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Crystalsong Forest

It had been a week since Hethurin had first woke up in the strange room at a high elven outpost in Crystalsong Forest. The only person he had seen during that time was Zayel. She spent much of her day with him in the room, though usually she was at her desk when she wasn’t tending his wounds. She tried speaking to him each time she washed him with the herb-infused water, but he usually declined to answer her questions. When he did respond, it was usually short, one-word answers. He spent most of his time staring out the window at the crystallized tree tops while thinking about home.

Zayel was much more talkative than he was. She shared stories of her training as a priestess, of her trips to Dalaran, and about the guard who had helped her bring him to the outpost. He’d heard enough to figure out the guard liked her, but Zayel didn’t seem to notice. Hethurin didn’t point it out.

He’d also learned that his leg injury was severe. His lower right leg had a gash in it that cut almost down to the bone, and his thigh on the same leg also had a deep gash. The wound on his thigh was lengthwise, and while not as deep as the one on his calf, it was long, and just as painful. Both had swelled up around the edges and looked awful during the first couple of days at the outpost, but now the swelling had gone down. Zayel said he was on the mend, but still wouldn’t let him leave. His wrists were still firmly held by the arcane shackles.

He was more awake now than he had been the first few days. She had told him he had a nasty bump on his head, but she wouldn’t fetch him a mirror. She did seem concerned about his head injury. To be honest, he was too, but just in the past day his headache had lessened. He took that as a good sign even if he couldn’t walk yet. He hoped to convince Zayel that he would be fine if he teleported home.

He waited until Zayel sat next to the bed with bowl of water. She started dabbing the damp cloth on his forehead. It stung a bit, but it wasn’t too bad. “How are you feeling this afternoon?”

Hethurin decided to get straight to the point, “Better. May I leave now?”

Zayel smiled, “I’m glad you’re feeling better, but I can tell you’re still weak. I would be responsible if I let you leave and you didn’t make it to your destination.”

Hethurin frowned as she dipped the cloth in the bowl of water , “I’ll make it.”

She pressed the cloth against his forehead again, causing him to wince. “You don’t know that. You’ll need at least a few weeks to recover your full magic ability.” She glanced at his leg, “And at least a few months to recovery physically. I may let you go once I have a better idea of your magic capabilities. If I know you can make it to somewhere you can continue to heal physically, I won’t have a problem seeing you off, but for now you are quite weak, both physically and magically.”

“I’m weak because you keep these arcane shackles on me constantly. I can’t cast anything with them on.”

“Those are there to make sure you don’t do anything stupid.”

“I’m not going to!”

“You’ll try to attempt to teleport home the moment I remove them.”

Hethurin glared at her. Of course he would, and it wasn’t a stupid idea.

She regarded him curiously, “I’d offer to help get you home, but you obviously won’t be able to walk from where my portal would be, and since I’ve never seen your home, I can’t open one directly there.” She picked up the bowl and stood, taking her time as she walked around to the other side of the bed. He felt her sit down on the bed behind him, and heard her wring the water out of the cloth. He felt the cloth against the wounds on his back. They still stung a bit, but not as much. She spoke again, “Besides, there’s something off about you, and I’d like to figure out what it is before I let you go.”

He almost let that go without a response, but curiosity got the best of him, “Off?”

“Off. It’s almost as if you don’t belong here.” She continued dabbing the cloth at the wounds on his back.

“No, a sin’dorei doesn’t have much business being at a quel’dorei outpost. I just want to go home.”

“It’s not that, nor does it have anything to do with the purge in Dalaran.”

“I don’t know what it is then.” Hethurin twitched an ear.

“I find it curious. That’s all.”

He refused to answer anymore of her questions, choosing instead to stare intently at the crystal tree tops out the window until she was done tending his wounds and had returned to her desk. Then he drifted off to sleep again.

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Awake

Hethurin woke with little recollection of where he was or why he was there, and a lot of thought about one thing: pain. His body screamed of it all over. His head was pounding. He tried to move only to send new waves of agony throughout his limbs. He fought against panicking and trying to move again while trying to get his bearings. Where was he? He was in a thorny, crystal bush. Why was he in a thorny, crystal bush? He didn’t remember going to sleep in one. How would one go to sleep in a thorny, crystal bush in the first place? Where was Terellion? Certainly, he would help.

He realized then that he wasn’t in the Ghostlands. The Ghostlands were cold, wet, and often gloomy. This place was cold, dry and sparkly. Everything seemed to be made of crystals. He couldn’t remember how he got here. Maybe it was a dream, but dreams weren’t supposed to hurt so much.

He tried to move his arm to lift it off the thorns, but it only put more weight on the rest of his body. He winced and held his breath. He was sure now that if it was a dream, that much pain would have woke him up. He ground his teeth together as he lowered his arm back down. He did not want to cry out in a strange place.

But it wasn’t strange. It seemed familiar, then the name of a city came to mind. Dalaran. He was in the forest below Dalaran. He looked around again, trying to figure out why he was here. Had the past years only been an elaborate dream? If so, that would explain why Terellion wasn’t with him, but then where was Aeramin? He made a face finding the thought repulsive now. He didn’t want to be with Aeramin. He wanted to be with Terellion even if he did wind up just being a dream elf. No, there had to be a better explanation. Terellion was real. He was sure of that.

Terellion must have went for help.

He was groggy and weak, and a light snow began to fall around him. He passed out again.

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The Not-So-Slow Fall

Hethurin immediately regretted throwing himself off Dalaran. Everyone and everything he loved flashed in his mind all at the same time as the crystal forest below the city appeared closer and closer. Would they even know what happened to him? He hadn’t told anyone where he was going, but maybe Thalien’s presence in his practice room would give them a good idea. But even then, would they be allowed to come back and look for his body?

Malwen had just found a family, and now he was going to die and leave Terellion to raise her and Narise alone. They might not even know what happened to him. Would Malwen believe he had left them on purpose? Maybe with her imagination, she’d believe he had turned into the dragonhawk! Narise would miss being carried around in the sling while he taught his class. He was sure of that. Terellion’s heart would be broken, and that broke Hethurin’s heart to even think about. He loved Ter and the girls more than anyone, and couldn’t imagine them suffering because of his foolish mistakes. The school that he had done so much work for would be left without its headmaster. Who would keep it running now? Desdeyliri and Keyalenn were to go for their testing after the holidays. Would they be able to go if the school closed?

His robe flew up over his face blocking his view of the approaching ground. He tried to move it out of the way only to decide there was no time to bother. His only hope now was that the silencing would wear off before he hit the ground. He tried to cast the spell to slow his fall, but no words came out. He tried again, and again. Time was running out.

A sharp crystal branch tore at his leg just as the words came from his mouth. Another tore at his thigh. The last word of the spell came out as more of a yelp of pain than the actual word, but it worked. His head hit the broad-side of another branch just as the spell took effect, but it hit hard enough that he passed out from the pain. His body continued to float slowly to the ground, the remaining branches scratching at him as he broke through the forest canopy.  He came to rest in a thorny crystal bush still unconscious.

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Theronil – Theronil’s Log

I took Isandri down to the forest below Dalaran last night.  It didn’t go as I had planned.  She kind of freaked out, about everything, all at once.  At one point, she even thought I was leaving her!  I would never do that.  I guess it doesn’t help that the dragons there are hostile and will attack if they see you.  One of their smaller ground units did see us.  It came straight for her.  I shot it and it fell to the ground dead, but I think it kind of set the tone for the rest of the evening.  We went around to the other side of the large crystallized tree that the dragons seem to be concentrated around.  We were a safe distance away and found a nice little ledge where we could sit and look out over the forest.

I used the riding machine that I’m thinking about buying.  I have to kind of talk to her about that yet.  I can’t just buy it.  I’d have to pay for it over time, and if she doesn’t think it’s a good idea, then I won’t get it.  We need to pay for the wedding first.  I’ll have enough for everything in a couple of weeks.  We might even have enough to start paying our friends back for helping with the surgery.  Teniron has been doing some excellent work with the raw materials that I’ve given him.  Then I enchant the pieces and sell them.  I enchant some of his stuff too so it’s working out quite well between the two of us.  It will continue to, if he stays sober…

And that’s the thing.  I went to see him today.  There was an empty wine bottle in his workshop.  I want to hope it’s nothing to worry about.  He seemed okay.  He really seemed okay.  Better than he’s been in years, in fact.  So maybe it’s nothing to worry about, but at the same time, I know it’s everything to worry about.

We talked a bit.  Isandri doesn’t want him coming to the wedding.  That’s fine.  I don’t like her brother either, but I know he’s her family and that’s important.  Plus, after the wedding, if he decides to be an idiot, I can just punch him.  I guess I convinced her to invite Teniron anyway.  I may not always get along with him, but he’s my brother.  He’s the only living family member I have left.  He should be there.

Besides, I’m pretty sure he won’t want to be there.  He hates weddings.  I finally get to pay him back for making me come to his.

Teniron and I talked a bit.  He said he found a girl he likes.  I’m skeptical.

I noticed the painting too.  I don’t know why he would put that out if it just makes him drink.  Maybe he’s losing his mind.  He is starting to get old.

I told him to hurry up on my order.

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Aeramin – Searching

He had no trouble finding the two books he had hidden in the library, behind other books on one of the bottom shelves.  Aeramin had managed to take them out of the library without anyone noticing as well.  The other book however, the one he had dropped out of the window when he was caught in the restricted room, was proving much more difficult to find.  He looked up at the floating city above.  Had there been a wind that day?  He didn’t remember one.  He was guessing it must have fallen around this area if the library was right above him.

He had managed to skip around the questions that Kestrae and Sanimir had been asking.  No one knew he had been in the restricted access room.  As far as anyone else knew, he had only been locked in a private reading room.  Which was true to a point.  He certainly didn’t want Sanimir asking what he saw in the restricted room.  All the same, he was beginning to think he should tell someone.  It might not be a good idea to summon an imp on his own.  What if something went wrong?  If only he could find the other book!  That one had the exact drawings of the circles he would have to draw.

He pushed aside the tall grass in front of him as he made his way along a small stream.  He pulled his cloak tighter.  Northrend was always cold.  Even in the summer.  He frowned momentarily as the thought came to him that the book may have fallen into the water.  It would certainly be ruined then.  If it had been winter, there would have been a higher chance of the small stream being frozen over, but despite the chill air, it was just warm enough that it wasn’t frozen.  If the book landed there, there would be no retrieving it.  At least not in any readable form.

He frowned and continued his search.

 

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