Walking slowly through the room, Effraeti once more took in the colorful decorations and their strange stylization. The bright reds and greens and golds would have looked garish anywhere else, but here they looked natural.
Though part of the same world, this isle of Pandaria had evolved independently through thousands of years of separation. Each tapestry, each accent, each statuette – right down to the tiny potted tree at her bedside that changed daily and she was sure one of the Pandaren had referred to as a “bonsai” – had a flavor different from anything she had previously encountered in all of her travels.
That thought made her miss Lazheward terribly. He was back at their inn, the Runeblade, managing things there while she explored this new continent.
Effraeti had not wanted to leave, but as usual, Ranico was right – there was more work to be done. Laz had wanted to accompany her, but his loss of command of the Light made that impossible. Her death had shaken his faith too much for her fiery rebirth to restore it.
An unbidden sigh escaped her.
Even though she had arrived a few weeks later than the rest of Undying Resolution, somehow Ranico had acquired Effy a room in the Golden Lantern with the others. It was overflowing with Alliance members of various guilds, all seeking fortune and glory in the new lands.
He certainly had his connections for a Death Knight. It was almost as if he had the room all along, with no thought that she could possibly say “No.”
Despite the fascination most had with exploring and discovering the history, wildlife, and horticulture of Pandaria, Ranico and Mindalen were convinced there was trouble brewing on the horizon. Effraeti had witnessed first hand several of these Sha creatures that bore themselves of negative emotions. All of one’s hatred and fear and despair fueled the creatures much like food and drink sustained the mortal races.
It was as if the land were formed of metaphors taken too literally.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
Xarzith was restless as usual, and purred in Effraeti’s mind to come and take to the skies with her. She was enjoying the new set of sights and smells, and growing far too large these days to be cooped up and sedentary long.
Tired of her own brooding, Effy agreed, and the two soared through the Vale of Eternal Blossoms. Xarzith roared, her youthful exuberance announcing a challenge to other dwellers of the sky.
Effraeti just did what she could to hold on tighter to the drake’s neck spikes and smiled.
After flying from one end of the Valley to the other, Xarzith alighted in a strange copse of trees growing straight out of the side of the mountain. She let Effy down from her back, and sprang back into the sky, cartwheeling, allowing the Shaman a moment to meditate.
As a Shaman, Effraeti was no stranger to meditation. She often communed with the elements, to ask of them both favors and of their own needs, but since her arrival, Effy had studied briefly under several Pandaren, including the Lorewalker Cho. All of them seemed to be of the same mind – control of your emotions was the key to survival on Pandaria.
Regularly purging the negative was necessity.
Pandaria, from her travels so far, had no lack of peaceful places for meditating, and Effraeti made sure to seek them often.
In fact, just the other day, Xarzith had found a quiet mountain village that Effy had immediately taken to, and they now returned to often. It overlooked what had once been the Shrine to the Jade Serpent, and the lands below were riddled with dark energies and hissing Sha manifestations, but above was still peaceful for the time being.
After several moments of meditation,Effraeti opened her eyes to see the drake watching her curiously – if not impatiently – and she could tell Xarzith was anxious to be off again.
Over her companion’s shoulder, the Shaman caught sight of ominous black smoke rising. It was coming from the direction of Mistfall Village. Effy was certain it must be the Mogu again. Those brutish creatures had once enslaved the Pandaren until their empire fell, and they now sought to assert that dominance again.
“Not if we have something to say about it, right, Xarzith?” Effraeti asked.
The drake roared and positioned so she could climb up. Then, they arrowed straight for the village, and were dismayed at the scene before them. The Mogu attacks were coming quite often, almost daily, but the Pandaren were hearty and without despair, and whenever possible, Effy gave what help she could.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~
This story was originally published on Awaiting the Muse, on October 20th, 2012. All rights reserved.
Awaiting the Muse by Jamie Roman AKA Effraeti is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on a work at https://awaitingthemuse.wordpress.com/
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