage; without the need to tap into Ley Lines." Harry frowned as the memory of his most recent success/failure. "I recently hit a wall in my studies though."
Mardrin's eyes widened briefly; seemingly impressed with the chosen field of study this young Elf had taken. He had known many an Elf to come out from the Academies scattered around Azeroth. Each and every one had gone into the Academy with wide eyes and dreams of performing feats of legend that would see them elevated into fame and wealth only to leave with the unshakeable understanding that their potential was limited to their ability to manipulate and draw from the natural veins of power that spread out across the world from the Well of Eternity.
Never before had he found one that had come out of the Academy that possessed an idea that their education should have told them was impossible.
"A most challenging path." Mardrin commented. "Do you truly believe that such a feat could be possible?"
Harry frowned in remembrance of his latest experiment. That attempt to cast something so small as a simple weak beam of light and the feeling of near death it had given rise to.
The resolve, the determination, it shined through his brilliant golden eyes was a sight to behold. Simply looking into those eyes had Mardrin unable to deny the claim. He wanted to believe the young Whisperwind's conviction. He did believe it.
"Well in that case I look forward to seeing what you can achieve."
-15, 195 D.P
Harry was terrified. Pale, sweaty, shaking in the boots terrified.
He had committed a great and terrible crime that only thanks to the innocent prodding of his mother had he been made aware of. It filled him with shame, dread and guilt.
It had been so long, three hundred and fifty five years to be exact since he had returned to Suramar following his ordeal to the south of Azeroth with the Zandalari Troll Sa'Shiket when he and his unlikely friend and ally had fought and pushed back the Great Darkness that had been Hakkar.
But, more importantly for this current situation; it had been three hundred and fifty five years since he had last spent any time let alone seen his dear friend; Lunara.
She was going to be furious.
The first time he had earned her ire was when he had used the Emerald Dream and his knowledge gleaned from Cenarius to create a new species of flower for his mother all those years ago. As punishment for not explaining himself she had pelted him with apples. And the last time he had sparked her wrath had been when he had cheated in one of their games of hide and seek by shifting his form into a bird and perching atop one of Cenarius' horns much to the Wild Gods amusement. Lunara had never suspected that her friend would have had the thought to hide with her father and so had spent the entire day looking all over the Grove and its surrounding area bar her original starting point.
Even now simply thinking of her fury sparked a phantom pain at his chest where she had left a set of hoof shaped bruises where she had trampled him.
As it stood at this point in time however, Harry feared that nothing Lunara could do to him as punishment for his absence would trump the guilt he felt. He cared for the Dryad greatly. She was his best friend. Even despite the relative short time they had spent around one another. Before he had been taken to be a student under Cenarius he had found friends amongst the children of Suramar. They had all come into his life and left just as easily to follow their own path and Harry himself was not all that phased by their going.
But Lunara? If she decided to leave his life? He could not bear the very thought.
Currently he was flying over the forests toward the Grove of Cenarius, having shifted his form into a bird through the still remembered abilities he had developed while learning the Druidic path. This method of travel was also a means for Harry to really make a point to himself; that just because he had chosen the path of the Arcane, did not mean that he had completely forsaken what he had learned from his Shan'do.
It took no more than another twenty minutes of flight to reach the Grove and, circling overhead, he could see that Cenarius himself was absent of his home. Something that he very much doubted was a coincidence. There was no way that the Lord of the Forest had been unaware of his approach let alone his shapeshifting that had necessitated his re-connecting to the Emerald Dream.
He could not see any other occupants within the Grove; no sign of Lunara herself. But he could feel her presence below, somewhere unseen to his eyes.
Shifting his wings, Harry glided down toward the clearing floor, feeling more and more guilt the lower he got as he could actually feel a sense of sadness permeating from the vegetation itself; a reflection of the emotional state he had unwittingly abandoned his dear friend to. The grass and leaves of the surrounding trees had darkened in color and flowers dropped. Even the sunlight seemed to have dimmed.
Cenarius had always claimed that his beloved first daughter was a powerful Dryad and had the potential to be an incredibly gifted Druid with the connection she held to the Emerald Dream. Seeing what her apparent mood had done to the Grove that was maintained by Cenarius himself; Harry believed it.
Coming to a landing on a long hanging branch of one of the central tree's in the middle of the Grove, Harry hopped along its length to look around, trying to spot the reason he had returned.
It was from a small hollow underneath a tree that he saw her emerge from. He could see, from just an immediate glance that she was upset. Her coat was dull and lacking that vibrant, glossy shine he was more familiar with and the shining, joyous light in her eyes had dimmed.
Unable to remain unseen as he was any longer, Harry shifted his form back as he allowed his bird body to slip from his perch. Landing on the ground lightly, the faint sound was enough to draw her attention to him.
It pained him, to see the disbelief in her eyes when they found his. As if she was having difficulty actually believing that he was in front of her.
"I visit you, in the Dream."
Her voice was barely a whisper, quiet and soft as if it would break should she speak any louder.
"When Father returned and told me you had taken another path, I passed into the Emerald Dream and travelled to Suramar." Lunara continued, her eyes still dull and lifeless. "I hoped, I wanted you to notice me. To sense that I was close and play with me like you used to. But you never did. You were so focused, so happy with the magic that you had taken as your calling."
Harry winced. He had cut himself off from the Emerald Dream following his conversion to the Arcane; stopped calling upon it and even blocked off his sight of viewing into that realm of natural wonder.
That she had been so close to him and he had not seen because of his actions…
"You forgot me."
Harry's heart broke when he saw a tear break free from her eye and fall down her cheek. His shoulders fell and he looked away in shame. He wanted to close the gap; to step closer and deny everything. To take her in his arms and plead for her forgiveness.
He wanted to see her smile.
"I, I got lost." He finally spoke. "When I was running. When I shut myself off from the Emerald Dream and ran to magic for protection I got lost. There was so much to know, so much to learn. I didn't mean to lose myself within it. I didn't forget you. I didn't mean to leave."
The sunlight dimmed further and Lunara's arms came up to wrap around herself as if feeling a sudden chill in the air.
"I know." Lunara confessed, more tears spilling from her eyes. "I could see it in your eyes whenever I tried to get you to see me. I could see the joy, the happiness that I used to see whenever you would come to learn at the feet of my Father. I thought; 'how can I get him to come back when he is so happy without me?'"
Harry couldn't bear it. For the first time since his adventure in southern Azeroth; the Night Elf opened himself up to the Emerald Dream and pulled on it heavily. The Grove lit up with power and light and warmth as its vitality returned to restore the depression that Lunara's sadness had unknowingly imposed. The sunlight beamed through the trees and sparse cloud cover; restoring color to the grass and leaves of the ancient trees that surrounded the Grove and the rainbow of colors and scents from the myriad of flowers bloomed back into the forefront.
Sensing the restoration, Lunara; whom had turned her eyes away from the companion she had believed was gone from her side, looked back up to see the shining golden eyes of Har'rin so very close to her own.
"I left when I did not mean to." Harry offered a sad smile, easing on his grip over the Emerald Dream and letting go of it slowly back to the point where he was no longer connected to it. If only to prove to Lunara that he would not vanish simply because he wasn't touching it any longer.
"I lost myself in a pursuit for the power to be able to stand on my own." He continued, reaching out to gently rest a hand against her cheek. "I never thought, never meant it to mean that I wanted to always stand on my own. Will you forgive me?"
Lunara closed her eyes briefly; leaning into the warmth of his hand as if it held more comfort than that of the sun itself. "I don't want to lose you again. I can't bear the thought of being left behind or having to walk ahead without you by my side."
Harry felt his heart ache and throb against his chest. Trying to imagine what that scenario would feel like to him and hating the very idea of that reality. How could he have been so stupid, so ignorantly blind? To have come to a point where he could become so lost within his selfish need to stand strong in a world that he had seen to hold such powerful darkness, that he had forgotten that in truth; he was never really alone. That he didn't have to be.
"Then you won't."
Lunara's eyes opened and she stared up at him; feeling the conviction and strength in his words.
"Shan'do said to me; when he came to Suramar, that even if I take a path that is different to the one I walked before, that I was never alone." Harry removed his hand from Lunara's cheek and took a step back, locking his eyes onto hers carefully. "My path; what I want to be, is different than yours. But, will you help me walk it?"
Nothing was said for a moment of time. Lunara's eyes glistened with tears that had thus far remained unshed and her chest heaved with the emotions; both known and undefined, that were felt towards the Kaldorei that had, once upon a time been nothing more than a curious oddity to her.
The moment of silence, of hesitation came to a swift and decisive end when Harry found himself forced back a step when he suddenly had a young, beautiful Dryad smothering herself in his arms; burying her face into the warmth of his chest, her hands gathering fistfuls of his tunic.
He could feel the wet warmth of tears seeping through the fabric of his shirt as they finally fell, but more than that; he could feel the warmth of Lunara herself as she seemed to seep into his very being, his very soul itself.
Alright then. So this is our first real attempt at delving into the genre of romance. We have read it a lot but never really tried to detail it personally. So we would REALLY appreciate feedback and help in any improvement for both this and other works we have in development.
Harry/Lunara is a unique relationship really. It is not based upon the physical side of a romance but is more spiritual than anything else so it will grow and be expressed different to other more conventional romances.
Please read more as it continues and despite the fact that the 'age of reviews' has passed; please give us feedback to help us maintain and grow in quality.
Also if anyone is curious to check it out we dropped a prologue for a Dragon Age: Origins story that we just had to get out of our heads.
Read, favorite, follow and review.
Next week: Throne of Babylon.