Journeys – Valaren Whiteleaf
I used to play world of warcraft a lot while in USA. The first character I created was a night elf named Valaren. Being on a RP server, I gave him a last name “Whiteleaf”. I started writing RP story lines for the guild I was the officer in. Some of the story bits are below. All of these happen in the Warcraft universe… and Blizzard owns the Warcraft brand. Though the story, all fiction and fantasy, is my own, many of the characters mentioned here were actual guild mates and good friends… real people in the virtual world.
Even the air seemed to be dead and rotting. But worse things were seen… lingering on to life. Brown bears, once huge and elegant to look at, had a sickly look with their flesh missing in several places over their bodies. Their mouths foamed with the effort of breathing and each step in their lumbering walk looked as if they were pulling a heavy burden. Bones were jutting out from places. But these were not abominations. No. These poor beasts had fallen to the sickening aspect of the plague, but were not consumed by it fully to become one of the dreaded undead… the scourge.
There weren’t many hiding places in the plague lands. The wretched undead had torn the land asunder, leaving death, rot and disease behind in the wake of the initial invasion. Valaren watched a whole group of these bears from afar, from one such hiding place atop a hill, concealed within rocks and rotting branches. He was here on a mission, a mission he had taken upon himself of his own freewill. From the time he set foot in he Plaguelands four full moons ago, he had ridden across it several times, tracking and slaying numerous minions of the scourge. And he had been lucky enough that every time he came across a group of these creatures, it was him that always had the upper hand, with the element of surprise.
But in the last encounter he had with the scourge near the same place, two days ago, he had not counted upon the presence of a human, one who had willingly taken up the abominable state of undeath, being part of a dark cult that served the scourge. A figure with a grey face, hooded and dressed in black, with eyes that glowed with a sickly yellow color, the undead human took to his heels, his speed mysteriously increased. Valaren had not been able to stop the Dark cult follower from escaping. It would take every ounce of his skill as a hunter to bring down the three other scourge soldiers in the camp with the help of his pet and companion, Beary. So, when his own survival instincts kicked in, he heeded it and turned his attention away from the runner to the scourge soldiers, whose attacks were now being kept focused on itself by Beary. Valaren fired away with his bow, bringing them down one by one, quickly. He then thought about summoning his mount and pursuing the runner, but decided against it to attend to the wounds of his pet. He hardly knew then, that this one act of negligence would almost cost him his life two days later.
And now from his hiding place, he waited. Apart from the group of bears, the hill gave him a vantage point to look over the road and the bridge that spanned the river between the eastern and western Plaguelands. He had been using it for quite some time, unknown to even the other adventurers who braved the foul environment in carrying out their hunts. And today he lay in wait, for the daily scout party of the scourge that passed through that bridge. It had always amused him that though the undead were numerous, few of the creatures were intelligent. It seemed to him that they didn’t care how many they lost, because their numbers kept increasing with as many number of lives they take by their killing.
The horrible mist that hung over the land made Valaren’s elvish eyes useless to see afar. So when he saw a trio of the undead soldiers blend away from the mist, he thought his quarry was at hand and silently signaled Beary to charge. The snow colored Bear hurtled down the slope, issuing a terrible, challenging roar that caught the attention of the three soldiers. One swipe from the bear’s huge paw and two of the soldiers were knocked down, only to find their unnatural life devoured by arrows forced in to their skeletal existence by the Valaren’s arcane guidance. One more of the undead filth to go down, thought Valaren, but when he saw Beary’s white coat turn to purple he realized his mistake. Beary had been paralyzed, by a curse. The left out undead soldier was now hurtling towards him, but one aimed arrow brought it down. He frantically searched for the source of the curse, and right on top of the small hill behind him, he saw a hooded figure, clad in black along with three huge Ghouls. A planned ambush! The hunter was now the prey. Then all of a sudden, it struck him. The kind of pain Valaren had never known before. Every inch of his skin seemed to be on fire, eating in to his flesh. He fell to the ground and couldn’t move. His voice stuck in his throat, he fought back with his all of his will power to resist the curse, calling upon the mighty Elune for her protection, but of no avail. It ate in to him, slowly, taking his life force with every passing moment.
But what happened next surprised him more than his own sudden tryst with death. A deep, hoarse voice cried out nearby and a flash of bright light appeared over the head of one of the ghouls which simply flopped to the ground in a mound of rotten flesh and bones while the cultist, his eyes rolling wildly, gave out a scream, an unearthly scream of horror, his head shrouded in dark purple and black fumes, which was a clear indication of a shadow curse, and a bolt of purple lightning struck where his forehead should have been. And in a couple of seconds, it was over. The cultist fell, his undeath taken away from him. And with that, the curse on Valaren lost its hold, and though weakened greatly he heaved himself on his left elbow to see who had cast those spells. He saw a tall figure, shrouded in bluish light that seemed to bubble from his feet and a much shorter one, bearded, clad in plate armor, surrounded by a bright aura and wielding a gigantic hammer. The two ghouls that were left charged at the Elven Shadow priest and the Dwarven paladin, but their fate wasn’t much different than the first ghoul that was sent in to the nether.
A blast of wet breath on his neck, along with a familiar smell told Valaren that Beary was alright. He felt himself being lifted up by a pair of very strong hands and a moment later, he felt a soothing feeling sweep over his body. And with the healing came unconsciousness, due to the sheer exertion under the curse. And as his eyes closed, they met the face of the Night Elf who was kneeling beside him and recognition dawned in them. It was Leren Starwind, the priest he had met at Chillwind camp a couple of days ago. Then everything became dark and he lost track of time.
THE WANDERED PATHS
“Darmil, Darmil!!! Where are you? I need your help!”, said Valaren, walking in to the old hut in the remote slope of Alterac mountains.
The old mage looked up from behind his pile of books with wide eyes.
“Master Whiteleaf? Is it really you? How… when did you… oh my… I was expecting to see you as a ghoul really…”
Valaren cut him off mid sentence.
“Yes, yes… you have a terrible sense of humor…” A smile came to the old man’s wrinkled face. “Darmil… I need your help. I need to get to the human city to report to the Archbishop Benedictus about a mission he sent me on to the Plaguelands. And I am already late.”
“You want me to port you over to Stormwind?”
“Yes… If I had more time, I would have given you a long story over dinner… but no. I must be there absolutely fast. Can you port me now?”
“Of course I can… but you owe me a good story and some silver for the runes”, said Darmil, with a questioning smile on his face.
Valaren just rolled his eyes. “Hurry up, will you?”
“Alright! Alright…! This will take just a couple of seconds. Step over to this platform.”
Arcane incantations filled the air, while the old man twisted his frail body impossibly and finally with a jerk of his hands, tore the very fabric of reality. Gazing through the portal, Valaren could see the sanctum of the mage’s quarter. With a nod of thanks and an assuring handshake to Darmil, he stepped in to the portal and as easily as walking in to the next room, he was in Stormwind.
Running quickly out of the Mage’s tower, Valaren called for his mount, Shadow and his pet Shera. And in a blink, the trio was off. Valaren was familiar with the human city. His job with the Archbishop was done and he would finally get some time to spend with his guild mates. He would check in at the guild hall soon after. It was already dusk and the streets were not crowded, except for one or two passersby looking curiously at him or his purple skinned pet panther.
As he made his way through to the Cathedral from the trade district, the streets were pretty much empty. And most strangely, it was quite silent too… except for distant clamor from the Dwarven district.
But as keen as the elf’s ear were, he caught the mild sound of metal clashing against metal. If not for the hollow sound it made, he would have mistaken it for the blacksmiths nearby… this was the sound of sword on a shield… and as if confirming his suspicions, the shrill cry of a man split the night.
Shadow jumped off in the direction of the scream with just a nudge from Valaren. And it wasn’t far, on the bridge, when his elvish eyes caught sight of a plate clad human, surrounded a group of hooded, leather clad, blade wielding men. The plated warrior was with his back to Valaren and slowly backing towards the bridge. A bright red aura suddenly bathed the warrior… a seal of command! It was a paladin. There were no guards in sight and there was nothing else Valaren could do, except…
One of the hooded thugs silently fell with an arrow lodged in his throat. A huge panther materialized from nowhere behind the group of thugs. Oh yes… Shera was trained well. She knew when to use stealth and attack. One swipe from her huge paw brought another of the thug to his knee, his body stunned by the intimidating force of the blow and in moments he fell silent with another arrow sticking from his forehead. Valaren had always admired the paladins for their hardiness and survivability, but five assassins left were too much of a match and he seemed to be tiring under the effort. He silently connected with Shera and asked her to unleash all her wrath. And one more nod from him and his mount, Shadow plowed through the assassins in a flurry of teeth and claw. Shera, understanding the graveness of the situation, gave in to her bestial instincts and joined Shadow in the massacre. And out of no where, another plate clad figure jumped in to the fray. Valaren saw an aura flare up…. indicating a holy seal. “Good… another paladin. This will be over now”, he thought.
As the assassins fell one by one, he sensed a malevolent presence in the distant end of the bridge and without second thoughts unleashed a volley of arrows in that direction. To his surprise, the arrows did not pierce anything but in a arcane glow produced as they burnt down, revealed a dark hooded and cloaked figure. And then it disappeared in to the darkness.
Recalling his mount and pet to him, Valaren rushed to see if the paladin was alright.
The paladin was sitting on the pavement… his breathing heavy… and slowly removed his helm, with the other paladin beside him, probably trying healing his wounds.
The second paladin was built much thinner than the first and as Valaren neared them…
“What…. wait…? DALLAHATH, DIALLIA? What in Elune’s name…?”
Valaren was left speechless for the first time in many years.
Valaren just stared at Dallahath and Diallia in something more than surprise.
Valaren responded to Dallahath, “The matters between your Archbishop and me need not trouble the guild. Suffice to say that he saw it fit to send me to Light’s hope chapel for a… mission”.
“And now it looks like you both have a lot more explaining to do than me! But let’s not tarry here… “.
Valaren eyed Diallia questioningly. Something seemed out of place. It was not by mere chance that she appeared at that moment nor was it by chance that Dallahath was attacked. What did he see in her eyes? Anger? Guilt?
“I trust both of you can make it to a safe place now. I need to have a little word with the General Jonathan. No guards or patrollers in sight! Your commander needs to realize that their city isn’t safe anymore.”
Valaren picked up the bags that had fallen off from Shadow’s back during the fight and fastened them gently on to the nightsabre’s side again.
“Anything like this in Darnassus would have the place swarming with the ancients and sentinels in moments. As much as I hate to be away from her, I will send Shera along with you both just to be safer. And that way I can find your location without any trouble, wherever you go. Also, she can be with you without being seen. So don’t worry about her.”
Valaren made sure Shera understood what she had to do. She just lashed her tail once to let know that she did. Then, Valaren mounted his Nightsaber.
“This night cannot be any weirder. I will see you both once I am done with my business.”
And with a slam of right fist to left chest, he was off in a blink, his mount’s padded feet hardly making a noise on the cobbled pavement.