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Jael’andra (10) – The Summons

The gnoll sat hunched on the fallen log, huddled against the ghostly, eternal twilight that hung over the Ghostlands like a shroud.  He (or she, it was rather difficult to discern the genders of gnolls) poked the dying fire with a stout stick, stirring what remained of the precious embers.

Twelve bright green eyes studied the grotesque form hunched a dozen or so yards away.  Five very sharp arrows pointed at the gnoll, two of them quivering softly.  At a barely audible command, the arrows whispered free of their respective bows, three finding their mark.

The unfortunate gnoll, taken unawares, rolled off the log and onto the soft undergrowth of the woods.

An elven woman rose silently from the brush from which the arrows had come.

“Well done, Jai’talor, Kalendra, and Rilanon,” she hissed as the named elves beamed up at their tutor.  The other two hung their heads as Jael’andra’s gaze fell to them.  “Cel’andras and Malaquin, we will discuss your costly miss when we return to the city.”  She shouldered her quiver, watching the clearing.  “Gather your weapons, our three successful students will be making our next…”

Silence.  She held up a slender hand and the students at her feet immediately froze.  A sound, not far off and clearly attempting to conceal itself.  Jael’andra dropped to a crouch and nocked her bow in the same motion, shaking her head almost imperceptibly at her students.

In an instant, the huntress was gone, silently stalking the source of the sound through the damp underbrush.  She paused to listen for the soft crunching of leaves, her long ears twitching.  There!  She twisted around and caught a glimpse of movement.  Inhaling the scent of her prey, she crept closer.

The height of the intruder coupled with the scent of sweet mana berries gave Jael pause.  She peered through the leaves and cringed.  She rose from the bushes and pressed the tip of her arrow against the elf’s neck.

“It’s not safe to be out in the middle of live exercises, Zenarra,” she growled as the startled elf froze.  “We’re not out here shooting straw targets, you know.”  She lowered the arrow and held a finger to her lips as the quaking elf spun around.

“I didn’t want to come out here!” the newcomer groaned miserably.  “I know I shouldn’t be here, Jael, but Zandine has summoned you back to the city.  She didn’t explain much but it must be important if she would send me all the way out here!”

Jael’andra dropped her arrow and cast a look back over her shoulder.  “There are still many gnolls in the area, Zenarra.  Come.  I will gather the novices and we will return to the city at once.”  She pointed at the girl’s city shoes.  “And do try to be quiet.  These ones aren’t yet ready to take on an entire pack of these slobbering beasts.”

A short time later, the trainer and her students mounted their hawkstriders at Tranquillien’s stable.  Cel’andras and Malaquin, thankful for Zanarra’s distraction, urged their birds to the back of the group and tried to sink below their classmates.

Jael’andra gave the group a preoccupied once-over before urging her strider up the path to Eversong at a brisk pace.  Zenarra, caught off-guard at Jael’s sudden departure, flipped the reins to encourage her own mount to catch up.

“What could it be?” Jael’andra mused aloud, her sleek brown ponytail bouncing in time with her bird.

Zenarra shrugged, matching the hunter’s pace.  “I don’t know, but like I said, it must be important.  Something about a Kil’andra?  Tiv’ondra?  Melana?  Something like that.”  Zenarra was shocked into a fearful silence as the color drained from the hunter’s face.

“Melana?” she asked quietly.  “Do you really think she said that?”  Zenarra frowned, shaking her head in confusion.  “I mean it, Zen!  Is that what she said?!”  The younger elf drew back in surprise.

“I… I don’t know, Jael’andra!  Maybe?  I’m sorry, she’s was so abrupt in her message about someone she thought she had found!” the girl replied quickly.  “I don’t even know who she was talking about!”

Jael’andra sighed, giving the hawkstrider the reins.

“My sister.”

Zandine tried to calm Jael’andra’s tirade.

“Jae, really!” she sputtered, using the extremely familiar form of her fellow trainer’s name.  “We don’t know for sure!  The information is spotty at best and completely made up at worst.  It came from a goblin!”

The pacing huntress waved a hand at the teacup proffered by Zandine.  “Trustworthy or not, I warned you that I would investigate any lead, Zan!  Anything!  If she is alive… or… or even if she isn’t, I will find her!”

Zandine sighed, sipping from the refused cup of tea.  “She went through the Portal, Jae.  How likely do you really think it is that she just popped back up on Kalimdor?  Out of the blue, no warning, so long after Kael’thas was finally defeated?”  She set the cup on a table and stepped closer to the nearly-distraught hunter.  “You assumed her dead for this long.  I knew we shouldn’t have sent her description out with our scouts!  I knew any tiny inkling of her supposed whereabouts would get you all worked up!”

Jael’andra pushed away from her peer.  “I warned you,” she said again, almost flatly, “that I would go if there was even a shred of a shadow of a chance.  And this is it.  This is the first we’ve heard in years.  I’m leaving for the Barrens immediately.”

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May 17, 2012 Posted by | Leather, The Lonely RP Project | , , | Leave a comment