Hello all to my first story ever written :) . I hope it is as enjoyable to read as it was to write. I have no beta or editor so go easy on me, since I'm sure I made at least a few mistakes. I'm sure I'll read back over this at some point and fix these alleged mistakes but for now its late and I'm eager to get started!
This story, for reasons that will become obvious to anyone who has been following lore up until Cataclysm, is going to be placed somewhere around Mid Wrath of the Lich King Timeline. I find it easier to write from that timeline since I know that one better than I know Cata and Burning Crusade was too long ago for me to remember significant lore dates lol.
Disclaimer: World of Warcraft sadly belongs to Blizzard, and so do all "NPC's" that are featured in my story. Thank you for letting me borrow them! The main characters and the rest of the adventurer's all belong to me, so please ask before borrowing :). And I do so love reviews so if you get the chance, even just a small moment, I would appreciate some awknowledgement of my hard work ( and hard work it was, making sure every fine detail of lore was correct as I went along). Now, the moment you've been patiently reading for:
Chapter 1: Where the Beginning Began
Being rapped on the head with a staff tends to make even the most absent minded elf snap to attention, and Anaiya was no exception. With a sharp exclamation of pain, she rubbed the sore spot on her head and glared spitefully at her teacher, Priestess Astari Starseeker. Priestess Starseeker, having finally earned her pupil's full attention, moved her staff back to her side and frowned in irritation.
"Child, how do you expect to learn anything with your head in the clouds?" She pursed her lips and muttered, "You were aptly named, Anaiya Cloudchaser.". Anaiya, having heard perfectly despite the Priestess's low voice, couldn't help feeling a flush of shame. Here she was, being honored by one of the most powerful of Elune's Priestesses and she couldn't even seem to focus on her lessons. Adopting a look of contrition, she bowed her head.
"I'm sorry Priestess Starseeker, I promise to may more attention! I am honored to have your time". Priestess Spiritmight, sitting nearby on the edge of the Moonwell with her own pupil, Cordessa Briarbow, frowned at Anaiya in disapproval before raising her nose and going back to her teaching. Anaiya sighed inwardly, blowing strands of short green hair out of her eyes. Yes, she knew her mother was an honored priestess of Elune. Alathea Cloudchaser was one of the first to follow Tyrande Whisperwind when she became High Priestess. Unfortunately, Anaiya just didn't seem to have the "knack" of using holy magic to heal or to harm. She much preferred running in the woods with her friends and discovering new things. She loved the free spaces and the calmness of the wilderness, and sometimes she had this…itch inside of her, an urge to do something; to scream like an eagle or run like a cat, and this upset her because she was beginning to suspect that the path of a Priestess was not in her future. The more time she spent in the Temple of the Moon, the more she resented it. Yet she felt, for her mother's sake, that she needed to learn to be a priestess, to make her family proud of her.
Suddenly she realized that Priestess Starseeker was frowning at her again, and this time tapping her foot. Blushing, Anaiya straightened her novice's robes and determinedly stared at the diamond centered between the other's eyebrows.
Astari Starseeker rubbed her temple, dislodging a few strands of errant locks, and seemed to come to a decision. She called one of her fellow priestess', Jandria to her and they held a hushed conversation a few feet away from Anaiya.
'Great, now their going to tell mother that I wasn't paying attention in class again, and then she'll make a special trip up to the Temple quarters just to tell me how important it was that I learn my lessons, that its very costly, that I should feel honored to be accepted to the Temple. But what about what I want!' Anaiya sighed again, this time in frustration. Again the hair in her eyes puffed outward before settling back into its customary place, hanging down the sides of her face. Most elves who met her exclaimed how like her mother she was, and how beautiful and willowy she was turning out to be, coming into adulthood, but truthfully she didn't feel any different than a few years ago, or even 5 years ago. The downside to having near-immortality she supposed. Then she frowned when the two priestess's turned as one to stare at her, then shook their heads and went back to whispering.
Priestess Starseeker left Jandria in her place and walked up, gently but firmly grasped a hold of Anaiya's arm, and started walking toward the winding ramp that led to the second floor of the Temple. Anaiya dug her heels in reflexively and stared at her teacher in confusion.
"W-why are we going up there? You're not going to tell Priestess Tyrande are you? Please don't do that! I'll never be able to face mother again!" Her heart beat faster and she gulped, feeling a bit panicked. Just what she needed, to be written up again for being a "wayward child that needed to learn responsibility".
"Calm yourself child, I think it's about time that the High Priestess know your true feelings in this. Its been obvious to me from the beginning that you have no desire to become a Priestess of Elune, and I refuse to waste any more of my time on someone set against this calling." She quickly hustled Anaiya along, despite Anaiya's stumbling. She felt a bit startled and bewildered by this sudden turn of events, but had a small thread of hope. 'Maybe they would let her study something she was interested in, not what they wanted her to be!' and before she knew it she found herself in the presence of the leader of Darnassus. Although Priestess Tyrande had never tried ruling over the elves, or dictating their way of life, most of the Night Elves honored Tyrande as an unofficial leader, and she was the one who met with the delegates from the other heads of the Alliance.
Anaiya bowed deeply and clutched her robes in fists to keep from showing her absolute awe and fear of being in the same space as someone so famous, so esteemed as Tyrande Whisperwind. She had heard many stories of the High Priestess, both good and bad, of her battle prowess, her expertise in matters of state, of how her lover slumbered in the Emerald Dream for an indefinite amount of time. The High Priestess, who was talking idly to Emissary Valustraa from the Exodar, turned at their approach with a raised silver eyebrow. Anaiya kept her head down and stared at her sandaled feet, effectively letting a veil of green hair hide her face. Novices of the Temple were only allowed to wear white sandals and plain white robes until they had passed their test to become apprentice priestesses, at which time they had more freedom to choose their studies and wardrobe.
"High Priestess," Priestess Starseeker bowed reverently, and at a nod from Tyrande stood straight and gestured to Anaiya. "As you know, five months ago I took on a new novice, one that I thought held promise and vast skill in the Holy powers. It did not take me long to figure out that she indeed has strong inner magic and skill, but she does not belong in the initiation of Priesthood." Here she actually looked at Anaiya, as if assessing a fine battle-cat mount in auction. Anaiya had to resist the strong urge to either open her mouth and insert some sort of apology for not being what they had expected, or turn and run back down to the novice quarters and hide under the blankets.
"I believe," Priestess Starseeker began, "that she has the potential and the spirit of becoming a Druid." Anaiya gasped, eyes flying to her teacher's face in utter astonishment. A Druid? She never thought…Elune be praised, was that the reason for her strange wild yearnings as of late? Each month that went by in her training at the Temple she felt more constrained, more impatient for something else, to go out in the world, to explore everything that lay below their towering tree home of Darnassus. Being only 72 winter's old, barely old enough to be on her own, she had never left Darnassus, but often dreamt of it. If Priestess Starseeker was right and she indeed belonged with the Druids, then she could be free to leave the city! She knew that novice Druids were allowed great leeway in their training, and if they were skilled enough, were sent to the enchanted Druid city of Nighthaven for specialty training. She envisioned herself, half a year hence, sitting quite contentedly on a bench in Nighthaven, overlooking Lake Elune'ara. Immediately after that followed the thought of visiting the prominent capital city of Stormwind, the central Alliance city. She grinned eagerly, turning to watch what the High Priestess had to say. Tyrande was still silent, gazing at Anaiya, seeming to look right through her. Finally, she brushed back a strand of silver hair, and spoke.
"Is this true Anaiya? Do you not feel right here, following your mother, Alathea's, footsteps? Are you certain that your path lies not with the Priesthood?" As she spoke, she stepped closer to Anaiya, who again felt a shiver of nervousness at being in the High Priestess's presence. Very few novices even glimpsed the High Priestess in all the years they spent at the Temple of the Moon. Tyrande had much more important work to complete to worry about the 'children' in training. All novices were referred to as children, which she could understand since most of them began as young children and spent many years of their young existences learning the path they had chosen. And since there were so few, only when they were completely sure of themselves, and knew their calling, did they venture out into the world to gain experience and to help heal the land and fight off the myriad evils that permeated Azeroth.
Giving the thought to her words that she knew was warranted, Anaiya swept hair that had drifted into her eyes behind her ears, maneuvering the strands around the long pointy appendages with ease. On the one hand, she would make her mother proud, would learn how to heal companions and give aid where it was needed. When she finally did venture into the world, she would be able to skillfully help others in need, find good employment with anyone who was looking for a competent healer, and would also know how to look after herself using the shadow spells that she would learn at a later time. But, on the other hand, is that what she really saw herself doing twenty years or more down the road?
Did she really want to spend half of her life training to be a Priestess, and the rest of it running around following the orders of others and rushing to wherever she was needed most, if she even left Darnassus! Many priestesses she knew were quite content in the extremely large tree-home. She was not. She knew in heart what she wanted, and it did not involve the Priesthood. The more she thought on the idea of becoming a Druid, the more she was eager to try.
"I-I," wetting her lips, Anaiya took a deep breath, composed her face, and nodded. "I often feel during my study time that all this doesn't make any sense to me, as if it was beyond my grasp. All the other novices at my point in training have already begun casting Healings and learning to harness their inner strength for Elune, while I have yet to muster anything resembling Holy or Shadow powers. And I…" She trailed off, wondering if she should reveal this part. She never told a soul of her inner desire to live wild and free, to do what she wanted, to have no laws, to risk danger just for the sake of it. Being raised in a small household surrounded by Priestesses and Sentinels of Elune, she found that her inner desires were not the norm of the elves around her and tended to keep her thoughts to herself, instead striving to be what her mother would be proud of. Well, time it all came out, she thought determinedly. This is not where I'm happy, and I'm sorry for that, but I want to be who I want to be, not what others want me to be.
"I sometimes have the urge to, uh, act like a wild creature, to run and run till I can't anymore, to climb the highest tree just because I can, to lay in the warm moon glow and listen to the sounds of nature around me. Honestly, I think I would make a far better druid then a priestess. High Priestess Whisperwind." She bowed again, and then fell silent, waiting. She resisted the urge to cross her fingers, knowing the final decision laid with the High Priestess and her mother, and she could only either go along with them or run away. Finally she could get out of the Temple! For weeks now she'd been entertaining thoughts of telling her teacher that she was going to quit, she had not the desire for this calling. The only thing that kept her back was facing her mother's disappointment that her only daughter was not going to become a priestess like herself. 'Oh well, I have to state my independence at some point. But what a way to do it', she thought wryly.
After a lengthy discussion about her duties, how she would explain to her mother, where she would stay (since she obviously couldn't stay at the Temple any longer), and a last "are you completely sure that this is what your want?", both Priestesses agreed that it was for the best that her lessons be cancelled for the day at least, while they contacted her mother, who was at the moment, in Ashenvale. In the meantime, High Priestess Tyrande sent a missive, by way of one of her loyal Sentinels, to the Druid's Enclave, requesting (Anaiya's opinion was that it sounded more like a demand) that Archdruid Fandral Staghelm set up a meeting between Anaiya and a Druid who could be available to apprentice her once she was given her mother's approval.
Because, like it or not, she was not yet old enough to have a say in her own matters and she needed parental consent to make such a drastic switch in studies. Since Night Elves were extremely long lived, and there had been few born over the years, everyone seemed to take the most extreme measures in protecting the younger generation. After that was all said and done, she waited in awkward silence with her teacher and Tyrande for news from the Archdruid. After about half an hour Anaiya's small attention span was getting the better of her. Tyrande started muttering, frowning prettily with her eyes cast down from the balcony they all stood on, as if willing the Sentinel to return. Another 10 minutes later, when Tyrande looked ready to march over to the Enclave herself, the Sentinel Anaiya remembered being sent walked back into the room and up the curved ramp to the balcony where Tyrande waited with folded arms.
Her elegant shining robes seemed to sparkle in the fey light of the Moonwell and Anaiya couldn't help feeling entranced by the play of Moon light on hem. The sentinel, looking as if she'd rather be anywhere but here, handed the letter over, then stood off to the side, alert and at the ready, but also glancing nervously every few seconds to Tyrande's face. Curious, Anaiya also watched the High Priestess, and didn't miss the expression of irritation, and then exasperation, that across her fine features as her glowing eyes scanned the letter. Her lips thinned and she suddenly crumpled the letter in a fist.
"The nerve of him! Men! Says he can't be bothered by my petty problems. Fine, we'll just have to go there ourselves. It's about time I've had a talk with the Enclave anyway."
At this point, Anaiya was almost regretting the whole situation and was desperately yearning to return to her quarters for some quiet studying. She wasn't deaf or dumb, and had heard the rumors just as well as anyone else had in the city, about the disagreements and arguments that went on between the High Priestess and the Archdruid. In fact, they were quite famous for their loud opinions of each other. But what was done was done, and her daydreaming today had just been the fish that snapped the hook. Although she wasn't liking the stir her decision was causing, and she hadn't even been to see the druids yet! She sighed, realized everyone was staring at her, and shot a bewildered look at Priestess Starseeker.
"See, you see why it's impossible to teach her anything, as scatterbrained as any Druid I've come across." Priestess Starseeker proclaimed with a huff, making a "she's hopeless" gesture in Anaiya's general direction. Anaiya glanced down at herself sheepishly. Tyrande just looked at her sharply, before replying, "Never mind that, come. We've some Druids to talk to." She swept past them with a swish of cloth, and her sentinels immediately fell in behind at a respectful distance. Priestess Starseeker gestured ahead of her, as if to say hurry up! and Anaiya hastily hurried after Tyrande. For a Priestess who was…well, as old as Tyrande, Anaiya thought with some mortification for thinking it, she walked fairly quickly, and seemed to glide silently along the Temple's corridors toward the exit.
By the large, ever-glowing Moonwell, Cordessa glanced over, caught sight of the procession passing, and her eyes and mouth made a wide O in shock. She shot an envious look at Anaiya, who couldn't help but glare back. She never could stand Cordessa, always a show off and know-it-all, always boasting about her strong healing powers and proper priestess upbringing.
Outside, the serene twilight atmosphere worked wonders to calm Anaiya's nerves, and she breathed in deeply. A light wind carried with it the distinct scent of Teldrassil, their beloved tree, as well as many other scents; fruit blossoms, vendor meats and breads, the unexplainable smell of magic, and, as she walked by the Apothecary, the strong smell of herbs and spices. As much as she yearned to venture out into the world and make a name for herself and see such wondrous sights as the cape of Stranglethorn Vale, Blackrock Mountain in Searing Gorge, and the legendary underground city of Ironforge, she already felt a bit of longing for the way things were now.
Darnassus would always be her home, and she promised herself she would return someday when she had had her fill of adventuring. As the group walked by, the patrolling sentinels all bowed to Tyrande, and vendors quickly moved to one side of the arched white bridges that spanned the vast upper reaches of Teldrassil. Anaiya spared a thought, like she sometimes did, to wondering just how they were all able to live secluded and peaceful in a giant tree in the midst of an all out war. Yes, even she had heard the rumors of the Lich King taking over Northrend, of threats and fighting between the Alliance and the Horde, of the uprising of Scourge armies and the strange mysterious Scarlet Crusade, but all that seemed distant while living here in Darnassus, as if they were above it all.
As they passed the central span where most elves tended to gather to commune with each other and conduct their business, their small group earned more then one stare.
'Great, now I'll be the talk of the city for years to come! Elune, I wish I had just told mother from the beginning that I never wanted to be a Priestess.' Glumly Anaiya recognized a few of the citizens standing by the bank. They blinked at her, as if not understanding why she'd be wandering the paths with the High Priestess. Or maybe they were just wondering how such an upstanding Sentinel like her mother could have such a flighty daughter.
Finally they crossed the last white span and reached the branches that housed the Cenarion Enclave. Without pause, Tyrande strode right into the building that more resembled a hollowed out log then one of the usual tree-fort-like buildings the Night Elves were commonly found living in. Once inside the room, with Priestess Starseeker, the 2 sentinels, and Anaiya following closely behind like a royal retinue, Tyrande paused, eyed the open and spare entrance chamber with a dismissive frown. The chamber was filled with elves of both gender, all talking or gesturing to each other, always in pairs. It reminded her quite startlingly of the Temple. Somehow she'd expected something a lot different, maybe with wild trees and bushes growing everywhere and a druid hiding behind every nook and cranny. How silly of her!
A male elf, kneeling by the Moonwell in the center of the room with a young elf by his side, happened to glance toward the entrance reflexively, went back to discussing something with his apprentice, then seemed to stiffen, and quickly glanced back at them again. His glowing eyes widened slightly, then he stood and prodded the young elf to also stand. Anaiya watched with only half interest as the male brushed himself off and quickly walked over, with shocked respect on his face.
Most of her was taken up with giddy excitement as she gazed around the room. She'd never been to the Cenarion Enclave of course. For the most part only Druids were allowed inside, or those with important business with them. Everyone knew that the Druids were fierce in protecting their privacy. Actually, she admitted, the Druids were known to be fierce period. They were brave and strong, and staunch allies in a fight, able to shapeshift to their best advantage and change tactics mid swing to put their opponent off kilter.
She watched avidly as an older male elf made a waving pattern in the air with his hands and green mist seemed to follow like a whisp to a night light. A young female elf with bright purple hair and eager eyes watched his every move, mouthing something to herself. Elsewhere, a deep blue colored cat perched on a low table, watching with intelligent eyes as a young male elf squeezed his eyes shut and seemed to go rigid with tension. There was a brief flash of…something, and the younger male elf disappeared, with a light colored cat in his place. Both cats had an eerie rippling quality about them, as if when they held perfectly still they would completely blend into the background and cease to be seen to the untrained eye
. Finding she was grinning like a fool and earning more then one curious look, Anaiya decided to pay more attention to the discussion going on between Tyrande and the Druid who had approached her. She seemed to have only caught the tail end of the conversation and cursed her easily distracted mind for the tenth time this evening.
"-and I refuse to consider anything less then a full examination and proper teaching, with studies in all the areas she'll need, including the ones she'd missed from the start of the initiation. And Danatharion? Be kind enough to tell the Archdruid I wish a word with him before I go." The last was said with a note of warning. The elf, Danatharion, gulped audibly, and glanced upward before nodding at Tyrande. He winced, then spun around and set off for a small, out of the way ramp that spiraled up into a second floor that Anaiya hadn't even noticed, too preoccupied as she was with the many druids training around her. Tyrande turned back to her, and then her face softened into a smile.
"Don't worry child, I've known for years you belonged with the Druids, and I'll be sure to tell your mother so, esteemed Priestess though she is. Don't let any druid push you away either, you learn all you can, and catch up your studies, I see great promise in you some day, great promise." She murmured something else in a much more serious tone that Anaiya couldn't make out, then strode off in the same direction as Danatharion. The 2 sentinels followed her like silent, deadly shadows, a cat's grace in their every step.
Left alone with her teacher of five months, Anaiya shifted awkwardly from foot to foot. She may not have liked her studies, or the assumption that everyone in the Temple had that she would become a great Priestess one day just because of her ancestry, but she did respect her teacher and wistfully admitted that she'd miss her. Being in such close quarters with the same woman day after day was bound to either create some sort of bond or cause bloody murder, and Anaiya now felt a bit teary at the thought of leaving that behind. Priestess Starseeker eyed the room, her feet, and finally Anaiya.
"Here now child, it's not like your gone from us forever. I'm sure we won't mind if you come visit from time to time. And of course your not being ousted from the Temple this very day. This is just an introduction, a tour of sorts, and a small exam to see if you have the skill required for the taxing shape shifting that is required by all druids." Anaiya nodded, then smiled.
"Thank you Priestess Starseeker. You don't know how much I wished for this. Well actually you might," she amended hastily, remembering all the pointed, searching looks her teacher sent her after being reprimanded for day dreaming yet again. "And you can be assured I'll still come visit. Oh! And I'll need to explain to Sindrayl and Dargon what's going on. Elune I bet their wondering where I am right now!" The thought of her fellow novices and roommates made her feel a pang of sadness to be leaving the Temple. They had formed a sort of kinship, the three of them, and often studied together late into the night. Impulsively she reached forward and hugged her teacher.
"Don't worry, I'll find them and tell them where you are when I go back to the Temple. Speaking of which, I gather there's no real reason for me to be about any longer, not to mention a few of these druids are eyeing me askance and it quite reminds me of how a bird eyes a tasty grasshopper for lunch. Ugh druids." She patted Anaiya's light green hair, making the short strands dance out of place and into her eyes, again, cuffed her affectionately under the chin, then pointed behind her and mouthed 'good luck'.
Anaiya watched her walk back out for a moment, before grasping the hint and turning where the Priestess pointed, and saw a tall elf male standing behind her, a scowl on his face. He had striking purple hair, the glowing eyes of all her kind, and wore a rich purple and green robe with scales and feathers woven into it. The scales seemed to glitter with an inner light and the feathers waved in an imaginary wind. Standing in front of him, Anaiya suddenly felt very insignificant, and became conscious of only wearing a simple white dress. She resisted the urge to nervously straighten her hair, and offered a tentative smile. She was just thinking of what she ought to say when the elf spoke instead.
"Well? Do you have nothing to say?" The man demanded savagely. Taken aback, Anaiya licked her lips and said the first thing that came to mind. "Uh, hi. I'm Anaiya Cloudchaser, here to learn to-". The other elf cut her off mid sentence with an impatient wave of his hand. "Yes, yes I know who you are and why you're here, I did get a letter after all. I'm not stupid. " He eyed her dubiously at the last comment, as if implying that she was. Now feeling slightly affronted by this aggressive dismissal, she opened her mouth to say more when she saw Tyrande, with an annoyed frown, sweep down the ramp like the elegant Priestess she was. Anaiya was slightly puzzled, having forgotten the Priestess had gone upstairs, so caught up in her surroundings. The druids nearest the Priestess dipped their head respectfully before going back to their work. The priestess, having noticed Anaiya and the druid, twitched her robes irritably, and stormed over.
"I had thought that your druid would have delivered the message that I wanted to talk to you." She bit out curtly the second she came up to the man. Still facing Anaiya with his back to Tyrande, he grimaced, then turned around. "High Priestess. Yes I was just looking for you actually. I thought my letter was explicit enough in explaining why I don't nee the hassle of some half trained priestess suddenly deciding she'd like to turn into a kitty instead." The man's words were anything but respectful and became downright mocking by the end of the sentence. Feeling resentful and not liking being ignored, Anaiya stepped forward to protest, but the man turned his glare full on her and she stopped without taking a step.
My, somebody licked the wrong bowl of catnip, she groused to herself.
Completely ignoring her existence as if she were nothing more then a fine rug or a potted Silverleaf plant, he and Tyrande fell to arguing, which seemed to concern her at first, but then fell into city problems, politics, and downright complaining about each other. 'Okay this is really awkward', she sighed yet again, wondered if there was a record amount of sighs one could do in so many hours, and then instantly regretted it as her sigh fell quite obliviously into a sudden lapse in speech between the two bickering elves. Both raised an inquiring eyebrow at her, and the male elf folded his arms again with his perpetual scowl back in place.
"Are we boring you, novice? Perhaps you'd rather run along and play in the Moonwell? Obviously you couldn't be bothered to pay attention to your Priest Trainer so now you think you want to come put yourself upon us." His icy tone made her light purple skin flush with anger, but she refused to say anything and instead stared at her toes peeking out the tops of her sandals. Giving her a last cursory glance, the man then turned back to Tyrande.
"Very well, I'll take her, although it appears to me she's lacking in respect and proper etiquette. In my opinion she seems a complete waste of time." The man shrugged, as if to say it wasn't his problem.
"Now go meddle elsewhere Tyrande, I've things to do and your wasting my time." With that, and a parting glare for both, the elf stepped quickly away from them and marched back up the ramp to the second floor. Letting out a breath, Anaiya muttered "I hope they're all as fun as he is", and then sent a horrified look at Tyrande. "I'm sorry High Priestess! I meant no disrespect." She bowed low, keeping her head down. Tyrande's tinkling laugh sounded, and she smiled at Anaiya. "He just likes to bluster is all, the Archdruid and I don't exactly see eye to eye on some things. Actually", she made a face "We don't see eye to eye on anything." She sighed, gave a nod to Anaiya and serenely glided out of the Enclave, sentinels in tow.
It came to Anaiya that she didn't know what to do now. She glanced from the entrance to the upstairs ramp, then back again, feeling little jolts of distress and nervousness in her belly. She hated being the center of attention, and even if she wasn't, she felt as if every eye in the room was on her.
Nervously wiping the palms of her hands on her white novice robes, she glanced around for some idea or hint of what was to happen now. Wasn't there supposed to be someone to test her or show her around…or something? Just as she was about to either have a nervous breakdown or think of some way to leave without embarrassing herself further, a smiling young woman of her own age walked up to her. The woman dipped her head in greeting, and when Anaiya greeted her back, the woman clasped her arm in a friendly fashion.
"I'm Meliri Windsong, Danatharion sent me to fetch you. Said you probably would like a friend and someone to show you around." She grinned, a bright cheerful smile that made Anaiya feel relaxed and relieved at the same time. She almost felt herself sag as some of her anxiety leeched out of her.
"Hi, Anaiya Cloudchaser. Thank you, I was beginning to feel like an abandoned wolf pup." The woman's grin was catching, and Anaiya found herself smiling back. "So, how long have you been here, do you like it? And uh, oh I'd just like to know everything!" She giggled self consciously.
"Heh, I was the same way when I first came here. I've been training in Druid magic for 3 years now, but I've only been at the Enclave for one. I spent most of my time in Nighthaven." She sighed wistfully. "Being a druid is so wonderful, so different. I didn't even bother learning about anything else. Selling fruit pies? No thanks. Shooting people full of arrows from a distance? Boring. I wanted up close and personal "swipe your face off" stuff, and being a Druid? I can't describe it! It's beyond my wildest imaginations. When you learn to shapeshift for the first time, Elune bless me its nothing you've ever felt before! And casting powerful nature spells is so exciting. I can't wait till I take my Talent Exam! Then I will be able to choose my own lessons and study times, be able to decided what I'd like to do with my life and where I'd like to go, because Elune knows I don't want to stay in Darnassus my whole life, although I know every Druid says that." She laughed, the high silvery sound customary to all Night Elves, and led Anaiya over to the Moonwell.
"That's Cyroen Moonclaw, he's the 3rd highest ranking druid in the Enclave." Meliri pointed to an elf male who was using a long wooden rod to stir tendrils of mist that lay on top of the Moonwell in glowing airborne puddles. "And that's his apprentice Jorin. Jorin is such an annoying boy, he's always pulling pranks on us."
She made a face at the young man in question, a handsome looking elf in a forest green tunic and breeches. Cyroen Moonclaw looked over and smiled at Meliri. She blushed a light bluish pink and hastily dipped her head in greeting before moving past. Anaiya glanced at her companion, then over her shoulder, but decided to keep silent. Meliri seemed grateful at her silence, and continued on rattling off names as she passed the various druids clustered about the room, interspersed with explanations about certain actions the druids were performing.
After a time all Anaiya saw was a blur of bright hair colors and half remembered surnames. She was starting to feel a bit overwhelmed. She wasn't supposed to remember all these people was she? Meliri then showed her to several other chambers, most containing scrolls and heavy books, either neatly stacked on shelves or opened on tables. Meliri explained that these were the studying rooms that the apprentices used for their studies when not with their trainers. She then assured Anaiya that it was actually a quite relaxed training program and the apprentice druids were allowed to freely wander the city in they're free time as long as they always arrived on time for curfews and training lessons. She was then led to the dining area, elegantly furnished and lit with glowing Moonlamps. It reminded her of the Temple in a way.
"Ah, Miss Windsong, Miss Cloudchaser. There you are." At the voice, both girls jumped and turned from examining a statue of a dancing elf outside the druid's sleeping quarters. The man Anaiya recognized as Danatharion was standing by the doorway, smiling kindly at them. "Thank you Miss Windsong, for showing Miss Cloudchaser around. Now, I'm sure Ellandrieth is wanting her pupil back…?" He left the sentence open but implied that Meliri was dismissed. She dipped her head to him in respect, then turned back to Anaiya and grabbed her hands. A bit startled by the contact, since she hadn't been very close to anyone at the Temple, Anaiya almost jerked her hands back before she suppressed the urge and glanced into Meliri's eyes questioningly.
"After you've moved in for real and have everything sorted out, why don't you come to my quarters? There's room for three and its just me and Vinasia at the moment, so your more then welcome to stay with us. I think it would be wonderful and I could help you catch up on your studies and we could be friends!" The other young woman's happy smile made her offer a genuine one, and Anaiya was pleased to find that she felt an answering warmth. "Thank you, I'd be honored! And I'd love to have you as a friend Meliri." The girls waved to each other, then Meliri hurried away to go meet her trainer. Once she was out of sight, the druid turned his eyes back to Anaiya, and smiled.
"Well come along, time to take your test and see about scheduling you for studies. Oh, and remind me to look at the Trainer's schedule as well, to see who is available to be your Trainer." Danatharion beckoned her over to him and continued on walking out the door. Feeling a small thrill of excitement, and wonderment, that this day couldn't get any better, Anaiya eagerly followed.