An Ancient Nightmare... Or Is It a Memory?

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An Ancient Nightmare... Or Is It a Memory?

Post by Schen on Fri May 13, 2016 8:49 am

Schen tossed and turned in his sleep, as he did on rare occasion when an ancient nightmare took sway of his dreaming mind. Not The Nightmare, but a nightmare. But... it was more than that: it was a memory, one that haunted the elder Kaldorei for millennia. If you listen to Schen, when he was young, he was but a gardener and a potion-maker, but how true was it? He was old-- very old, even by his race's standards-- and there was none to dispute his story. Except for this one memory, which paints him in a different light.
 His mother, a beautiful Highborne mage, brought with her the perks of being such, even though his father was not a Highborne. Rare as it was, there were some within the Nobility that did not look down upon their fellow Kaldorei, but saw them as fellow children of Elune, meant to be loved. Schen's father was a warrior, however, trained from an early age to be just that, part of his Queen's army to defend the land if it ever so called for such action; as a warrior, his sons were also trained to be warriors; unknown, however, was how vital that training would be one day.
 In the time when the world was whole, before the Maelstrom, when the Kaldorei were at the height of their empire, their power, under the rule of the great Queen Azshara; when immortality was theirs, and their Mother Moon shined down upon the kingdom of Zin-Azshari, there was a young Schen. Vibrant green hair that matched the colors of the trees around them, golden eyes speckled with silver, dressed in the robes of the time as he walked through the market to his home in the 'Noble' quarters, arm linked with his betrothed, a Huntress in her own right, working her way to becoming a Priestess of Elune. She was a beautiful Kaldorei woman. Taller than Schen, with a royal blue hair that came to her shoulders, though she kept it in a ponytail often. Beside them walked a man the exact same as Schen, except his eyes were silver with golden specks, the only difference between them, other than the fact that Schen's brother preferred to wear leathers to robes, and was more muscled than his twin. It was a time when happiness was all he had ever known, but that changed quickly.
 The dream shifted, pulling Schen away from the happy memory and pulling him to the day that the demons came; the day he lost his entire way of life. When they first came, it was just a shock, but it soon turned into a slaughter around Schen. He saw so many friends die that day, and forever in his minds were they etched, he swore he would remember them and give them a proper burial, if he survived. At first, he ran. Not away, but to his home- he had to get to his family. Knowing his mother, she was already out and headed to their vacation spot, but his brother and father-- they were cocky, arrogant, and imbecile, so they'd go home to get their weapons in order to fight. Finding the house empty and all but destroyed, Schen quickly shirked out of his robes and into the leathers that his father made them wear during training. He quickly grabbed his swords and placed them in their sheathes, forming an 'X' on his back, he left his home, not knowing it would be the last time he ever returned.
Schen's family's vacation spot was well out of the way, deep within the woods, where there was a hidden pond. Few families knew of it, and those who did all shared its secret, planning their vacations around each other's so as to never have more than one family there at a time. It was at least a day's walk, but all Schen could think about were the flames that the kingdom had been in when he left. He never even knew what went so wrong. His mother was the first to arrive, followed by his brother and his bride-to-be. Collapsing in his arms, she cried hysterically, telling him how she found her parents and brother in their home, and had barely made it out. Schen reached out and took his brother's hand, saying nothing, but the gesture was mutual as they looked at each other and then their mother, who was just staring quietly out towards where they had fled from, hoping for her husband to come into view at any moment. He never did.
 After telling her children of what happened in the palace, she knew that the Highborne would forever be persecuted for what they did, even those that did not believe in the Queen's vision, and she wanted her sons to leave to find a safe place and survive. The twins both shook their heads, but before Schen could speak, his brother did. "I will go out and join in the fight," he demanded, and even though he was younger than Schen by a few minutes, he had this way of taking over as the big brother, "We have remained hidden and the fighting is ending, but they need all the warriors they can get. Schen will remain here and protect you two, but I can stand by no longer." And before they could fight him, he was gone, and Schen wept for his brother for the first, but not the last time, as he would never see him again.
It only took a day or so for the demons to make their way out to where his family hid, but Schen led them out to a small forest path where his mother and betrothed would be in less danger-- Even though he knew they could defend themselves, being a mage and a huntress, he knew they were in pain from the losses they had suffered. A mother had lost a son and a husband. A daughter had lost her parents and her little brother. Schen had to be the strong one. As he stepped on the path, he glanced back at the pursuing demons and he quickly took to the trees. He was being followed by what he would later know to be four felguards, a mere scouting party, so he knew there would be more eventually. He held his breath for a moment and waited for them to pass him by, luckily being confused by where the lone Elf had vanished to. He slid his swords from his sheathe, swords so sharp that they created a whistle in the air as he spun them around and dropped down onto the back of the demon that had been at the back. Swords dug into flesh, having been aimed down directly into the demon's neck, Schen quickly withdrew and used him as leverage to push himself off. The demon quickly fell, fel-green blood oozing from the wounds and tainting the ground around. There was a fire behind Schen's eyes, one almost feral as he launched himself forward, meeting another demon's blade with one of his own, and though the demon had strength on his side, Schen had speed. The Kaldorei bounded over the blade, bringing his second sword around as he did so, meeting the demon's neck and cutting clean through to the other side. Schen spat in disgust. The next two were not so easy. They were bigger and stronger and were obviously better trained the the two lackeys behind.
The battle lasted hours between Schen and the two demons, who realized that fighting at two would gain them better advantage over the lone Elf. Through flashes of metal, and feral hours, and both green and red blood being shed, eventually Schen was the lone warrior standing on the path, which was more of a clearing now.
Returning home, he found the house in ruins, a variety of different demons laying on the ground around it, and his future bride holding her bow, with a now-empty quiver. It seems that more had come as he led the others off, and that was when he saw her. His mother, laying on the ground, her silver gown soaked with her own blood from a wound that was too deep to even try to heal. Dropping his swords, he fell to his knees at her side, scooping her into his arms. He wept so much that night that he could have drowned in it, had he not made a promise to always keep his family safe, and that included his future bride. Holding his mother in his arms, he prayed, and it was on that day that he vowed to never again be a warrior. He would be a gardener. But never again would he fight. He watched as his mother weaved one final act of magic, bringing his swords together to form a staff of solid wood out of the two, embedding the blades within the wood of its twin, sealing it. "One day, you may need to break this seal. But know that this staff will always carry the love of your family within it." Just an hour later, she breathed her last breath, and Schen slid her ring from her finger and onto his own. Lifting his staff, he took his betrothed and they fled further into the forest, where they stayed until they learned that the demons had been defeated. It was then that they returned to civilization, and Schen began learning how to make potions, and how to be a gardener, and one day, he would become a druid, a healer, and an advocate for peace. A guardian of nature, and of life itself.
 Schen shivered as he inhaled deeply, either waking himself up, or being awoken by Kel, he was unsure, but he found his way into his lover's arms and wept quietly, just enough to not wake Kel any further. He looked over at the corner of the room, where his staff stood. Over the years he had molded it to have a curvature, and he planted within it moss to grow and give it color, and to further hide its truth. Once he heard Kel's light snores, he could smile softly and drift off to sleep, a peaceful sleep this time. Though Elune knows he had plenty of nightmares that could show up... or were they memories?


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