Our First Trip to Kalimdor
The four of us (Prada was still nowhere to be found) met back up near the pool in the Mystic Ward, and there a Night Elf ran up to us. He did not introduce himself, but asked, “Are you… members of Higher Authority?” I looked at the others. We were all wearing our tabards. Who did he think we were?
Kaide spoke up first, “We are. Is…”
“Shoryl sent me to speak with you, she said you’re just back from a trip to Westfall…” he was obviously nervous, and rushed. “We’ve been having some trouble, and she thought you could help. But… it would require that you go to Kalimdor.”
“Where?” I asked. Kalimdor was an entire continent. Narrowing it down would be helpful.
“Um… the Northern Barrens.” That explained the nerves. He continued, hurriedly, “I’m with the Cenarion Circle. We’re not sending you to confront the Horde… the problem is with a group of druids who are… well, causing trouble in the Emerald Dream.” I raised an eyebrow at that, but he hurried on, “If you were willing to go… I can transport you directly to the location, where you will meet with another druid, who can direct you as to what needs to be done.”
He looked nervously from one of us to another. I glanced at Kaide, who shrugged. Vi muttered a few things, but said, more loudly, “I don’t see why not. But… we may need a little more firepower.”
Cordagan smiled, “Mr. Circle Representative, if you could find a paladin to join us, I think we’d be more than capable of taking care of your problem…”
The druid visibly relaxed. “I will do what I can. May I send you off now?” We all nodded, and the druid began to cast a rather pretty greenish spell. The green swirled around us and we found ourselves in a cave. Standing in front of a Tauren. Another dwarf was with us this time. A paladin, from the look of his armor. He introduced himself as Murin.
Cordagan, standing behind Murin and Vi, asked the Tauren his business in the rather humid cave we’d found ourselves in. The Tauren smiled (I think), and patiently explained that another druid had attempted to use the Emerald Dream to revive the Barrens. While he’d been asleep, druids of another group, calling themselves Druids of the Fang, had taken over this warren, as well as creatures that had been twisted by the effects of something called the Emerald Nightmare on the sleeping druid. It was all beyond me, really, except that part about this Tauren in front of me wanting us to bring him several hides of the deviate creatures, and that to be able to wake the sleeping druid, we would need to kill the leaders of this Fang organization. Oh, and I wanted to be done with this whole thing quickly. There was an eery keening throughout the tunnels and caverns.
We prepared ourselves for the battle ahead, and Vi charged forward, towards a globby green thing that was oozing its way towards us. We dispatched it with ease. Around the bend, we ran into a few raptors, also dispatched with ease. Some of these seemed relatively normal, but we collected the hides of the odder ones for the Tauren. Kaide collected the normal hides to sell the leather later.
We moved out on to a raised area around an underground river, and saw our first druids. They were Night Elves! Consorting with snakes. Well, I’m no fan of snakes, so when one of the druids turned into a snake upon attacking us, I was all for killing them as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, one of the first druids we met turned out to be one of the leaders the Tauren had warned us about, and she went after Kaide first.
Murin quickly got her attention, though, then Vi shouted something at her that made her turn to him. I was too far away to hear exactly what he said. We went back to our methodic system of dealing out death. Lady Anaconda fell shortly thereafter.
We started to head over the stone bridge that was further along the path, then realized the druid had told us to head down into the gully the river had cut, moving to the west. We would find Lord Cobrahn hiding behind his vassals up a circuitous hill beyond where the river left the cave. Rather than wasting time going back around, we merely jumped off the bridge.
The Tauren was right, and after several more dead snakes, including the collection of their strange hides, we found the druidic leader. He was dispatched without much difficulty, and we were pretty pleased with ourselves. As we began to make our way back, I looked over the edge of a cliff-face I’d noticed on our way up. The view was of the path we followed to get where we were, and there were significant rock outcroppings along the face. “Hey, I think we can jump down this way!” I said as I took the plunge.
After hopping down to the ground, I looked up. Most of the others had followed, but Kaide had stayed above us until I landed. I watched her as she made her own jumps, and she smirked as she landed next to me, “It wouldn’t do for all of us to die for a shortcut.” I smiled, and we hurried off after Vi, who was muttering about using a giant turtle shell as a shield.
I had no idea why he was talking about a turtle shell. We saw alligators, which we’d encountered on our way through the water, but no turtles. Then I saw him. He was twice as tall as a human, about three times our own height, but he didn’t look terribly mean. In fact, it was the first creature I’d met in this place (the Tauren excepted), that didn’t attack us on sight.
But Vi was bent on get a shield made from a turtle shell, and so attacked the turtle. When it died, Vi triumphantly pried a particularly smooth bit of its shell away from the rest of it, and donning it, swelled with strength. Apparently the shell was magical!
We moved on, trying to find the last two lords that Tauren had told us would need to die before he could try and bring his master out of the dream he was in. We didn’t get much farther at all before we ran into A huge Stegodon, with lightning crackling in its mouth. It was obvious we were going to have to kill it to get any further.
After dispatching this creaure, we started heading up out of the water gully… and the plants were walking about on their own! I didn’t like that one bit, and it somehow reeked of what I had started to recognize as druidic magic… or maybe it was the emerald nightmare. Anyway, the druids here were directing those walking plants to attack us, and so we had no choice but to kill them, along with the druids. At least the snakes seemed to have disappeared.
We were climbing uphill again, but this time there were stalagmites here and there. I suspect some had even formed the walls of this tunnel-like section of the cavern. As we came around a group of stalagmites as tall as humans and wide as tauren’s, we ran rather abruptly into Lord Pythas. He started casting a spell at Murin, while Vi charged. This fight turned out to not be nearly as easy as the previous leaders had been, however, for shortly after we began to fight, he cast something that made my very bones tremble. I suddenly had no courage, and panicked.
I regained my composure and began casting again, but the Lord cast his magical fear on Vi, then chased after him. Vi darted behind one of the stalagmites, and Kaide shouted, “Hey! If I can’t see you I can’t heal you!!” then chased after him. Even though Pythas continued to cause terror in us, he only ever managed to do it individually, and we were able to still overwhelm him and take him down.
After his death, we moved further along in the tunnel. Lord Serpentis was the last of the evil druids needed to vanquish, and then the Tauren could start his ritual cleansing of the place. I was truly ready to be done with the continual wailing. As we went along, we came to a precipice. From a few steps away from the ledge, it looked like a dead end, and I was ready to turn around, but Murin had run right up to the edge, and a moment later he had jumped. I followed him up to the ledge, and he waved up at us from a lower ledge, so the rest of us made the relatively easy jump down, and continued on.
A few more druids tried to ambush us from around corners made by the tunnel, but we’d grown accustomed to dealing with them, and they died with little difficulty. We found ourselves finally facing Lord Serpentis, and to his left was a shambling… something. It looked like a living bog, and didn’t smell much better.
Vi attacked Serpentis before I had a chance to pause. He did have a couple of druids in his company, who we dispatched quickly. After the problems with Lord Pythas, Cordagan had managed to figure out how to stop Serpentis from casting the awful frightening spell, and so this leader went down with hardly any difficulty.
We looked at one another over the corpse of the fourth and final lord. The shambling thing had not come to intervene, and I asked if we should bother. Vi pointed out that while we could theoretically go back to the cliff behind us, that was a long drop, and we might not all make it down.
Kaide then said, “Hey, is that water I hear?”
Cordagan answered, “Well, I think we’re just over the top of the stream…” but Murin interrupted “She’s right! It’s a waterfall.”
“And it’s coming from…” I turned, trying to find the original sound amongst the cavernous echoes.
“That way.” Kaide said, pointing directly at the shambling thing. We didn’t argue. She was, after all, a shaman.
Vi nodded, and prepared himself, then launched into an attack. The mound fought back, but Kaide had definitely found her calling as a healer, and we had all become accustomed to each other’s tactics. The mound fell, and we approched the opening in the cave wall behind him.
I looked over the edge, and gulped. It was a long way down. If that water at the bottom wasn’t deep enough… Vi was over the edge, howling with glee as he fell. I’m not sure what made him think he was going to be able to swim back out of that water with his armor on, but Murin had already followed, and Kaide was preparing to… dive. I waited. It wouldn’t do for all of us to die in the fall. But Cordagan gulped, and looked at me.
Vi’s head popped back above the surface, and he waved furiously, letting us know he was all right. I still waited, but Cordagan made the jump. Then Murin’s head popped above the surface, and a moment later, Kaide swam up, and started paddling around on her back as though she had just found the best diving spot in all of Azeroth. I had no choice but to follow, which I did with a double back-flip. I wasn’t going to be outdone by a shaman!
Pulling ourselves out of the pond, we discovered we were at one end of the stream we had traversed as we’d made our way to higher ground. A moment later, we were standing in the gully near where we’d first started; and not long after that, we were standing in front of the Tauren, telling him what he already knew, that we’d succeeded. We also gave him all the hides we’d found, which he piled up, thanking us with not only praise but also coin. He promised us his superiors in the Cenarion Circle would hear of our bravery.
But, he said, he would like us to accompany him on his mission to wake his dreaming master. He was sure that the changes to the emerald dream in this place would cause unnatural things to emerge during the ceremony. We agreed, and set out.
He wasn’t kidding. Snakes and blobs tried to attack him as he worked, and we, in turn, protected the druid. But the worst thing of all came when the druid was almost done. It was a murloc, and it was taller than the Tauren! Vi was in a battle fury, though, and was not daunted as he rushed in to stop the thing. We all fought steadily, and sure enough, we were triumphant.
A few moments later, the druid had finished his spell. He thanked us again, and cast a spell, sending us back to Ironforge.