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"My destiny is of my own making." Speech.
"I remember the time..." Flashback speech. Spell-craft.
"When your people huddled in caves I was there." Greater being speech.
"█▄██▄▄█▄▄█▄" Inarticulate roar/scream etc.
"Shan'do said to me; when he came to Suramar, that even if I take a path that is different to the one I walked before, that I was never alone." Harry removed his hand from Lunara's cheek and took a step back, locking his eyes onto hers carefully. "My path; what I want to be, is different than yours. But, will you help me walk it?"
Nothing was said for a moment of time. Lunara's eyes glistened with tears that had thus far remained unshed and her chest heaved with the emotions; both known and undefined, that were felt towards the Kaldorei that had, once upon a time been nothing more than a curious oddity to her.
The moment of silence, of hesitation came to a swift and decisive end when Harry found himself forced back a step when he suddenly had a young, beautiful Dryad smothering herself in his arms; burying her face into the warmth of his chest, her hands gathering fistfuls of his tunic.
He could feel the wet warmth of tears seeping through the fabric of his shirt as they finally fell, but more than that; he could feel the warmth of Lunara herself as she seemed to seep into his very being, his very soul itself.
Harry spent a couple of months at the Grove of his Shan'do. Repairing the shaken relationship he had with Lunara and reaffirming his vow to keep her in his life. Together the pair explored the winding paths and hidden secrets that surrounded Val'Sharah. They chased one another through frozen forests to the north and played within clouds high above Azeroth as birds of prey.
It was a pleasant change back to a quieter life where ambition had not quite made its way into Harry's life and a reminder that; even now with how far he had come since his childhood he could still enjoy a quiet harmony. With her.
Lunara herself had been very much happy for his lingering presence. No more tears had stained her face since his return and the only cries to tear out from her mouth were that of joy as they played.
It had been a surprise, a welcome one nonetheless, to see that despite his change in path; that Harry still possessed a skill and potent capability for her Father's teachings even after shutting himself off from them for so long. Easily slipping in and out of the grip of the Emerald Dream and pulling upon Druidic power as if he had never stopped using it in favor of the Arcane ways.
It had been exciting, flitting around trees and over streams, chasing after and fleeing from him interchangeably, her form shifting into various creatures along the way only for him to match her.
More than one Ancient had been less than pleased when she had attempted to scramble up their trunks in the form of a Saber Cat, chasing after a laughing bird that was nestled in their boughs.
But just as the day has its setting sun, so too did their fun have to come to its inevitable end. Harry had duties to attend to in his Elven home of Suramar. Lunara too had responsibilities that needed her attention. Romulus would most certainly scold her if she continued to shirk on her duties to The Wild.
Together the two enjoyed one last adventure through the woods on the way to Suramar. Lunara in her natural from flitting by as if she were more spirit than flesh with Harry showing surprising skill and agility as he maintained his pace by her side in his own natural Elvin form; hard muscles flexing across his bare chest as he would flip over raised roots or swing under branches to cross a stream or ditch.
It was regretful for the Dryad, when the pair finally came within sight of Suramar's mighty walls; a sign of the end of their blissful fun together.
"It will be different this time."
The Dryad remained silent as she kept her eyes fixed on the distant Suramar, listening to but not turning to face her dearly beloved companion.
Harry brushed off a few blades of grass that had stuck to his chest and walked to stand closer to Lunara's side, reaching out to rest a hand along the small of her back. "I'll not lose my way from you like I did before."
She could not help the tears that prickled at the corners of her eyes. A lingering fear of him leaving her rearing its ugly head once more. She did not want him to go. If he never left her then he would never become lost. He could just stay out here; in The Wilds. If he did then she would not have to be afraid of being alone once more and neither would he.
Golden eyes blinked as Harry cocked his head to the side, ears twitching as he tried to hear what Lunara had whispered under her breath. "What's that?"
"You could, stay here." The Dryad repeated softly, her eyes flicking up to his. "You don't have to go back to Suramar. You could stay here, in The Wilds, with me."
Harry found himself without words. It was so very tempting an offer. He loved that free feeling and the joy that came with being out here in the wilderness and natural world beyond the structured walls of Suramar. The thrill and adventure each day brought with Lunara and the other spirits of Azeroth. To wake up each day in the comfort and warmth of the morning sun with only the responsibilities that nature brought.
But...there was something lacking.
Harry wanted, more. It wasn't greed or pride. It wasn't the ignored pressure of expectation that would be placed upon him for his golden eyes. It wasn't even a child's desire to live up to a mother's expectations. Harry wanted more for his own sake.
This path he had taken; to learn and master the Arcane arts of Magic. It had fit into him like a puzzle piece he had not known was missing. Every time he learned something more in the field of magic, it was as if he had been dying of thirst and had taken that first gulp of cool, refreshing water.
"...The Wilds has so much that I love." Harry began, swallowing thickly as he considered his words. "There is a sense of calm that I just don't find in Suramar that I have missed and I hold so much regret for the time I have already lost out here, with you."
"But you cannot stay." Lunara's voice was tinged with the sadness of where she could see his words leading.
"I regret turning away from Shan'do Cenarius as I did; ignoring everything he had taught me and shutting myself from the Dream the way I did. I regret abandoning you; the way I simply lost you from my mind and neglected the joys you and this place brings to my heart."
Harry breathed out a sigh and raised his left hand, keeping his right still placed upon Lunara's back. A flash of pale blue light and a complex, ornate runic circle burst into the air above his palm before exploding forward into a shower of sparks. High above the two a shaft of sunlight that was breaking through a gap in the forest canopy shifted and took the form of a powerful golden dragon. With a crescent moon crown floating between two large horns, it was an impressive imitation of the Lady of the Emerald Dream; Ysera.
"But I don't regret this magic that I have found. So curious and endless in its wonder. Like I have found something that I did not know I was even missing. If, if I leave now. If I turn around and return with you into The Wilds now. It will be another regret."
"I'm still learning. More than just the Arcane, I am learning of the world and my place within it." The Kaldorei continued. "The most recent lesson I have learned now is that of regret itself. I don't want to carry another regret. So forgive me, I beg you, but I must return to Suramar."
The Dryad turned to face the young Whisperwind and grasped his hands together, boring her eyes into his own. "Promise me you will not hide from the Dream. That when you are here, so far from me on Azeroth; we are still together in the Emerald Dream."
Harry leaned his head down and pressed his forehead against hers, feeling the cool bone of her horns against the sides of his head as he looked right back at her with fervent sincerity. "I swear. We will never part."
Despite the affirmed promise between the two. It was several more hours before the two finally parted ways. Elune's Light was shining down from the starlit heavens and the song of Crickets and Owls filled the night by the time Lunara departed for her father's grove.
There was more than a small part of Harry that wished he could just turn around and follow after her. But in the end he continued toward Suramar.
A burst of inspiration regarding his work had come to him a week into his reunion with Lunara. Something he had pushed aside in favor of exploring and furthering this relationship with his closest friend.
Now however, with his mind permitted to return to thoughts of the Arcane and the undertaking he had shouldered, possibilities and potential applications whirled about in his thoughts.
This inspiration; this missing link that had come to him was the feeling of completion. He had been flying in the heavens with Lunara high above the mountains north of Val'Sharah, playing with the wind spirits there to create a small whirlwind that they could more or less jump into for fun.
It had been that middling state of holding enough control over the wind to keep it confined to the upper air and away from anyone on the ground below, but allowing enough chaos to grow to allow it to form naturally and fully.
A perfect state of chaotic control. Something that flew directly in the face of everything the Masters of the Academy of Suramar taught.
The Masters who had taught Harry at the Academy had been very clear and strict in explaining that to use and master the magical arts of the Arcane was to exert a complete and unyielding control over the power. An aspiring mage, when crafting a spell circle defined strict rules and limitations to exact complete control over the spell itself.
'A Mage does exactly and only what he desires. Nothing more. Nothing less.'
It was this guiding principle that Harry was beginning to suspect was the reason why his research had hit a wall. If this epiphany had any genuine potential and truth to it; the magic he was designing, a craft to exclude the usage of Ley Lines and tap into only the reserves of the caster himself, he had to allow for an element of chaos and uncertainty to the mix.
A leading theory following one of his attempts to use the craft he had designed, one that had left him very nearly bone dry of Mana; was that he had focused so much of his will and magical power in the crafting of the spell circle itself. Crafting and forming the shape and scope of the spell from the ground up in every aspect. Every fine detail and metaphorical inch of the spell, carefully built and shaped within specific limitations.
A great deal of focus which required and even greater deal of magic to ensure the accuracy and stability of the greater spell.
For a Mage supplementing their Mana with power from the Ley Lines of Azeroth, this process was barely an idle thought. Ignoring the fact as well that Harry was not simply recreating pre-established spells but building on the spot new spells each and every time, the basic idea was essentially the same.
It took no time at all to make it to his personal quarters at the Temple of Elune, deftly avoiding the Priestesses going about their nightly duties to the Goddess.
Pulling out the tomes and tomes of notes and research he had penned over the years in dedication to his work, Harry poured through the contents for the relevant information. Running calculations and simulations within his mind in order to determine if there was any validity to this new line of inspiration. Or if it was nothing more than a fantasy.
Chaos through Order. Order through Chaos.
His theory was sound. The Arcane way of magic; to enforce strict order was not feasible for what he wanted.
Cenarius had taught him to see the balance in all things. It was how one was able to call upon the Druidic Arts and push upon the Emerald Dream. Push but allow the pull.
Harry needed to cease his attempts at total control.
Setting his books aside, the golden eyed Elf held his hands out before him, palms facing one another.
A flicker of pale blue light coalesced in the space between his hands as a Spell Circle took shape. It was slow and careful; Harry wanted to see exactly how the spell was forming so he could take notes regarding its formation and overall form upon completion.
A simple orb of light. That was all he desired of this spell. Colorless but with only the brightness of a hearth's fire. The binding perimeter formed first, the aspect that confined the required Mana to the specific spell and limited overall wastage. Harry eased up on his micro-managing of its development, allowing the circle itself to flow and shape itself as it would. Shapes and runes took form along the interior edge of the perimeter circle; forming a secondary ring.
A brief assessment of his reserves and Harry felt a small measure of satisfaction when he determined that his expenditure was significantly lessened than previous tests.
However, significantly less was still far beyond practical acceptance for something so simple as what was essentially a reading light.
A moment later, when the Spell Circle was complete; its overall design and form near completely alien from anything he had seen described in any text, he idly considered how it would appear if he had designed it to emit an emerald light akin the that of the Dream itself.
When the Spell Circle suddenly and rapidly altered before his eyes, Harry lost his concentration. This was, highly unexpected. He hadn't actually put forth the proper intention to alter the spells composition before it had altered itself to his thoughts. And that was ignoring the fact that a fully constructed Spell Circle could not be altered at all!
The light of the faintly glowing Spell Circle faded out of existence and Harry stared dumbly at the space where it had once sat; his mind abuzz with a number of queries and theories. It should not be possible. Spells were not designed to be freely altered like that when they were completed. Sure it was possible to modify them in the initial casting phase but that was a very different from what he had just witnessed. Technically the spell had already been cast. All that had been required to finish the Magelight was to fill the Circle with the required Mana.
The spell was a colorless orb of light. And yet an idle thought had changed it into an orb of emerald light. Small detail changed, ultimately an insignificant detail. But a fundamentally immutable detail.
The only way a Mage could alter the composition of his own cast magic was to use a second spell to alter the first. Harry had altered a single spell from within the same spell!
Unfortunately this impossible discovery was overshadowed by the overall failure of this spellcraft's practicality. This methodology of chaotic control had refined the Mana expenditure quite a bit, far more than his previous experiments to a point where he hadn't passed out from the attempt this time. However, for a spell that was designed and supposed to require next to no Mana to cast; even with the refinement it had drained nearly eighty percent of his total Mana reserves.
"I see you've made some progress since the last time we spoke Har'rin."
The suddenness of the voice and how unexpected it was had Harry spin around on the spot, raising a hand and pulling upon the Emerald Dream, a small orb of green light cupped in his raised hand.
Seeing the amused face of his recently made friend Mardrin Shadowmantle.
Relaxing his posture and releasing the power he had pulled and allowing it to return to The Dream, Harry straightened and breathed out a calming sigh before shooting a glare at the still smirking Elf.
"I swear one of these days someone is just going to hit you for sneaking up on them Shadowmantle." Harry commented. "How long have you been standing there anyway?"
Mardrin shrugged and made a distinctly 'who-can-tell' face. "Not long, I saw you on your way here with the face of someone who had realized something important. I figured that I might see something interesting."
The larger Kaldorei entered Harry's quarters proper and picked up one of the younger Elf's books and leafed through a couple of pages. "Last we spoke you mentioned that your efforts were continuing to result in a cascading failure of the Spell Circle as well as a total drain of your reserves. This time looked different."
Harry stepped back and fell into a chair, relaxing his body and allowing himself to re-connect to Suramar's Ley Lines; to restore himself. "I found what I was missing to complete the basis of my work; I am confident in my claim that I can now create proper and functional spells that require no use of Azeroth's Ley Lines."
"But it is still entirely impractical as a result of the cost demanded from even the most basic and simple of spells."
Harry cocked an eyebrow at the steel-silver eyed Elf. "You've been keeping track of my work?"
Mardrin waved a hand dismissively. "While impressive amongst, our, kind. I have seen something like this before."
Wait what? Harry's big project. This unprecedented undertaking that he had worked tirelessly on for decades now, wasn't even original? Another had at the very least, attempted, it before?
"Someone else was able to figure this out?"
Mardrin nodded as he gathered the rest of Harry's books and walked over to the bookcase to return them to their proper places. "Someone I have known since my youth. He has a mind for magic unlike anything you could ever imagine. I think he researched it on a whim really."
Maybe it was Harry's own pride, but he could not help the wave of disappointment that washed over him. It was not something that he had really acknowledged consciously. But he had believed that what he had been working on; to craft a means to use Arcane Magic without needing to tap into Ley Lines or any other external power source, was unique. Never before attempted.
Only, it had been.
"This, friend of yours, has already done all this?" he asked, slowly, questions filling his head as he filtered them down to their most basic and important. "Have they published any of their work? I looked everywhere I could think for any information regarding my project but came up empty. How did your friend resolve the expenditure issue?"
Mardrin grinned, sharp teeth glinting under the flickering light of the room's mag-torches. "You are an impressively gifted young Kalgoorlie Har'rin Whisperwind, don't be discouraged. But this friend of mine is on a completely different playing field than you. The Mana requirements of this craft that you and he share is within the realm of functionality for him."
Harry swore under his breath as he hauled himself back up to his feet. He was still drawing power from the Ley Lines to restore the Mana he had used to fuel the Magelight experiment but his reserves were back at a level where he didn't feel too tired to move about now. This unknown friend of Shadowmantle's had been able to re-create, no, invent the magical method that he himself had attempted and been strong enough to use it regardless of the cost it demanded.
Which meant either that this individual had chosen not to attempt to further refine the cost, or that the Mana requirements could just not get any lower.
"So I've failed."
Mardrin blinked slowly, confusion popping up within him as he looked at the young Elf as Harry's shoulders slumped and defeat became evident in his posture.
"I understand that I am by no means at the peak of my potential as a Mage, it would take thousands of years for me to reach a level where I can use what I have created. Sorry, recreated." Harry continued.
The large Night Elf furrowed his brow in thought. He liked this youth, truly he did. Har'rin Whisperwind was a refreshing change from the norm. he was humble but still had a sense of personal pride about him. Powerful and gifted went without saying and he was incredibly self-motivated.
Mardrin was glad to have met him.
"Get dressed." The large Elf instructed as he stepped forward to clasp a hand on Harry's bare shoulder.
Harry flinched when a sudden and incredibly vivid vision super-imposed itself over his mind. A cavern, deep within the High-mountains to the north; massive and warmed by open veins of liquid magma that seeped out of cracks within the vast cavern walls. An entrance, hidden in the side of a frost bitten mountain and concealed by its own formation to seem like just a shadow cast by a rocky outcropping.
When the vision cleared, Harry had to blink spots out of his eyes as he heard Mardrin departing from his room.
"I'll be waiting there for your arrival Har'rin. Perhaps I can offer some help when you get there."
Alright so this is not exactly a long chapter. Well, nothing 'exactly' about it, its a short chapter plain and simple.
The reason for this is mainly because we felt that the end here was a good cut off point with a continuation coming in the next chapter. There is a lot going on in the immediate future and we felt all that would be best to go into a single chapter rather than splitting it up.
To be honest our chapter lengths are only as long or short as we feel fits the content involved.
We are still in our Fantasy phase at the moment so we've no idea what will be the next update at this point in time sorry.
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