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Waking Dream
#1
There was a sense of peace that had fallen across the lands of Azeroth when the Lich King had finally fallen. From the enlightened mood of Dalaran, to the wave-crested shores of Tanaris, it was as if the world was being seen new.

The forests seemed greener, the water clearer, the sun brighter, and all manner of living creature seemed to be rebuilding life in all sorts of ways. Silvermoon city was a prime example of this, as reconstruction efforts had been made over the past few years. It wasn't until quite recently that those efforts were really being noticed. New homes and shops were opening and the city was beginning to look a little like it once did.

On this particular midsummer day, the sun shone well across the high white towers and red spires of the city. Vendors sold their wares on the warm, cobblestone streets and fireworks were blasted into the air for the entertainment of others. The Sin'Dorei had been through much. Finally, it felt as though they might have been able to go back to the lives they once had. Before their glorious city had been ravaged and destroyed, a time when they remained untouched for some four-thousand years.

However, there was one Sin'Dorei who was not outside enjoying the sun. Perhaps he should've been. But the feeling within him told him otherwise.

Sentei had been living back in the city for a few weeks now. It certainly felt odd, not getting out of bed in Dalaran and having to leave the city to adventure out on some escapade. Not to mention, the weather was a lot more enjoyable here.

No, something had been on his mind as of late. A feeling he could not shake. And he had the dreams to go with it. It was the same scenario, repeated time and time again when his eyes closed.

He dreamed himself to awake the next morning to find the city of Silvermoon in utter ruin. Fires licked at every corner and screams of all races of the Horde could be heard. He would get out of bed and run, trying to find some semblance of what was going on. Then he would be in Thunder Bluff, watching as the Tauren's beautiful tents and land were scorched and the bridges connecting the bluff together were destroyed. Then, he would be in the Undercity with the great stone walls falling apart. Pieces of the roof would cave in, threatening to crush any who dare stay inside for much longer. Then, he would be in Orgimmar. Perhaps the most influential city the Horde had to offer.

Of all the cities he dreamed of, Orgrimmar was always safe. Never was it lit on fire, never were the occupants of the city running in fear. It was all normal. Save for one thing. Sentei always found himself in the Valley of Honor, where Thrall kept his quarters. The room in question was always occupied, but never in great number. Only two Orcs ever stood inside the room and it was always the same two.

Thrall and Garrosh Hellscream. The two of them would be talking. The talking would break into arguing, the elf never hearing what the two were saying. Then, the floor beneath them would be torn asunder and a gaping chasm filled with a rising tide of fire and lava would appear. And although the chasm would spread wider, and the room would catch aflame, Garrosh and Thrall would not cease their arguing. Sentei would look deep into the chasm, knowing his death would be imminent if he stayed where he was. But never could he move, and never could he will any of his body to listen. Within the chasm, he could sense a growing power. He would see a dark form, but never could he make out what.

And when he looked up again, he wouldn't be in Orgimmar. He would be in a desert area. Perhaps Durotar, or the Barrens. But always there was a hill, and always the Horde battle-standard stood upon it. It looked so valiant and honorable an object as the wind blew gently against the flag. For a moment, it would feel right again, regardless of all that Sentei had seen before. But the world would break, and like everything before, the flag would be consumed in a blaze.

Usually, that was when the warlock would awake and find himself still in his own bed in a completely safe Silvermoon. His sleeping had been coming less and less because of this dream. Because it felt so real and because it felt more like a warning than a dream, he had retreated to the summoning quarters of his kind, where shadow magic was practiced and mastered. They also had a wide array of books to study and pour over. He had never been one for much studying, but he hoped he could find some answers to what he felt and dreamed now.

He had been reading one such book on mastery of the mind and how to control one's thoughts to focus. This didn't seem to have any answers, however, and he shoved it off to the side in a pile of books already stacking high. He reached for another titled "Fears of your Enemies". Flipping through this, he found nothing of use either. He needed a book that specialized on understanding dreams and perhaps omens.

He sighed helplessly, dragging a hand down his face. There had to be someone who specialized in this kind of stuff. Who knew about the sleeping world? The dream world?

His eyebrows arched slightly as he suddenly had an idea. There was but one who understood dreams in all their forms.

Ysera, queen of the dream realm.

But how would someone like him find an audience with her? He tapped his fingers on the dark table as he thought of how that could work. Kardwel had access to Chromie and sometimes even the dragon queen Alexstraza. But he didn't know if they'd be willing help his plight. And he didn't wish to burden the Aspects anymore than they already were.

A few moments passed as he continued to wonder if that was his only option. Then, he remembered something. Sreng, the hunter and warlord of the Ironsong Tribe knew of Ysera. He'd done...something for her in the past. He cursed himself for not paying more attention, but it seemed this would be one of the more logical ways to get an answer.

He quickly stood, gathering up the useless books he'd flipped through and putting them hastily back on the shelves. He exited the room, making way for his home. It would be wise to gather up anything he needed at home and seek out Sreng's assistance as soon as he could.
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#2
The sun must've been sitting somewhere around the 6 o'clock mark when Sentei entered the guild foyer that morning. He slouched off to the kitchen, a growling stomach having woken him up. Well, not just a growling stomach.

Dark circles were forming under his eyes, seeming to give his natural Sin'dorei glow a brighter green than usual. His sleep had been coming in sporadic times, often the nightmare happening and waking him. Always at the same time, his eyes would open to a startling darkness in his room compared to the burning Horde standard he'd seen so vividly before. He was more tired than ever now, and it was having it's side effects. His power was not nearly as great as it usually was. Fires that had escaped his fingers so easily and with such vehemence now left barely a trail in their wake, looking more like little bonfires than a true Incineration spell. As a warlock, one often had to subject themselves to shadow energy in a way that temporarily made them vulnerable. The shadow only helped those it would deem strong enough, and the warlock had to understand the sufferance to use such force. Now, the shadow that he felt had once welcomed him seemed to be turning on his body. His bolts of Shadow energy made any highly seasoned warlock laugh at his attempt.

Even his summoning of minions was getting tougher, as were they. Like shadow power, minions had to be controlled so they wouldn't get out of hand. The last time his Fel Hound had been near, he could see the creature salivating for magic from his own allies. Fel Hounds had always been known for sucking magic relentlessly from their opponents, but never from the allies of the warlock. Zeplop, his imp, was refusing to listen to him at times. Casting fire balls at will at whatever the creature felt needed it. Sentei figured it was best to send the minions back to the Nether until he could feel a better control on his power.

Digging through the kitchen, Sentei came across some eggs and decided to cook up a few. He wasn't much of a cook, but he had lived on his on for long enough to know a few things about what to do in the kitchen. As he made up his breakfast, his mind reverted back to the dream. He had waited on seeing the warlord in hopes that he could be directed to Ysera. But, the warlord hadn't made an appearance in some time and Sentei knew he couldn't go like this for much longer.

He only had one other option in mind, but that would mean bothering another aspect that he felt he'd bothered enough already. Alexstraza was the queen of life, and dragons themselves apparently. Even with Arthas gone, she still had many other matters to attend to. What was one petty nightmare to such a great figure as herself? Still, Sentei felt he had to try.

He finished cooking the eggs and thought of his brother, the one person he knew who may have a better understanding of what the warlock needed. Once the sun rose a bit more, he'd head out to Silvermoon and see what could be done about his situation.
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#3
It had been weeks since Sentei had felt anything like his old self.

Sleep had come to him in nights, and others he could barely get a wink. He had taken to sitting in his room, pouring over fabric patterns that were imbued with energy to make him and his allies stronger in combat. It was something he did as a profession anyway, but on his sleepless nights, it became his only entertainment. With it being in the mid-fall weather, going outside was quickly becoming too cold of an effort.

Tonight was one such night. Though his eyes felt heavy, his mind continued to wrack itself with thoughts and images he had only been seeing in his dreams. Always the same destruction. His council with Ysera had never happened. Unfortunately, she of the dreaming did not come to others often. And the warlock knew it shouldn't be any other way. The Aspects had plenty on their plate already.

Stifling a yawn, Sentei continued to loop thread through some frostweave in an attempt to make, yet another, bag. He knew their layout well, by now and making them was almost a second nature. It was one of those things he could stop practicing for years, come back one day and know exactly where he left off. Glancing up, he looked out the window before him. Stars radiated throughout the late night sky, hints of wispy clouds covering a few spots here and there. He found himself just staring, his bright green eyes looking at the various shapes the dots formed. Somewhere within his glancing from one star to the next, he never noticed when his eyes finally did close.

The next image that came to his sight when he opened his mind again was his own room in the guild hall. Only now, it didn't have the same furniture or decorations he was used to. As a matter of fact, it held nothing at all. Except for a young, female elf sitting on the edge of what had been his windowsill. She was looking at him, a calm expression on her face. She looked to be a blood elf in every way. Pale skin, long ears, blond hair so light it almost appeared white. The only thing that set her apart was that, even though she looked at him, her eyes were closed.

But even through her lids, Sentei could tell he was being looked at as if her eyes were wide open.

"Ysera?" he questioned in awe.

The female elf shook her head.

"No...but I am one of her kin. I heard your plea."

Sentei seemed to relax a little, but his next tone was almost accusing.

"And it took this long to get a reply from someone?"

The other elf cocked her head to the side and frowned, "I didn't have to make this arrangement, Mr. Gil'Light."

Sentei looked away, knowing she was right. At this moment, he'd do whatever he could to get his old self back. And she seemed to know this full well.

She easily slid off the windowsill and took a step toward him. "Your dreams as of late pertain to only one thing. A future you see and fear. There is only one way you can gain back your old strength...and possibly become stronger because of such."

Sentei nodded quickly, "Just tell me what to do."

She gave a curt nod, "You must fight it. In your dream. You must fight the destruction you see."

Sentei's eyes narrowed slightly. "And how do you expect me to do that?"

The female elf spread her arms and the room disappeared from around them, melting into a current day Silvermoon.

"We start here..."

Sentei recognized it as the same scene that always graced his vision when he fell asleep. So many times he had seen this that he knew exactly when the moments of destruction would come. A part of the earth split off to his right.

"Only you can overcome your own fears." the female elf spoke.

"How am I supposed to fight that?" Sentei questioned.

"Fight it." the female replied, "Shut the danger from your mind, focus and concentrate. Just as how you find one's fears and use it against them in battle, so you must find the fear of the earth..."

Sentei had no idea what the earth's fear was or how to find it. And every second he stood here, the crack grew wider. Magma started to pour forth, melting the city's elaborate structures.

"You're a warlock..." the woman explained, "What is it that you fear?"

Well, of course he had fears, everyone did. But when he fought something, he feared...defeat. Yes, the earth was trying to defeat him here but what did that have to do with its weakness? For a moment, he really did have to concentrate as the fires began to roar up around him. Screams from the citizens arose all around him as they fled and called for help. Weakness...defeat...the only thing he feared in battle was...

...more power.

"Power." He suddenly said, "I fear more power being used against me."

"As does the earth..." the female elf spoke with a smile, "You know the weakness, now use your strength to exploit it."

Staring at the ever widening crack, Sentei brought the power of flame to his hands. Fighting fire with even powerful fire. Suddenly he realized the crack in the earth wasn't just any typical result of an earthquake. It was all metaphor, a lesson he had to learn. Unleashing a barrage of flame toward the destruction, it became enveloped in the warlock's new-found understanding. The crack sizzled and folded in on itself, the city quickly reverting to normal.

"Very good." The female said, "Next task..."

Silvermoon disappeared and was replaced by Thunder Bluff.

Once again, destruction wrecked havoc over the land. Sentei could see elementals of all types beating on the bridges and huts.

"Once again," the other elf began, "Find the weakness."

Summoning the power of the shadow arts, Sentei let a bolt of dark magic fly up and hit the nearest fire elemental. This caught the attention of a few other elementals in the area and they began to move towards him. But knowing what he did, the warlock did not fear them. Unleashing a wave of energy, the elementals were briefly stunned before a torrent of fire fell upon them. They dispersed and the bluff was returned to its usual, peaceful state.

"Well done." The female said as the scenery changed into the Undercity now.

Large Doom Guards and Felguards were patrolling the outer areas of the four quarters. If there was one thing Sentei knew, it was how to deal with demons. One of the doom guard spotted him and immediately began to rush over to prey so eager for death. Sentei remained calm however, muttering an incantation under his breath as he stared the foul creature down. Chains of shadow energy shot forth and wrapped solidly around the demon. Willing it to move away, Sentei watched as the demon turned on its large, hoofed feet and began to stalk away.

He knew of his ability to use fire, shadow and control. To fight back against all these, he knew he had the will and the power to.

"There is but one more lesson..." the female elf nodded, her eyes closed the entire time.

The Undercity melted into Orgrimmar. The two of them stood before the gargantuan front gate. And in the dead center stood the flag of the Ironsong Tribe.

"Through all your expeditions..." the other elf said, "...and as powerful as you are, the battle to come is not one you can fight alone. Know that in order to succeed, you must rely on others. You alone can wield your power. But there are many out there who are just as powerful in their own right. Combined, it is all of you who will make the journey bearable."

"What battle?" Sentei asked, his eyes never leaving the image of the flag.

The female elf stepped before him and his room once more melted into view.

"That, I cannot say. It is for your understanding and the understanding of all mortals. You've all made it this far. Do not be disheartened by what looks so grim."

It was at that moment that her eyes opened. Though they were a radiant gold, it was not their color that grabbed Sentei's attention. Looking into them, he could see a thousand images pass in a second. The past, the present, the future...all mixing and turning within themselves. He could see everything about himself in her eyes and more so.

"Go now, Sentei." She quietly said, "And use what I have taught you to better this world."

And in a heartbeat, she was gone.

Sentei glanced around realizing he must've fallen asleep in front of his tailoring table. Looking out the window, he realized the sun was already creeping high into the mid-day sky. But perhaps the other thing he noticed was that he honestly felt refreshed. He hadn't felt this awake since the dreams had begun. And what a weird dream he had just partaken in. He knew it hadn't been a dream at all, but...something he couldn't quite put his finger on.

Regardless of what had just happened, Sentei could only think about what she'd last said: "...the battle to come you cannot face alone."

Did she mean with the Alliance? Did his previous nightmares have anything to do with this "battle" to come or was that too a complete metaphor? Shaking his head with too many new questions, Sentei rose from his chair. Stretching and feeling lighter than he had in a while, he supposed it was finally time to get out in that sun.
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