This post is a response to the Eleventh Hour Challenge laid down by Liala over at Disciplinary Action. It features my (now) draenei hunter Minona and the unsettling Felwood – I’ll look at adding a few pictures when I get a chance. Thanks for the topic Liala, it’s a great idea and I’m loving the posts that have come out of it.
“Pwah!” Minona grimaced, “The very air in this region tastes rotten. Luckily we’re on our way back to more hospitable territory early tomorrow, or we might have been forced to find out how something grown in this soil tastes.”
Her companion fluffed his feathers in response, never taking his eyes from the strip of dried meat in Minona’s hand.
“Yes, ok, I get it – you’re hungry. Here.”
Minona tossed the last bite of her rations to the large white owl perched on a tree stump opposite her, and the scrap vanished with a flash of a cruelly curved beak. The owl looked up, hoping for more, and was rewarded with another small slice of meat.
“That’s it! Rations are done!” Minona looked a little ruefully at an empty satchel lying at her feet, “I really wasn’t planning on staying this long in Felwood. Or finding a new travelling companion.”
The owl cocked its head to one side and regarded Minona with bright eyes, and she reached over to stroke a pale wing with a smile. It had been a rough few days. A promise to deliver a note to one of the Emerald/Cenarion Circle members stationed at the Emerald Sanctuary had seen Minona travelling from Darnassus, intending to stay only long enough to hand over the message before setting off once again.
What she’d found in Felwood had tugged at her heartstrings as much as it horrified her – a diseased land where once-healthy creatures roamed in agony, the fauna rotting even as it grew. Against this encroaching madness the Cenarian Circle did what it could, drawing on members of both the horde and alliance in order to carry out its work.
Before she knew it she’d agreed to hunt down satyrs, dispatch elementals and release tormented treants from their nightmarish existence. It was filthy, difficult work, made worse by the perpetual gloom and smell of decay that so characterised Felwood. The twisted trees blocked out any glimpse of the clean night sky, while the garish glow given off by the streams and ponds shouted out the pain that had been inflicted on the land. The beasts that roamed were in constant agony, and even the plants themselves seemed filled with a rage that only blood could quench.
In the midst of all this chaos Minona had stumbled across something quite beautiful– the owl that was now her constant companion and ally. She’d been hunting in the area around the Irontree Cavern when she’d first caught sight of something flashing between the dry trees, and upon closer investigation she’d been astonished to find a pure white owl swooping through the air. The elegant creature was worlds apart from the other owls inhabiting Felwood – mean-eyed, scrubby creatures with battered feathers and a desperate air about them. It had taken all of a heartbeat for Minona to decide that this owl would make the perfect companion in her battles in the region, and the two had spent the last few days carving their way through opponents and developing an ever-deepening bond.
And now, with Minona having done what she could to help the Cenarion Circle here, the time had come to leave Felwood in search of new adventures and tasks. There was no question of Cloudberry not accompanying Minona on her future travels, and the pair were thus on their way to the Emerald Sanctuary in search of the flight master. Minona was exhausted, aching and longing for a soak in hot water, with her satisfaction at a job well done tempered by the realisation that the rehabilitation of Felwood would take generations before it became self-sustaining.
Dawn the next day found Minona and Cloudberry making their way up the narrow path towards the flight master, with Cloudberry’s aerial acrobatics earning appreciative laughs from Minona.
“I think we’ll go first to Auberdine to restock supplies, and then on to Booty Bay – I have a few dealing with the goblins that I need to conclude. How does that sound, Cloudberry?”
You can imagine Minona’s astonishment when a voice answered her, “Actually, that won’t do at all.”
She whipped around to find the source of the voice and was confronted with a hauty looking night elf, regarding Minona with a look of studied indifference. Behind the nelf’s well-dressed shoulder was a ornately carved desk covered in papers, looking incredibly out of place on the bumpy ground and under the gloomy sky. A small tent had been set up next to the desk, and a burly tauren – dressed in what looked like a diver’s suit – was fiddling with jars and beakers of various coloured liquids.
The small group of Emerald Sanctuary regulars scattered around was doing its best to project a calm, unconcerned aura, but small twitches and tightness around the eyes betrayed an unusual nervousness. That in itself made Minona tense up, what on earth could worry a group of druids and adventurers that made their home in Felwood?!
The nelf spoke again, “You have the luck to have stumbled into the Emerald Sanctuary in the midst of a check by the Cenarion Circle’s Infectious Diseases, Fel Magic and Accounting Department. Please present your papers and give me a detailed description of everything you’ve eaten, drunk and done in the past ten days. You’re not afraid of needles are you?” The nelf’s eyes took on a dull glow of bureaucratic frenzy, “I’m afraid you won’t be going anywhere for several more days.”