There is much to be done for the Emerald Circle, though I do not relish squaring off with demons again quite so soon after witnessing the horrors of Jaedenar. The Circle had some tasks fitting for Druids, especially with so many of their number gone or otherwise occupied, so I took those I work with into Felwood to help their cleanup efforts.
Many of the smaller animals, such as the squirrels, clean themselves enough that they can slow down the fel sickness. To be honest, I am not entirely sure how they do it, since the water they would bathe in is equally tainted as that the larger animals drink, but somehow they can put off the effects. They still carry the taint, to be sure, but they are as healthy as their cousins in other woods for a good deal longer than other species.
The larger animals, especially the wolves and bears, do not fare so well. Perhaps it has something to do with ingesting tainted meat? …this is why I study plants, and not animals.
Plant contamination is much easier to track.
In any rate, there were reports of a mother bear who had just had cubs. She was older and much too sickly they said, but they thought perhaps the cubs might yet be saved if they were still young enough and not as exposed to the fel taint of Felwood. We tracked her den to the south of the Grove, tucked away in the foothills of Hyjal. Rotting carcasses littered the trail, some barely gnawed on, and she seemed defensive when we came up the path. I’m unsure how much of her anger was protecting her cubs, or how much was due to the corruption wracking her body. One of her back paws was also injured, and she limped heavily.
There was no choice but to put her down, out of her misery. To see one of Azeroth’s creatures writhing in so much pain… She was welcomed back into the earth, and I had one of our number say a prayer to welcome her into the next life.
When we found the cubs, there were three barely living. Their tiny bodies were riddled with corruption of their own, and they seemed weak and pitiful. Without a mother, that small, they would not have lasted very long on their own, especially in such a cursed place. After being brought back to the Grove, we took some time to sit at the Moonwell, offering up prayers to Elune to grant them longer and healthier lives. She heard our prayers, and within minutes the cubs were showing more movement and activity than they did the entire trip back to the Grove in our arms.
Once these cubs are grown, it might be possible to start a healthier bear population within Felwood. After the corruption is stemmed and under control, perhaps. In the meantime, it seems I have yet another responsibility to attend to in caring for this little orphaned cub. As long as it doesn’t look at me with the amount of disdain my nightsaber does, it surely can’t be so bad.
Though, it might help naming the creature. I’ll ask some of the others to help me think of one suitable enough.
The Emerald Circle gave the Commander reports of a Moonwell that had fallen into the hands of the satyrs. With their numbers dwindling, they asked us to go recover the well and the surrounding territory, so that they could begin the purification ritual and bring the sacred waters back into the light of Elune.
The Druid we rescued from the demons, Dinmaya, was instructed to lead us to the corrupted well. Something didn’t seem right to me in the way she acted; she was overly skittish, almost as if she was terrified as to what might happen. I couldn’t say that I blamed her, after seeing her companions’ mutilated bodies carried back to the Grove, but I also couldn’t understand why she insisted on showing us the way instead of someone else who knew the area. I think Elder Shadowclaw felt it too, and kept a close eye on her.
The path was blocked by a wall of impenetrable fire, though something the Druid had was able to calm the flames. It looked like a clawed treebranch, but it was strange nonetheless. Where did she come across such a useful tool? Why was it in her hands, and not the Circle’s?
The Moonwell itself was sickly, and the smell of the putrid water was enough to make many of us gag. It was a revolting sight, an abomination of the Mother Moon’s gifts to her children. Cleansing it will be no easy task.
Elder Shadowclaw also noted that there were no demonic defenders of the well. They had killed many to corrupt it, and yet they left it alone now. As if something else was keeping them away.
That is when that Druid…no, I should stop gracing her with that title. She is a monster, to betray nature and her kin. The..woman said she wanted us to meet someone. From behind the well a huge ancient rose up, swinging its branches wildly. Over and over it repeated that we had abandoned it, left it and the well to their fate.
It didn’t feel right, killing a protector of the forest, but we had no choice. It would have crushed us beneath its roots in anger as sure as the waters of the well were a sickly green. My sisters put up a brave fight, and brought the ancient down as swiftly as they could.
May Cenarius guide its spirit until a time when the forests of Felwood are able to be regrown, and its service to nature can be renewed.
Dinmaya was pinned down by Shadowclaw. I almost thought he would take off her face, and I almost didn’t stop her. By that point she was rambling manically about some “master”, the “voices in her head” and how she had no choice. She was bound and brought back to the Grove, where she’s under armed guard until the Circle can decide what to do with her.
There is too much at stake in this forest. If the demons gain too much control, they will be able to turn the tides and destroy more than they already have. But there is something working against us, and we are no closer to finding out than we were before we found this woman.
We’re to report to help the Circle again soon. If they aren’t able to get any information out of her, I might sick Shadowclaw on her after all, regardless as to what the Circle and the Commader have to say.
Our unit ventured into Felwood to aid the Emerald Circle again. This time they sent us to the south, to Deadwood Village. A number of furbolgs had fortified their hold, but had since fallen to the same taint that plagued the rest of the forests. Instead of being peaceful guardians of the woods, they had become malicious, attacking anything that came too close without hesitation. It is disheartening to see such a friendly people succumb to the corruption…how much longer can we Kaldorei frequent the forests of Felwood, before we too slowly start to lose our minds? I suppose it’s different, since we know not to eat or drink anything from the area, but is that enough to keep the affliction at bay?
The Circle tasked us with reducing their numbers. Drastic measures, but not uncalled for; with each passing day, the furbolg become more and more aggressive. They are not in their right mind, cannot be saved. I know that when their souls are reborn into this world that they will be able to see their forests through clear eyes, but it didn’t make our endeavor any easier.
Commander Wintershade split our group into two squadrons. I was to take my group through the north gate, and she led hers through the south. Thankfully, those under my command were skilled enough to put down most of our adversaries before they knew we were upon them. They were brought swift deaths in the end, at least.
Eventually we reached the center of the village, or at least what I believed to be the main circle. A huge tree sat in the middle, carved into a likeness of a large bear totem. By this point, they were aware their hold was under attack, and they beat their war drums ferociously, calling the others to battle. They scrambled, gathering whatever weapons and shovels they could, but it was too late. A few arrows, and they too rested with the Great Bear Brothers.
Commander Wintershade told us to burn whatever structures we could, to prevent whoever survived from returning so soon. Shadowclaw had one of his potions at the ready, and with a flick of his wrist, the majority of the camp was lit aflame. The shock of it knocked a few of our number on our rears, and the smoke was overwhelming. Soon after, my squad met back up with Commander Wintershade’s group. Amazingly, none in my squadron took any injuries; her number didn’t fare as well, but I didn’t see more than a few scratches or bruises. We gathered our sabers and left the smoking ruins in shambles.
It fills me with sorrow to think of what we accomplished, but it had to be done. I only hope that Ursol and Ursoc understand why we killed their chosen children so ruthlessly; I fear the Great Bear Brothers’ wrath far more than a furbolg driven half-mad with taint.
I called the druids together again last night. At least, the little gathering that is willing to follow where I lead. I still find it strange sometimes, all these druids who are respected in their own rights, that they choose to come with me. I’ve practiced the art for a fraction of the time they have, sometimes less than a heartbeat to them, and yet they still respect and heed my words. Amazing what I can accomplish when I put my mind to it…thank Elune and all the Ancients I am not so stubborn as I was when I first began my lessons.
The group that gathered in Whisperwind Grove last night was small, but of practiced druids. While we waited for any others (most notably Adalcien, who was not there when I expected him to be), a few strangers pledged their talents to our cause as well. With that group, we set out from the Grove and headed south, towards the polluted moonwell that my Sentinel unit had secured weeks prior.
The ancient that had fallen to the corruption still lay in the underbrush, its once powerful form mangled and limp. We hadn’t had the time to give it properly to Cenarius when we were last in the area, with that treacherous woman in our midst, so we took the time last night to say a prayer. Crossing the ancient with vines and roots, we channeled a bit of our strength into the vines and asked Aessina to bless the spot. When we stood, a few flowers were feebly stretching for the light from beneath the trees. That one spot will hopefully stay free of the taint that plagues the rest of Felwood.
Soon it was time to attempt the task set before us by the Circle; cleansing the well. They had given me a talisman before we left, some wooden carving that fit in my hand. I asked the others to clear their thoughts and open themselves to the energies of nature, and we began.
What a miraculous feeling, having nature touch your very soul! When you listen closely, you can hear each individual heartbeat of life coursing around you. The vibrancy, the spirit of vitality…even it beat with a strange pulse in Felwood, different from the healthy life elsewhere. The corruption runs deep. Still, we concentrated, channeled the energy surrounding us, fed it into the person next to us, completed the circle into the talisman. I held it over the surface of the sludge-green waters, and when I opened my eyes for the briefest of moments, the surface of the corruption roiled. Whatever poison was in the moonwell, it fought back vigorously.
Our efforts were not enough.
It was a disheartening feeling, working so hard to watch your struggles falter. I closed my eyes again, willing the powers from the others to flow into the talisman, but it was to no avail. It simply wasn’t enough.
At this point, the others felt it as well. One even let out an outburst of frustration, smacking her hand against the stones of the moonwell. It wasn’t until Adalcien spoke up, telling us that it was the way of the fel-taint to discourage us until we gave up. That we are the gifted of Elune and Malorne, and that their grace and strength flows through us. The others agreed, and we tried once more to feed the energies through the talisman into the polluted waters.
Slowly, the waters nearest the talisman stilled. The outside edges continued to buck and fight the cleansing, and the corruption of the green sludge ended abruptly against the purity as oil and water, the two sides never mixing. The more we focused, the clean waters of the moonwell pushed the barrier between the two, fighting to push the corruption away. Suddenly, as if some unseen force was aiding our efforts, the pureness of the moonwell water stretched across the entirety of the well, the taint gone.
We had succeeded in cleansing the well.
I am still exhausted from our endeavors. I’ve done minor cleansing myself, but nothing like this, certainly nothing that took an entire circle to accomplish. A few more days of rest will do me some good, I think, and the others as well. Once we are renewed from our work, we will set forth to Felwood again, to see what new task the Emerald Circle will give us.
The unit hasn’t been called back yet as they try to glean more information out of that treacherous woman. I haven’t spoken to her myself, but she is still being heavily guarded, and whispers float through Whisperwind Grove of her madness and the “master” she serves.
Whatever was…is fighting against the Circle’s efforts to cleanse Felwood, it hasn’t stopped even though we have one of their agents being interrogated, though it has slowed some. It seems silly, but it’s almost as if it’s…..waiting, biding its time, putting forth enough to hinder our efforts but not stopping us completely. I wish they were able to get something other than ramblings out of that woman.
In the lull, I’ve taken the opportunity to work with some of the Emerald Circle, trying to help them as much as I possibly can. They have the most interesting salves - when applied to the local plantlife, it appears to stem the sickness, cleansing its ailment and allowing it to grow naturally and strong…at least for a time, before the corruption seeps back into it. It truly is a never ending battle.
A battle I’m willing to fight. Everything within those cursed trees cries out silently, begging for some sort of reprieve from the corruption that soaks into bones and roots. It is unsettling to think of the change from just a short time ago, when these trees held the beauty of Ashenvale and the land held the glory of the foothills of Hyjal. I would see it returned if I could.
I’ve felt I have a new sense of purpose since the Commander called us to arms for the sake of the Emerald Circle. Here, I am much more than a simple officer of Sentinels; here, I can make a bigger impact on nature and those who reside in these forests. With their numbers already dwindling, they need every able-bodied druid they can muster to help them ease the suffering of Felwood. I can make a difference. It’s my duty as a daughter of nature.
…what am I saying? It is my duty as a Guardian, to see my Sentinel sisters to safety. To lead them, to make sure they are up for any challenge that is brought before us. For not only my sisters whom I serve with, but for the Kaldorei race, for Elune’s will.
Despite your recent service in Desolace, we require your horticultural expertise in Draenor. You are to report immediately to Stormwind and procure transport to The Everbloom to begin research on the Botani threat until further notice.
For the first time in many months, I'm unsure what to write.
I've known for some time that I would be called away, that eventually the Circle would have need of me again. I hadn't thought it would be so suddenly.
"Until further notice". These are the words I have began to dread, as I sit here and reread this letter over and over. How long will they need my assistance? Will I ever see the towering tops of Teldrassil again? What will the Commander say, when I explain that I am being called away, perhaps indefinitely?
As much as it pains me to do so, perhaps it would be better to put in a letter of resignation. I will be out of contact from the unit "until further notice", and unable to uphold my responsibilities as a Guardian of the Cadre.
Looking back on my short time within the Cadre, it's difficult to remember a time before I was a Sentinel. I've grown so much within this time span, going from a reluctant and downright miserable fighter, to one who can hold her own on the battlefield. My skills have improved tremendously, as I had a reason to fight; to protect my kin and my homeland. To protect my sisters.
But my Sentinel sisters...
They have been with me through everything. The training, the drills, the ceremonies.... ....the nights spent patrolling together on little to no sleep the day before.
The fights, the battles, I knew I could count on these women like they could me, to defend and protect them come whatever may. I've laughed with them, fought beside them, cried with them when they looked to me to mend their wounds. We've shared everything together.
General Shandris Feathermoon Commander Adellwyna Wintershade And to whomever else it may concern;
I have received a summons from the Cenarion Circle. On the morrow I am to report to Stormwind and prepare to travel to Draenor to assist with a matter regarding the Botani.
The letter I received states "until further notice". I will be unable to perform my duties as a Guardian within the Cadre until the time my obligations to the Circle have been met, and at this time I do not know how long that will take.
I am hereby resigning from my position as Guardian from the Darnassus unit under the command of Commander Adellwyna Wintershade, until a time when I am better able to fulfill the needs of the Cadre and our people.